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The Hynes Honeymoon!
10/28/2009, Bundaberg, Australia

Author: Seth
Picture: Elizabeth about to drive on the left side of the road for the first time. Ah, one of the many new excitements of Australia.

Our approach to Australia was markedly different than that of an island nation in the south pacific. Our first give away that we were approaching a new continent were the numerous tankers cruising up and down the coast (one of which we had to kindly request to alter course). We hadn't seen this many container ships since Panama!

But the real give away that we had finally reached a 1st world nation was the massive, red and white, "Coast Watch" airplane that buzzed our mast a good 200 miles off-shore. They hailed our boat name on VHF 16 to ask the usual questions of how many people were on board and where we had come from, but in typical Aussie behavior the conversation was very relaxed and almost cheerful, with it ending in a heartfelt welcoming to his home country. Talk about service!

Upon arrival we encountered a highly professional and proficient Quarantine, Customs and Immigration system. While everyone told us that Australia would be a nightmare to check into, we found it one of our easiest yet. Although they did rummage through everything looking for guns, drugs and termites (and they did confiscate our homemade pizza and popcorn kernels), they did allow us to keep our now amazing shell collection and were off the boat within 1 hour. And since they all came to us at one time, it was one of the easiest entries into a country yet. If you come to Australia by boat, enter through Bundenburg because we found the team very professional and kind. Elizabeth even chatted it up with the girls for good shopping places, spas, doctors, you name it!

My last show of reaching the modern world was found in the Marina bathroom (of all places). When I went to wash my hands I turned on the faucet and nearly burned my hands from the scorching hot water that came out! It was the first time I had noticed it, but hot water was never something available in a public bathroom in the South Pacific, and if it was available it was going to take a very long time for it to get to the faucet. The encounter made me laugh; we had finally made it to Australia and the modern world.

Well, kind of. They do still drive on the wrong side of the road...

Australia Arrival!!!
10/26/2009, Somewhere in the Pacific

Author: Seth
Picture: A final tribute to the South Pacific. An un-charted island (Fiji) and a modern day tiki at Bloody Mary's (Bora Bora).

It's official. 9,871 miles ago we left Panama and started our big trek west across the world's largest ocean. And today we finally arrived on the big continent of "Terra Australis."

Back in April, we crossed the equator and became "shellbacks." With some help from our now good friend Tim, we crossed the biggest expanse (3,000 miles) of the ocean in just 19 days and 19 hours. We soaked in the French culture in French Polynesia, with Fatu Hiva, Moorea and Bora Bora matching our Bali Hai expectations.

From there we traveled further west to Suwarrow, our own private atoll where we celebrated our first wedding anniversary, still on our "Honeymoon." Then Niue, where we were guests to the whales that serenade you while you sleep. In the Kingdom of Tonga we were reunited with old and new friends and celebrated historic birthdays. Fiji was spent exploring the isles with our parents and following in the historic footprints of Cook, Bligh and Wilkes. And finally in Vanuatu we celebrated our accomplishments under a glowing night sky, illuminated with fireworks of molten lava.

As we look forward to our final weeks aboard our Honeymoon we can't help but look back to the South Pacific - and before that the Caribbean. To all that we have learned, to all those that we have met and to all the memories we will never forget. What a trip...

Video: Port 2 Port Rally
10/25/2009, Vanuatu to Australia

Video: Here is one of our edited videos from our travels, this time picking up from our Vanuatu experience with the Volcano and ending in Bundaburg, Australia. We made a tough decision to leave Vanuatu since the weather was forecast to be very rough (25+ knots), but since it was not expected to let up for another 14 days we decided to brave it. In retrospect we made it safely and without breakage but it was a rough ride we could have done without...

Our last open ocean passage was certainly interesting and it was comforting to have our friends on La Palapa near by. Take a look for yourself...

La Palapa Passage
10/24/2009, Chesterfield Reef, New Caledonia

Author: Seth
Picture: This is just a quick shot of Tobe and Roger on La Palapa, our buddy boat. We met them back in Tahiti and then again in Moorea. But it wasn't until Bora Bora that we finally decided to hitch our wagons together for the next 3,000 miles to Australia.

It has worked out great because their boat, a Catalina Morgan 44, seems to be exactly the same speed as our boat on a Beam and Broad Reach. In fact, it's almost eerie how close we are after several days of sailing. But this is good as it means we are always within VHF range incase of trouble. But beyond just safety, we are really happy that we have gotten to know Roger and Tobe. They are yet another couple we would never have met without our boat - and now will probably remain close with for the rest of our lives.

Click here to read their blog and see where we are now:

Video: Vanuatu At Last
10/21/2009, Tanna, Vanuatu

Author: Seth
Video: Vanuatu's Volcano At Last

After departing Fiji, Elizabeth and I sailed with our buddy boat (La Palapa) to the small island nation of Vanuatu. The passage was quite rough and took 5 days, and at one point we encountered a severe lightening storm that we tried to outrun to no avail. In the end it would all be worth it because Vanuatu remains unchanged - almost as if it was forgotten by time. Instead of the ubiquitous Hotel chains, the islands remain stuck in the 19th century, complete with dug out canoes, thatch huts and primitive dirt roads. When we arrived we dropped our anchor into the aptly named Port Resolution, originally named by Captain Cook, and it would be hard to imagine the place had changed all that much since.

We then toured the nearby Volcano and nearly died. No really... Read here for more info on that (except you Mom).

Enjoy... More video's from Australia to come!

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Seth & Elizabeth Hynes
Who: Seth & Elizabeth Hynes
Port: San Francisco, CA
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