08/03/2016, Mylestom, NSW
We have good news! PANNIKIN has been sold & now is in her new berth in Newport, Pittwater - Sydney. We are stoked that the sale has gone through so quickly. May she bring her new owners as much enjoyment as she did us! So many great memories.
On other bits & pieces.... we have the keys to our home now, have painted all the interior, moved all our belongings in & have pretty much completed all our unpacking.
Jobs are proving to be a little difficult to get! Steve has been helping out friends a couple of days a week & Ange is still waiting for someone to like her resume. Fingers crossed.
Life back on land has been busy...we are slowly getting back into the routine!
Our last blog...hope you have enjoyed it!
10/12/2015, Coffs Harbour Marina, Coffs Harbour
Tuesday saw the Richmond River bar conditions at Ballina calm considerably so we cast off our lines & headed out at 6am. We had a lovely sail down to the Clarence River where we crossed over the bar with no trouble & dropped our anchor in the harbour at Iluka. We spent the afternoon snoozing & watching some TV. Wednesday we explored Yamba by crossing the river in the dinghy & then had a nice walk through Iluka. They are both lovely towns...probably Iluka was our favourite as it is a lot quieter than Yamba.
Yesterday we were up early to catch in the incoming tide over the bar. We left with 3 other yachts and a motor boat all heading south. Conditions were less than ideal with no wind after the first 2 hours & then a southerly wave chop popped up, that we had to bash into. PANNIKIN made her way into the harbour at Coffs just before 5pm & we were greeted by lots of friends waving from Mutton Bird Island. Thank you to everyone for coming into town to greet us...it was fantastic to see all of you. The champagne was nice too! We also had a visit from our sailing friends (2 who crewed for us in the ARC). We sat on PANNIKIN & ate fresh prawn rolls for dinner & had a great chat. It is really fantastic to be home. Today we are off to buy a car! PANNIKIN is now in here in her berth at Coffs Harbour International Marina where she will stay until sold. Her details should be available on the yachthub and yachtdomain websites soon.
We would like to take the opportunity to thank all our family & friends for their never ending support & love during our time away. A special thanks to Owen & Sue, Lesley, Frank & Gayle and Samuel & James for taking time out & visiting us and spending time on PANNIKIN. We really enjoyed your company and loved having you on board. We shared some special times with you!
Finally, to all the wonderful new friends we have made in our travels from Turkey to Australia. Your friendship & good times have been the highlight of our trip & we are positive you will all be friends for life. We miss all of you & are so blessed to have met you. Safe sailing to those of you who are still chasing the dream!
What an adventure it has been...some 26 odd countries, just over 20,000 nautical miles and nearly 3 years away from home. But what a ride!!! Thank you to PANNIKIN for looking after us so well!
05/12/2015, Richmond River, Ballina
We were up at 4am for an early start from the anchorage at Inskip Point near Fraser island for our trip to Mooloolaba. Crossing the unfamiliar bar at night was a little daunting, but uneventful. We had a good run & dropped the pick near Underwater World around 5pm on Thursday. We spent Friday doing odd jobs & relaxing on the boat before heading to the supermarket (so cool to be able to go whenever we want!) to grab some groceries in the afternoon.
Saturday we headed to Scarborough following the shipping channel that leads to Brisbane Port. We took a right hand turn at the south end of Bribie Island & made our way across Moreton Bay to the Scarborough Marina flying the spinnaker all the way. We spent 9 nights here catching up with Ange's Mum and her brother & family. We also got PANNIKIN prepared for photos for Listing For Sale & had the D2 shroud repaired. Ange got all our Christmas shopping done & also a little bit of retail therapy! We had a great Friday night on the boat celebrating the 9th birthday of our niece Sarah and also headed out to the Bay for a family sail on Sunday.
Monday we headed off to Southport on the Gold Coast via the inland water way of The Broadwater. It was a slow but relaxing sail with only one tense moment when we passed under some very low overhead electrical wires! We held our breath keeping an eye on our mast! We anchored near the Southport seaway just on dark & had a few hours sleep before getting up at 10.30pm so we could cross the bar at 11pm on the top of the tide.
We were lucky enough to see Mount Warning through the haze as we passed the Tweed coast just as the early morning dawn appeared. The lighthouse on Cape Byron was stunning! Ange was a bit teary... she had spent so many great times here as a young kid (& not so young!). Camping at Clarks Beach seems so long ago! It was so wonderful to see it all by sea. Steve's brother Tim greeted us as we crossed into Ballina, waving to us as we crossed the bar which was doesn't have the best reputation. Made it safely though... wouldn't want to see it on a cranky day!!!
Tuesday afternoon Ange's mum, grandmother & great uncle came for a visit. Kitty is 94 & was so very keen to check out the boat. Steve lifted her & uncle Noel (85 years) onto the deck & they had a great time exploring! Ange ended up going back to Apsley (the farm) for a couple of days while Steve helped Tim out with his new pontoon at his boat shed near Ballina.
Yesterday we had all Lesley's good friends from Kyogle & Ewingsdale come to check out PANNIKIN. After an hour or so we headed to Ballina RSL for lunch & a good catch up. Thank you everyone for the chocolate cake, pikelets & tomato relish! Nothing like country hospitality!
Today our very good friends, Owen & Sue, drove up from home (Mylestom) to visit. We've had a great afternoon just talking & catching up on bits & pieces, along with a beer or three!
We are excited about arriving into Coffs this next week, but that will be the end of our adventure.....
17/11/2015, Tin Can Bay anchorage
We really enjoyed our time at the Bundaberg Port Marina. The importation of PANNIKIN went smoothly & was completed in a week. Customs & Quarantine were quick to respond to paperwork & nothing was a hassle. The marina has a restaurant, take away shop & a lovely gift shop. There is also a large seafood co-op next door selling fresh seafood & the local spanner crab. The marina supplies a mini bus into Bundaberg twice a day during the week. Staff were very friendly too!
It was great to have a meal with & catch up with our friends too. Garry & Kerry on TAKE TWO arrived the day after us & kindly lent us their car so we could explore the area. Dave & Rose on AUSSIE RULES arrived as well. It was good to see them...we hadn't seen them since Mexico.
Once we were cleared to leave the marina we headed south to the Great Sandy Strait...a protected waterway that runs between Fraser Island & the east coat of Australia. We spent four days floating down the Strait, fishing & generally having a lazy time. We had a walk through the Kingfisher Bay Resort on Fraser, which is really lovely & spent most of that afternoon watching a dugong swim around the anchorage.
We are currently anchored in Tin Can Bay waiting for a weather window to head to Mooloolaba. We had a walk through town yesterday, did some groceries & spent the rest of the afternoon fishing off the back of PANNIKIN. Only caught a shovel nosed shark! Our fishing competition is going well...Steve has caught a few more fish that Ange & is ahead in the species count... 4 to 3!!
It's great to be able to ring family & friends whenever we want. Seeing as though we are on PANNIKIN until the end of January our little journey hasn't quite finished yet!
07/11/2015, Bundaberg Port Marina
We picked up anchor at 7am on Tuesday 27th after being farewelled by the anchorage dugong. He swam right past the back of the boat & lingered on the surface for a few breaths. Amazing! Our passage to Australia didn't start off terribly well! We were 8 hours out on our first day when we heard a thump and then a twang! It sounded as though something fell from the mast & bounced off the life lines. After a good search around we discovered the port side D2 shroud had snapped. After 20 minutes of deliberation & tossing around our options we decided to turn around & head back to Luganville. It was a slow old sail unable to tack....it was a very late night. Up early the next morning to winch Steve up the mast to remove the snapped shroud & replace with the OK starboard side one. Then into the local hardware to get some stainless steel wire to jury rig the broken one. Back up the mast to attach & then tighten the rig. Dinghy & motor back on deck and we headed off again at 8am.
Our passage across was varied... Wednesday was very rough with 25-30 knots of wind & lumpy seas. Thursday through to Friday afternoon was lovely with 12-15 knot of wind & calm seas. Beautiful sailing under a near full moon. Friday night, Saturday & to Sunday lunch time was high winds again & uncomfortable swell. We managed to break our 24 hour record... we did 175 nautical miles from midnight Friday to midnight Saturday. The wind dropped again on Sunday afternoon & by 2am Monday we had a spinnaker flying. It did a good job of keeping us moving until Tuesday afternoon the wind dropped completely & we had to motor for a couple of hours. Early Wednesday morning treated us to more wind as we approached Bundaberg. We dropped anchor outside the Bundaberg Port Marina at 5.30am & had a well earned sleep while we waited for Quarantine & Australian Border Force to begin work at 9am.
After being directed onto the Quarantine dock we were inspected by Customs & also Quarantine. Aimee from Quarantine was very thorough, but we had no problems with anything which was a relief. We now had to start our paperwork to import PANNIKIN into Australia. Customs will not let us leave the marina until we have the paperwork started & we pay our import fee/GST. We needed a valuation of the boat & then our broker will organise the paperwork. We hope to have all this organised and completed by mid next week.
The last couple of days have been spent ducking into Bundaberg to get bits & pieces, Aussie sim cards for our phones and a general look around. It has been wonderful to get phone calls & emails from all our friends & family. It's nice just being able to pick up the phone & talk to someone whenever we want. Internet is so fast too!!!
Exercise is high on the list too!! Lots of walking and bike riding while we are at the marina. It is close to the small village of Burnett Heads - which is really lovely. A walk along the river early each morning has been great.
We are enjoying being back in Australia!
25/10/2015, Beachfront Resort anchorage, Luganville
Last Sunday & Monday we spent at an anchorage off Ratua Private Island Resort. The water was crystal clear & there was heaps of turtles...some very big. Steve had a great snorkel on the reef in front of the resort & saw heaps of fish. It was nice to get away from town for a while.
Tuesday morning back at Luganville we were greeted by a dugong swimming around the anchorage! He was in no hurry & was there for a least an hour. Ange's mum Lesley & nephews Samuel and James arrived late that afternoon - great to see them after so long. There was lots of catching up to do!
Wednesday was a day of exploring Luganville for Ange, Lesley & the boys while Steve stayed behind & tackled a few boat jobs. The town explorers were just about to enter the Visitors Information Centre when the earth started to shake...then it got really bad...we had to hold onto each other & a couple of locals to keep standing! Lots of people ran out into the middle of the street & even some ladies were screaming. After our initial fright, then understanding what was going on, it was a pretty awesome experience...about 20 seconds worth. Nothing was damaged but all the stock on shop shelves was thrown to the floor. Reports later said that it was a 7.3 earthquake...pretty big! We continued our shopping after that, checking out the local fruit & vege market and a couple of little handicraft stores.
Thursday morning Steve snorkelled with the dugong for about 15 minutes! We said goodbye to Geri & Richard on PANTHERA - they were heading to Brisbane that afternoon. We all piled onto PANNIKIN & headed north to a lovely anchorage near Oyster Island Resort. We visited the beautiful blue holes of Matevulu and Ri Ri, did some great snorkelling and swimming and then happy hour at the resort. Back to Luganville then on Friday afternoon. Samuel & James both had a turn on the helm!
Saturday we hired a car to take us to the north of the island. After taking a couple of wrong turns & driving on a really bad road we finally found the correct one & our trip was much smoother. First stop was gorgeous Champagne Beach. The water was so clear & beautifully blue and the sand was powder soft. We all had a swim & the boys a snorkel as well. Then onto Port Olry where we were spoilt - lobster lunch! This is a really beautiful spot as well. It would be nice to spend a week up there staying in the little bungalows & swimming in the blue, blue water. Finally to end the day we snorkelled at Million Dollar Point where the US Army sank a ton of jeeps, earthmovers & other equipment at the end of WW2. All just off the beach - great!
Today Steve did two dives on the SS President Coolidge - an ocean liner converted to a troop ship which hit one of the USAs own mines & was sunk off the beach. It is one of the world's most accessible wreck dives & not to be missed. The rest of us went to Santo Fire Walks & Cultural Village where we had a top time. Lots of singing & dancing, fire walking, basket & mat weaving - topped off with a traditional meal of taro and coconut chicken & spinach leaves all baked in a ground oven. We had a ball & the chief and his villagers were really lovely.
Sadly, our visitors head home tomorrow. We will check out of Vanuatu & start our journey to Australia on Tuesday. After nearly 3 years we are almost home! Look out Bundaberg...here we come!!