December 2016 blogs



 
 

 

December 31st, 2016   |  Still got front row seats - only eight hours to show time...

 





Quick Fix: 32° 30.6 S / 152° 48.9 E
December 30th, 2016 (day 3,501)
Conditions:  Wind: 9/NE Sky: Overcast

In Position
With courtesy flags flying from every country we've visited in almost 10 years of cruising, Dream Time relocated today to Farm Cove, a small circular bay framed by the Botanical Gardens right alongside the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. For those on boats less than 15 meters in length (the limit for the bay), this is undoubtedly the best vantage point to watch the New Year's Eve fireworks. It's as close to the action as boating civilians are allowed to get, and today, when the exclusion buoys were dropped by city officials, we relocated Dream Time to the front of the anchorage to get even closer to the action. The view here is spectacular, and with 120 tons of explosives scheduled to go off tomorrow night this, really, is about as close as we want to get.





   
 
Day 3,498 - Sydney Harbour (33° 50.8S 151° 14.4E)
20:27hrs - December 27th 2016
A Big Event

We've done it!

After a four hundred nautical mile sleigh ride south down the coast of Australia, Dream Time sailed into Sydney Harbour with a gentle sea breeze and under an absolute blue sky moments before the sun officially declared it to be Boxing Day. The harbour, which just hours later would be in turmoil - churned white by thousands of speeding water crafts participating and supporting the world renowned Sydney Hobart Race - was quiet and perfectly still, it seemed the whole of Sydney was still recovering from Christmas.

For over an hour we had the harbour to ourselves and were free to drift around and enjoy the significance of our arrival in perfect conditions and without distraction. Under mainsail we sailed slowly around Fort Denison, alongside a gleaming Opera house and under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. And it was a magnificent.

Catherine and I were last in Sydney Harbour twenty-two years ago, but our lives were very different then, New York was a distant destination, building a business was a vague and uncertain ambition, and sailing around the world on our own yacht would have been dismissed as an impossible dream. And although we didn't recognize it at the time, Sydney was where our journey together truly began. It marked a new beginning in our relationship, and our lives, so our arrival here, after a full circumnavigation of the world, most of which under sail, is a significant accomplishment for us.

We later celebrated our arrival with what seemed to be the entire city, who on ferries, fishing boats, jet boats, mega yachts, tall ships, skiffs and kayaks immerged in force to witness the start of the 72nd Sydney Hobart Race. Weather conditions, many authorities claim, could produce record-breaking results this year as the same strong north-northeast winds (20-30 knots) that carried Dream Time south, are forecast to continue, propelling the larger yachts to Tasmania at surfing speeds of up to thirty knots.

The race start was pure chaos, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of boats idling and anchored around the harbour suddenly motored off at full throttle in an effort to keep up with and escort the racing fleet from the harbor, past the Heads and out into the Tasman Sea. As Dream Time's top speed under power is a mere seven knots, glacial compared to the racing yachts, we watched the endless stream of traffic and near collisions comfortably from the foredeck, soaking in the sights, the sun and our accomplishment.

We're anchored now in Athol Bay by Taronga Zoo where the calls of tropical birds and the chatter of monkeys can be heard each morning before the crowds arrive. We're closer to the city and the Sydney Bridge now, although not quite close enough, so tomorrow we'll relocate and reserve our place right next to the Opera House - the epicenter - front row seats for the next big event - New Year's Eve!

 

 

 


 

December 26th, 2016   |  22 years, 5 months, 21 days - world circumnavigation complete! But the journey is far from over.

 

December 26th, 2016   |  After a 3-day Christmas sleigh ride south, we've just arrived at a new destination (one guess where we are). More to follow...



 





Quick Fix: 32° 30.6 S / 152° 48.9 E
December 25th, 2016 (day 3,496)
Conditions:  Wind: 18/NNE Sky: Clear

Our First Christmas at Sea
It's Christmas Day and we're on a 3-day sleigh ride to Sydney. We've found the EAC (East Australian Current) and are surfing south at up to 10 knots. It's our first Christmas at sea and I have to admit it's a little difficult feeling festive when you're tired from a 0300 wake-up, spent five hours dodging freighters, and because it's 90 degrees all your chocolate Santa decorations have melted into their tinfoil boots. As we're underway the majority of our decorations have remained in storage but we did buy some Santa hats and a box of 'luxury' Christmas Crackers in K-mart back in Surfers Paradise. So far we've scored a magnifying glass, a mini pack of playing cards and a bottle opener. Our tiny Christmas bell is singing merrily down below, angles will abound in 2017! Merry Christmas!!!



 

December 18h, 2016   |  We're anchored in Bum's Bay north of Surfer's Paradise, a tidal wave of southerly wind is fast approaching, time to let out more scope!

 





Quick Fix: 27° 52.3 S / 153° 20.1 E
December 12th, 2016 (day 3,483)
Conditions:  Wind: 9/N Sky: Clear

Luxury Spa Time
For the last few days Dream Time's been drying out on the hard ready for a little routine bottom paint. She's at The Boat Works, a yard on the Gold Coast which, according to online reviews and local opinion, is the best in Australia, and boasting a fleet of complimentary cars, free laundry facilities, coffee, cake and lunch tokens, we're inclined to agree. The yard is spotless, the showers spa-quality
and the staff as friendly and attentive as a Four Seasons concierge. The facilities are first grade, but after a full day of sanding and painting we're driving thirty miles from town and staying with cruising friends, Nigel and Suzy, on their beautiful bush farm, complete with horses, hot tub and a bubbling brook. We're scheduled to splash tomorrow but we're having such a great time we may request an extension.

 

 

December 5th, 2016   |  A vagabond beach camp. Over ten miles of squeaky clean sand completely to ourselves.

 

December 5th, 2016   |  A distant Surfer's Paradise lost in the haze of South Stradbroke Island.



 





Quick Fix: 27° 52.0 S / 153° 25.0 E
December 5th, 2016 (day 3,476)
Conditions:  Wind: 20/N Sky: Clear

Sound Measures
Over the last 3 days we've been sailing south inside a labyrinth of natural estuaries, rivers and protected bays on the sheltered side of the Stradbroke Islands. Unlike the crystal clear lagoon waters we're accustomed to, this intercoastal waterway has the visibility of a muddy puddle so color doesn't change a great deal whether it's 4 feet deep or 40. Yesterday we tucked into a tight anchorage just north of Brown Island (named perhaps for the water color that surrounds it) and with charts showing only 3 feet depth at low tide and our sounder showing just 6 (we draw 5.5) we quickly took measures to find the deepest area using the dinghy and an antique sounding lead we bought in Old Mystic. Wondering why we squeezed in to such a tight anchorage? Beach access is awesome!

 

     

 

December 3rd, 2016   |  Update: This photo taken just before 48 knots of wind stretched our snubbers! (Wind generator put out 20-25 amps.)

 

December 3rd, 2016   |  A Brissy Blow - "Severe thunderstorm warning: damaging winds, heavy rainfall and large hailstones" (Bring your pets indoors?)


 
Day 3,471 - Peel Island (27° 30.3S 153° 21.6E)
18:42hrs - December 2nd 2016
Our First Kangaroo Sighting

We've been in "Sraylya" for a week and we've have had our first kangaroo sighting! They weren't completely real kangaroos, but kangaroos in Australia none the less, so it counts. We met them in downtown Brisbane quite close to the giant Christmas tree, their natural habitat I believe, a lucky sighting really. You can actually eat them here, along with emus and crocodiles if you like, although I'm not sure I want to do that. Not sure why but we haven't seen any koala jerky yet, maybe they're just too cute to eat?

We spent our first week in Australia in a marina with a flurry of boat projects, re-provisioning and cleaning so it was a lovely treat to end the week with a few nights in a Brisbane city hotel exploring, people watching, shopping and for me languishing in a bath while watching Australian TV with a cup of tea and a ginger nut, ahhh heaven. It has surprised me how much like America it is here, certainly in and around Brisbane anyway. Driving along the highways and seeing the huge shopping malls feels just like being in the States, except maybe cleaner and less busy. But I guess that's the difference between having Australia's population of 22 million people using a country, versus America's 300 million using theirs. But either way it makes for a very pleasant introduction to Australia.

Even the weather has been lovely, lots of sun and wind, great for exploring, sailing and really good for boat battery charging. We have a little sailing around time now so were anchored in Horseshoe Bay outside Brisbane, it's full of Ozzie boats enjoying some lovely sub tropical leisure time, and I'm still keeping a lookout for a real live kangaroo. I don't know if there are any here but I'll let you know if I find any.