Friday, January 29, 2010

Jessica - Half Way Across the Atlantic !

Hello from sunny but cool Dubai,

I have read with interest comments from most of you and its really great that we are so protective over Jess. The good news is that we are all in a positive realm and moving forward with the very exciting Sydney trip.

To all first timers on this blog from near and far, a very warm welcome. We hope to see all of you in Sydney.

Sam, that spa idea sounds great but could be expensive in Sydney. I will have a talk to my wife who I am visiting in Dubai at the moment (she is here on a consultancy contract with a large hotel chain). I know she has an associate in Sydney who can point us in the right direction.

Tony, when I return on 8 Feb, I would like to meet you somewhere on the peninsula and Sam, I am in Perth on 11 Feb for the day only (on business) and if you have a bit of time, I would like to catch up to have a chat about the trip.



  1. Hi Jonathan, I hope you're well.
    Yes, I don't doubt a spa place would be expensive but you get what you pay for I guess and I want to be impressed.
    I'll be happy to meet with you on the 11th Feb so let me know your movements.
    I hope you enjoy the rest of your stay in Dubai and also get to take those pictures you promised to post here. I'm looking forward to them.
    Take care and regards to your wife...Sam

  2. Hi all,
    Here is a link to a PDF of an article written last year that was posted by Steve from NZ in the cruisers forum. It is a really excellent read and has great info about Jesse and her family. I know it is hard to believe, but you will have even more admiration for her after reading the article!

    Richard W

  3. 01-29-10 @ 19:24
    Hi Tony,
    Thanks for the heads-up on the weather, that's important. I'm getting myself organized for this trip, there are so many things that have to be taken care of. This will be my first big trip in over 25 years, so I have forgotten a lot of the necessaries, but it’s coming back. lol…
    Count me in on the gift for Jessica, will it be something commemorative or something personal? Think real hard on this one Sam, but don‘t hurt the thinking cap. Ha, ha. Just joking, just joking.

    I’m also in favor of a nice sit-down dinner together, that would be great.
    “The Jessaholics of the Round Table”

    SaltyDog, I know you’re going through some rough times now, but it would be great if you could make it to Sydney.
    Jonathon, glad to see you made it to Dubai and that you’re enjoying yourself.

    Cheers to all,

  4. Samurai The Observatory Hotel in North Sydney, has a spa. It is close to the Bridge which you need to cross in order to get to the Spit Bridge where Tony has booked the boat. I have stayed their on business, but of course some one else was paying the bill. Ah those were the days.:)

  5. Michael, thanks so much. You don't know how difficult it will be for me to not join all of you in Sydney. This is a time when I need to be close to my brother, but if he takes a turn for the better, you never know. I might see you there.

    Here's a nice web site that I happened upon. Those of you who are not familiar with the Polaris of Belmont might enjoy this.

    Cheers to all,

  6. Hi all Jessaholics

    I spoke to Chris, owner of Polaris of Belmont, this morning. He is sounding enthusiastic. We had a discussion about accommodation. I told him I would stay at the Lane Cove Caravan Park and he asked me whether the park had cabins. I later looked up the details of the park and they advertise 28 “fully serviced cabins”. I phoned the Caravan Park and was advised that 23 of the cabins were designed for family use with 2 bedrooms and 5 were smaller with 1 bedroom.

    Something to think about is that if we stayed at this caravan park for the night before and after Jessica arrives it would be easy for us to then travel as a group to and from Castle Crag, where Polaris is moored, and would obviously also facilitate going out to dinner together. Sam, perhaps you could break your stay in a spa and have a couple of nights with the group if as a group it is decided to get together at Lane Cove.

    On another tack altogether – Sam hinted that my idea sounded pretty good to her, so I will tell you what it is. I am in process of doing the drawing work that will enable me to make a scale model of Ella’s Pink Lady – at the scale of 1cm = 1 foot. The model would therefore be 34cam long. My idea is to mount it, on its keel, on a round solid timber board 35cm diameter. The board would then be adorned with an engraved plate stating something like “Presented to Jessica Watson, Youngest round the World, 2009-2010”. Additionally the base board would have an attached plate engraved with the names of this Jessaholic Blog group.

    I have made moulds for yachts in the past and model-making is a hobby of mine so I see this as challenging but good fun, and to make this “trophy” for Jessica will be something I will thoroughly enjoy doing. I hope you will all like the idea. Together with the McGrath flag/banner and maybe something Sam dreams up we could attempt to arrange an opportunity to make apersonal presentation to Jessica. A group photo of the Jessaholics with Jess would be worth having.

    Well, that chucks a few more ideas into the pot. Collete, cold platters...cheeses, meats, antipasto and fruit etc. sounds terrific. I think that’s a great idea.

    Tony L (Mt Martha VIC)

  7. sounds great to me Tony..well done.I might check on the single bedroom prices if not will drag my caravan up to Lane Cove. A couple of restuarants in the Crows Nest area is "La Grillad", "Rangoon Raquet Club" or "Peacock Gardens" where we will get a good deal on a chinese banquet arrangement. I will go with the flow.

    Bruce Watt
    Rosebud (Vic)

  8. Tony,

    The scale model boat is a great idea. My father was a military aviator and every time he was posted to a new squadron, the old one presented him with a memento of an aeroplane mounted on timber. I have a few that are more than 50 years old - timeless and classic. So I reckon your idea falls into that category - timeless and classic. Let me know if you need an extra pair of hands. Its easy to sidetrack from Tooradin after a flight and head your way.

    My sister and her family live in Pymble so I can stay with them but the more I think about it, I prefer to stay with the group. I think it will be more fun that way. The Lane Cove caravan park sounds good and I am more than happy to stay the duration there.

    Will add more soon.


  9. 01-30-10 @ 03:43
    Hi Tony,
    The cabins idea sounds good to me, I would be interested in a single since I may stay there longer than the rest of you, depending on the availability of transportation to and from town, and the cost of the cabin. Plus, I would like to arrive a few days prior to Jessica’s arrival.
    I definitely like the idea of the model, what could be more fitting? As a child I used to build model boats and planes, I have been looking for an S&S 34 kit for awhile but haven‘t been able to locate one. Maybe I’m not looking in the right place.
    I would like to call to your attention my name: it is Michael Howard, a lot of people address me as Michael Hezakiah, not so. Lol….hezakiah299 was my display name.

    I applied for my Passport, it should take about 4 to 6 weeks to arrive, as per the Postmaster. So I’ve got that taken care of.
    SaltyDog: Good luck to you and your brother, I can only hope and pray that he takes a turn for the better in the near future. You will be in our thoughts.
    As Bruce said “I will go with the flow“.

    Cheers to all,

  10. Re: Lane Cove Caravan Park

    The correct name for this park is Lane Cove River Tourist Park. There is a very comprehensive website for the park at which includes a good video of the rural area surrounding the Park. The website site really contains all the information you need to know about it.

    It is not an urban caravan park and is located within the Lane Cove National Park and is managed by National Parks rather than a private organization.

    Its location does present difficulty for anyone relying on public transport because it is some distance from the main road system and buses in the area that can be used to travel into Sydney – either a 700 or 900metre walk from the Park to the bus stop. I point this out to indicate that while the park will be excellent for us to meet as a group and go to and from Castle Crag, where Polaris is moored, it may not be the best location for anyone without a car planning to stay in Sydney for a while. But …. car parking in Sydney is not something I would do. I would drive to a train station and go in by train. – much betterer!

    I would chuck my hat into the ring suggesting that it would be great for us all to stay at Lane Cove at least for the nights before and after Jessica’s arrival. I’m glad to see Jonathan has decided to do likewise. Staying together will consolidate our feeling of belong to this group of Jessica’s supporters and will obviously facilitate making group arrangements.

    Tony L (Mt Martha VIC)

  11. Gooday to you all,

    How do you do Michael Howard, it's a pleasure to know you! How wonderful your passport is in the pipeline..good on you.

    Tony, your suggestion of a commemorative model is perfect through and through, and I (from the little I know of you), doubt there is anyone more fitting to build it. Thankyou. Of course we must contribute as well in some way.

    My preference is to stay with the group, walking does not worry me. The Park sounds relaxed and inviting.

    Thanks re the platters Tony, I was not sure what 'the go' is onboard one-day jaunts, but it will be a pleasure to provide this input.

    As well, I'd appreciate any other ideas regarding catering from the preferences and even allergies..(mine is seafood..can you believe it)!

    It's becoming even more exciting by the day guys...I feel like a little kid waiting for Santa!

    Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

  12. PS SaltyDog, lets hope your brother regains his health.

    Best wishes to you both.

  13. Hi everyone, I hope you're all well.

    Jonathan, how's the view from the tallest building? Did you feel any sway from up there?

    Michael Howard, how do you do. It is indeed a pleasure. My name is Sam you know where samurai came from. :-)) Mauri was my father's name, he was Spanish. Speaking of which, next time you go to the Passage Weather website, have a glance to the right of your screen where it says "Mauri Pro Sailing". I don't know if I am related to that man but what are the odds with a not-so-common name like Mauri? Anyway, that's one of those useless bits of information you can't afford to do without...moving right along...

    Collette, I'd be more that happy to assist you with the catering on Polaris on the day so please don't hesitate to call on me, ok?. Lets go shopping together, that'll be fun.
    Yes, I suppose I could fore-go a day or two of self indulgant pampering :-)) jjuusst kidding! I would definitely love to stay with the group and, like Collette, don't mind walking so I'll go with the flow on that one.

    Tony, I'm glad you let the cat out of the bag with your very cool idea as I could not contain myself any longer and was going to blurt it out myself. I think it's perfect in that it will be both commemorative and a very personal keep-sake for Jessica. You never know, it may even appear on the Antique Roadshow 200 years from now and be worth a lot of money. Ok, ok I'll settle down now.

    SaltyDog, my thoughts are with you and I hope everything goes well for your brother and you.

    Jessica is currently enjoying some very peaceful wall to wall blue and all she needs now is to hear the scream of her reel and land (boat) herself a nice fish.

    Take care all and bye for now...Sam

  14. Hi all,

    Thanks for the vote of confidence. The drawing work for the model is progressing well.

    If you haven't already done so click on Sam's banner and enlarge it until you can see the photo she has used and read the words. Sam has a wonderful sense of humour - which I am sure Jesssica would enjoy. A little hint - the Spanish-speaking Albatross is back!

    Have a good day and enjoy the Federer v Murray match tonight if you like watching the tennis.

    Tony L (Mt Martha VIC)

  15. Hi phone and internet have been down for 3 days and was fixed this morning (Sunday) I take back some of the bad words I was thinking about Telstra LOL.

    I am happy with the caravan park. This trip will be done on a shoe string budget LOL especially as I have another one on 29 April-2 May which is non negotiable and something I can't get out of, so if Jesse makes up time and arrives between those dates I'll sadly have to "pull out".

    I usually stay at one of the "big" city hotels when in Sydney but am usually there alone and feel "safer" where there is a 24 hour desk etc.

    Haven't read back yet but as I said if there is room on Polaris would love a spot.......Meleese x

  16. 01-30-10 @ 23:54
    Hello everyone,
    And a hearty how do you do to you Collette Cole, and it’s a pleasure to know you as well. (Hope I didn’t sound snobbish saying “My name is …..”)
    But, I’m looking forward to meeting you, as well as all the Jessaholics that I have been corresponding with since Jessica set sail. I was never one for writing letters but this has a different purpose, and writing (typing) on a computer is really fun. How quick you can correct a mistake, no erasures or white outs….lol.

    I think that Tony, Jonathon, Sam, Collette and all the others involved, are doing a fine job organizing this get together. Thank you, one and all. I just wish there was something that I could do besides just looking for help. But we shall see.
    I just caught this when I was ready to post.
    Hello Sam Mauri, and it’s a pleasure to meet you also, very interesting. I did wonder why Samurai, and Sam, I just Sam was short for Samurai. (Aunt Sam I understood, lol) and now I know, thank you. I will check P/W that out.

    Tony: Point taken on the transportation issue, but I’m flexible, so I’ll cover that portion when I get there, and have a better idea as to what‘s available.
    Looking forward to this gathering.


  17. Hi all,

    Been out of touch for a bit but happy to hear things are on track for a group get together. The banner is coming along nicely so will keep working on it ready for Jesse's return.

    I have heard very good comments about the accomm at Lane Cove so yeah I'm in.

    Michael, thrilled to hear you will be able to make it, more than happy to transport/accommodate you or show you around for a few days after Jess's homecoming. If we can assist let us know, it won't be a problem.

    SaltyDog, sorry to hear about your brother, we do hope all goes well for your family.

    Tony L, that model sounds like a beautiful gift that Jess will appreciate. Happy to contribute to the gift.

    Since everyone is introducing themselves formally.... My name is Jacquie McGrath & my husband is James or (Jim). Answers to both!

    Looking forward to seeing you all,

    Jacquie McGrath

  18. ps.....

    SaltyDog, I can squeeze in another name, not a problem.

    Tony L Mt Martha, my husband Jim will also be attending as he is an ardent admirer now, therefore "The McGraths x 2.

    Bye everyone, have a good week.


  19. G'day to you all!

    How I'd love to be able to join you, unfortunately it's not to be. However's sounding wonderful and I just know you're all going to enjoy a special and happy event.

    If there's any way I'm able to make it to Sydney for Jesse's homecoming, I'll at least meet you for the dinner if I'm welcome to participate in that part of the gathering.

    The gift is a sterling idea! I'm sure Jesse will treasure it always.

    For certain reasons*, I'm not at liberty to post my name publicly, so I ask your understanding on this please. Thanks. :)
    Be assured, that I'm genuine just the same. :)

    It's heartwarming to see, through the power of the internet and genuine goodwill, a coming together of people from far and wide in sharing a common interest and unfailing support of one inspirational, brave and all round decent human being, which is young Jessica.

    In a time when the world is so darkened by tragedy, wars, and human disassociation, Jessica and the resultant flow on of goodwill, new friendships and good cheer, as a direct result of her and her amazing journey,is surely a beacon of light and hope for all of us.

    Full credit and respect and support to Jessica's parents, Julie and Roger, for supporting their beloved child as she ventured into the unknown.

    I can totally relate to how that feels!
    There's nothing so gut wrenching as waving goodbye to your precious child with the full understanding and knowledge that he/she may not return to you.

    However, as parents, we owe it to our children to love them enough to let go and support them as they pursue their own pathway.

    There's something very special about this amazing young Aussie girl which transcends even her incredible feat of sailing solo around the world.
    This is evident in not only the numbers, but in particular, the quality and substance, of the people cheering her on and supporting her in her goal.

    Wishing you all a hearty G'day!

    Soldier's* Mum in SA.

  20. 01-31-10 @ 05:36
    Hello Fellow Jessaholics,
    I was just sitting here putzing around with my computer, trying to find some good airline rates. Nothing has changed, at least their not going up any higher….yet. Yeah!
    Hi Collette, Thank you for the kind comments, I try to write as if I were talking, but sometimes I get finger tied. You ever experience that? My pinky gets caught up in my thumb, and my thumb wraps around my index finger, and then I get a cramp. Itsa, itsa, itsa b…
    For Samurai: See what you did to me, I got so flustered when I read your post that I couldn’t write what I was reading, or read what I was writing, or see what I was saying or, or, or……oh, what the hell……….. I made a lot of mistakes and didn’t see them until I had posted……Yeah, that’s it!!!! Moving right along……laughing all the way!!!!
    I checked out P/W…hey, maybe he’s a rich uncle, Hello friend!!! lol

    Jacquie & Jim McGrath, thank you for your kind offer, I’m looking forward to meeting you both. I’ve read so many of your great posts, and now I’m going to meet you. It’s like Collette said in an earlier post, it’s so exciting that it’s like waiting for Santa. Although I’m 75 I still have a lot of ‘kid’ in me, and IT IS exciting, (not second childhood though, lol) I’ve never traveled like this before, and I feel so footloose doing it. There’s more to that statement, but I’ll explain more on that at another time….
    Hey lookie there, I’m still in January and you guys are in February already.

    You guys take care, and keep up the good work.


  21. Soldier's Mum I'm in SA too and tentatively planning on making the trip would be lovely to have you join us for dinner . If you want to email me my email addy is

    maybe we can co-ordinate something although I am planning on staying probably 2 nights or whatever we decide.

    Michael how exciting you are coming will this be your first trip o/s? ............Meleese x

  22. Hi all

    The list for “Polaris of Belmont” (in order of notification) now includes the following 12 people, which makes it a complete ‘boatload’:
    Chris Dawe (Owner)
    Tony Love Tony L (Mt Martha VIC)
    Jacquie McGrath (The McGraths)
    Jim McGrath (The McGraths)
    Sam Mauri (Samurai)
    Ailsa Pinkney (Ailsa)
    Carole Carole (Mackay, Qld)
    Bruce Watt Bruce (Rosebud VIC)
    Jonathan Castelino (Jonathan@ Tooradin)
    Meleese (Nutralady 2001)
    Collette Cole (Collette)
    Michael Howard (Hezakiah299)

    My best guess is that we will all have a great time. It’s fascinating to think that we are coming together as a group of people who have ‘met’ via the pages of Jessica’s Blog because we have all been inspired by her ability to push the boundaries of human endeavour. Reading what each of you write on her blog is now more enjoyable.

    Thanks Colette and Sam for planning to look after the catering – I hope some JW style cup-cakes will be included on the menu, but you don’t have to try cooking them at sea.

    Jacqui – thanks for advising me, and others, that Jim will come.

    Michael, I know the McGraths have offered to assist you with some sightseeing. I too expect to do some sight-seeing while I am in Sydney and I expect others may have similar ideas so I don’t think you will have difficulties getting around.

    Among the most recent comments there has been a little mention of an article in the Sunday Mail, (QLD?), about Jessica at the age of 11 being unable to read. She was diagnosed with severe dyslexia. Julie said that was the reason she read the story of Jesse Martin’s solo voyage to Jessica, and she read it to her because “I was helping her to access a world she couldn’t reach”. To me that is a wonderful example of superbly sensitive parenting and I think Julie is emerging, as time goes by, as a great role model in Jessica’s wake, too use a nautical expression.

    You can find the story at I hope that works. If it doesn’t then drop off a few bits and it should be findable through some indexing of stories.

    All of this makes our little excursion to Sydney more exciting and worthwhile. Finally, I read the entry from Soldiers Mum in SA with interest – particularly her description of how it feels to farewell someone close whose future you know is uncertain. Your contribution gives us insight into what it must have been like for Julie and Roger. Thank you.

    Keep watching this space!

    Tony L (Mt Martha VIC)

  23. Hello everyone,
    Tony, a model of EPL. That's amazing. You say you've made models before. I'm sure it would not be an easy endeavour.
    Michael, good luck as you plan your journey. I'm sure you will enjoy your visit.
    I'm looking forward to meeting everyone.
    Accommodation - Tony, I will stay at the caravan park also if that is the most practical. I too plan to extend my stay in Sydney to see the sights. I will enjoy the opportunity to see the Rocks, the zoo, the Opera House, etc. But the big day on the harbour .... wow ... am I looking foward to that with you all.
    Cheers for now.

  24. Sam, Collette, Jacquie, Jim and Michael, thank you so much for you kind words regarding my brother. I’m sure that all of you have had someone close to you go through tough times with serious health issues. My brother’s condition doesn’t appear to be curable, so I need to see him as much as possible. Unfortunately, my modest travel budget won’t cover my trips to Arizona to visit him and to make it to Sydney. A trip to Australia has been on my priority list for many years and I will make it someday.

    Jacquie and Jim, I sincerely thank you for including me on the flag. It means more than I can tell you.

    And now for a formal introduction. My name is Mark Watland. I grew up in the small fishing town of Gig Harbor, Washington and now live a few miles away on Fox Island. Few people have heard of either, so I use Seattle when blogging. When I was in high school I saved every dollar that I could from my grocery store job so that I could buy a commercial fishing boat with a friend after I graduated. I fished for several years off of the coast of Washington and was called a “salty dog” by several friends. That was the best experience of my life, but I came to my senses, got a real job and have worked in the engineering office of a local phone company for the past 29 years. Boring but it pays the bills.

    Obviously, Jessica and her family have touched each and every one of us in the same way. Even though I won’t be in Sydney I will be thinking of all of you and will be going through the same emotions when she sails through The Heads.

    It is a pleasure to meet all of you. Take care.

  25. Hi Mark (Salty Dog),

    A pleasure to have you drop by.

    Our prayers and thoughts are with your brother. Stay strong and at peace.

    Best wishes

  26. 01-31-10 @ 23:37
    Hello Fellow Jessaholics,

    Hi Meleese, Nice to meet you, always enjoy reading your posts to Jessica, funny, serious, informative and a Mother’s touch. When I was in the service (US Navy ‘53 to‘62) I traveled thru-out the far East, and Malta in the Med and Alaska, before it became a state. But this will be my first trip to Australia, and I’m really looking forward to it.

    And a hearty “How Do You Do To You” Mark Watland, pleased to meet you. I know we’ve had a lot of fun quipping back and forth about the posts, I’ve really enjoyed ’talking’ to you and comparing notes. A way back towards the beginning of Jessica’s adventure you mentioned that we were on the same track, in regards to the girls, and I have seen over that period of time that we have stayed in that same groove. I’m proud to know you, SaltyDog. I do pray for your brother and hope that things go smoothly for him. I regret that you won’t be able to celebrate along with us, but you will be on our minds.
    Maybe another time we’ll meet and make it to Australia together, because I have a feeling that I’m going to want to go back, and I haven’t even been there yet. lol
    Tony, not to go one up on you but, Richard from Maryland had sent in this link in an earlier post, I used it and pulled up the article about Jessica. It’s a PDF file, and will take you straight to the article. When I tried to pass it on to Jessica’s blog the last letters were cut off. That happened three times. So good luck. It works for me, I just couldn’t pass it on.

    I’m totally ‘gobsmacked’(am I learning??) I just can’t get over the kind and helpful people you guys are. I’ve had numerous offers of assistance, and I want you all to know I really appreciate it. I won’t abuse it, but I sure will be able to use it.

    Ailsa, thank you, it is quite a project, but I shall persevere, and I’m gonna make it too….lol

    That’s all for now,
    Take care,


  27. Hi Mark,
    Thank you for telling us how you became Salty Dog. I love and play American traditional bluegrass music and there is a well known bluegrass song titled 'Salty Dog'. I had thought it was perhaps to do with that.
    Thinking of you as you plan to spend time with your brother. I do hope he is comfortable and his conditions improves.

  28. Hi to everyone, just dropping in very quickly this evening (work, gym, dinner etc) and now my stepson has returned to school HE has priority on the computer....UGHHH!

    Coooool, Johathan, that building looks like something in Disneyland! We have friends from Dubai and they've told us some weird things about the place!

    Greetings to you Mark, you have an interesting story and thankyou sharing it with us...self disclosure is not something we tend to do readily. My heart goes out to you in this time of sadness..your obvious concern for your brother pays testimony to you character.

    Hey Michael, we all may well have 'adopted' Jess as our own, and something tells me it's on the cards that you're gonna get adopted too!

    This (group, blog, Sydney, yacht) is indeed an unexpected turn in my life...I have NEVER spoken to anybody on the computer prior to Jesse's departure. In fact I probably would have cussed anyone doing so! But I feel entirely comfortable with it all...thanks everyone.

    Looking forward to seeing your flag Jackie, and a lovely touch including SaltyDog.

    Well gang, this looks like it!! Tony has posted 'The List' Does funny thing to my heart seeing my name there...

    Ciao for now,and take care everyone.

  29. How do you do Mark Watland, it's nice to meet you, out there on the other side of my computer screen. So far and yet so close. :-))

    I'm sorry to hear about your brother's prognosis. It's good that you're able to share some quality time together. I hope time passed gently and peacefully for you both and may you draw stength from the certainty that we will carry you on board Polaris with us in spirit.

    Take care and bye for now. Sincerely, Sam

  30. Look what happens when good people come together as one! :)

    I foretell - [no, I'm not a fortune teller or psychic!lol]- the making and building of friendships here which will not only enrich the lives of all concerned, but is already opening new chapters in this life journey for what is obviously a nice bunch of people of goodwill.

    Meleese ... thanks, have noted down your email.

    We're actually going to Sydney on thursday,- [generous christmas gift from our beloved son the soldier]- so will be away for about a week. Part of the gift includes attending the Military tattoo. :)Should be good!

    Glad to read that the planning is shaping up nicely, you will all enjoy a wonderful gathering for sure.

    Mark ... sending warm wishes to you and your brother. It's never easy when someone we love and care about is going through what your brother is. I also wish you both peace in this.

    Great pics, Jonathan! Thanks for sharing. :)

    Enjoy the rest of your week folks!

    Cheers from Soldier's Mum in SA.