Tuesday, 14 June 2011


Townsville itself wasn't the hottest place but we had a good time there. The couchsurf at Celine's was really nice, at the bottom of Castle Hill (3m short of mountain classification) and we hiked up there a few times before breakfast with her big dogs (which we managed to lose once when we were looking after them, luckily they came back.) We packed in a few things while we were there, including the show at Celine's, a radio gig, Maria had a dance class. There was no dumpster diving unfortunately (bins locked up) and no busking at the supermarket (they moved us on after one song). The highlight of the stay there was the twilight sailing. Rupert's trimaran was one of the fastest boats I've been on (including the ones with a motor). Even without that boat it would have been magical, sailing in the race as the sun went down. I wanted to help with the sailing and he gave me a rope to let out, which I let go of when he said 'let it go (faster) and almost lost a hugely expensive kite sail. He didn't ask me to do anything else after that ;) but we still one by a km.

Two notable pieces of good fortune happened to us in Townsville, which you may remember we only came to because qld rail gave us the tickets to it (it wasn't on our route) which only happened because we played on abc radio, which only happened because I couchsurfed with Mary in Toronto who's cousin worked for abc, and stayed in touch with her through Facebook. At Celine's BBQ, one of the CSers worked at a mine and said he would see about getting us a gig there, which worked out. $400 to play an informal set in the bar, flights, food and a tour of the mine. So much for carbon neutral touring, but it would be an education and hopefully I get a song out of it. The tour alone would be worth the trip, as it's not something many people get to see.:

And secondly, at the twilight sailing we asked around in the Marina if anyone was sailing to Darwin and a retired Dutch couple on a round the world trip (it's taken them 6 years to get this far, why rush?) knew of another Dutch guy, Pieter Snel, who needed a crew (the Dutch do this kind of thing, I've heard stories here from people of three different cyclists who made it here across land from Europe and they were all Dutch). We called him next day (he was in hospital with some chronic internal pain) and he was interested in having us. He knows we can't sail (he's a sailing instructor) so asked $10 a day each, which isn't too bad as we will have learnt to sail by the end of it, but is a stretch for our budget as busking at sea is tough. Dolphins aren't big tippers. We'll have to pullout all the stops busking a week in Darwin, and I've arranged show there. It promises to be the trip of a lifetime, sailing up the great barrier reef, snorkelling, fishing, around the Australian coast, the up to Indonesia and on to Singapore - 3 months. And that it's cone out of the blue like this makes it even more trippy. We are really lucky to have cone by Townsville because all the boats are waiting for the Darwin Ambon Rally and sailing up there from south Australia, but we've heard from a guy in Darwin who can't get a boat, that they're already crewed up by the time they get there. We count our lucky stars it worked out this way.

Piet said to meet him in cairns so we called qld rail for the third time (we had already called and got another free ticket to mt isa on the way to Darwin, which we changed to Cairns) talk about freeloaders. Thanks again guys.

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