Bodrum to Airlie Beach

30 November 2010
22 November 2010
22 November 2010
21 November 2010
13 October 2010
10 August 2010
02 June 2010
08 May 2010
24 March 2010
09 March 2010
17 February 2010
17 February 2010
17 February 2010

New Caledonia to Oz

22 November 2010
Log reading 22,150 nautical miles
Baie d'Oro, Ile des Pins, New Caledonia

I felt a mixture of excitement as we prepared for the final leg and some sadness that this was to be the last time the anchor would be weighed before Oz. We waved farewell to Lydie and Veronique, who were going to stay on the island, and hurried to get through the big reef system in good light.

It was a six day leg of motor-sailing which made it hard to sleep in the aft cabin, even with good wax earplugs. Winds improved a couple of times to allow us some sailing during the day, which helped our fuel rationing. We even got the cruising chute up tacked to the prod as well as poled out on bamboozle.

The grib files didn't look too bad but Mission Control reported that a storm was brewing for us and we had to keep up a good speed to arrive before it burst. The wet was much earlier in Oz than in previous years and more like the early eighties. An exceptional La Nina was to blame. The barometer held up reasonably well but the sky was becoming more overcast, with a few telltale signs of a likely blow.

Late one afternoon a booby decided to rest on our prod (an extended bowsprit used for attaching one end of the cruising chute, a type of spinnaker). The chute was down and I was delighted to find him or her still with us the following morning. Unfurling the headsail was not appreciated and I was glared at in no uncertain terms. Later it took to the air but I never saw it leave and therefore did not get a chance to check its booties (red or blue feet) or direction of travel. As we approached the Great Barrier Reef, a few more birds were sighted.

We were now in Australian waters and for the first time on the voyage I did not need a courtesy flag. The tide can be a big problem going up the wide channel between the GBR and the mainland. As we rounded the reef we were pleased that the moon phase gave us lesser tides and therefore a better run to Mackay. We still needed motor and sail to make good time and eventually reached Mackay marina to tie up at 2230 hrs on November 3rd. The bad weather had moved around us and although overcast with a sprinkle or two, we were left unscathed.

The weather worsened later that night and the following day we were glad that we were in. That night our good fortune was toasted with a legendary Atlas and all slept well.

Fandango had been told to tie up in a supposedly restricted immigration area and not leave the boat. A customs patrol boat was parked next to us and the following morning we braced ourselves for the expected circus. At 0830 nobody came apart from Cheryl and Di who lived in Mackay (Di sailed with us in Fiji). Cheryl went over to the customs and quarantine office at 0900 and was told that customs would let quarantine inspect the boat for them and that, despite two confirmed emails to Brisbane head office, local quarantine officers had not been told that we were waiting for them.

Two quarantine officers soon arrived and to our relief they were polite, professional and helpful. Having sacrificed a few minor items of food we were cleared to report to the customs office. Here again we found the officer polite, professional and helpful. Where were all the jackbooted gorillas we had been warned about? Entrapment, rough handling and agro - not a whiff. I would like to say that both quarantine and customs officers were exemplary but I won't mention their names in case their workmates give them a hard time. The weather was poor and there was no lively Linda but this reception made up for it.

We had lunch at the Mackay Sailing Club and after moving the boat to another pen the others left leaving me to tidy up until fairly late. I wanted a last night with Fandango on my own and there were things to do the following morning. She had been my home for the last nineteen months and tomorrow it would change. Heather arrived from Airlie the next morning. It was a very special moment. The weather changed from horrible to sunshine.
Vessel Name: Fandango
Vessel Make/Model: Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 39i (LOA 11.86m)
Hailing Port: Airlie Beach, Whitsundays (Registered Melbourne, Australia)
Crew: Andrew
About: See "Meet the Crew" in the Blog Locker
Extra: We like our grog but don't smoke.


Who: Andrew
Port: Airlie Beach, Whitsundays (Registered Melbourne, Australia)
There are more albums under Photo Gallery.Thank you to those who contributed photos.It was very hard deciding which ones of so many to show because of limited space available.