Yellow Brick Road
24 November 2010 | Bundaberg Australia
Sancho: Blowing like hell. Wild Kangaroos in the field across the road!
Yellow Brick Road
We left Noumea on a less than ideal weather window following the Yellow Brick Road (Nav program) to OZ. Hope it's not all smoke and mirrors.
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! Blasting over the VHF really gets your attention.
"Can anyone hear me? I'm taking on water. All the thru-hulls are closed. I don't know where it's coming from. The pumps aren't keeping up. I think I'm sinking."
Aquila left Noumea at the same time we did and by 2000 hours he issued a mayday. By 2100 hours he was on board the sailboat Azzar, on his way to Brisbane and Neptune was playing with his new tubby-toy. A sad story with a very happy ending for one very lucky guy.
Aquila and Azzar , along with a dozen other boats, left New Caledonia for Australia within hours of one another. We all peruse the same weather info looking for a favorable window and scram when everything looks good. There were quite a few boats within a small area of ocean. Argonaut, Azzar was only a mile and a half behind and directly upwind of his position, making for a quick rescue operation.
Otherwise, our passage from New Caledonia to Oz was uneventful. Seas were lumpy for the first twenty four hours as the wind had been near gale for several days. Things had calmed down by day three and we were comfortable in 20-25 knots with periods of 30 all from 120 degrees, giving us two 165+ mile days. To balance the scale, the last day saw us sailing at 4 knots in 8-12 kts of breeze from dead aft.
Clearing into the country was much less painful than we'd been led to believe and we were good to go within an hour of tying up to the customs dock. Australia has a reputation for being a socialistic, bureaucratic nanny state and that part is true on paper. It's all in the application. With so many boats coming in at once, they were going crazy and patience was rewarded with a smooth experience
For some reason, they're paranoid about termites on entering boats in a country infested with termites! I guess they have a different kind. If Argonaut gets termites, I'll guarantee they'll be Aussie termites. I should be able to charge them for pest control instead of the other way around, don't you think? I know, I know, it doesn't work that way.
I'll get a photo album going as soon as there is something to photograph. The area around Bundaberg is as flat as a pool table. Mangroves and cane fields. Part Florida and part Bakersfield, Ca. Not particularly attractive. I hope it gets better.