So it’s been a while, and here we are: January February (I took too long to post, oops). A new year’s spun into place and I haven’t really stopped to think about it until now. I haven’t even picked a Word of the Year to inevitably forget about in a few months’ time, like I did last year, or had the urge to drum up any resolutions, really, beyond a vague intent to read and write “more”. (Though truly I think this a lot throughout the year, no matter the date.) But I do think that because I’ve more or less kept up with my creative and healthy habits for the past little while, I possibly haven’t felt like revisiting them just yet. Which is good.

The weather’s warm, though it’s been far milder than the typical Brisbane summer. Turns out as I’m writing this we’re approaching our first heatwave of the season, so I may yet change my mind on that opinion. Most weekends we throw open every window in the house and try our best to ignore the heavy, stagnant air — the odd and cool-ish breeze teases me into hoping it might help to cool the house down, but it rarely ever does. When it’s really muggy, we treat ourselves to the air conditioning, but I must admit I prefer not needing to have the house all sealed up, even if it makes for a sweatier existence.

There’s been a few concerts at the stadium near our house lately, whose vast structure dominates our hilltop view (and noise easily fills every room in our little house). A few weeks back it was Elton John, and last week it was the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. I find it oddly comforting to exist on the edge of an anticipated event, something that brings thousands of people together to celebrate their enjoyment of the same thing, whether that’s sports or a long-loved musician. There’s a certain excitement in the air, and I like absorbing it from my balcony where I’m far enough away from crowds and, as a resident, safe from the army of parking inspectors who descend on the city to enforce the 15-minute Event Day parking limit.

Last Thursday was a public holiday, the 26th of January. Australia Day. Though I don’t celebrate the day — I’d rather it be on a date that every Australian could celebrate — I took up my brother’s invitation to sail to Mulgumpin / Moreton Island. He’d recently bought a monohull sailboat and has been keen to take it out as often as he can. So off we went.

We woke early to get to the Newport Marina before 9 a.m. The sun was already beating down on us, though it was cool in the shade, and I slathered myself in sunscreen. The mood was light and cheery, the boats lay calm and quiet in their berths as their owners tinkered on and around them, preparing for a day out on the water. Strangers greeted us with hearty hellos and I heard chimes of “Enjoy the day out there!,” or “Good luck today!” among berth neighbours as boats puttered out of their designated slots and away for adventure. It seemed to me that everyone there was in on the shared secret that their hobby was the greatest of all hobbies, and simply by default that made everyone friends.

Once we were out of the marina, Mulgumpin took us about one and a half motoring hours to reach, there being not enough wind for sailing. I couldn’t believe the number of turtles we saw on the way — nor could I believe their size — as they broke the surface for air, I kept mistaking their heads for people in green swimming caps enjoying an early morning breaststroke in the bay. I’m clearly used to the spindly, twig-like necks that pop up furtively to steal a breath of air before plunging back into the deep, not these giants. We also spotted a dugong, though fleetingly. I saw its shadow, then a forked tail as it slithered deeper into the sea and disappeared completely.

We anchored near the island and took the tender and a snorkelling mask to swim at the shore. The water was unbelievably warm, and fairly clear: we could see stingrays darting about us in the sand.

I have been lucky; just the week before, I was doing almost the very same thing some 400 kilometres north. A friend was visiting me from Norway and we road tripped up the coast to the small township of 1770 for a couple of days. Although the first few were grey and rainy thanks to the threat of a tropical cyclone in the north, the last two days we had were beautiful. A 90-minute boat ride from the town took us to the southermost tip of the Great Barrier Reef, and we spent one of those days snorkelling among sun-dappled coral and schools of fish on the reef, and exploring the coral cay that makes up Lady Musgrave Island. Maybe, hopefully, I’ll dedicate another post to that trip.

After all of this travel, it has been hard to get back into a productive work routine, but I’m slowly getting there. Turns out the threat of running out of money is great for procrastination. I may not have a boss to keep me in line, but a dwindling bank balance certainly works in the same way, I’ve found. I’ve applied for a grant to revamp my website, fingers crossed that comes through and I can start using it to find some new clients.

I hope the start of your year is going well, and you’re finding yourself in a great routine again. Or not, if that’s what you prefer.

Until next time.

E. x