October 27, 2004
We spent just three nights in the Lousiades. After three months of the developing world we were ready for Western Civilization and the wind had shifted more out of the east as the southeast trade winds started their seasonal death. We had a perfect four-day sail to MacKay Queensland. The wind was east south east at twelve knots which meant a close haul sail in flat seas. Onora chewed up the miles averaging just under eight knots.
The first feelings in arriving back in "civilization" are very comforting. We immediately began enjoying the luxuries. Within three hours we had plugged in to shore power and washed the boat with fresh water. Jeannie had the wash going at the Laundromat and I had rented a car. We signed up for the wi-fi internet and were soon downloading email while sitting on the boat. We reactivated our cell phone and went out for dinner.
After three days in MacKay we had s seen one terrible movie (Bridget Jones), picked up an internet virus and been stopped for a breath test while driving home from dinner (passed). This was enough civilization for us so we left and headed for the uninhabited parts of the Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef.
We spent ten days in Brisbane. We give it four stars. Great restaurants, great bike trails and an active arts scene. The people are friendly. The city is built up on the river where we tied up in the center of the action.
Thanksgiving was spent with a family of five from Miami, four from Sweden and three from Australia. It is amazing how fast socially starved people can bond. We are now all best friends but had to say goodbye two days later and may never see each other again.
November 30, 2004
En Route to Sydney
Jeannie sleeps as we approach Sydney. My barometer and the red sky at dawn confirm the strong wind warnings issued by the coast guard over the VHF radio thirty minutes ago. We are sailing with just ten knots of wind on the beam and are making six knots with a double-reefed main sail shortened in anticipation of what is to come. We should just make it in before all hell breaks lose.
I called the Gladesville Bridge Marina when we dipped inside of cell phone coverage yesterday. Jody, the manager, assured me that at low tide we can make it under the bridge. We will have to take the antennas off the top of the mast. Every sailor has the nightmare of seeing the top of his mast hit a low bridge. I am not looking forward to this.
I am half way through "Trawler" a book about fishing in the North Atlantic in January. During the trip the crew averages three hours sleep in thirty. Each member becomes irritable and develops unusual behavior from the sleep deprivation. I see similarities in Jeannie.
December 24, 2004
We flew home last week to celebrate Christmas with the family after two weeks exploring Sydney.
Entering Sydney was much worse in anticipation than reality. The wind died. The temperature was over 100 degrees (40 C). The cruising guide that I was using was wrong and we had "heaps" of room to sail under the Gladesville Bridge according to accurate prediction of Jody, the Marina Manager.