Elevation - World Adventures

An occasional blog covering our world circumnavigation.

21 April 2017 | Panama Canal, Panama
16 April 2017 | Shelter Bay Marina, Panama
30 March 2017 | Perth, Western Australia - Photo of Connors Mill, Toodyay by Jill
30 March 2017 | Perth, Western Australia
29 March 2017 | Perth, Western Australia - Rotto Sunset by Jill
29 March 2017 | Victoria and Tasmania - Early Morning on the Derwent by Jill
21 March 2017 | Perth, Western Australia - Bubbles atop the Swan by Jill
13 March 2017 | The Great Southern - Surfs Up at Yallingup by Jill
07 March 2017 | Fremantle Sailing Club - Photo Credit Channel 9 Perth
31 December 2016 | Perth, Western Australia
15 September 2016 | Ben Lomond
31 August 2016 | Panama City
27 August 2016 | Shelter Bay Marina
14 August 2016 | Holandes Cays
12 July 2016 | Islas Carti
26 June 2016 | Chichime, Guna Yala
25 June 2016 | Turtle Cay Marina
18 June 2016 | Shelter Bay Marina
11 June 2016 | Shelter Bay Marina, Cristobal, Colon, Panama

Crossing the Canal

21 April 2017 | Panama Canal, Panama
Jill
Canal de Panamá, renown as one of the Seven Wonders of the Industrial World, is a manmade 77 km waterway which cuts across the Isthmus of Panama, providing quick and safe passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It is a vital conduit for international maritime trade and on a per annum basis handles in excess of 340 million tonnes of shipping. Each vessel pays a toll to utilise the locks - the costs currently being:

Up to 15.240M (50ft) USD 800
More than 15.240M up to 24.384M (80ft) USD1300
More than 24.384M up to 30.480M (100ft) USD2000
More than 30.480M USD3200 plus $72per TEU
(TEU meaning Twenty Foot Equivalent Units or the size of one standard shipping container).

All good for a Buizen 48 - well, not quite as PanCanal measure LOA (Length Overall) and our beloved Elevation's 48 feet is the measurement on the waterline. Yep, we measured in at 54.4 feet LOA - bigger is not always necessarily better!

The original Canal, which was opened in 1914, consists of three sets of locks - Gatun, Pedro Miguel and Miraflores. Transiting to the Pacific, vessels are raised into Gatun Lake via the first locks, then lowered in two stages before exiting at Balboa. The Locks are 33.53M (110ft) wide and 320M (1050ft) long - built to accommodate US Navy vessels circa 1908.The steel lock gates have an average thickness of 2M (6.6ft), are 19.5M (64ft) wide and 20M (66ft) high. The lock measurements have determined "Panamax" vessel sizes whilst the clearance height of the Bridge of the Americas (61.3M or 201ft) at the Panama City end of the Canal determines Air Draft.

In 2016, the PanCanal Commission opened the "New Canal" which had been constructed to manage Neopanamax sized vessels. These new locks process vessels with LOA up to 366M (1201ft), beam 49M (160/76ft) and draft 15.2M (49.87ft). Both canal systems are amazing engineering feats; the original canals by virtue of the extraordinary human effort to cut through the mountain at Culebra and the modern day canals in terms of water saving initiatives introduced.

Our transit was originally scheduled for Sunday 23 April and was to have been an overnighter, with a stay on a mooring ball in the Gatun Lake. Early this morning our agent advised us that our transit has been brought forward to Saturday 22 April - we are going "Centre Chamber Alone" which means that we will not be rafted up with any other vessels. We're also going to be able to complete the whole transit in a day! It's going to be a very early start, with line handlers arriving at the marina at 0430. We will head out to the Flats Anchorage, Colon around 0500. The PanCanal Adviser comes onboard at 0600 and we will then motor towards the Gatun locks. We are scheduled to arrive at 0730 and will clear these first three chambers at 0850. We then head through Gatun Lake, and through both the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores Locks to complete our transit by 1630. If the PanCanal live webcams are functioning, you can watch our progress via

Panama Canal...

We'll spend today fine tuning our systems plus preparing food for all our special transit guests - it's extremely important to provide 3 hot meals to the Adviser and the line handlers; something our agent was careful to emphasise. There are tales of Advisors and Line Handlers actually ordering meals to be delivered via water taxi where vessels have failed to comply with expectations - the food being cheap but the water taxi fees were around USD300! We'll be serving warmed Zucchini Slice for breakfast, Chicken Fettuccine for lunch and a West Indian Beef Curry for dinner - all good!

So, after 3 seasons in the Caribbean, we say farewell as we head off on another adventure. It's been absolutely Ire Mon! Stay tuned for a multimedia extravaganza after we reach the Pacific side!



Hola de Nuevo (Hello Again) Panama

16 April 2017 | Shelter Bay Marina, Panama
Jill
Our two weeks with family in the Santa Cruz Mountains flew by. As we will soon be heading back into the Southern Hemisphere, it was important to us to enjoy a little more time with our US clan and of course there was more boat shopping to do - both at West Marine and via Amazon! As always with Anne & Les, we enjoyed an eclectic mix of entertainment. We managed to squeeze in a movie session - loved the fact over 50's are entitled to a seniors discount in the US, very BTY (Bl**dy Thieving Yachties). We grooved along to a fantastic show at Kuumbwa - the very funky Sammy Miller and The Congregation - a fun time with great showmen! We saw the Swedish drama "Dance of Death" at the stunning Colligan Theatre, home to the renown Jewel Theatre Company. The JTC moved into their new, purpose built premises at the former Salz Tannery in late 2015. Once a major Santa Cruz employer, the tannery operated from the 1800's through to 2001 when production became unviable due to cheaper overseas options. The disused industrial site has subsequently been converted to a specialist fine arts centre using local governments grant funding and is an incubator for local artists in residence. We revisited Seth Finkelstein, the quirky clock repairer, to retrieve our ships clock and took time out to lunch at the Crows Nest at the nearby Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbour. In March 2011, this harbour suffered significant damage following the tsunami triggered at Honshu in Japan - 17 vessels were sunk with a further 50 damaged; the marina dock and infrastructure devestation was in excess of USD17M. We even managed to enjoy a local wine or two at Bonny Doon - the former "Lost Weekend Bar" on Highway One now provides tastings to showcase wine from the Beauregard Winery (loved their Zinfandel). Loaded up with luggage, we said a sad farewell to our family and flew back to Tocumen Airport where our favourite driver, Rogelio, was waiting to meet us.

The trip from the airport to Colon was a serious Panamanic experience as we hit the most horrendous peak hour traffic near Panama City. When the pressure is on, the locals manage to make 5 lanes out of three on the highway, utilising the emergency stopping lane plus squeezing an additional lane in by ignoring lane markings - it all somehow works, everyone is calm and courteous and the traffic flows as best it can. The average Panama driver can certainly teach Perth motorists how to merge effectively! We arrived at Shelter Bay a couple of hours later, checked into the marina hotel and hit the ground running to cover off our "on the hard" job list. We stowed our luggage and sorted through all our spare parts, new electrical items and other miscellaneous Elevation bits and pieces whilst we waited for our Marine Warehouse order to be delivered. Arturo Romero, their local agent, had very kindly offered to drop off our items to the marina, even though it was his day off. He arrived with his wife and family, and all our goodies, as promised - awesome customer service and very much appreciated as it enabled us to work nonstop over the weekend. If you're in Panama and looking for marine items, we highly recommend his services - his contact details are:
Email: arturo@marinewarehouse.net Cell/Mobile: 6702 9256

We painted and polished; installed our new Forward Looking Sonar transducer; applied new Propspeed; cleaned, cleaned & cleaned and made Elevation ready for her next Happy Splash. Arduous and time consuming, but our hard work ensured that we were back in the water within 5 days. How glorious to be back onboard, in the water, and sleeping in our own bed once again!

Our next task was to arrange for Elevation to be measured for our soon to be Panama Canal transit. Our agent, Roy Bravo, very efficiently ensured that the PanCanal representative arrived the day after we splashed - he arrived early, completed LOA measuring and issued our Canal certificate making us official for transit - Exciting! There is enormous yachting traffic here at the moment and the earliest date that Roy could arrange for us is Sunday 23 April. This actually works in our favour as we have just discovered that the master screen for our watermaker has died and we are waiting for the local agent to import a replacement.

We've just spent a full day with Rogelio in Panama City doing bulk provisioning and picking up various necessary items including a new battery for our Iridium Extreme Sat Phone. Roger is a very knowledgeable guy with over 25 years of taking care of cruisers and he's invaluable in sourcing and locating all manner of goods and services. He speaks excellent English, is happy to interpret and make phone calls on your behalf, is prompt and reliable and is a great person! If you're in Panama and wish to touch base with him, his local number is 6717 6745. It's been a long day on the road and we've now got to vacuum pack meats and other bulk buy items and stow everything in readiness for our departure. We will spend the remaining time here at the marina checking systems - HF Radio, Sailmail, Iridium Axcess Point - plus installing cabling and screens for our new Echo Pilot FLS (it replaces our now defunct Interphase FLS). Hopefully there will be a little time to enjoy some of the activities on offer at the marina - the very lively cruising community here are very proactive with several potlucks, BBQs, movie nights and Open Mic nights happening throughout the week plus yoga, nature walks and aqua aerobics sessions.

Adeu Bethany Smith
We were extremely saddened to learn that Bethany Smith lost her life in a tragic onboard workplace accident on the SV Germania Nova where she had been employed as a junior deckhand. We first met Bethany in Trinidad in 2014 where she was living onboard the Smith family vessel Cape with her parents Sarah and David and brother Bryn. A bright, bubbly young lady with a sense of adventure and a passion for the sea, we were delighted to be able to assist her financially when she volunteered to provide humanitarian aid to the people of Dominica following Tropical Storm Erika. The support and love offered to Bethany's family by the cruising community has been extraordinary and certainly makes us proud to be part of the Saltwater tribe.
Fair Winds Beth.

Cheers Aus!

30 March 2017 | Perth, Western Australia - Photo of Connors Mill, Toodyay by Jill
Jill
Our last couple of weeks at home flew by. There were many farewells - family BBQs with copious amounts of steak and seafood; an evening Swan River cruise with a great group of boating friends onboard Pete and Mandy's beautiful launch Alouette; lunch at the beautiful Mandoon Estate Winery in the Swan Valley with two of the best ladies I ever worked with - Frances and Vicki - and their respective families; coffee and cake with dear Nadine; even a catch up with Pat & Tony, a couple of Pommy sailors we met in Malaysia back in 2011. We were even lucky enough to attend the very last Broome to Bicton sunset concert at Quarantine Park - a fundraiser for the Clontarf Foundation which features the very talented Pigram Brothers.

An unseasonal summer storm, dumping 106mm of rain over a 24 hour period, created flooding of both the Swan and Avon Rivers. Given that the average rainfall for Perth in February is just 8mm, the deluge created a unique opportunity to see the Avon Valley with a very rare lushness and to see the Avon swiftly flowing. With our Besties Bazz and Betts, we decided to take a quick road trip out to the Valley to enjoy this unique opportunity. Our first stop was Noble Falls, where we were treated to a stunning cascade of floodwater. We paused at "The Shrine" - a memorial in honour of the late motor racing driver Peter Brock (King of the Mountain). The small plinth, placed there by fans of Brocky, is located at the site of his fatal Targa West Rally crash on a hairpin bend along Clenton Road in Gidgegannup.

Next we headed for Toodyay - once the home of legendary bushranger Moondyne Joe. Known as Duidgee to the indigenous Balladong Noongars, the original 1836 settlement was called Newcastle (changed in 1910 due to perceived confusion with Newcastle in NSW). The original townsite was subjected to regular flooding and in 1859, the settlement was relocated 3km upstream to its present location. A convict hiring station was established on the northern bank of the river; many of the current heritage listed buildings being constructed using the labour of these ticket of leave men. We enjoyed a delicious lunch at the award winning Toodyay Bakery (can't beat a good Aussie meat pie from a country bakery) before taking a stroll through the Heritage Precinct. We meandered our way through the Valley, pausing to harvest wild figs on the Toodyay-Northam.
Our next town stop was in Northam, another Valley early settlement and the starting point for the annual Avon Descent. This unique paddle and power dinghy boat race, with a course of 124 km down the Avon River is run over a 2 day period each August. It's so famous, it even airs on CNBC each year! Northam was once the Valley's commercial hub - the railway station making it the major departure point for prospectors heading to the goldfields as well as a cargo centre. The remaining Gold Rush era heritage buildings tell a story of a once prosperous and important town. During WW1, local breeders were heavily utilised to provide horses for the 10th Light Horse Brigade; during WW2 the town became a strategic military base, with several camps, ammunition depots and repatriation hospitals set up in the area. We stopped by the river to observe the damage to the town bridge before checking out the floodwaters at the Northam Weir. We also took the opportunity to visit the memorial to Captain Hugo (Jim) Throssell, the town's Gallipoli Victoria Cross recipient, awarded for his bravery and courageous fighting at both the Battle of the Nek and Hill 60.

We had opted to spend the night at York, the oldest inland town in WA (settled initially in 1830). Listed today as a National Historic Town, the heritage buildings clearly project the town's former wealth and status. The area was once the food bowl of the Swan River Colony and it benefitted greatly from money made during the Gold Rush era (both from agricultural and other retail sales and from newly rich prospectors deciding to call York home). The beautifully preserved 1911 Town Hall, today home to the York Visitors Centre, once boasted the largest floor area of any building in WA; the Old York Hospital has longstanding reputation as a haunted site; and recently uncovered graffiti at the old Gaol acts provides a degree of social commentary of life in WA in the 1900s. We stayed in a one of the two self contained stone York cottages on the outskirts of town and enjoyed a relaxing evening of great food and conversation (plus a killer game of Girls V Boys Scrabble!)

After returning to the metropolitan area, we spent a last few precious days with our family, squeezing in a quick visit to Bunbury to catch up with Mummy, Daddy and Baby G and enjoying some delicious meals with our metro based bunch. I also managed to get together for a girlie lunch with my niece Bec and her gorgeous 3yo Lani. We then delivered "The Tart" to her new owner; said goodbye to our closest group of friends by hosting a sundowner in Bicton and delighted in sharing a couple of quiet days with Bazz and Betts.

Of course, there was plenty of planning for our Panama return. Having ordered new Lifeline batteries and antifoul paint back in November, we needed to co-ordinate delivery to the marina. We also had to ensure that the yard manager at Shelter Bay made arrangements for Elevation to be relocated to the works area from the secure yard and that all shrinkwrap is removed prior to us arriving. We needed to organise our favourite driver, Rogelio, to collect us from Toucaman Airport; we needed to check that our hotel accommodation was in place; we needed to arrange documentation for Customs and Immigration. Panama officials are notoriously difficult, especially in regard to returning cruisers and we needed to obtain letters from both the marina and from our soon to be Panama Canal advisor in order to circumvent entry requirements of having a return air ticket. We certainly don't want to have issues - it was hard enough when we tried to check in after sailing from Jamaica!

Very early on 16 March, we headed to the airport with B&B; there were many hugs and of course a slightly teary goodbye and we winged away to California. Love you Perth XX

A New Year

30 March 2017 | Perth, Western Australia
Jill
Being back in Australia has given us so many special moments and the much anticipated arrival of the first of the family's 7th generation was certainly right up there. The bonding experience and the sheer hard work put in by Anne, Frank and I to produce a Masterchef quality High Tea for 20+ ladies was a great day in itself. The subsequent Baby Shower was also a big event and it was lovely to see Juanita comfortably able to entertain family and friends at home - so many laughs and so much generosity shown for new Baby G. And then of course, there was the delight and excitement when little Olivia May made her quick and easy arrival into the world; she is a much loved and treasured addition to our family and we were all thrilled to welcome her to this big blue planet of ours. We of course will be relying on regular updates and photos from Mummy and Daddy whilst we tackle our next mega passage from Panama to French Polynesia.

We were so lucky to be able to spend Australia Day with our good Rotto friends Sharman and Jon, who always turn on a sensational celebration. It's a special feeling to be able to sing along to "I am Australian" with fellow Aussies in your own land. I totally love this amazing song, penned by Bruce Woodley and Dobe Newton and originally sung by The Seekers. The lyrics are a true reflection of what and who we are as a nation and in my opinion, this is the song that should be our National Anthem. You can enjoy it here:

I am Australian

The official National Day of our country, Australia Day is celebrated on 26 January, marking the arrival of the First Fleet of British ships at Port Jackson, NSW. In days gone by, we would spend this holiday with Sharman and Jon at Rottnest - it was the original date for our "Bullshit Bill" Dinghy Race at Stark Bay - a memorial race in acknowledgement of one of Stark's unique characters and a fundraiser for the National Heart Foundation. The City of Perth host an annual firework display "Skyworks" - sadly this year the event had to be cancelled following the tragic loss of a seaplane and its crew after it crashed into the Swan River whilst performing an aerial acrobatics routine for the gathering Skyworks crowd. Our nephew Stephen, who works for the Department of Parks and Wildlife, was on secondment for on-water crowd control and became a first responder following this terrible accident.

With the end of January, it was time for us to start getting ready to return to Elevation. When we first arrived, we had purchased a really cool little Saab Convertible (2001 model but with less than 65000 Km on the clock and a really good - read cheap - price). It was a great little car for us to get around in over the Aussie spring and summer however as we don't have any firm plans to be home again soon "The Tart" needed a new home. How fortunate that Buddy, a friend of Sharman and Jon's, was interested in her; we negotiated a fair price and agreed that we would hand over "The Tart" the day before we flew out. Of course, with Paul's required medical treatment, our plans were pushed back. Buddy very kindly offered to postpone delivery so we could do all our required running around - a very much appreciated gesture and a total win for us. We do know amazing people!

Food, Glorious Food - Xmas 2016

29 March 2017 | Perth, Western Australia - Rotto Sunset by Jill
Jill
In Australia, Christmas and New Year is a time for serious celebration and the affectionately named "Silly Season" kicks off in late November. Being the first time we had been home in four years, we had a LOT of partying to do - lunches with friends and former work colleagues; a few birthdays to enjoy (including my own) and of course our very special family reunion. We dined as some of Perth's newest eateries, including Elizabeth Quay which is the still unfinished mixed use waterfront development in the Perth CBD. The original project plan allowed for 1700 residential apartments, at least 2 hotel complexes, 150K square metres for offices and 39K square metres of retail space as well as an improved ferry terminal, a water playground and a cable car to Kings Park. The economic downturn now being felt in Western Australia due to a depressed mining industry has seen these plans scaled back significantly and "Betty's Jetty" currently boasts minimal foodie options, the water playground and an impressive footbridge.

We caught up with Leanne and Mike (SV Ooroo) whom we'd spent a little time with in the Caribbean and in Panama at the Windsor in South Perth and chatted about ours and their plans for 2017 Pacific Puddle Jumping. We did the revolving C Restaurant with good friends Gus, Frances and Lesley; we picnicked out in the Swan Valley at the beautiful Jane Brook Winery with family; we did our favourite Freo Chilli Mussels at both Ruoccos and at Benny's with various friends. We revisited our beloved Fremantle Sailing Club; we checked out Virsa the Punjab in Attadale; we tried several boardwalk locations along the Rockingham shore; we slurped our way through countless oysters in Mandurah. A particular highlight for me was to lunch with a few girlfriends from primary school - some of whom, whilst I'd been in contact with via social media, I hadn't seen in 40 years! We met up with local boating friends at the Swan and East Fremantle Yacht Clubs and we did coffee catch ups all over the metropolitan area.

We dined at The Mantle, a much hyped casual "Collaber8" eating house located in a former East End warehouse before a great night of entertainment at the Fremantle Arts Centre with Bernard Fanning and his new band The Black Fins. We've loved Bernard since his Powderfinger days and given his long musical pub band pedigree, he delivered a super performance, which showcased both his individual work and some good old Finger faves. We also enjoyed pre-show oysters at the Rodrigues pop up Champagne and Seafood bar in Kings Park before being entertained by the Sugar Man himself.

I share friendships with several Sagittarian girlfriends, and my bestie Betts and I have our birthdays a day apart. This year, we chose to celebrate at our special Rottnest place, Stark Bay. In our life before sailing, we owned a 43' Randell flybridge cruiser and spent all our spare recreational time hanging off our mooring in this bay. Bazz and Betts are still "stink boat" owners and we were really excited to be able to share a few days onboard their gorgeous 40' Caribbean Sea Wolf. We walked along the stunning white sandy beach; we paddle boarded across the cold but crystal clear Indian Ocean, negotiating coral bombies and reef; we fished for whiting and herring; we eat freshly caught Southern Rock Lobster (aka Crayfish to the locals); we watched stunning sunsets whilst sipping chilled French bubbles on the back deck. Our visiting nephew Will, and his partner Caro, joined us for a day trip and it was fun to share Rotto with them both, even if for a short time. We were able to introduce them both to quokkas, the local marsupial for which the island was named (erroneously by the Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh in 1696 as he believed they were giant rats ... rattennest, which morphed into today's name). A very special few days indeed.

Christmas Eve arrived and so did our US relatives - first Franny and Claire who flew in from SFO via Sydney followed by Anne and Les who had opted for a SFO-Singapore-Perth flight. We spent the next few weeks having amazing family fun - 2016 was the first time ever that our American connection had enjoyed a Downunder Christmas and New Year celebration. Loads of fresh seafood, endless BBQ meals and masses of love and laughter interspersed with a few touristy activities. We checked out 20/20 cricket at the WACA; Will and Caro threw together an amazing Tex-Mex night; we did poolside family dining with Les's family; we did good old Aussie fish and chips and the guys all impressed us with their marron catching skills (Will even making the fishing pages of the Sunday Times newspaper). All too soon, the festive season was over and it was time for our Northern Hemisphere fam to depart - but not before we did a once in a lifetime family photo shoot! Best Christmas ever.

Over East - November 2016

29 March 2017 | Victoria and Tasmania - Early Morning on the Derwent by Jill
Jill
Sailing the seven seas, you get to meet some amazing people and given the transient nature of the cruising life, you quickly form deep connections in very short time frames. As your wakes diverge, you continue to nurture these friendships within the "Saltwater Tribe", mostly by social media and email and occasionally when you meet up again in other anchorages and locations.

We had been invited to our landlubber friend Neil's milestone November birthday in Melbourne and had planned a couple of weeks to enjoy some time in Victoria and catch up with a few mates. Touching base with our good sailing friends Ian and Chris from SV China Grove, a sister ship to Elevation, we were delighted to be invited down to their new Blairgowrie beach house for their housewarming. The last time we had been in Blair was on our maiden voyage from Sydney to Fremantle, when we'd holed up at the Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron for a week whilst waiting for some very ugly weather to pass. We'd seen 60+ knots in Bass Strait and whilst Elevation had handled the conditions beautifully, we were happy to take some time out on the Mornington Peninsular until a decent weather window appeared. South-east of Melbourne, the Peninsular sits between Bass Strait and Port Phillip Bay. The "Bay", almost 2000 square kilometres in size, is home to the infamous Rip, known to mariners across the globe. Depending on tidal conditions, the flow through The Rip can be up to 6 knots and navigating the heads can be treacherous, with many sailing vessels lost since first explored by both Lieutenant John Murray (HMSV Lady Nelson) and Captain Matthew Flinders (HMS Investigator) in 1802.

It was great to catch up with Ian, Chris and their daughter Nicole who we had last seen in SE Asia. We revisited the BYS, which has undergone a significant upgrade - new clubrooms and marina berths almost doubled in size. We wandered the jetties, checked up on MV Jack (Ian and Chris' fishing runabout) and reminisced on our time there in 2007. We enjoyed several walks in the area - Point Nepean National Park, out to Bridgewater Bay and along the foreshore, where the colourful beach huts are still changing hands for big dollars. We took a trip into Sorrento, primarily for the world famous vanilla slices at Just Fine Foods; it's the thing you do when in the area!

The housewarming was a fabulous evening, beautifully catered for and with super attentive wait staff, and we met up with several other sailing friends from our time in Malaysia and Thailand. We also caught up with Peattie and Mel, family friends whom we'd last seen in KK in 2011.

Next stop was Melbourne for Neil's mega birthday bash - a great evening with truly genial and generous people and a fantastic way to celebrate a good friend's milestone 70th. Neil and his gorgeous wife Lee have only recently downsized from their large family home to a stunning new townhouse and we were lucky enough to be amongst their first house guests. We did a little touristy time in the city; took the train out to Williamstown to catch up with our sailing buddy Dave (SV Eliana - last seen in Antigua); had a traditional Friday night at the Glen Waverley RSL (aka Razzle); and managed to fit in a Thai dinner with our good friend Sue who has been living in Melbourne for many years.

From Melbourne, we headed to Phillip Island for a few days R&R at Neil and Lee's beach house "Mandurah". Phillip Island sits to the east of the Mornington Peninsular some 140 Km away from Melbourne's CBD. The island is connected to the mainland via a causeway bridge from San Remo and is home to the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix as well as the world-famous Penguin Parade (each night tourists flock to observe the Little Penguins waddle ashore to roost in the sandhills). There are excellent walks - one of our favourite being the walk to Lee's "Chardy" seat where the tradition is to sip chilled white wine whilst toasting the sunset!

Next stop on our whirlwind Over East adventure was Hobart, Tasmania's very laid back and historic capital and home to our sailing friends Daun and Chris (SV More Magic). Founded in 1803 as a penal colony, today it boasts many beautifully preserved Georgian and Victorian buildings and churches. Only 6% of the total convict population of Tasmania were incarcerated permanently - the remainder providing all the labour required to build civic and private buildings, to complete the reclamation works at Constitution Dock, and to work as indentured bondsmen or servants to the private sector. Daun and Chris both work full time so we divided our visit between playing tourist in the day and playing up at night! They have a lovely home at Blackmans Bay and it was such a pleasure to sit out on their back deck each evening chatting and soaking up the view out over Derwent Waters. We took a trip up to Mount Wellington to check out the magnificent panoramic view across Hobart and the River Derwent; we did a road trip out to Richmond (home to the oldest bridge still in use in Australia - an iconic photo stop); we wandered around Hobart Town where we ran into the owners of SV Seaca, another sistership to Elevation, at Constitution Dock. We took a day trip down to Bruny Island via the ferry to catch up with friends Jennifer and Keith ... as usual they overwhelmed us with their amazing hospitality and fantastic local Bruny produce - everything from oysters, to salmon, to bubbles and wine, to fresh berries and artisan cheeses. Great day!

All too soon our Tassie time was over and it was off to Perth for the start of the very busy Christmas "Silly" Season. Thanks to everyone who made our 2016 Eastern Adventure so much fun!


Vessel Name: Elevation
Vessel Make/Model: Buizen 48 Mark II
Hailing Port: Fremantle, Western Australia
Crew: Paul & Jill
About:
After deciding to live our dream of sailing the world, one day at a time, we left home in April 2010. Since then, we've cruised the West Australian coast, the Kimberley, Northern Territory to Darwin, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. [...]
Home Page: http://nococonuts.wix.com/sv-elevation
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