Sailing in my Sarong Around the World

World circumnavigation on yacht Valiam & Caribbean to Turkey on yacht Lati

The Adventures of Linda and Captain Underpants!

Who: Linda and Bill Anderson. To buy our books 'Sailing in my Sarong' or 'Salvage in my Sarong' for $39.95 +postage, see Paypal/visa button below (or email us: valiam1@hotmail.com)
Port: Mooloolaba, Queensland, Australia
Linda's books "Sailing in my Sarong" or "Salvage in my Sarong" are A$39.95 each + A$10 postage in Australia for up to 4 books. Other countries please email Linda : valiam1@hotmail.com
Number of copies of each book you would like
Salvage in my Sarong

The night was dark and stormy and the lightning scary as hell

23 January 2015 | Ballina - Byron Bay
The night was dark and stormy and the lightning scary as hell

The feeling of foreboding wouldn't go away on the morning of the 19th January in Coffs Harbour as we prepared to depart. (I had this feeling once before before on a horrible trip on Lati in the Med when the gearbox blue up in strong winds. ) At 6am we woke our neighbours on Zefr who had offered to help us untie Valiam. As Bill reversed out of the pen the bow line became tangled on the cleat on the dock. 'Wait! ' I called out. But we couldn't.
'Release the line!' called out Gary. I had no choice but to throw the line to Anna, leaving it behind. Valiam wasn't sure about leaving that day either.

As we headed out to sea turning our nose north towards Southport, a nice southwesterly had us sailing at 7.5 knots. We reached Ballina by 7pm and we began talking about sailing all night to Mooloolaba. Until we looked at the rain radar.

There were heavy rain squalls and storms to the northwest of us.
' Looks like there's some lightning in that,' said Bill thoughtfully looking into the gloomy darkness.
' Let's turn around! We always do that at sea to run away from storms,' I replied panicking and continually looking at the nasty looking orange blotches on the radar.
At 7.54pm we turned south again. The conditions weren't very pleasant heading into the wind. After 2 hours at 9.23 we could see the storm was north of Byron and looked like it was heading away from us. We messaged our son Liam and he thought so too.

We were wrong. A small storm near Mullimbimby became bigger and joined forces with the Cape Byron one. By this time the sky was becoming a light show. I felt sick. So at 17 mins past midnight Bill had to turn Valiam south again. We were running the engine, the autopilot and kept up the reefed mainsail. I put all our devices - IPad, sat phone, my phone in the oven and kept out Bill's phone for navigation . (Metal box is supposed to protect these things from lightning) As we headed south again into the choppy waves, rain and lightning seeming so close, I felt the fear making my mouth dry. As I remarked on this Bill said, 'Yeah my mouth feels dry too..'

There was to be no sleep for either of us that night. By 2.35am, there appeared to be a gap in the storms on the radar so we turned north again. I was not so confident and we really didn't know which was the best direction to head other than AWAY from these awful monsters. Going north was with the wind but against the current so it was slower. 45 minutes later at 3.13am the Cape Byron storm began moving towards us. So we turned south again. The sky was an electric light show. Thunder rumbled loudly and the waves began to build. I felt sea sick despite the medication.

Occasionally I would grab my iPhone out of the oven and check the radar. The Mullimbimby storm had joined forces with the Byron storm and was growing in intensity. The Ballina storm began moving Southeast off Ballina where we were. Bill turned the boat more east. It was becoming so scary. In some ways I was like an ostrich denying what was happening. How did we get ourselves in this predicament? Bill was out in the cockpit harnessed, wet and exhausted. He decided to crawl out to the stern to drop the metal windvane paddle into the water to hopefully act as a lightning conductor. When the lightning flashed all around us it was blindingly bright.
' I can see giant forks of lightning hitting the sea,' Bill said
' I don't want to see them. I don't want to go sailing anymore,' I moaned miserably.

At 4.04 am we were on the edge of the storm off Ballina. Scared shitless. We were a sitting duck. I was too scared to touch anything made of metal even a drinking cup. But when you are in it what can you do? We just kept going steering more north east now as another storm was heading southwards close to land. Out to sea. Out to sea felt safer. The Internet became weaker but we used our eyes to determine where the least lightning was.

By 7.18am, the skies finally began to clear. Dolphins came to cheer us up and a ship passed by. A flying fish lay on the deck and we talked jokingly about having it for breakfast as we hadn't eaten anything except biscuits. Shattered and exhausted we continued back towards Byron Bay. We lost 12 hours of passage making north due to the electrical storms. The skies and ocean were a steely grey. Mutton birds flew around us.

By 1pm we could sit in the cockpit and eat a sandwich. There was enough wind to turn the motor off. Once things settled, Bill fell into bed exhausted and I kept watch.
During the night and in the morning my Women who Sail Australia Facebook friends kept in touch with me lending moral support. They planned to have a glass of champers as soon as we arrived safely in Southport. We also received advice about the most sheltered anchorage. We decided to go to 'Bums bay', the Marine stadium anchorage.

At 4pm we anchored at the entrance of bums bay near the Aquaduck boat ramp and Marine Rescue building. This was after a cranky old man on a schooner told us we were stupid to anchor near some blue plastic buoys. They are markers for jetski races. How were we to know?

Finally settled, we watched the passing scenery and the sun set behind the high rise with a glass in hand. Once I posted my pic of me on the WWSA site, women from around Australia and overseas did the same. It's such a great support group so another thank you girls!

These pics were taken the next morning. No photos of the storms
Comments
Vessel Name: Valiam
Vessel Make/Model: Valiam: Lidgard 45 (Single chine plywood) designed by Gary Lidgard. Built by Bill Anderson and Steve Thornalley. Lati: 31ft 1967 Kim Holman built in Barcelona. Original name Latigazo
Hailing Port: Mooloolaba, Queensland, Australia
Crew: Linda and Bill Anderson. To buy our books 'Sailing in my Sarong' or 'Salvage in my Sarong' for $39.95 +postage, see Paypal/visa button below (or email us: valiam1@hotmail.com)
About:
Bill and Linda fufilled a 30 year dream to sail around the world. First they built a boat in a paddock in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, Qld, Australia in 1994 with the help of friend Steve. [...]
Extra:
CIRCUMNAVIGATION ON VALIAM: We left Mooloolaba on the 7th November 2007, sailed to Townsville, leaving Australian waters on 26th November 2007 for PNG, Palau, Philippines, Borneo, Malaysia,Singapore, Cocos Keeling islands. We crossed the Indian Ocean to Rodrigues, Mauritius,Reunion and South [...]
Social:
Valiam 's Photos - Valiam (more albums below) (Main)
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My work is of an expressionist nature - I capture what I see from life. I draw and paint on location using mostly pastels, inks and occasionally acrylics. Some works are framed but many arent so are easily packaged for posting. You can pay by PayPal or Direct Deposit. I am located on the Sunshine Coast, QLD< Australia
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The Adventures of Linda and Captain Underpants!

Who: Linda and Bill Anderson. To buy our books 'Sailing in my Sarong' or 'Salvage in my Sarong' for $39.95 +postage, see Paypal/visa button below (or email us: valiam1@hotmail.com)
Port: Mooloolaba, Queensland, Australia
Linda's books "Sailing in my Sarong" or "Salvage in my Sarong" are A$39.95 each + A$10 postage in Australia for up to 4 books. Other countries please email Linda : valiam1@hotmail.com
Number of copies of each book you would like
Salvage in my Sarong
"You just sit on the boat, pull a few strings and you get there." Bill Anderson aka Captain Underpants