Picture: Just a shot of Honeymoon as we sailed by the Sydney Opera House for the first time. What a day to remember!
Picture: New anchorage drinks aboard Honeymoon (just before the 180 degree wind shift that turned this peaceful anchorage into a lee shore).
Although Brisbane may be looked down upon by Sydney-ites, Elizabeth and I certainly warmed to the place. It's filled with parks and public use spaces (including climbing walls, public pools, beaches and gardens with electric BBQs everywhere - how Australian!). But it was also great to meet up with old friends that now call this wonderful city home. We had an excellent sushi dinner with Suzzie, a good friend I met years ago while backpacking in Peru. Then Richard and Laura, friends from Grad School, invited us to their home for a traditional porch side BBQ out in the suburbs. And finally, Tom and Emma, two more friends from England, invited us to their beach side home in Currumbin, a surfing destination on the Gold Coast. And as you can imagine, they didn't have to twist our arms to make us join them.
But then it was time to pay them back for their hospitality and Tom and Emma joined us for a two day journey down the coast to Surfer's Paradise (a seaside town that could be compared to Daytona Beach, but with more skyscrapers). We promised them a joyous cruise, filled with peaceful anchorages, but Peel Island had something else in mind for us. Just as we were going to sleep the wind shifted 180 degrees and put us on a lee shore and with growing seas. We made a run for more protected waters in the dark and were thankful when we finally picked up a mooring ball a good three hours later. Exhausted, we went to bed and all slept like rocks.
Our second day was also eventful, with shallow anchorages everywhere and the near threat of spending the night aground in the mud with an ebbing tide (like our friends on Nemesis almost did) we eventually made it to safety in a beautiful marina just north of Surfer's Paradise. Surely Tom and Emma thought we were mad for taking all these risks, but we tried to reassure them that it was not always this way.
From Surfers we began our final off-shore push. Although still a good 400 miles away, our destination now was Sydney with a few stops in between. Much like the US, it's easy to forget just how big this continent really is and we pushed ourselves to keep going overnight in order to put more of the final leg behind us.
We stopped after 32 hours in Port Macquire, a small seaside town located south of Byron Bay. With the wind still out of the northeast we departed early the next day for Forster, where we tied up to a riverside dock next to all the local fishing boats. Honeymoon was certainly out of her element, so we pushed on again the very next day and have finally arrived in Port Stephans, a bay even larger than Sydney's and just 80 miles to the north. With any luck, we'll be in Broken Bay by the end of the day tomorrow and in Sydney in a week...
Pic: The new home page image on our For Sale Website.
They say that the best and worst day of boat ownership is the day you sell your boat. Although we are not quite moving off her yet, we have found this saying to be extremely true. We are deeply saddened to realize the end of our incredible journey is near, while at the same time we are happy to have been released from the financial burden of owning such a valuable asset. However, if I were to pick a side, I would have to say that overall we are very sad to sell our boat as she has been so good to us. Let's face it - she was our first home!
Thankfully we have sold our boat to quite possibly the nicest man in all of Australia. Mike, the new owner, has agreed to let us finish our journey as planned and will take final delivery of the vessel on January 5th, 2010. This means that Elizabeth and I will be able to finish our South Pacific travels in one of the most spectacular ways possible - by anchoring under the Sydney Harbor Bridge for the New Year's Eve fireworks display. What a way to exit - going out with a bang...
As for our blog, don't worry, we will continue to update it with pictures and video from our Vanuatu and Australia adventures, and might even keep it going as we slowly creep back into our old lives as middle managers in large corporate offices back in San Francisco (wow, doesn't that sound like fun reading!?). So stay tuned, more to come - especially the Chick Cruiser's Guide!!!
Picture: Marzipan Turkeys welcoming us to La Palapa's Thanksgiving Feast!
Happy Thanksgiving from Australia! We had a great dinner on La Palapa with Roger grilling up a turkey on his rail mounted grill and Tobe whipping up everything else from champagne cocktails to three pie options (pumpkin was my favorite!). She even made six turkeys from marzipan that we were all able to take home as gifts!
Last year we had lobster in the British Virgin Islands. This year we had turkey in Brisbane. Amazing where a year has taken us and the new friends we have met... Much to be thankful for!
11/19/2009, Brisbane, Australia
Picture: Your Author Hamming it up on Honeymoon!
Congratulations on packing for the last time for a long time. One of the best things about cruising around the world with your house is that you get to go a lot of different places without having to unpack and repack! However, deciding what to bring on a trip like this can be tough and intimidating but after the last year, I think I can help. Keep in mind that we had a never-ending summer on our trip through the Caribbean and South Pacific. Some places cooled off at night and a couple of islands very far south were even a bit chilly but overall we have been in HOT weather. Also please note that my Style Notes in italics are my own personal opinions are not meant to offend anyone. Take them or leave them as you wish.
Apparel & Accessories:
SWIMSUITS: I cannot over emphasize the importance of swimsuits. You will wear them almost every single day. Bring a variety of shapes, colors, solids and prints. If you do not like your body in a bathing suit, get over it. Remember in ten years you will look back and know how good you looked and you missed it! Also, always maintain deletion rights to any unflattering swimsuit pictures, it happens to the best of them.
Style Note: Tankinis are out. Choose from bikinis or one pieces.
SUNDRESSES: Tied with swimsuits is the importance of the sundress. Nothing is cooler, easier to throw on or makes you look way more put together than you feel. These are great for day or night, over a swimsuit or alone. Again, bring a variety of shapes, colors, solids and prints (long maxi dresses are great for windy times and don't worry you will get used to the dingy exit in dresses).
Style Note: Knit dresses (the soft material used in t-shirts) are best as they do not wrinkle and are easy to wash. Do not even think of bringing anything that must be dry cleaned or ironed, ridiculous!
SHORTS, TEES and TANKS: Bring several pairs of shorts, including at least one pair of longer Bermuda shorts for the few islands that insist on modesty. Tank tops are great as they are cooler but bring at least a couple of short sleeve tees or shirts that cover your shoulders, again for the modest islands.
OTHER CLOTHING NEEDED: Other items I would recommend are a couple of pairs of sweat pants, a few long sleeve shirts, 3-4 cardigans to wear over your sundresses for chilly nights, a light rain jacket, a pair of white jeans, a few swim cover ups and work out clothes. On a technical note, you will also need sailing specific foul weather gear (with any luck you won't need it much).
SHOES: You need a variety of flip-flops. You need casual flip-flops and dressy flip-flops. I recommend a nice metallic-goes-with-everything color for evening. You absolutely do NOT need a pair of heels. Personally, I think women in heels at a beach resort look ridiculous. Being 5'10" I might not understand others insistence on heels, so if you must bring a pair, bring only one. You will also need a pair of hiking shoes, tennis shoes and reef shoes. Typically you will be barefoot, especially on the boat where leaving any mark is highly frowned on by husbands.
Style Note: Crocs are an abomination to fashion. That being said, many if not most cruisers wear them. Personally, I would rather wear nails stuck in the bottom of my feet or hot coals taped to my heels but that is just me. Crocs offer comfort (so I hear) and a non-skid sole but I still think it is the fashion equivalent of strapping dish sponges to the bottom of your feet. Why not just wear pajama pants to dinner?
HATS: Very important, especially if you don't want to come back with a leather face. Baseball caps and visors work best. I started out with the large brimmed fashionable beach hat but this does not work on a boat. It will not stay on and is hard to store.
SUNGLASSES: Again, you will wear these constantly so bring a few pairs. You will need at least one "glamorous" pair and one sporty polarized pair for spotting reefs. Lightweight sunglasses work best as you wear them all day long.
JEWLERY: You just need a little. Bring your wedding & engagement rings but know they will sit in a box much of the time. It is not wise to sail with them as you might catch it on a sheet and lose an important finger, and besides, you will not want to wear them on islands were the per capita income is less than your annual Starbucks tab. A few pieces of costume jewelry are all you really need, a few necklaces, a bracelet or two and some earrings.
Style Note: Most islands will have their own jewelry designers offering amazing bobbles you can't find at home. The price is usually negotiable.
BAGS: You will need at least one large all-purpose beach bag. Other than that a few tote size day bags are great to have. Most likely you will stop carrying a handbag at night and just give your lipstick to your husband. I could never have imagined this at home but out here you just don't need that much.
Style note: don't bring any nice leather bags on the boat, they can mildew and be ruined. You won't need them, trust me.
TOILETRIES: Whatever products you cannot live without, bring a supply that will last your entire trip. Most likely you will never see it anywhere. If you color your hair, it is not a bad idea to get a box of color for emergencies. I once had to go five months without highlights and it was not an attractive situation!
MAKE-UP: You will wear less make-up than ever on the trip. During the day it is just too hot for make-up and at night most have a very natural look. Bring your favorites but I would not waste too much space with it.
HAIR CARE: Bring a hair dryer but know you probably won't use it very often. Most of the time it is too hot and it uses a ton of power. I have learned how to style my hair in the cabin fans and it works pretty well. You do not need a curling or straightening iron or anything like that. You just won't use it. Stretchy headbands, headscarves and ponytail holders are crucial. You will live with your hair up for much of the time.
DAMP RID: This is a must for any boat! You hang a bag of it in your closet and it keeps the inside from getting musty and wet. Your clothes will stay fresh. Bring a lot as you will not see it anywhere and it must be changed out bi-monthly.
Sorry for the long list but I wish I had this info as I prepared to leave. I hope it helps! E