Landfall at Bundaberg!
20 September 2010 | Bundaberg QLD
I am thrilled to report that we are back in Oz having made landfall in Bundaberg late last week. We feel a mixture of emotions: elation, a huge sense of achievement, exhaustion and excitement. The passage from Noumea was a delight - calm seas, light winds and generally easy. With Grandad Pete on board it was especially nice getting a 6 hour sleep stretch at night instead of our usual 3 hours on 3 hours off with just JD and myself.
Highlights of the passage were: sighting whale spouts, JD's bacon and eggs on the BBQ for breakfast, Grandad Pete's beef bourguignon, kids making pancakes for breakfast, seeing land at Fraser Island.
It feels bloody good to be home and to be back in a land where we are on the same time zone, everyone speaks the same lingo and our mobile phone works and is not horrendously expensive to use!
We are enjoying being in a classic country town like Bundaberg where the main street has everything you could possibly want from a bakery to a pie shop, chemist, supermarket etc. We have had our first meat pie and a juicy steak at the local pub. Don't fear Grandma Nades, we are also going beserk in the fruit and vegie aisle of the supermarket. This really is the land of plenty!
Yesterday we had a lovely time at the Hinkler museum learning all about one of our pioneer aviators who was born in Bundaberg and was the first person to fly from England to Australia in a lightweight glider plane. With lots of interactive exhibits the kids had a great time. We then reacquainted ourselves with Australian native plants in the adjacent Botanical Gardens.
We have just heard that we are fully cleared from a Customs perspective having coughed up the necessary import fees (ouch!). All went smoothly excepting for the somewhat ridiculous quarantine requirement that we must have a sniffer dog inspect our 3 year old boat for termites. There is absolutely no evidence of such a problem but due to the fact that we have wood panelling and we have spent a significant part of our trip in what are considered high risk areas. The prospect of a termite flying in a window whilst we were at anchor or termites swimming onto the boat seems unlikely. We looked into Fido joining us in Bundaberg but given he would have had to be put up at a hotel (the Hilton I suppose) we have decided to now book in Fido for when we are in Southport. The whole exercise will cost us in excess of $1000 which is the most irritating part of it all. Suffice to say I shall be addressing my complaints formally to Australian Customs and Quarantine! It is no wonder some yachties choose to head to New Zealand and bypass Australia altogether.
Grandad Pete joined us in Noumea and sailed the final leg across to Bundaberg with us. It has been a delight having Grandad Pete on board - he is always great company and a pleasure to have as a guest. At 82 he is quite extraordinary - after crossing the Atlantic with us last year, he visited Uzbekistan before spending his usual sojourn on his canal boat "Robert" on the French canals. Then Pete chartered a yacht in the Adriatic, took a cruise from Vancouver to Alaska and had a couple of weeks sailing around the Vancouver islands. Amazing stuff - let's hope we can all be as active and healthy at his age!
Next up we will head out to Lady Musgrave to meet the Brisbane Dransfield relatives who are coming up on the big Manaroa Bay motor cruiser. Weather permitting, we are hoping to hang out there and also at Fitzroy Lagoon for the next 10 days or so. The jury is out as to whether we duck up to the Whitsundays after that (Skipper JD's preferred plan). Alternatively, we may just head south calling into to visit friends and relatives at Mooloolaba, Brisbane, Southport and Coffs before heading for Pittwater late October, early November. Hoping this finds you all healthy and happy. We are very excited about seeing everyone later in the year and swapping some stories!
Ciao for now from the Nikas.