Sorry, I have been a bit slow on the blog side of things I know!
Here is the general wrap up.
The beginning of our trip last July was let's say unpromising.
The night before we headed off, we had dinner and beers with my brother in Law( also off on a adventure of his own in Europe). I was anxious to get going at 3am, so we bolted out of our slip at breakneck speed determined to make good time on passage to Port Stephens.
As we exited Broken Bay it became apparent conditions hadn't eased that much at all. I was shouting orders and we were heading out in the dark into 25-30 knots, and the seas were well big. We had our first reef in, but the second reef line was stubbornly stuck......My wife became horribly seasick, and of course it started raining, cold penetrating rain and I inexplicably was in Jeans and a inshore jacket it not having occurred to me to put on foulies before we headed out, so I was cold, soaked through and struggling to keep control of my boat, a really dumb situation.
As the sun came up I turned the boat around and headed back into Pittwater grabbing a mooring buoy at Coaster's Retreat. We had managed a total distance of 3 nautical miles from our slip. We wondered why we were doing this, perhaps the ocean was no place for us.
We had brunch and slept. We talked. We knew what we were doing, we just had to relax and do it............ The next morning we got up at 3am again, relaxed, made porridge and coffee and headed for Port Stephens.
10 hours later we dropped anchor inside Port Stephens. So excited that we had made a 75 nm passage successfully we cracked a bottle of Champagne and celebrated. How silly that now seems!
After a couple of days in Port Stephens our next passage was an overnighter to Coffs Harbour. 36 hours at sea double-handed with a baby......it would be our norm by the end of the trip but it is well tiring!
We arrived in Coffs with a screaming baby, exhausted and yelling at each other. Two local cruisers came up and grabbed our lines and then in subsequent days they drove us into town for supplies and fuel, brought us coffees and discussed future anchorages and passages. They were our first taste of cruising camaraderie and became friends of the sort that would take years to find living the life we were living in Sydney.
From Coffs we crossed the border into Queensland and then headed across the infamous Wide Bay Bar, we explored Fraser Island and then Bundaberg. We made it up the Great Barrier Reef, Lady Musgrave Island, Pancake Creek, Great Keppel Island, Rosslyn Bay, Pearl Bay, The Percy Islands, Digby Island, Mackay, The Whitsundays and beyond.
Great Keppel Island
Middle Percy Island
Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays
We relaxed........ alot
We stopped hurrying and started really cruising. We started talking to people..........on buses, in dinghies, on beaches, in shops and on marinas. We caught up with other boats from our yacht club cruising the coast as well which mean't there was no shortage of sundowners or advice. If the weather was good we sailed, or swam, or snorkelled....or not. If the weather was bad we fixed stuff, read, shopped or cooked.
We learn't alot about sailing and our boat. We learn't alot about cruising.
We wish it could of gone on forever, but we have returned to Sydney and are back at work.......for now. The initial hope was a couple of years of cruising. The reality was short of that.....however we still feel very fortunate that we got to do what we did.
We are now renewing the kitty so we can go again and realise some of our more ambitious cruising goals next time.