From sailing oceans to traversing land on two wheels

200208 Ayers Rock Uluru from the air-1

Flying home to Darwin in February our internal flight took us via Ayers Rock, Uluru 460km southwest of Alice Springs in the centre of Australia

041212 59c TIme to celebrate and christen Katherine

Eight years ago on the 12th April  we launched Katherine in Haderslev Denmark. Our ninth sailing season certainly hasn’t shaped up to be what we thought it would be but then we have no complaints. We have been so lucky to have sailed so many miles onboard Katherine, cruised so many coastlines, crossed seas and oceans and gathered along the way so many amazing memories, experiences and friends. 

As with so many people across the world the Covid-19 virus has completely brought to a halt our plans for 2020. The positive is that for us no one in our family or amongst our close friends has to date been subjected to the virus without recovery. It has been a tough year in business and continues to be so here in the Northern Territory but we have seen some amazing commitment to survival, adaptation of businesses and positive outlooks. Working along side these positive and determined people makes it all worth while. We have also been lucky, in that here in the Northern Territory, we were not locked out of business operations for as long as some Australian states. There is always a positive to be found. 

200504 Sunset at Eastpoint -2

Many an amazing sunset has been appreciated on our foreshores of Darwin while home

200802 Family together Darwin -4

For those of you who may not be aware Australia shut down its borders to the outside world in March then further restricted the number of entries from overseas. Only as recently as mid September has the number increased to just 6000 per week and more recently New Zealanders have been able to cross the Tasman. Today news reports indicate that there are still thousands of Aussies trying to get back home but are unable to due to the limited number of flights available into Australia and then of course there is the mandatory quarantine expense to follow. For these reasons we decided it was best not to fight the system, to stay put in Australia and trust that Sam who has taken over the maintenance duties of Katherine, whilst she remains contained on her mooring in Ragusa does a great job. 

In the initial stages of the virus Australia not only shut down its external borders but internally we suddenly became eight very separate Territories and States. Only in mid July did we start to see an easing of restrictions as those states that had acted promptly and contained cases opened up to each other. For us this meant our son could fly home for a visit from Adelaide South Australia and the state of QLD was also open for exploration. 

200724 8 Dundee sunset cliffs

Sunset on the cliffs overlooking the beach at Dundee, a fishing village for want of a better description in the NT

200801 5 Grevillea in flower-1

Having returned from Katherine in February, believing we would return in May and finally being forced to admit that any return for 2020 and possibly into 2021 was not a reality we decided it was time to change tack and look to travel within Australia. It had been nice not having to pack a suitcase for a while, to work on our home for improvement rather than just repair and to have time to enjoy the company of friends in Darwin over the dry season, our first since 2011. 

But with borders beginning to open the desire to start travelling was reignited. Like many Australians travel plans for us since the launch of Katherine involved going overseas, change of plans, time to rediscover Australia and catch up with family and friends further afield.

Our trusty Hilux took us to Cape York in 1987

200731 4 Andrew and Lee Litchfield Tourist Park

Where to start: Well borders dictated that we head east for QLD. 

200725 9 In amongst the Magnetic Anthills Lee and Andrew

Where to go: In 1987 we set out from the town of Katherine in our trusty Hilux 4WD and drove what is today known as the Savannah Way crossing to Normanton then headed inland to the top of Cape York before returning via Lakefield National Park Cooktown to Townsville. Time to go back we decided and why not on a motorbike. 

What type of Motorbike: This family is somewhat biased towards Ducati a bit like some would say we are biased towards X-Yachts. Andrew did give BMW a hard honest review before deciding to go with the new Ducati 1260 Enduro. Its specifications, power, fuel capacity and off road ability ticked the boxes of what Andrew was looking for and the reviews for the pillion didn’t sound too bad for Lee either.

So there won’t be any sailing stories for a while but if you are happy to venture with us on two wheels, then we’d love to share our Australian experience. Just like sailing we are heading off to ride somewhere throughout Australia. 

Eventually we may even make it the whole way around but most likely with a few deviations along the “ The Path Less Travelled "  Time will tell.  

© SV Katherine 2018      Cover Photo: Katherine on Anchor Isle Tabarca Spain