When was the last time you went on an adventure?

The kind of adventure that takes just a little effort to get out of the house but that when you return home leaves you feeling utterly cleansed and relaxed. Many of us might describe ourselves as the “outdoor type” but on reflection probably spend more time working, cooking, shopping, cleaning up after kids and doing all the stuff we’re supposed to do before we can have fun. And that includes you single twenty something “genYers” too, we all know how much time you spend on facebook!

 Why am I writing this blog?

My name is Charley Jones. I’m an English expat turned Australian citizen with a passion for getting on the water and being in the great outdoors. I love sailing and was lured from the beautiful and enchanting coast of Cornwall in the UK, to the equally beautiful shores of Australia by the famous Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. I also love food (which always tastes better outdoors) and my faithful Labrador Rhubarb, who is never far behind me. I am keen to pass on and share my passion with my family through our adventures in the great outdoors. I hope that this blog will inspire you to do the same.

When I became a mother at the end of 2007 I spent more time at home than I had ever done in my life. This is not always a bad thing as there is nothing like a cosy and welcoming home in which to take refuge from modern life. But I also continue to crave the relaxation that only a dose of salt water and fresh air can provide. So in 2010 my mission is to get out more and record my adventures on Secret Water, so that family, friends and likeminded people can share and benefit from my experiences on the water and great outdoors with a two year old and a Labrador in tow.

Tessa and Rhubarb

Part of my renewed motivation to go on more adventures has been fuelled by the purchase of a small tinny (12 foot aluminum boat) and outboard motor which has provided a new sense of freedom and ability to explore.  If you are still reading this blog in five months time you may notice a drop in blogging activity as baby Jones number two is due to arrive on the scene. Nevertheless, I am still determined to get on the water; but this time around I’ll be armed with the knowledge of the limitations that small babies can place on the best laid plans for adventure!


What will you read about on Secret Water?

  • Practical information for successful outdoor adventures with (or without)  kids (including the furry four legged kind)
  • Great places to take your tinny
  • Great places to go without your tinny
  • My foray into amateur fishing (I’ve been watching too much River Cottage and am convinced I can one day catch a Cray fish myself)
  • Rhubarb’s Dog Blog; the outdoor dog’s life
  • Alfresco Food; inspiration for “eating out”
  • Safety related information (from reliable sources)
  • Useful things;  reviews of useful gear that you can take on your adventures
  • Beautiful things; that we hope to capture on camera
  • Guest blogs from inspiring people
  • What’s on: a directory or inspiring and adventurous things to do and see

Hopefully you will also get to read about other people’s experiences and share yours with us too. We look forward to hearing your comments, feedback and the topics you’d like to discuss. You can also get in touch via the email addresses listed on the contacts page.

When was the last time you went on an adventure?

On the way up to Mt Kosciuszko

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22 Responses

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  1. What a great idea! Inspiration for us all to get outdoors and make the most of Sydney! Although I could have bobbed about on a boat in my back yard last night with all the rain.
    I look forward to following your adventures and seeing what Rhubarb and Tessa get up to on the big blue blue watery road.

  2. Great stuff Charley! I hope to contribute more when we move to our bushland paradise in March- we will have ready access to the bush by just walking out of our backyard & into Berowra Valley Regional Park, not to mention Crossalands Reserve & Berowra Creek being a hop, skip & a jump away. I hope to take the 3 person canoe out & my husband Eric hopes to actually get to use that beautiful red Mirage 580 that hangs in the garage!! Will be keeping you posted…..

  3. I like your blog. Please don’t give away all our secret equivalents of Frenchman’s Creek though.
    Marg and I enjoyed our last voyage out in the tinny with Chris and Tessa. Also enjoyed the large fish given to us by a fisherman who said he really did not like eating fish! Hope he catches more when we are around.

    Looking forward to reading more.

  4. Well done Charley. Very inspirational stuff. I look forward to following the escapades you devise for all the members of your family.

    Jennifer XX

  5. love it charley, you go girl- Brilliant idea. we must catch up soon. xx sars

  6. Marvellous idea, looks very professional. I read and reread Arthur Ransome in my younger days and hope Dex will also gain inspiration from your blog!

  7. Good show Bean,

    l will have to think of my last outdoor escapades and get back to you but 5 kids keep me busy – can l fit 5 in a tinny? Anyway dear watch out for Toad of Toad Hall.” Poop poop”

  8. Hey Charley,

    Great to hear you are off having adventures – especially in a tinny. I love it!

    Keep me posted on what you are up to. I see that you already have Australian Geographic as one of your favourites – Rock on! Now that I work for AG I am always keen on encouraging people to get out and have their own adventure.


    1. Also, Kylie, I have been a member of AG for a few years now but have only just realised what a great source of info the website is in addition to the printed journal, so can recommend to everyone as a great journal to subscribe to to inspire adventures. Very jealous that you work for AG!

  9. Great start Charlie!! Look forward to hearing about secretwater discoveries and sharing the experience! Carol xx

  10. Charley, It just goes to show that we knew what we were doing all those years ago: saying no to a tinny (flogging it past the mangroves was not considered environmentally friendly back then) but yes to a sailing boat. Actually OFFERING it instead (after an intro to sailing on a “Puffin” on Lake Jindabyne). Besides, it wouldn’t be a new adventure for Chris now if we’d said yes. I can still see the grin from ear to ear after his first day on the Lake.
    My last big adventure was x-country skiing to Wallace’s Hut out of Falls Creek. Nineteen kms in one day. Don’t know about relaxed after, exhausted and muscle sore but I’ll go tomorrow to Cope Hut if anyone can supply the snow and wants to come.

  11. Brilliant idea Charley! Can’t wait to hear what you get up to down in Sydney. We are planning a few family boat camping trips this summer. Some friends of ours with a girl the same age as Milly have just had another little girl so hope we will be able to go on a mini local floatilla with them. Must catch up soon xx.

  12. Congratulations! Love the read and will add it to my list of blogs that I visit on a weekly basis!

    Tessa is growing up beautifully so good job Mom! Look forward to the chronicles of Baby Jones 2 as much as I look forward to Rhubarb’s take on the world! :)


  13. Thanks for all your encouraging comments everyone. Tinny trip planned for the weekend so will be trying out the navionics properly and will post details!

  14. Hi Charley
    The boys and I are plannig for 2010 to be our year of on and off-water adventures – boating, camping (as much as possible with a 4 and 1 year old, but maybe we can start off with a one-night adventure), bike riding (& scooting for Tom!). We’ll be sure to post them all. In fact, Adam starts with his first twilight race tomorrow in well over 2 years. Life begins again after small children!!!

    1. Hi Carmen, thats great! I was just thinking what a lovely evening it would be on the harbour for a twilight tonight. Clear sunny skies, a honking southerly and all that humidity banished! Hopefully there will still be breeze for tomorrow’s twighlight race. Looking forward to hearing about your adventures on and off the water :)

  15. Hi Charley,
    Love your blog, great idea!
    Having lived as far as it is possible to live from the sea in the Uk for most of my life I haven’t really got much history of ‘on the water adventure’ apart from a bit of fun on Lake Windemere in my teens!
    However, although this won’t count as an ‘adventure’ in the proper sense, I am really excited as I will be rowing in the World Pilot Gig Championships in the Scillies in May. Obviously , most people outside of Cornwall won’t know much about pilot gigs but take it from me, racing gigs is the greatest fun!

    1. Margaret, I think gig rowing does count as an adventure. Anything that’s not sitting on the sofa is in my opinion! Aussie’s probably havent heard of gig rowing but they’ll know what you mean if I tell them its a bit like surf boat rowing, which they do at all the surf life saving clubs around Australia. I will keep my eye on what’s happening with the pilot gig championships. Who are you rowing for?

  16. We have our first “taking the training wheels off the Tom’s bike” adventure , our 4 year old, planned for this weekend. Anyone know of a place that is mildly sloped with a quilted/padded landing? I’ll be sure to take photos…

    1. Thats a pretty big adventure in the eyes of a four year old! For some reason i wasnt given training wheels on my first bike and when I tried to ride it down the garden I ended up in a hedge full of stinging nettles, an experience I think set my bike riding skills back several years! I don’t know of anywhere with a padded landing but given we have had a lot of rain lately, there’s bound to be a soft and spongy slightly sloping patch of grass somewhere in centennial park? Good luck Tom and may the force be with you!

  17. Well, today was the day!!! With much excitement, apprehension (all mine, he i only 4 after all!), a bike (sans training wheels), sunsceen and safety equipment – helmet, knee guards and wrist guards – we trekked (well drove actually) down to the greens of Balmoral this morning for our first “bike ride with no training wheels”. I was brimming with memories of me learning to ride a bike : running into the side of a house (a brick one, no less) because I “forgot to turn”, grass burn, gravel rash and scraped palms and then the pride and satisfaction of actually riding a bike. So, I was ready for it! Here I was, camera poised and through the lens, this is what I witnessed: Tom got on his bike, Adam (daddy) held the back, Tom started to pedal. After approximately 2 metres he yelled “Dad, let go!” and that was it! He was off. Not one wobble, not one fall, not one moment of fear. He just did it. I just stared with my mouth hanging open…. and then I took 100 photos!!! Kids – they’re amazing!

    1. Well done Tom! Send us some photos?

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