Elevation - World Adventures

An occasional blog covering our world circumnavigation.

03 August 2019 | Sydney, Australia
02 July 2019 | Pittwater, NSW
15 June 2019 | Sydney, Australia
03 June 2019 | Perth, Australia
24 May 2019 | Fremantle, Western Australia
23 May 2019 | Perth, Western Australia
24 April 2019 | Newport, NSW
08 March 2019 | Blue Mountains, NSW
03 March 2019 | Sydney Opera House,
04 February 2019 | Bantry Bay, NSW
15 January 2019 | Woolloomooloo, Australia
12 January 2019 | SCG, Australia
11 January 2019 | Sydney Harbour, Australia
31 December 2018 | Sydney Harbour, Australia
30 December 2018 | Sydney Harbour, Australia
26 December 2018 | Sydney Harbour, Australia
25 December 2018 | Sydney Harbour, Australia
18 December 2018 | Pittwater NSW, Australia
17 December 2018 | Newcastle, NSW Australia

Living it up at The Lyric - I do, I do, I do, I do, I do!

10 August 2019 | Sydney, Australia
We recently had the opportunity to hear PJ Hogan, the award-winning Aussie director, speak candidly about both his professional and personal life. Amazingly, the lines between career and family are both interwoven and blurred. We discovered that the critically acclaimed 1994 comedy-drama "Muriel's Wedding" was inspired by his sister and her attempts to please their father, a prominent local politician whilst his later movie, "Mental", is based on his mother's breakdown and the secrecy around her illness.

I've always loved Muriel's Wedding and its allegorical characters; its overarching tale of friendship, empowerment and triumph, and of course, the catchy Abba tunes that effectively became the soundtrack to Muriel's life. So, when we discovered that Muriel's Wedding, The Musical, was returning to Sydney for an encore season, we were quick to organise another night out with our mate Margie.

What a fabulous evening it was at the Sydney Lyric! This large-scale theatre, nestled within "The Star", is the perfect venue for the cleverly adapted musical version of Hogan's iconic movie. Updated to tap into our 21st century, social media driven world, it still retains all the charm and complexity of the original. With music and clever, contemporary lyrics by Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall, this amazing Aussie show is the worthy winner of 5 Helpmann Awards, 7 Sydney Theatre Awards, one Awgie Award and the 2018 David Williamson Prize. Loved the way Benny, Bjorn, Agnetha and Frida were interwoven into the cast, rather than just including Abba tunes as background music; loved the ingenious use of technology by the award-winning set and costume designer Gabriela Tylesova; loved the brilliant orchestra. The vitality of the amazing, talented and engaging cast, with their big voices, energetic dancing and their entertaining and emotive performances totally drew in our audience. I know that the three of us left feeling light of heart, exhilarated and in awe of the talent of the Sydney Theatre Company. If you get the opportunity, be sure to see this show because "You're incredible Muriel !"

All energised and toe-tappingly delighted onboard.

Transition to Reality – Becoming “Locals”

03 August 2019 | Sydney, Australia
We've had an interesting few weeks whilst we've acclimatised ourselves once more to the luxury of the First World. We're comfortably ensconced in our quiet little Pittwater marina, tucked up and cosy and coping easily with the very mild East Coast winter .... in fact, July gifted Greater Sydney with daytime temperatures 1-2 degrees above average along with 20 consecutive days without rainfall. The nights are, however, chilly and we've retrieved our plush feather doona from the back of the lazarette to ensure we're toasty warm in bed. Having the luxury of shore power has also meant we can pump out some heat from our new ceramic electric heater (sadly our little NZ fan heater gave up the ghost) - bliss!!!

It's definitely easy living out at the Northern Beaches and we are making the most of the convenience which comes with being alongside. We've explored all along the peninsular and are totally across the facilities and services available to us. The public transport system is exceptional and our Opal cards get a regular workout both locally and for trips into the city. Uber, a service we haven't really used before arriving in Sydney, has generously offered weekly discounts which we've happily taken up when doing bulk shopping ... who needs a car??? We're mad about the weekly Beaches Market and have been blown away with the quality of the farm direct produce on offer. At the moment, we are absolutely loving the "straight from the orchard" citrus - sweet mandarins, luscious seedless oranges, vibrant blood oranges and plump, juicy limes - and the array of crisp heritage apples (personal faves being the Braeburn and the Crimson Blush varieties). We're becoming very well acquainted with the stallholders and stoked to have the recurring interaction; it's all very friendly and familiar. We're enjoying our regular walks into Newport for coffee by the beach ... you know you're becoming local when you own a well used loyalty card for your favourite café ... and we're thrilled to be able to try out the myriad of Pittwater restaurants and food outlets.

The B Line express bus gets us into the heart of Sydney within an hour, giving us the opportunity to attend some of the many events that are on offer. We had an amazing day at the recent Good Food and Wine Show where we got to see the fabulous Maggie Beer in action together with Matt Moran before we made the most of the opportunity to sample a fabulous array of produce. Loved Cheese Alley, overflowing with delicious dairy treats from both artisan and mainstream cheesemakers. Loved the extensive range of wines available from across Australia (Robert Oatley's Signature Series Chardonnay was a stand out for us, along with both the sparkling Chardy and the 97 point Cab Sav produced by Umamu Estate). Loved the opportunity to check out new products and just had to buy the unique Vantage Australia "Spirit of a Nation" both for the amazing combination of lemon myrtle, Tasmanian mountain pepperberries and mandarin oil and for the stunning bottles, each showcasing an iconic Aussie landmark (we of course chose "The Coathanger"!)

During our global circumnavigation, we fell in love with the food and wine of France, enjoying it in the many islands across the planet that were influenced by "Le Marin" explorers and adventurers. Here in Sydney, there is an annual four day Bastille Festival held across Circular Quay and The Rocks. I was curious as to why this was "a thing" here and discovered that had Cook not arrived in Botany Bay in 1770, we may well have become a French protectorate. The much decorated Jean François de Galaup, Comte de La Pérouse, arrived off Botany Bay whilst in command of a two vessel scientific expedition ( L'Astrolabe and La Boussole) on 24 January 1788. He was met by the First Fleet, also just arrived, and courteously invited to spend time at the new British colony, subsequently landing in what is now known as Frenchmen's Bay. The expedition spent six weeks in the Botany area, establishing an observatory and kitchen gardens, collecting local flora and geological samples, plus reprovisioning with fresh water. The group departed for New Caledonia in March 1788 and were never seen again. The 19th century French naval officer, Captain Hyacinthe de Bougainville arranged for a commemoration monument to be erected at Frenchman's Bay in 1825 and today, the surrounding suburb is named La Perouse in the explorers honour. Interestingly, 0.47% of the local population claim French heritage, including our great mate, restauranteur Antoine Moscovitz , who we are looking forward to spending time with at Bellevue Cottage once we are back in Sydney Harbour. We, along with our friend Margie, spent a sunny Saturday as full on Francophiles - slurping on delicious Sydney Rock oysters prepared by the team of Michelin Star experienced chef Raphael Szurek; tasting the wares of the Parisian Foodie Village; ambling through the 1.4 Km Bastille Wine Walk and indulging in sensational desserts from the Gourmet Produce Alley. C'est magnifique!!

This week, we've been busy with the Sydney International Boat Show, which gave us an opportunity to catch up with our 2007 shakedown crew member Peter and his lovely wife Sheila. We were thrilled to discover that Peter is heading this way in his new to him Hanse yacht later this year and we will look forward to sharing some Sydney water time over the summer! We also caught up with the inimitable Trevor from Freo's Yacht Grot, newly retired after just handing over the reins (and the unique cash register) of his iconic chandlery. We hosted Christo and Daunie (ex SV More Magic) for dinner and a sleepover onboard - a night filled with much fun and frivolity with like minded cruisers who we first met in Borneo in 2011.

Life can't all be about provisioning, exploring, events and friends - we've also been busy getting a few maintenance matters out of the way and lavishing Elevation with love and polishing. I've started a Creative Writing Course which I am really enjoying - it's been a long time since high school English classes and it's really helping me to reflect, review and upskill my literary abilities.

Our "TTR" is happening seamlessly, although we retain the fire and curiosity now engrained in us from cruising and are always looking for interesting opportunities and happenings. All well at the dock.

Windows of Opportunity

02 July 2019 | Pittwater, NSW
It's amazing to think we've already been back in the east for almost a month now, comfortable and snug in a small marina whilst completing all our preparations for travelling north. We have worked on filling our freezer with all manner of delicious items, including a large selection of very tasty "ready meals". Some of these, like warming and hearty soups, we've created in our trusty NZ sourced slow cooker - ahhh, the joys of shore power !! Paul, however, has had occasion to curse our frozen abundance - during mid June there were massive blooms of "Jellyblubbers" all across Pittwater and due to their curiosity around our hull, several managed to get sucked up into our refrigeration intake. The only way to remove them was to dive down and clear them .... not a fun experience with a water temp of less than 10C - it's definitely not the warm tropical water that we're accustomed to. We've gone through our usual check list, cleaned and stowed away all our non essential items and passage proofed our lockers. We've also checked and tested everything from stem to stern plus loaded up with provisions, including a couple of packets of cold and flu tabs .... just in case. We are well and truly ready and prepared for sea; paradoxically, our old mate Huey is not playing nice.

Having pinpointed what looked like a good three day forecast a few days ago, we retrieved our lines and headed off out to sea. Once clear of Broken Bay, it became apparent that the conditions we were experiencing were nothing like the forecast; the 15-20 knot south easterly was instead a boisterous and absolutely freezing 20-25 SSE blow which was regularly gusting beyond 30 knots. The sea state was ugly and the swell, fed by the blustery conditions, was lumpy and uncomfortable. Ahead towards Terrigal, the sky was darkening rapidly, always a portentous sign. As it began to drizzle, we made the decision to bail out, swung around and returned to the safety and calmness of Pittwater. Calling the marina manager, we were pleased to learn a berth was still available and we arrived wet, cold and grateful some 2 1/2 hours later, the only upside of our day being able to see northerly migrating whales. Having sailed in excess of 60,000 nautical miles on our world circumnavigation, we don't need to battle the elements unnecessarily.

As we continue to incessantly check the weather, looking to identify another appropriate window to make for the Gold Coast and beyond, we've been noticing several patterns. Sudden increases in the barometric pressure, especially as it climbs to 1040 and beyond, foretell strong to gale force winds with vicious southerlies then whipping up the sea state and the swell. High pressure systems sitting in Aussie lower latitudes translate to strong SE conditions between the Central Coast and the Sunshine Coast. These deep systems are a reminder of the conditions we encountered on the West Coast back in 2010 ... on the Indian Ocean side, it translated to howling, ongoing strong easterlies meaning that for much of our passage to Darwin we were beating to windward. For the southern Tasman, it means unbelievably cold conditions and big swell - in fact over the last few weeks there have been numerous strong wind warnings issued by BoM and several hazardous surf warnings. Further north, a consistently blustery SE configuration is evident. It's making it challenging ....

So, we've now made the decision to stay south in 2019. Time spent on unexpected maintenance plus our trip back to Perth (which was delightful for so many reasons) has clearly eaten into transit times and to be honest, we have no appetite for battling adverse conditions. There's a lot to love about the region we are currently calling home, with so many beautiful and sheltered bays to explore, as well as land excursions within the Northern Beaches and further afield. The luxury of absolute first world facilities - shopping, entertainment, transport - will no doubt help as we sit at 35 degrees South and experience our first winter in almost 10 years. We've dragged out blankets and our little fan heater and are toasty warm, cosy and comfortable.

All well onboard.

A Vivid Valediction

15 June 2019 | Sydney, Australia
Vivid Sydney, now in it's eleventh year, is a fascinating and fabulous light show fittingly touted as Australia's most loved and awarded festival. Running from mid-May to mid-June, it's a four week full on extravaganza of amazing light installations, visual art and mesmerising laser projections. What better way to mark our last wintery 2019 weekend in the City of Sails than to enjoy an evening Vivid Harbour Cruise with our local mate Margie?

Arriving at Kings Wharf, we clambered onboard the restored historic ferry MV Royale and staked our places topside on the port bow. The clear night sky and the calm conditions made it an ideal, if somewhat chilly, evening for a 90 minute tour of wonderful Sydney harbour, a place that we have certainly come to love during our time here. Luckily we had all dressed for the conditions - jeans, jackets, scarves and boots, with gloves and beanies in reserve ... just in case! We departed the dock just after 1830, chugging out past the changing kaleidoscope of underwater imagery projected onto the roof of the National Maritime Museum and around the point at Barangaroo. The laughing face of Luna Park was to our left as we glided under the "Coathanger" and across to Farm Cove where we hovered to take in the splendour of the stunningly decorated sails of the Opera House. This year's Lighting of the Sails display, entitled "Austral Flora Ballet" beautifully showcased the work of Chinese-American artist Andrew Thomas Huang. What an amazing amalgamation of colourful and vibrant floral images - it's no wonder this display has been most photographed aspect of Vivid 2019.

Replete with the vibrancy of the sails, we then took a slow turn around the cove, coming face to face with the spectacle of the Sydney Harbour Bridge's "City Sparkle", a masterpiece of flashing, flickering colourful light beams. The pulsing lasers illuminated the silhouette of the iconic steel spans, the beams reaching up as if to touch the waxing half moon as it sat high above the bridge's curves. We motored past Milsons Point, where the rotating ferris wheel and the vibrant glow of Sydney's much loved amusement park added to the Vivid vibe, before once again entering Darling Harbour, just in time for their Saturday night fireworks display. What a bright and brilliant night - highly recommended if you happen to be in Sydney in late autumn/early winter!

All vibrantly vivid and well in the city.

Celebrate Good Times - Milestones

03 June 2019 | Perth, Australia
Sharing special times with loved ones is precious and the last week of our West Aussie trip was a full on, non stop party. We celebrated Paul's new "Tax Free" status with our amazing WA tribe - thanks to everyone who joined us on the Sunset Deck on a stunning late autumn day for a fantastic afternoon of fun and camaraderie. It was such a pleasure to catch up with you all!

We've been hanging out for an opportunity to make our first visit to Optus Stadium, the 60,000 seat, state of the art sports arena, which opened at Burswood in January 2018. Luckily for us, a Fremantle home game happened to fit in with our tight schedule. What a magnificent venue ... we were absolutely wowed by the facilities, the views and the location. Gotta say it's just so great to see how Perth has grown up in the last few years; of course it's refreshing to see that irreverence remains part of our culture with the very apt nickname "The Craypot" being coined very early in the stadium's history! The after the siren kick by Son-Son to claim a thrilling one point victory for the Dockers was the perfect outcome for our first attendance at an AFL game in a very long time. Love, love, love the lighting of the stadium and the new Matagarup Bridge and we'll certainly look forward to seeing much more purple at both locations in the future.

We spent a couple of days helping to cook up a storm for a very special engagement party; our efforts ensuring the desserts table was groaning with all manner of tantalising treats. We delighted in catching up with family and it was a real treat to see how our gorgeous little great niece has grown. We had a very entertaining afternoon with some amazing ANZers reminiscing (thanks Mitch for the all the laughs from the showing of our c1979 Christmas Party movie ... so many happy moments and memories relived!!)

Our last "event" was an interview with a West Aussie journalist, covering our circumnavigation and our liveaboard lifestyle, another proud moment for us both. We completed our local business, activated our newly minted credit cards and packed our bags for a return to the East and a season of coastal cruising in Aussie tropical waters.

Thanks again to all our wonderful West Aussie peeps - love you all madly and looking forward to seeing some of you in the Whitsundays soon !!!!

Celebrate Good Times - FSC

24 May 2019 | Fremantle, Western Australia
Our lightning West Aussie trip has been filled with so much bacchanal and celebration you could be excused for thinking "we been liming like a boss!" Our first "event" was a huge night at Fremantle Sailing Club where we'd been invited to present to the Cruising Section. What a treat it was to return to our club, catch up with long time sailing friends and to meet new to us members over dinner and drinks before we set up for our session on "Sailing in the San Blas Islands" in the Wardroom. The Cruising Section, ably managed by Cruising Captain Robbie Hayes Hurst, opened the evening by showcasing the newly updated Circumnavigators Board and inviting ourselves, the legendary Jon Sanders and fellow world sailor Warren Batt (represented by family) onstage. What a thrill and an honour to now have our names emblazoned in perpetuity at FSC; it's another massive bucket list item ticked off! We feel beyond proud, completely estatic and truly grateful.

We then launched into our presentation on the San Blas/Guna Yala, one of our top 5 cruising destinations. Job done, we were then blown away to discover we'd been selected as FSC's "Cruisers of the Year". This prestigious annual award is usually announced at the club's AGM and we were absolutely stunned that the Cruising Section, and our club, had chosen to break with the usual protocol and bring forward their announcement to coincide with our short visit . Beyond delighted and grateful to all involved, we finished the evening sipping on bubbles and chatting with friends and club members about all things sailing!

All super exciting and well in the West!
Vessel Name: Elevation
Vessel Make/Model: Buizen 48 Mark II
Hailing Port: Fremantle, Western Australia
Crew: Paul & Jill
After deciding to live our dream of sailing the world, one day at a time, we left home in April 2010. Since then, we've cruised the West Australian coast, the Kimberley, Northern Territory to Darwin, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. [...]
Extra: When we're at sea, we are contactable via a slow speed Email service we access through our HF radio. If you wish to touch base, send a message to vnw5919@sailmail.com. No photos or attachments though, as they won't transmit!
Home Page: http://nococonuts.wix.com/sv-elevation
Elevation's Photos - Main
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Created 11 April 2018
11 Photos
Created 10 April 2018
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Days 1-4 of Our 2 Island Road Trip
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Created 25 March 2018
A few snaps of our recent road trip with friends Paul and Heather
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Created 12 April 2017
A Day Trip to Kingstown
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Created 21 May 2016
A Day Out on the Coast
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Created 16 June 2006