JOURNEY COMPLETED – Returned to Aussie.
Wow – we had the most amazing experience last night – S L E E P – a whole 10 hours of it!! After 7 days at sea doing 2 hour night watches I’ve worked out there’s a sleep debt of around 40 hours to catch up on.
But the best part of it all is we’re back in Aust – we made it and it’s all a bit surreal at the moment. Sitting here in Mackay Marina the boat’s not moving a bit and the guys on the TV are actually speaking in English not French. It’s like we’ve never been away.
The good things about being back:
• Australian wine – that’s very important, don’t under-estimate this one. Repeat very important. French wine is crap.
• People speak in a language you can understand (that could actually fall into the bad category too though)
• We’ll have a Sunday paper this week (albeit a bloody Qld one)
• My phone bill will be dramatically reduced
• El Capitaine is in a better frame of mind already knowing the worst is behind him (journey wise)
• Not spending money not knowing what I’m really spending
The bad things about being back:
• No more French cheeses (they were amazing and so so cheap)
• No more cute French men singing ‘Merci Madame’ when you buy something – trust me it sounds pretty good (ok, the ‘cute’ bit might have been an exaggeration)
• No Noumea markets with amazing people, produce and soup bowls of coffee
• No more interesting cruising boaties to meet
But quickly (you know how short my emails are) this is how the 7 days at sea went (non boaties you may not want to read this stuff!):
We left Noumea exactly (to the bloody hour actually) last Thursday afternoon in a good 20kt SE wind with a large SE swell to match. So the first 24 hours was spent trying to actually keep the boat speed down as we were regularly hitting 10-12 kts and at one point our highest so far at 16.something knots (too shocked to read the rest of the speed). So when we average our estimated voyage time based upon a speed of 6 knots you can imagine that 16 knots is pretty quick for us (considering all the sails we had out was just a double reefed main).
Then would you believe it no bloody wind for the next 12 hours. Strange. But all in all weather wise we did ok – it was a definite washing machine out there with the seas getting really (and no, I’m not exaggerating this time) large 5-6m swells. No storms hit in the middle of the night and the most the winds reached was probably only around 30-35kts. So all in all survivable (and I didn’t even feel seasick this time) – god drugs are good.
The only highlight would have been the goddamned autopilot (recently replaced) completely failing at 11pm one night. Couldn’t get it working. Computer was all new so wasn’t that and by about 6am resolved ourselves to the fact we were handsteering for the 3 days remaining. So after popping an extra strength caffeine enriched ‘No Dose’ and already sitting at the helm for over 6 hours handsteering it would be putting it mildly to say I was a little out of it. In fact I was near hallucinating. Didn’t know when I spoke if I spoke or if I was dreaming. Very very weird – sleep deprivation is hell.
However, my amazing (he was this morning) El Capitaine kept slaving away (yes, there was obvious cursing) and stuffed around with the motor on the autopilot and would you believe a few taps on the friggin (putting it mildly again) motor with a 50cent screwdriver and would you believe it – up it fired. Bastard of a thing. I was in heaven.
Countdown of the days:
Day 1 – Ignorance is bliss – ignore the fact we’re going to be at sea for 7 days
Day 2 – Bugger, we’re still here, better think of something to do
Day 3 – Oh yeah, that’s why there’s books and movies, are we still talking to each other yet?…
Day 4 – Oh yes, only 3 days to go
Day 5 – Cleaning, cleaning and more boat cleaning (’cause we’re nearly home)
Day 6 – Yes, we’ve entered Australia and have ducked in behind G/Barrier Reef
Day 7 – Land ahoy (the best best feeling about)
Off to reprovision which will take me all day and hopefully Quarantine will have given us the all clear by then (they actually put cameras under the boat to check it out)!
Great to be home guys (can you tell?!)
Fiona & Russell.