One year in…

OMG! We both looked at each other in disbelief as we realised we were approaching our first anniversary of this extraordinary time in our lives. As everyone says, where has the time gone?


Today, the 14th February, marks the day in 2014 when we left Australia to commence this new stage in our lives. My reflections on the past twelve months are easily divided into two areas: our boat and what I have learnt.

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Loving the lifestyle

Kool Kat 1: Mal, having sailed with previous owners Linda and John for five weeks the year before, was a little nervous but basically knew what to expect. I, however, was a tad more anxious! Excited, but anxious. I had only seen Kool Kat once three years earlier. Would she have enough room to house all my worldly possessions I was bringing from home? Could she handle my culinary attempts using a small 3-burner stove top and oven? How could I get in the dinghy at the dock and off the dinghy at the other end without falling into the drink? What would she do when I pushed instead of pulled that lever or button? Did she know that I DIDN’T know much at all.

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Kool Kat with Kitty Kat (dinghy)

The answer is she has been the most patient (outside Mal of course) and forgiving friend I could have asked for. She safely stores everything I ask of her, she teams with me to prepare some fabulous new dishes, I only fell in the water once which wasn’t her fault, and she quickly regrouped after I inadvertently turned off her solar panels. She is a beautiful girl and I love her 🙂 She gives me a freedom I haven’t experienced before, she has helped me overcome my disabling seasickness and, best of all, she’s contributed to my love of sailing.

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Helping raise the mainsail

Things I’ve come to learn (in no particular order):

  • dark nail polish leaves marks
  • haircuts don’t happen every six weeks
  • Family are a long, long, long way away
  • I can paddle board
  • I can scuba dive
  • 15 hours is an awkward time difference
  • I miss my friends
  • Mal isn’t responsible if water gets in my goggles
  • I can prepare a pretty good meal with limited ingredients
  • I can make wonderful new friends and be inspired by so many of them
  • Drinking a G&T with Mal and watching the sun go down is pretty damn good
  • my body serves me well
  • I love being on or underwater
  • I can save my iPhone from drowning when falling in the water
  • I can maneuver Kool Kat in tight situations while Mal hoists the anchor
  • we can live ‘in each other’s pockets’ without killing each other
  • simple things can bring an enormous amount of joy
  • Australia is a bloody long way from The Caribbean especially when flights are delayed or missed!
  • I love living so close to the natural environment
  • That yachties are a unique breed of people – helpful, friendly, adventurous, and, best of all, I’m now one of them!
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Always grab some shade

One thing I already knew, but that living 24/7 together in a confined space has confirmed, is that Mal and I make a great team. Mal has borne most of the initial worry and responsibility of our new lifestyle. He rarely loses his patience with me, he never gets overwhelmed because, as he always says, “there is a solution to every problem” and he just sits down and works it out, sometimes with my help. He has been my best teacher. Happy Valentine’s Day Mal! ❤

It’s been a great year and we are thrilled that a few family and friends have been able to make the journey to share it with us. We hope there will be more.


This first year has been a great learning experience for me as every day I learn something new about the boat. It is usually in the form of a breakdown of some sort. We had the generator overheat, raw water-pump fail on the water maker and bad connections here and there effecting the operation of various components. Every day I do something to the boat whether it is polishing, making water, a repair or just preventive maintenance like changing oil and filters.

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The boat has been as good as I expected and better. We have learnt what makes her sail well and how to anchor her securely for the night.

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Chilling at Hermitage Bay

Sue has been brilliant in her application to how things work and her coolness in some of the very confronting experiences we have endured (dragging the anchor during a violent storm is at the top of the list).

We are a team and have our special jobs. Sue is my backup always reminding me of things I usually forget, like, have you done the topping lift or slackened of the sheet before unfurling the genoa.

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To sum up the first year has been fun every day and spending summer in Grenada was very special as we would not met so many people who have become very good friends. Our data base has over 80 boats who we have met along the way. It is a delight to meet up with them again when we drop anchor in a bay somewhere. We have visited seven countries and twelve islands to date whilst covering almost 700 nautical miles. Not bad for our first year!

Thanks for following our blog, we’ve loved bringing our adventures to you. Sue & Mal xx



6 thoughts on “One year in…”

  1. Hi Mal and Sue. Congrats on the one year anniversary on Kool Kat. We had a great lunch at Jack Rabbit today with Jennifer , Wayne, Kerry and Rob. Kerry posted our photo on facebook for you. Unfortunately Anne wasn’t able to make it but we will catch up with her at a later date to hear about your travels. You were both missed at was 36 degrees but fortunately Jennifer had a table inside. The view across to the You Yangs is fantastic. Our Simba had to have the lens in his eye removed but seems OK. We may have to go back to work to pay for the operation! Amelia is doing lots of weddings with help from us but it’s a challenge to make a decent wage.Federal politics are pretty exciting at the moment, although very bad for the country.
    We are off to Williamstown for lunch tomorrow – retirement is not good for the waistline. I am back being an independent visitor at youth justice so am spending Wednesday at Malmsbury. Greg is battling a back injury and gets the CT scan results tomorrow .
    Happy Sailing love Rob and Greg


  2. This is a great overview of your first year. Since we sold the boat to you, we are especially happy to hear all the positive comments. Isn’t it wonderful to discover all the new places and making new friends. You guys are so adventuresome! Here’s to year two and more of both! Love You!


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