Mackay to Airlie Beach
22 November 2010
Log reading 22,220 nautical miles
The drive back to Airlie was interesting. It was good to be back home and see everything with fresh eyes. There had been some changes to the landscape. Soon Fandango was to complete her final step to her new home but for the next week I was on cloud nine as I temporarily swallowed the anchor.
The wet had arrived early and it rained everyday, sometimes very heavily. The following weekend it looked like being a little lighter and an opportunity to get Fandango up to Airlie. Our very good neighbours David and Linda, who had sailed with me around Morocco last year, joined Heather and I in moving Fandango to her new home.
We overnighted in a nice bay on Goldsmith Island. As with our last day to Mackay, the weather moved around us. Blue sky occasional overhead and dark rain clouds all around. We even saw lightening but it was not for us. Somebody was looking after us. Approaching Airlie up the Molle passage we saw a pair of turtles trying to mate in the water, an amazing sight.
Abel Point Marina was now close, the main was dropped and the headsail furled. I had done this hundreds of times before on other people's boats here but this time it felt a bit odd. We entered the marina to go into a very comfortable large pen. Our umbrella moved with us and brought a dry spell to our patient friends waiting by the berth. Champagne corks popped, some nibbles came out, a few photos and ... at 1340 hours on Sunday, November 14th 2010, it was mission completed.
And the can openers ...
After the loss of 9 can openers, Fandango had logged 22,220 nautical miles, approx 40,000 kilometres and equivalent to the circumference of the earth around the equator. Fandango spent two years on the water, including 97 days sailing through the night. Of her many passages, the longest was 19 days. She had been tested by 50 knot gusts and six metre seas. Separate volcanic eruptions had dusted her decks with ash and washed her hull with ash and pumice.
Would I do it again? No, because I have done it. Would I like to do something similar in the future? Perhaps not as long but most definitely.
My most uplifting moments include being on watch late at night and marvelling at a star-filled sky covering the ocean. I have seen creatures, landscapes, cloud formations and sunsets that defy description. Antiquity and culture have been fascinating. It's been sensational to see all these before we do any more damage to this delicate planet.
Most important of all, a very big thank you from Heather and me to those that joined Fandango on her voyage, as well as to those that supported her from afar. Thank you so much for your help, the photos and the happy memories. I wish Heather could have accompanied me for more than the six months that she did but the passages are not her idea of fun. Her support and patience were colossal.