After a great road trip in Far North Queensland, where we encountered Road Trains, Cassowarys and lots more, Chris and I got back to Airlie on the 4th to reclaim KAT and get her ready for the trip home. We spent a few days unearthing all the stuff we had stowed while we were in Airlie and getting the boat ready for our new crew and her journey home. On Friday we were joined by Susan, Roland Jackie and Robert and 8am Saturday saw us leaving Abel Point Marina and bidding a fond farewell to the Whitsundays!
We’ve had a wonderful week of sailing so far, calling at Shaw Island, Middle Percy, Island Head and Yepoon, where we sadly left Roland behind us, actually; dumped him on the side of the marina at 6am without even a cup of coffee inside him is a more accurate description, sorry Roland, what a way to say thanks for all your good crew work!
Once again we headed off and put in some pretty long days sailing, Pancake Creek followed and then up early to head down inside the great Sandy Straits. It was a really hot day so once we were at the bottom of Hervey Bay we anchored at a tiny deserted Island and everyone got off for a walk and a swim. We’ve seen whales everyday except in Hervey Bay by teh way – where they are supposed to be. Our lovely light northerlies continued and we sailed on to Kingfisher, Mooloolaba and eventually the Gold Coast where we dropped Jackie off, much to our disappointment – she is the best storyteller – we are really going to miss her elaborate tales of the life of Jackie By the way Jackie, if you read this, we have been keeping your watch system and asking Chris “what if…?” every five seconds!
The wind was due to be very very strong on Monday (yesterday) so we had a rest day at the Gold Coast, restocking the boat etc. The forecast for today was for light southerlies and then northerlies so we got up at 5.30am this morning, checked that the forecast was still the same and headed out the seaway. And light it was for a while, but then the wind got stronger and started blowing directly from the South, at about 10am there comes a wind warning over VHF 30kt southerlies for the next 20 hours, those of you who sail will know what thats like, those of you who don’t, I can only describe it as wet, cold and very uncomfortable! With 140 miles to our next shelter and 30kts on the nose, we did the only sensible thing we could, we turned around, so here we are again in the Gold Coast, after a long day of going nowhere slowly and then coming back to where we started from!!! The wind is due to ease tonight so we are thinking of getting up at 3am and getting to Coffs before the next southerly is due, the crew is keen, Robert and Susan were fantastic today in the bad conditions, so hopefully we’ll get some miles under us tomorrow!
We are hoping to be home by Sunday, and thoughts are turning to what it’ll be like to live on land after 5 months at sea. I’m not sure how I’ll cope with wearing shoes, I think I’ve only worn them for about 40 hours in the last five months. Or sleeping in a place that doesn’t move, I’ve gotten so used to it now its like being rocked to sleep, waking up in the most beautiful places and having a dolphin or a whale or a turtle pass by. But I am really really looking forward to opening my food cupboards and having nothing fall out, being able to pour boiling water from the kettle into a cup without losing half of it and semi scalding myself, finding things exactly where I left them…..
Well we still have a few days left before it’s all over, we’ll just have to savour them, while looking forward to seeing everyone in Sydney, catching up and then settle into a Sydney summer…..it’s a hard life