Monthly Archives: December 2011

Heading Home

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Our last night in Coffs started with sundowners on Whimaway and then Kristi and Rick came around for a night of wine and cheese. Local cruisers we had met last time we were in Coffs when they had grabbed our lines back then and shown two very tired and stressed parents/newbie cruisers overwhelming hospitality, they are truly the kind of people that represent everything cruising should be about.

Sitting back with them in the saloon and talking about the passages and experiences we had been through seemed like a very fitting last night.

With the Pied Piper now knocking loudly on the side of the hull beckoning us, we decided to head from Coffs Harbour straight to Pittwater to get home as soon as possible. Slightly worse for wear (the second bottle of wine was probably not a good idea) we again left in company with Whimaway. It proved to be another magic overnighter, dolphins and whales close to the boat (a little too close!) and a fast sail with a near full moon.

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By sunrise we were past Port Stephens and spoke with Mix’d Nutz on the radio as they were leaving Shoal Bay. Almost 36 hours after leaving Coffs we were inside Pittwater. The sight of Lion island brought tears to both of our eyes, we were home, but also our time aboard our beautiful boat was, for the moment, nearly over.

We pulled into our old berth, not exactly gracefully, knocking the fire hydrant at the end of the berth, in our only berthing incident in months of cruising. Being very wide, easy to approach and very familiar, the irony was not exactly appreciated by all at the time. None the less, we were home, arriving in the middle of the “festival of sail” with boats and people everywhere, we were dismissed as been just another boat out for a day on Pittwater.

The band in the bar started playing “sitting on the dock of the bay” as we turned off the engine and opened a bottle of wine. The grandparents would be here shortly, eager to see Sophie after months away, then there were friends to see, errands to run and that piper character seemed to now be standing up at the bow shaking a finger at us and tut-tutting loudly. For the moment, however, we just sat and listened to the music and chatted, laughing as we watched our gorgeous daughter attempt, yet again, to dismantle the autopilot.

“Josie, You know if we headed up there and left from Coffs Harbour in April we could go across to Vanuatu and do the pacific thing…..”

“Yes honey, but maybe we should go and get some more corn chips and avocado first”…

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Southport- Coffs Harbour

After a few carefree days in Southport which also included couple of anxious phone calls home to work contacts and parents we were now very much behind our “intended cruise plan” ( the word schedule is very taboo in cruising circles, to use it even in whsipered tones is to tempt weather fate and most certainly doom one to all manner of storms and mechanical hold ups).

We left Southport in the middle of Melbourne Cup festivities in company with Whimaway to again take advantage of a very small weather window and had an uncomfortable start to the passage beating into large but decreasing seas. By the time Jo and Sophie went to bed however conditions aboard had improved considerably, by the early hours of the morning we had a warm westerly at 15 knots and with sheets eased and the moon shining as Dolphins swam past us and it was a magic sail. I put in my Ipod and decided to not wake Jo for her watch.

In planning this trip I had expected to enjoy the pretty places we would see, the islands and the beaches, to have fun meeting the new people we would meet, however it was these quiet but magic moments on sailboat moving easily before the wind and the moon that I had not expected.

We entered Coffs Harbour in the afternoon, had a very enjoyable dinner at the Yacht Club with Whimawa yand thought about how much had changed in the months since we had last arrived tired and terrified in Coffs Harbour after our first overnight passage.Sophboat