Sunday, December 5, 2010

Jessaholics Luncheon #4 - The Best Yet !

L to R : Greg, Annie, Clint, Brian, Jonathan, Chris,
Max, Faye, Sally, Pete and Collette

Collette and Miley !

Miley mingling with us mere mortals !

Miley belting out an impromptu tune !

Chatting with our friends and fellow Jessaholics
from across the pond

Clint having a grand old chat with "The Lady
from Across the Border"

Jess' personal video message to all of us !

Greg and Annie

Collette with her Jess-a-cupcakes

Hello fellow Jessaholics around the world,

The fourth Victorian Jessaholics luncheon was held last Saturday 27 Nov 2010 at Fishermans Pier restaurant, right on the waterfront in the city of Geelong (for our friends overseas, pronounced je-long) .

My word ! We all agreed that it was the best ever ! Now before I go any further, this is no longer just a Victorian event. We actually had our wonderful friends Annie, Greg and Brian travel in from Queensland and Tasmania respectively adding to all the usual suspects. We did miss Ailsa and Tony.

Collette did all the planning for the luncheon including picking the venue which was just perfect. This little collaborative gem by Clint, Max and Annie encapsulates our very special Collette :

There was once a girl from Geelong
Collette was her name for so long

Though blond may she be
Just between you and me

To organize, she can do no wrong !!!

She followed Jess every step of the way,

Through high seas and gales, Collette never missed a day.

As a loyal Jessaholic she really is a wonder,

(Although packing her suitcase she really made a blunder!)

That’s our Collette, our blond bombshell from Down Under!

and then this one from Brian :

There was a lady named Collette

who to Queensland was all set to jet,

But her plans soon came asunder

. . . it was only ONE small blunder!

That brought her on to fret.

So what was the cause

that made her there to pause,

When the friendly staff at check in

refused some extra mass in,

And stopped her at the doors.

In packing at her home,

somewhat more than just a comb,

Twelve pairs of shoes

…it’s oh so difficult to choose!!

Too late now to bemoan......................(truncated as the rest could not pass by the censors scissors !!)

........however, there were darker forces at work hatching and scheming a big surprise at the luncheon..........

A plan was afoot to smuggle all sorts of technological contraptions into the Pier without attracting any suspicion. Clandestine and coded communications were burning the airwaves and as the afternoon unfolded, we first had an unexpected and surprise whirlwind visit from another vivacious blonde......yes ! Miley Cyrus graced our Jessaholics luncheon with her presence, if not for a few minutes.

Next thing we hear behind us is a very familiar voice greeting all of us and telling us to enjoy our luncheon. We all jumped as we collectively recognised young Jess' voice and there she was on Max's widescreen monitor in a video shot especially for us. What a thrill ! Between Max and Frase (Andrew Fraser) and a tight schedule, this was pulled off in the nick of time !

The story does not end there..........the screen comes alive again and this time we have Bill (Georgia Guy) on Skype all the way from America ! The gods of bandwidth were taking a catnap because we lost audio with Bill but with the help of a notepad and pencil, we muddled on.

Then, it was such a pleasure to chat with Janell from Oklahoma and then Mark (Salty Dog) from the Pacific North West.

After that, the secret was out and it all came together for the rest of us when we connected with Soldiers Mum, the last link in the chain of the Sorcerers Apprentices who were the masterminds behind this scheme.

What an afternoon ! Once again, the best yet ! Just like everyone else, I can't wait for the 5th !

A very special "Sally by the Bay" trophy was presented to Max.......

To Max especially....I believe he has a trophy owing to him for ......not 1, not 2 but 3 firsts on the blog!!!!!!!
So drum roll please for.......Marvellous,Methodical,Memorable and Meritorious ...Max.


......and it still did not end there.....

Brian had quite an adventure getting home to's an excerpt ...

A delayed departure from Tullamarine (1 hr), a fog-bound Burnie/Wynyard airport, a diversion to Launceston, a tedious wait for a bus, a long and nearly disastrous (that’s another story!) trip back to B/W airport with diversions to debus various passengers. Then to double back from the airport, now in my own car, I pulled into my driveway at 1:05am!!

....and picture Annie and Greg looking for the seventh floor of the parking lot in Brisbane when it only had four ! To their defense it was 1 am.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Few More Pictures (Belatedly)

Ailsa and Jess In Melbourne

Ailsa and Julie in Sydney

Wilsons Promontory in the distance (from Sandy Point)

Venus Bay from above the clouds (4500 ft)


Hello Everyone,

Business commitments and a flurry of birthdays and relo's visiting have taken me off the Jessaholic landscape for a couple of weeks.

I did commit to posting these pictures of Ailsa with Jess and Julie so here they are.

The lovely weekend weather was perfect for a fly across to the Prom and I thought I would attach a couple of those pictures as well. Its not too often that I get to fly above cloud (it depends on the ability to see the ground through the clouds - which I could).

I look forward to hearing from all of you.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Melbourne Jessaholics Luncheon No. 3

Clockwise from left : Chris, Tony L, Clint, Jonathan,
Faye, Max, Sally and Ailsa
Don't miss the spectacular views from Kirks of
Mornington (thanks Faye and Max)

Enjoying each others company !

Faye and Ailsa share a light moment !

Faye, Max and Sally

Hi Everyone,

The Melbourne "chapter" of Jessaholics had our third luncheon today and it was a very enjoyable event.

We had Faye, Max, Clint, Ailsa, Chris, Sally, Tony and Jonathan and sorely missed Collette and Peter (Collette wasn't well).

Sally made pink Jessaholic badges for all of us and lots of pictures, DVDs and stories were exchanged by all.

We are already talking about our next luncheon and it looks like we are all going to Geelong, perhaps a little further out to Torquay.

Here are a few pictures of todays event.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Jessica - Gold Coast Book Signing

Hi All,

Fay (HomeSweetBoat) from The Gold Coast sent some really nice pictures of the book signing event there. It also puts a face to the name of another Jessaholic.

Here they are !

Looks like Jess' brother Tom is sitting behind her in the third picture.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Jessica - Melbourne Book Signing

Clint, Jonathan, Faye, Jess and Max

A Beaming Clint with Faye's and Max's grand daughter and Faye looking on !

Max with Jess

Jonathan with Jess (Louisa Dear from Hachette Publishing looking on)

Hi All,

Faye, Max, Clint and I were at Knox City Shopping Centre, in Melbourne's South East this afternoon to get our copies of Jess' book signed.

Andrew Fraser from 5Oceans Media assisted with giving all of us the opportunity to spend a few minutes exclusively with Jessica.

After the event, we all adjourned to The Coffee Club to debrief and generally enjoy each others company. Here are a few pictures.



Sunday, July 11, 2010

Witnessing Natural History

Picture chronological order is from the bottom up

Fogged in at Shepparton (our two aircraft are at the far end)

Flight line (our aircraft is in the foreground) at the disused airstrip
(unserviceable aircraft is on right being tied down)

Approaching Wilcannia NSW just North of the Darling River (on the
way back to Broken Hill from the Paroo River)

Flying Over the Paroo River

Paroo River Wetlands

Paroo River System

"Back o' Bourke" (on the way to the Paroo River)

White Cliffs Opal Mining Town (on the way to the Paroo River)

Glenn and I at Swan Hill, Victoria

Hello Everyone,

Firstly, I would like to say that our Jess continues to inspire and evoke memories of an incredible few months. This inspiration led me to embark on a little adventure of my own.

When my flying club out at Tooradin, Victoria invited a bunch of us to fly up to Broken Hill NSW, I was thrilled to bits and accepted. So Friday before last, Glenn (a pilot mate of mine) and I were the first to get off the ground at Tooradin and tracked due North over the Cardinia and Sylvan dams past Lilydale and then on to Kilmore on a generally North Westerly track to Swan Hill and Broken Hill. We decided that I would fly up and Glenn would fly back.

It was at Kilmore that we met our first challenge in the form of a lowering cloud base and a rising ground - net effect is cloud on ground so there was no way we could have gone through that ! I decided to do a 180 and head back to Lilydale where I thought we would land and wait for the weather to clear.

It so happened that when I looked over my shoulder, there was a brilliant ray of sunshine right in the centre of the weather system. I doubled back to Kilmore and headed straight for the hole and managed to get around the weather and as we continued to Swan Hill where we decided to stop for a leg stretch and catch up with other flyers, the weather became progressively better.

The rest of the flight up to Broken Hill was reasonably eventful, dodging isolated rain showers and low cloud but nothing too daunting.

The highlight of the trip was the next day when we flew North East of Broken Hill to have a look at the Paroo River and its series of drain lakes. It was on our return that we were advised that this vast catchment has had water in it only twice in the last 200 years ! This is only the third time in 200 years that it has literally flooded ! See attached pictures.

The trip up saw one of our club aeroplanes make an emergency landing at a disused strip about 60 miles south of Broken Hill. This was due to an engine failure. The two pilots on board did an incredible job, not only staying in one piece but also keeping the aeroplane intact. All the emergency training kicked in and literally saved them from possible serious harm.

On our way back, the lot of us decided to visit the disused strip and help tie down the unserviceable aircraft and marvel at the true "Back o' Bourke". This resulted in us not having enough daylight to make it all the way back to Tooradin the same evening so two aeroplanes (Glenn and I included) decided to divert to Shepparton for the night.

We woke up the next morning to thick fog and 2degC temp. Long story short, we only left Shepp at 2:30pm and finally landed back at Tooradin just before 4 pm. What an adventure !

I am attaching a few pics. I hope you like them.

Again I say this - this pales in comparison to what Jess had to go through but I just loved it. The various challenges, flying over vast desolate areas, marveling at the incredible landscape in the floodplain and just the sheer joy of being in the air was a one of a kind experience.

Have a great weekend everyone


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Coping With Post Jessaholic Euphoria

Hello Everyone,

The number of emails in my inbox over the last few weeks reminds me of my days (or shall we say decades !) in the corporate world. Except for the fact that in those days, more emails meant more stress and pressure. Here more emails translate to more positive energy. So, I say we continue to stay positive and in doing so, continue to focus on Jess' great achievement. The best thing we can do is totally ignore the naysayers and detractors and not even bother mentioning them.

I had the distinct pleasure of catching up with Clint last Saturday and spending an hour and a half chatting with him about our experiences and journeys. Here's a picture of the two of us having coffee and muffins.

I hope the Vics can get together sometime soon for another catch up session.

Good luck everyone,


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Forging New Friendships - Thanks to "One Tough Cookie"

Hello All,

I must apologise for disappearing off the radar for a while - running a business essentially means the buck stops with me (hear that Kev?!) and amongst other reasons, it was just too difficult to get away.

The moment that touched me the most was when Jess stepped on to land for the first time in 8 months and wept in the embrace of her family. I think it reminds us all of how important the people near and dear to us are and how we should treasure them.

Anyway, I have read each and every email and blog entry with avid interest and it is truly amazing how much goodwill and positive energy there is amongst all of you who travelled to Sydney and all of us who could not.

Janell, I am really happy that you made it to Sydney and that you had a good time with everyone there.

Hi Collette, you were a stunner in that interview - took it in your stride and looked like you had been doing TV interviews all your life ! Same for Janell and Sam.

I will be more than happy to continue this blog as a meeting place for all of you who wish to continue to share thoughts and experiences and enjoy each others company. Who knows, maybe someday, we could write a book based on this blog !

Have a great weekend everyone.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Converging on Sydney for Jessica's Arrival

Hello Everyone,

Looks like its all coming together. Travel safe everyone and have a wonderful time in Sydney.

You couldn't want for better weather, especially up in Sydney, so make the most of it !

Cheers and Good Times


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Heres to Amazing Progress by Jess (and Amazing Sunrises !)

Hello All Jessaholics, and I mean ALL Jessaholics,

Our Jess is more than halfway across the Bight and before you know it she will round Tassie.......I'll leave it at that for now as we need to start rationing out the excitement lest we go overboard (cliche ! cliche !). What !!?? Who am I kidding ??!! We were overboard from day one of this voyage !!

What strikes me about this community is how much positive energy everyone has and more importantly shares with everyone else. Just think about it......if it were not for Jessica, none of us would know each other or have the opportunity to share experiences of all kinds with each other. One of the really special things about this community is how well we respond with words of comfort and encouragement if needed !

On a personal note, please forgive me for not checking in more often than I should. My warehouse move got put back by a couple of weeks due to my ankle injury and since I got back on my feet, I have been pushing myself very hard to get everything set up the way I want it. The good news is that its almost done and consequently, you will see me more often here.

Lastly, I have included a picture of sunrise in Melbourne on 22 April 2010. I just happened to lift the blinds on my kitchen window at the perfect time.....ran to get my camera and squeezed off about 10 shots....this is the best one. I hope you enjoy it.

Good luck and warm wishes to all,


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Hi Everyone,

I've just had a look at Jess' latest post and it looks like she's quite the fixer-upper and has done so well to get Ella's Pink Lady shipshape for the last and exciting leg of this incredible adventure.

It looks like all of us Jessaholic landlubbers have been busy as well - getting to know each other and celebrating Jessica's adventure by meeting for lunches and dinners. This is number two luncheon for the Vics and although, much to my regret, I was unable to make it, I was thrilled to see that the Vics have grown in numbers.

Back west, Sam organised dinner for Jessaholics in the Perth area and they look like they had a ton of fun !

Here are pictures of the two groups.

Vics Luncheon Picture 1 : L-R Chris and Sally by the Bay, Bruce, Ailsa, Faye, Tony L, Max, Peter, Collette and Clint.
Vics Luncheon Picture 2 : Jessica's crew

WA Dinner Picture 1 : L-R Tony, Sam, Jo and Paul.
WA Dinner Picture 2 : "Starboard Tack"

Good luck everyone.


Monday, April 12, 2010

The Excitement Grows (Project Tony L - the Latest and Greatest !)

Hello Everyone,

Our amazing Jess is in Aussie waters ! The excitement grows ! Lots of speculation as to her arrival date which adds to the suspense of it all.

More exciting news : Here's the latest picture of Tony's project. Its so real that its unreal ! I can't wait to see mini EPL with mast and all !

Good luck all !


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Jessica - Less Than Three Weeks to Cape Leeuwin !

Hello Everyone,

Its nice to be back to see the tremendous progress Jess has made. By all accounts she should be passing Cape Leeuwin about the second week of April and consequently, passing the heads at Sydney around the second week of May (Tony, you are correct).

Here is a picture of Tony's EPL project and it looks just fabulous (even though Tony says it is a rough paint job) ! I can't wait to see it with sails and all. Well done Tony !

I will be finally taking this weekend off for some R&R.


PS Tony sent me another updated picture and requested I replace the one above with the new one but Tony, please indulge me if I just add it in as opposed to replacing it. We can then see how much amazing progress you have made with the model ! You can now see Jess' Toughbook, her Nav station and other little bits and pieces. Well done !

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Pause for Respite and Catching Up with the Jessaholics

Hello All,

Its nice to be able to step back (temporarily) after a very intense fortnight, working through two weekends and late into the night ! Its all good though and very exciting setting up the new facility exactly how I want to. Another two weeks to go before the set up is complete.

Jessica is making excellent progress and is a third of the way across the Indian Ocean. I'm already thinking past April when she passes through the heads at Sydney and wondering how we are all going to cope. Its been one of the most memorable experiences I have had in recent times and one that I will personally treasure for a long time to come. I'm sure all of you feel the same way.

Good luck everyone and keep those posts coming !


Saturday, March 6, 2010

New Friendships - Inspired by Jessica

Hello All,

Jessica's latest blog is as good as it can get. On one hand she speaks of "nothing glamorous or exciting to report" but on the other, the description of her "non routine" is so interesting and educational that I for one (not being a sailor), always thought that light winds and calmer seas meant having the opportunity to sit back and get some downtime. Little did I know that the frequently shifting, albeit light winds, required constant adjustment to maintain heading and track !

The picture of her dinner is as cute as it can get. If she ever decided to stop sailing (I think the moon will turn green before that happens !) she can manifest her skills in the culinary arts. Excellent presentation !

The Vics got together for lunch today and we had a wonderful time getting to know each other and enjoying each others company. During the time we were at the restaurant, we could see this massive storm cell move in and in a few minutes, the sea built up and we were all thinking of Jessica and how incredibly brave she is.

To Ailsa, Tony, Collette and your partner Peter, thank you for a very nice time. Each of you in your own way exude positive energy and most of all you are very interesting people. I for one, look forward to Sydney. Bruce, we did miss you.

I have included a picture of the Vics at todays lunch. Left to right : Tony, Ailsa, Peter, Collette, Jonathan. Oh, and I almost forgot ! Jessica's First Mate - Teddy (thank you Ailsa) !


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Jessica on the Home Stretch (These Interesting Times)

Hello Jessaholics,

I'm thrilled to bits to see Jess powering on into the home stretch ! I know all of you share this excitement and anticipation to see her edging ever closer home. This is a very special young lady who has been consummately professional, demonstrated incredible mental fortitude and yet in many ways is your everyday teenager who likes teenage "stuff" but what really grabs me is her simplicity and humility. I reckon, thats what sets her apart.

The one common thing that comes out of all our comments is how strongly we feel for and support Jessica. In doing so, we have formed a very interesting and colourful community. To this end, once again, anyone is welcome to comment on this blog. It was originally set up as a common area of communication for a group of people that are traveling to Sydney to welcome Jess home but it appears that it is attracting a wider audience.

I wish all of you near and far good luck and happiness.


PS I have attached a picture I took at Melbourne Airport recently. On the left is a Boeing 747 Jumbo and on the right is the new Airbus A380 Super Jumbo. Compare the wingspans, the engines and everything else. Its amazing how large the A380 is compared to what was originally the largest airliner in the world for decades. I thought I would slip that in as a bit of trivia that I hope you enjoy.