17 November 2010 | Coffs Harbour
OK, yes we have arrived in Australia safe and sound; in fact it was last Sunday (14th). I know a few people have been asking after us in the absence of a blog but I have to admit I've been avoiding it. I guess it kind of feels like an admission that this is IT, and while we haven't yet arrived in Sydney and met family and friends for a homecoming party, reality is setting in.
We ghosted into Coffs Harbour under the cover of morning twilight and with an escort of some good Aussie dolphins. The trip from Noumea was truly a mixed bag of everything; highs & lows, slight to very rough seas, gale force to moderate breeze, from none to plenty of sleep and rain versus sun but one thing that was consistent was we were only getting closer to the end of our journey.
But it wasn't all sad reflections; the last 24 hours saw some of the best cruising sailing to date. Once properly in the East Australian current that runs south at anything from 2-4 knots we covered 62 miles in 6 hours rocketing down the coast in a slight to moderate following sea, averaging over 10 knots. It doesn't get much better than that.
So after a short period at anchor we entered the marina to be met by Australian boarder control. We had heard that Customs and Quarantine can be overly harsh here but actually they where a delight. Following a fairly painless experience we were cleared into Australia. We pottered around the boat for most of the day, venturing only as far as the local fish and chip shop for some proper fish and chips, complete with grilled fish, fried dimmies, potato cakes and visited the supermarket for a few staples. Our mates off Sunboy who live in Coffs visited in the evening but soon we settled into our first night in Oz.
Now it's a waiting game before we can make the final push to Pittwater and on to Sydney for the 27th but the weather just isn't playing ball. The days waiting here have become progressively colder resulting in jeans, shoes, jumpers and a doona (quilt/duvet) at night. Kat has been her normal self (stuck in overdrive) getting Xmas presents sorted and wrapped in advance. I've been wondering around the boat looking for jobs that either don't exist or don't really need doing. I guess I feel slightly stuck in limbo.
But we have accomplished a few key steps towards conforming to our new reality; we now have mobile phones, a NSW driver's license and have started looking for a car. Yesterday (well actually this morning) we ventured out at 00:02 for one of the world's first viewings of the new Happy Porter movie and a couple of days back had a great night with Luke (from Sunboy) and his family - a good home-cooked meal and a night in front of the TV! It looks like we'll be here until late on the weekend or early next week when the weather should improve.
Tonight however, with plenty of rain falling outside we settled down with a bottle of wine and some beers and complied some boat stats (inspired by Delos if truth be known), enjoy.....
Days since leaving the UK: 941
Days onboard: 705
Days ashore: 236
Total Miles Sailed: c. 24,000 nautical miles or 44,500 kms, or 3.1 million boat lengths!
Days at Anchor: 341 (48%)
Days at Sea: 119 (17%)
Days in Marina: 245 (35%)
(In the Med)
Days at Anchor: 126 (40%)
Days at Sea: 20 (6%)
Days in Marina: 170 (54%)
(Excl. the Med)
Days at Anchor: 215 (55.3%)
Days at Sea: 99 (25.5%)
Days in Marina: 75 (19.3%)
Countries Visited: 28 (UK, Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, Italy, Malta, Greece, Turkey, Croatia, Montenegro, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Dominica, Antigua, St Maarten, Bonaire, Curacao, Aruba, Columbia, Panama, Ecuador (Galapagos), French Polynesia, Cook Islands, Niue, Kingdom of Tonga, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Australia.
Islands Visited: 71 (Greek Islands (Crete, Rhodes, Simi, Kos, Nisiros, Vathi, Santorini, Naxos, Siros, Kithnos, Kea, Poros, Aigina, Cephalonia, Ithaca, Meganisi, Anti Paxos, Corfu) Croatia (Mijet, Korcula, Viz, Palenki Islands, Hvar) Malta, Italian Islands (Sicily, Sardinia, The Aeolians, Procida, Ischia, Capri), Corsica, Balearics (Menorca, Mallorca, Ibiza, Isle de Formentera), Canaries (Lanzarote, Gran Canaria) Caribbean (St Lucia, St Vincent, Bequia, Tobago Cays, Mustique, Mayreau, Martinique, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Antigua, St Maarten, Bonaire, Curacao, Aruba), San Blas (East Holandes, Coco Banderas, Isla Tigra, Green Island, Lemmon Cays, Chichime, Isla Linton), Las Perlas, Galapagos (Santa Cruz, San Cristobel, Wolf, Darwin, Seymour, Bartolome), Marquesas (Nuku Hiva), Tuamotus (Manihi, Ahe, Rangiroa), French Polynesia (Tahiti, Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea, Bora Bora), Palmerston, Niue, Tonga (Vava'u), Vanuatu (Efate, Hideaway, Lelepala, Epi, Ambrym, Aore, Espiritu Santo, Oyster Island), New Caledonia, Australia.
Highest wind at anchor: 45 knots (Rhodes, Greece)
Highest wind at sea: 55 knots (Marquesas, French Polynesia)
Biggest Wave: approx 7.5m or 25 ft. In storm south of Marquesas, thankfully during the day and not breaking due to torrential rain.
Roughest seas: Between New Caledonia and Australia (closest to knock down and most damage inflicted on boat)
Fastest Boat Speed: 15.2 knots speed over the ground surfing waves mid Atlantic, with 25 knots of wind, 2nd reef in main and half a headsail.
Average wind at sea: 15-20 knots in the SE trades
Alcohol Consumed (by us and friends on Ghost): 2,712 cans of beer (yes c.113 slabs) plus 25 Heineken 5l mini-kegs (yep that is nearly 1,020 litres of beer or over one tonne of the nectar of the gods!!), 70ish bottles of wine, 40 litres of Sangria, 20 bottles of Champagne, 40 litres of rum, 32 litres of gin, 8 litres of Jack Daniels, 5 litres of vodka, 3 bottles of Jagermister, 1 bottle of Baileys, 1 bottle of butterscotch schnapps, still trying to get rid of Stu's Spanish brandy and hand on heart this is conservative and doesn't include anything drunk ashore in bars, restaurants or the ARC pre and post parties.
Fresh Water made: 21,438 litres, to make this water we ran the water maker for 357.3 hours @ 60 litres/hour at a cost of 38.7 euro cents a litre. But the showers at sea are worth it!! Note we have used shore water where possible for washing the boat, laundry and scuba kit but used only shore water pre October 2009 when we bought the watermaker. A conservative estimate is that in total we'd have used maybe 2.5 times this amount, c.53,595l
Fuel Used: c. 6,164 litres
Main Engine Hours: 1,904.9 hours
Generator Hours: Lost count
Fish Caught: 10 Mahi- mahi, 5 Tuna, 3 Spanish Mackerel, 1 Skipjack, several dozen suicidal flying fish, 6 misguided high jumping baby squid, 1 evil beast from the deep that was just downright scary.
Fish Lost: as far as we know, 3.
Blog Posts Written: 243
Digital Photos taken: c.17,000 or 60.1 giga bytes
SCUBA Dives: 76, not including diving to clean the boat!
Deepest dive: 68.6m (off the stern of the President Coolidge, Vanuatu)
Friends visiting: 39
Boat lifted from the water: 3 (Turkey, Curacao and Tahiti)
Video and TV Shows traded with other cruisers: 2.5 terra bytes
Hours Brad spent vacuum cleaning: c.53 hours!!! (for 5mins on 90% of the days onboard)
Cars/scooters hired: 21 times in various locations!
Donkeys ridden: 2 (one each to the top of Santorini, Greece)
Top speed in the dinghy: 19.4 knots or 36 km/h
Number of times the dinghy hit submerged objects: c.20
Number of times Kat reckons she told me to slow down: c.20
Number of times I reckon her warning was warranted: twice
Number of times I actually heeded the warning and slowed down: zero
Canals transited: 2 at a cost of US$1,474 or an average of $US40 per nautical mile. Or $US34/nm for the Panama canal and a crazy $US104/nm for the Corinth!
Days wearing jeans while onboard: 12 or (1.7%)
Times someone has been sick on aboard:
Due to seasickness: 2 (both Jay!!)
Due to Alcohol abuse: 3 (Kat 2, Brad 1)
Courses of antibiotics used from ship stores: 5
Root canals received: 2 (both Kat, trying to treat the same tooth...)
Lifelong Friends Made: Too numerous to even begin....