I started to seek out opportunities locally to get more experience on boats, so I could get my Coxswains time up and catch up to Base with my experience. My first stop was to the local Maritime Tafe (college) and to their notice board. I was studying from there externally but I started to check out the notice boards where local boating jobs were advertised a couple times. Everything listed was for work on power boats and I was really aiming to get on a sailing boat.
One week I checked out the board and lo and behold there was a relief deckhand/hostess wanted for a sailing boat in the North of Western Australia – in the Kimberley. I didn’t think I would make the cut when I phoned up, but next thing I knew I was heading up North about to jump on Starsand a 65 ft Ketch ( a gorgeous sailing vessel). The job was to fill in crew for 10 day voyages through the Kimberley, some of the most remote and beautiful and wild country in Australia.
Arriving up North, I had no idea what I was getting into, I got straight onto the boat when I arrived. I was given a crash course from the Hostess and all rounder crew before she was off on her break. Turns out, there is only one crew on board besides and captain, and you do it all. Cook, clean, serve and sail.
It’s a good thing the Kimberley is a magnificent place. The work on the boat was tough, up early, to bed late, and endless tasks. But my God, when you got to get up on deck or a look through the porthole, you were in such a stunning environment. Either way it was an experience, and I loved it.
I ended up being on the boat for over a month and did a two week delivery of Starsand from Broom back to Perth, and Base got to come along for that. That is what really gave me the taste for cruising. I loved the time on the water and got a bit sad when we reached the Freo Ports again, I didn’t want to get off.
I learnt a lot, and I started to get more sea time under my belt. Afterwards, I started working on the twilight and day sails on Starsand out of Fremantle. More time on the water helped me really start to dream of our own boat and all the possibilities.