Our adventures in 2017 don’t seem like a distant memory just yet, but for those of you who wanted to know what else we did after August 2017 (when I last wrote in Vanuatu), we’ve been busy working, studying and acclimating back to the pace of Sydney life.
Australia Day 2018:
Rewind to the end of September 2017: After meeting up with our friends Loreta, Nathan, Marc and Nicole who we hosted on board for about 5 days around Port Vila in Vanuatu, we flew to Tanna and spent 2 days exploring the amazing volcano.
After flying back to Vila from Tanna, we hurriedly cleared out of customs, refuelled and restocked the boat then met our friends at their hotel for a huge Italian feast on our last night in Vanuatu.
The next morning, we left them on land to fly back to Australia and we had a great 3 day passage over to New Caledonia where we cleared in @ Noumea, then picked up a mooring at Ilot Maitre and proceeded to spend the last 5 weeks of our adventures kiteboarding and enjoying sunset drinks with other yacht friends. We did not feel like exploring any more at that stage and spent our time hauling the boat out to install the depth sounder, and putting another layer of antifoul on the hull. We then proceeded to hit a coral in the mooring field at Maitre, and hauled out again to tidy up the small scrape (that I take full responsibility for).
We had an uneventful dream passage from Noumea, New Caledonia back to Australia as we were aiming for any part of the Australian East coast (from Bundaberg to Newcastle), but luckily the wind cooperated and we were able to maintain a course to clear in at our first choice of Newcastle where customs was a breeze and Andy’s dad, Colin met us for a little sail down from Newcastle to Lake Macquarie.
In Lake Macquarie, it was lovely to spend a couple of nights visiting with Andy’s dad and step mum after nearly 8 months travelling. When they asked what we’d like to eat, I said, “anything besides cabbage or banana.” I also really appreciated doing ALL of our washing that we’d been saving up for about 2 months since Vanuatu. The luxury of land life was short-lived as the tides in Lake Macquarie meant that we had to leave sooner than we expected or risk scraping the sandy bottom on our way out of the shallow, rarely dredged channel.
When we arrived back in Sydney at the end of November 2017, we originally believed we had organized a mooring at the marina we had the boat at before, but that was not the case, so it was a nerve-wracking few weeks having the boat anchored in Blackwattle Bay in Sydney before we found our new home at Northbridge Marina…where we’ve been for nearly a year!