We have arrived safely in Lagos. Please check out where we are on the tracker and blog and come and join us for a cruise!
it's two years since we arrived in the Caribbean! We are now headed off to Europe via Bermuda and the Azores and finally ending up in Lagos. We decided to travel with the ARC again and are now in Nanny Cay in the final two days of getting ready. We have Neil and Bobbie from Pensacola and my niece's boyfriend, Jesper, from Luxembourg with us for the trip. Please continue to look at the blog and follow us on the tracker. You can go to the ARC website main page to see the rally including the other boats' positions.
We have now completed the trip to the Caribbean and are cruising here for the next while - Please go to the blog link at the top of the home page for updates and pictures. You can still go onto YB tracker from this link.
Please click on the above link to see the basic itinerary for the World ARC. We are joining in Darwin after sailing up from Brisbane via Mackay, the Whitsundays and Cairns. Our boat, a Lagoon catamaran, starts her new life with us leaving Brisbane in May 2015. Once we join up we will have a link to their yacht tracker so you can see where the fleet is and also where individual boats are. It's not necessarily a race though some take it quite seriously- but we won't be - our aim is comfort above speed! So you will see us bringing up the rear.....
We have been living on the boat while we get ready for the trip and Pete finishes day to day work. Dockside Marina has been a great place to stay - just around a bend in the river from the CBD with regular free ferries to the city and Southbank and a network of bikeways. The only downside was an unforcasted very savage hail storm that punched holes in our clears, damaged wind instruments up the mast and caused damage to the gel coat. Many many houses and cars were extensively damaged so we were lucky!
Plans to leave are going quite well. Lots of small cosmetic jobs, then others of a more necessary nature (secure rod holders, sort out tools, etc) then the essentials (anti foul, new standing and running rigging, service motors, replace rudder bearings, new trampolines, new anchor and chain to name a few) - not in any particular order at all! That goes with the territory for an older used boat I guess. So the boat has been hauled twice, the sail and mast off and on again - a shake down sail is next on the agenda.......
Our crew member Huw arrived last week and is helping us in unaccustomed heat (recently from NZ but before that UK!) Now he says that I have made him sound like a whinging Pom, which I can assure you he is not! Having said that though, I don't think we'd ever see him again to string trampolines! Not a job Pete ever wants to do again either. But they look fantastic.......lots safer too.
We've now got our new solar panels up and thanks to excellent work by Eric and his daughter Amy (Exact Metal Fabrications)they make a back porch too, keeping the sun from us by doing their job.....
Dave from Dave's Custom Trimmers has made a brilliant sail bag in addition to all the clears, sun shades and upholstery he has created for us. Top work!
The boat is looking tip top thanks to Calum from Affordable Boat Detailers who has buffed and polished away a lot of oxidisation. Now we have to keep it like that!
We finally left Brisbane on Wed 13th at 1pm - see the blog for more........
On the way to Mackay
On the way to Mackay
First stop was Moreton Island. Arrived Wednesday 13th May at nightfall (see the blog for small drama with the anchor). Lovely spot between the wrecks (deliberately sunk for a breakwater) which make great snorkelling. We tried out the GoPro but Pete had a setting wrong - so that needs revisiting. We fixed the anchor winch from the other night and went to Pete's house at Cowen Cowen (next bay around) to pick up some tools. There are interesting relics from WW2 on the Island from the defence of Brisbane. We'll probably leave on Sunday when the weather is better. Today we (at least Huw and Pete) are fixing the toilet!.
We left Moreton Island early Sunday morning and had a good days sail north and a rough night. that made us decide to skip going to Lady Musgrave Island and head straight to the Percy Island Group. We caught a good sized tuna on the way and had sashimi for lunch. We arrived there after a couple of really good fast days with the boat sailing really well. Middle Percy Island has a "Shack" on the beach where for years and years sailors have left mementoes. Really interesting - you could spend hours there looking at them and still not see them all. Marty and Jane are the current honorary custodians and invited us and the other people anchored there to a goat stew that night. Great fun and a big night. The next day Pete and I kayaked into the inland lagoon and saw some potential crabbing spots so we went back with the dingy and crab pots while Huw lay and recovered from last nights rum. We caught the biggest crab I've ever seen and it broke in half Pete's fishing knife with one claw! So we ate it for lunch. For those of you who are confused - they go orange when cooked....We made up our memento to leave behind - a broken winch handle engraved with Chat Eau Bleu and a limerick I wrote on a wine bladder! We left the Percys on Friday morning for a straight through sail for Mackay Marina, arriving just after nightfall. We'll spend the next week here doing odd jobs, repairs and maintenance. The new solar panels get wired up too.
In Mackay with the electrician Pete and son Patrick working on wiring the solar panels and the big forward and aft lights. Luckily we had booked them as the hot water heater broke on the way in - so they were able to fix that too. But it has put us a bit behind plans. Huw filled in some time making Moroccan preserved lemons that he says are perfect for couscous! Laura flew in from Melbourne to join Huw and us for the trip all the way though. So far the poor thing has only sat on a floating work site! She is a travel writer and blogger who has just walked the whole length of New Zealand! Link to her website. Gina and Rod who did the renovation work on the house at Cowan Cowan live here so we've had dinner with them and then lunch the next day at the Eimeo Pub with all of us and Pete's sister Kerry (who flew up from Brisbane) and her partner Dave. Fantastic views of the southern Whitsunday Islands and great food. Pete and I worked out a quick release system for the life raft (obviously hoping we'll never need it!) We're hoping to leave for Brampton Island in the next day or so.....
Well, we're nearly here! Left Mackay and sailed to Brampton Island where there is a resort that was abandoned about three years ago. All the rooms still fully furnished, pool tables in the outdoor bar area, tennis racquets and balls still at the courts! (Huw and Laura had a game with flat balls and holey racquets) There used to be a caretaker but we saw no sign of anyone. Everything is falling down now and overgrown. Quite sad. Everywhere we walked we disturbed clouds and clouds of beautiful bright blue butterflies. Pete revisited his childhood husking coconuts on the beach. We spent a day and night there then sailed to Thomas Island which has pretty beaches and a good shelter from the quite strong easterlies. After that was an overnight at Shaw Island then up to Long Island where there is another closed resort! Not sure of the story on this one but I remember it as the infamous Club Crocodile and more recently Break Free Resort. We are the only boat here. Tomorrow we go to Airlie Beach Marina to pick up Gina and Rod for 4 days sailing.
We are at Hamilton Island Marina now. This place is really busy with planes in and out all the time, joy ride helicopters private jets as well as boats of every size and shape - mostly large! See the blog for more details. We've had a great time snorkelling and kayaking around Hook Island for the last 10 days. Gina and Rod had work commitments and didn't come out in the end. Hook island has great anchorages in Nara and Macona Inlets which are both very sheltered and beautiful. We had a real mixture of wind, rain and sun, the overcast skies and rain being unseasonal apparently. Laura is new to sailing so we had some man over board practices with a fender called Wilson. The only trouble we had was with the public mooring buoys that weren't really designed for catamarans with regular anchoring lines, maybe the charter ones are set up especially for it but we had them bumping the side of the boat a bit. All the public areas and walks are well maintained but not too neat and tidy and precious. The sea is full of turtles and sting rays. We wondered why there was no snorkelling advertised in Macona inlet as we saw so much coral and sea life everywhere there. Maybe it has something to do with a mention that it is a breeding ground for hammerhead sharks??! Today Richard and Katrina arrive at the airport from Sydney for 5 days sailing. We plan to go to Whitehaven Beach after a few days in a sheltered spot to see out a high wind forecast.
We left Hamilton Island after picking up Richard and Katrina. Stayed the first night in Gulnare Inlet and had Katrina's 60th birthday party -see the blog..... Went to Whitehaven Beach the next day and everyone rushed ashore. Luckily Pete and I sat on the beach and looked at the boat for a bit and noticed it was drifting off out to sea! Katrina was on board as she was feeling sick and didn't notice. We zoomed out in the dingy and all was well. The anchor had caught in some weed it seemed and dragged. From there we went round to Tongue Inlet and walked up to look out over Hill Inlet. That is the photo you always see of the Whitsundays. Poor Katrina has been sick with a bad cold most of the time. Last two stops were Nara Inlet again where there is some really good unadvertised snorkelling just in the entrance, also a lot of cheeky cockies! Then Sawmill Bay for the next night before dropping K and R back to Hamilton for their flight back.
At Bowen now getting some provisions to last through to Cairns via Magnetic Island and Hinchenbrook. A well maintained little town with some lovely old buildings. they filmed the movie "Australia" here a few years back. We took the opportunity for a few haircuts.
We arrived in to Cairns 8th July having travelled through the Hinchenbrook Chnanel and via Magnetic Island. Lucinda at the southern end of the island has a 5 klm long jetty! We managed to have a few little adventures with a fishing line round the prop, a bucket overboard whilst trying to catch a mahi-mahi and a seasick crew member (Laura). but basically the sailing was great. (See the blog for more) I'm actually thinking of attaching all the pics to the blog in future and leaving these pages - I'll see what happens. Cairns is a great tropical city with lots of foreshore activity, markets, fresh food, water park, bars, restaurants etc.
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