We all have at least once exclaimed: “How small the world is!” I shared the Noosa-connections with you during my previous writing, and while we were in Cairns more examples came our way. Maybe there's a book in this somehow. Although, at the rate I seem to be able to write, that might take a lifetime. I've just barely recovered from trying to put down my thoughts regarding Papua New Guinea and our decision to turn back to Australia. Anyway, to get back to the world ...

At the Marlin Marina in Cairns we start a conversation with a man who turns out to be Danish originally. If course I tell him how we met Lars back in Townsville. Turns out they know each other, and even better: when they met each other somewhere in the Pacific years ago, they discovered that they are from the same town in Denmark. While they were talking, they even realized that had actually been members of the same sailing club when they were younger.

The berth across from us has a beautiful monohull on which Peter and Margot, a German couple, cruise around. Peter is from a small town in Germany which is really close to the Dutch border and to the area where my family lives. Our dialects are practically identical. We could have skipped speaking German altogether if I could actually speak my family's dialect. As it stands, having grown up in Belgium I never really mastered speaking it, although I can understand it just fine. But it was great to meet someone who knew the area and we reminisced together about how beautifully the towns on both side of the border celebrate the holiday season. Peter and Margot were also part of our group of people from F Finger that celebrated Christmas on the Esplanade, with a barbecue and swimming.

We meet Brian Hull in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. To our surprise he tells us that he is going to spend the holidays in Cairns with his granddaughter, her husband and their two children, JohnJohn and Jacob. That's were we had planned on being also. You can imagine how thrilled our kids were when they finally arrived 2 weeks after we did! A friend (JohnJohn) whom they had already met before! We echo that sentiment. We had an impromptu potluck dinner with them on our boat on Christmas Eve, which was delightful.

In my first reflections I wrote about having heard that in cruising circles one establishes a sense of a support group centered around this common interest, and hoping that was true. Some of that had started to happen in Townsville and we finally had a real taste of this in Cairns! We had sorely missed more in-depth people contact. Staying somewhere for a month made it possible to get to know people a little better.

Another chance meeting, through the owner of the local coffee shop, brought us in contact with the wonderful LeSeuer family. Gavin and Catherine are true cruising and racing experts with several books to their name. We got together several times and spend New Years Eve together. When they invited us to come along with them for a weekend in the Great Barrier Reef we gratefully excepted the invitation. Navigating Endless Summer through the Reef had been a little bit daunting to us, so we were happy to be able to follow people with local knowledge, through the many channels. We had a beautiful weekend of sun and conversation and snorkeling and lots of company: Chaotic Harmony had 6 adults and 9 children on board. Needless to say that the kids were also in heaven with so many playmates.

We thoroughly enjoyed our month in Cairns (despite the heat and rain). We've had some wonderful adventures: swimming, jumping and sliding in refreshing swimming holes in mountain creeks, horseback riding in the Tablelands, eating some pretty good sushi (although nothing comes close to Kani Koosen in Pacifica), seeing several great movies like “Master and Commander” and “The Lord of the Rings: the Return of the King”, anchoring at coral cays, going to a hair salon and coming out with a new cut and streaks of red and orange through my hair ... I have to honestly admit that I enjoyed being back in “civilization”. Maybe I'm truly more of a comfort creature than I thought I am. I spend 3 ½ hours with my head in the capable hands of the hairdresser, a handsome young Japanese fellow if you want to know, and enjoying every single minute of it. Realizing later that I'm loving those little luxuries in life, and that I've been taking too many for granted for most of my life, I'm sure. As much as I cherish making due with a lot less than we've been used, and as much as I enjoy spending a week away from port and any civilization but our own little world on the boat ... coming back to an unlimited supply of electricity, hot showers, restaurants, movie theaters, and bookstores is equally wonderful.

This adventure of ours is bringing this kind of contrast in focus all the time. After a week in a marina I am more than ready to get away from it and find some solitude and simplicity in anchoring in a deserted bay again. After a week of sailing without extra human contact, with little few luxuries, and with depleted stores of fresh food, I can't wait to get back to shore again. It really is like I wrote in my first reflections: Sailing seems to be turning out to be about “going there”, “getting there”, and then moving on to the next “going there”. The wonderful thing about this is that: “This does kind of mean that you're always doing what you want to be doing, although maybe not always at that precise moment.” Gary Zukov, in “Seat of the Soul”, talks about how we are all splintered personalities, in the sense that we all have different sides and often face contradictory feelings within ourselves. We have to become aware of each part that is part of us. We need to get to know all sides of ourselves to become one: “Moving towards aligning yourself with the energy of your soul”.

My life in Pacifica was filled as much with beautiful people as it was filled with “things I need to get done”. The last few years I had felt an increasing need and desire to move toward that search for alignment with my soul (I've found this the most wonderful part of growing older: “True beauty is to be found in wisdom, something youth just can't possess.” – Mieke Mosmuller “Wisdom is a Woman”). Most of the things I was involved in had a lot of “soul” in them, but it felt like large parts of something were missing. I always seemed to be too busy, found it almost impossible to slow down. Starting classes at the Academy of Intuitive Studies and Intuition Medicine was a big step toward that search for getting to know myself. I also feel that because of what I learned at the Academy we ended up where we are now – sailing around (Scott might have been ready to go off and abandon life as we'd known it, but I certainly wasn't ready for that yet). Now that life has become more simplified, I really have slowed down more and more.

I've been able to read a lot of interesting books since we arrived here in August. For the pure joy of reading some marvelous writing centering around Love in all its infinite variety try to get a hold of Lawrence Durrell's “ Alexandria Quartet” (4 books). His brother Gerald Durrell combines great humor with a love and knowledge of animals in several books that are always an entertaining read. Isabel Allende's “My invented country. A memoir” was an inspiration and encouragement regarding writing honestly and from a very personal perspective.

Some of the books I've inhaled are more mystical spiritual, like the Kryon series, and Mieke Mosmuller's “De wijsheid is een vrouw” (“Wisdom is a woman”, don't know if it has been published in English), and Paulo Coelho's “Veronika decides to die”. Others are more scientific philosophical, like Tim Flannery's “The Future Eaters”, Jeanne Achterberg's “Women as Healers”, and the 1956 John Steinbeck little jewel “The log from the sea of Cortez”. All deal one way or the other with how one can be part of the solution to the various crises facing humankind. Providing insight into the human condition, bringing compassion into the picture, suggesting ways to contribute toward that universal magnetic grid of world peace.

I've recently finished “ The Emperor of Scent“, by Chandler Burr. A marvelous book about the science behind our sense of smell, following the story of Luca Turin, a genius of smell and a wizard of perfume. A book both very funny and very accessible scientifically. For my feeling, Luca's theory reconfirmed my interest and belief in Aromatherapy. I have used my essential oils successfully to treat the yeast infection I developed because of the anti-malaria medication (which was an anti-biotic, which we all hated, but there isn't much of an alternative in malaria prevention medicine). Also to treat an infection in my knee, to relieve the itch from insect bites for the kids, to help heal Scott's ear infection, the children's coughs, kitchen burns, not to talk about its uses in relaxation! Each of these in combination with various techniques of reflexology and Intuition Medicine.

This brings up the whole issue of the importance of the Holistic approach toward health and my growing conviction that the only way to re-create a balance in ourselves and the world is through combining modern Western medicine with models existing in other cultures. In the words of Fritjof Capra: “Modern scientific thought – in physics, biology and psychology – is leading to a view of reality that comes very close to the views of mystics and of many traditional cultures, in which knowledge of the human mind and body and the practice of healing are integral parts of natural philosophy and of spiritual discipline.” “Science doesn't need mysticism and mysticism doesn't need science; but man needs both.” But I'll save that for a later reflection.

Addendum: I have included part of my final paper for my degree from the Academy of Intuitive Studies and Intuition Medicine. It tries to explain what this field of Energy / Intuition Medicine is more or less about.