Highfield adventurers

Jessie Cripps and Michael Takach, vloggers and explorers aboard the 2006 37-foot (11.3m) Easy catamaran, Popao, have been sailing and documenting their adventures for more than a decade.

Photography by Jessie Cripps and Michael Takach

31 July 2023


Speaking from Sydney visiting family, while their yacht Popao is berthed in Townsville, Jessie says their career paths suited the move from land to sea.

“Michael is a commercial diver and I work in film and television in a variety of roles, and we spend every spare moment on the ocean, spearfishing, crabbing or squidding. It just made sense to live there.

“The idea of taking your home with you just seemed like the most ideal scenario.”

The pair have sailed extensively along the east coast of Australia from Jervis Bay to Lizard Island, with ambitions to head up to Asia in the not-too-distant-future.

“We plan to get back to the South Pacific and Indonesia eventually, but with so much to explore on the Great Barrier Reef, that probably won’t happen for another season or two.”


According to Jessie, the highlights have been too numerous to mention, but among the standouts would be exploring the Coral Sea Islands which they did last season.

“We’d dreamed about getting Popao out there for years, so to have it all finally come together with timing, weather and being in the right location was like winning the lottery,” she says.

“Most of the challenges on board usually involve the weather, such as a rough passage on a dark night or several weeks of nonstop rain which can really bring down the mood.

“But the freedom to head out for an adventure at a moment’s notice, diving gear at the ready is why we still enjoy living aboard and why we appreciate our lifestyle.”

Nearly all their adventures begin with their Highfield Classic 340 RIB – their favourite upgrade to Popao. As Jessie asserts, “Whether that’s getting to the beach to climb a mountain, or driving 20 miles to dive a remote spot, it has been our workhorse and has never let us down.

“It’s an absolute dream!” she continues. “It is so comfortable and gets up on the plane with no issues with our Mercury Super 15hp portable outboard. We love how dry it is and how well it handles in a bit of chop. The false floor keeps our feet and groceries dry when provisioning, and the large tubes make the boat so stable.”

They chose the Classic 340 model for its ideal fit between the hulls of their cruising cat and have added several pieces equipment, including the Lowrance Hook Reveal 5 GPS Fish Finder which they use for fishing and diving.

“It’s been a game changer,” states Jessie. “It takes the guess work out of finding the right spots to dive, which is great for better fishing!”

Now planning their next voyage, Jessie says they eager to get back out to sea after a few months on shore.

“We want to get back to the outer Coral Sea and up to Thursday Island this season. We will see where the weather takes us from there. I’m driving up to Townsville to work on the yacht for three weeks, then we’ll head to Cape York or as far as Darwin – yet to be confirmed.”

Then from there, their cruising ambitions extend to Asia and beyond. “Anywhere overseas,” says Jessie. “Checking in to a country in our floating home will be a moment to cherish.”

Highfield Boats will attend the 2023 Sydney International Boat Show, 3 to 6 August at Darling Harbour, exhibiting 13 models, including the World Premiere of the highly-anticipated Sport 560, Sport 660 and Sport 760.



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