Legendary dive location
Jason and Caitlin expanded their plans after taking delivery and a shakedown cruise that took The Silver Fox north from the Gold Coast to the Whitsunday Islands in the Great Barrier Reef and then out into the Pacific and Osprey Reef, a legendary dive location about 100 nautical miles off the far north Queensland coast and 60 nautical miles into the Pacific Ocean east of the Great Barrier Reef.
The following year the pair took The Silver Fox on an extraordinary circumnavigation of Tasmania, both to explore and to test the onboard systems and the fuel bladder.
“We took The Silver Fox from home in Adelaide to the Gold Coast for a service and further systems check in April and set off on our voyage in June,” says Jason. “We kept a close eye on weather forecasts in the weeks before our departure and chose a perfect window. It was the first true blue-water cruise we had ever done and the crossing was perfect, the smoothest trip we had ever done.
“We travelled to the Isle des Pins, a stunningly beautiful and pristine island just south of the main island and within the barrier reef. Great diving, clear waters and clean, white sandy beaches.”Caitlin Harvey
The people have a powerful sense of community. They share everything.Jason Squire
Sharing with the locals
“In the Maskelyne Islands we met a man selling fresh vegies from his small boat,” says Caitlin. “We began talking with him and found his name was Kith and that he had a little farm – hence the wonderfully fresh food. One day he brought us kava and we chatted on board The Silver Fox. He mentioned the islands were in the grip of drought. They were running out of water.
“We explained we had a water-maker and would be happy to help. Next day about 20 canoes arrived all piled high with 20-litre containers. They were very sceptical – we could not be giving them salt water. They even brought a priest to make sure it was all bona fide. They tasted our water from a hose in the cockpit – and they loved it. We had 800 litres in our tank and just about emptied it for them.”
Another highlight was diving the wreck of the SS President Coolidge off the island of Espiritu Santo, by far the largest of the islands of Vanuatu. It is one of the most famous dive sites in the world, mainly because the ship is so large and accessible.
If you are considering any extended coastal or offshore cruising, it is strongly recommend that you first consult your insurance company as there will be restrictions and guidelines that they will impose in the interests of your safety and that of the vessel and your crew. It is also strongly recommended that you consult with an experienced Master 5 Captain or the equivalent international qualifications to seek their advice on vessel preparation, safety equipment, training, safety procedures and suitable crew experience to assist you in your voyage.
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