October 16, 2017 (day 3,791)
Quick Fix: 27° 27.2 S / 153° 11.4 E
Conditions:  Wind: 18/SE Sky: Clear

Safe and Sound
There's a strong wind warning today of 30 knots in our area, gusting to 45, and for good measure the chance of a thunderstorm. Not ideal sailing conditions but thankfully Dream Time and crew are tucked-in comfortably. Last week conditions looked pretty grim, too, as we received refusal letters for our tourist visa renewals and, at one point, sailing to New Zealand seemed like the best solution - removing all fees, uncertainty and confusion relating to appeals or renewals. But thankfully such drastic measures are no longer necessary. An Aussie friend-of-a-friend, an immigration attorney in Sydney, gave us some wonderful no-nonsense advice, and an email reply from an Australian Immigration Official also gave further comfort. To comply with our current visas we will leave Australia next month, but thankfully it won't be on a long passage to New Zealand, and the forecast for our safe return to the country, and Dream Time, looks promising.




Day 3,788 - Moreton Bay, Queensland
20:23hrs - October 13th 2017
A Flexible Life

In our previous lives as westernized creatures of regulated habit we became accustomed to all the familiar patterns of what we fondly remember as being the beautiful organized chaos of New York, and it became our normal. But since starting out on this voyage on Dream Time our normal is now pretty much at the other end of the spectrum.

I have discovered that a sailing life demands a certain flexibility of expectations which was difficult for me to adapt to in the beginning. Almost everything from when, where and how anything was going to be, or not going to be, could change at any moment. But somehow, adapt we have and now we're semi experts at rolling with the ever changing environments, but this latest curve ball took us by surprise.

It all began when we decided it would be prudent to get the ball rolling on our 2nd year Australian visa application. Even though we were over a month away from the end of our current visa and the immigration folks had said that really 2 weeks before was more than enough time to submit the application, we thought we'd get a jump on it anyway and put it in early, just in case. The just in case turned out to be a solid 'NO' from the immigration folks exactly one day after submitting our application, followed by a sudden realization that all our carefully made plans were now quite firmly up in the air!

We poured over every detail of our application and couldn't find anything that would trigger a 'no' response then looked at the immigration website again trying to understand how our absolutely expected 'yes' had turned into an unequivocal 'no'. Our only clue was a short but not insignificant sentence referring to our not having a compelling enough reason to be granted a second year in Australia? but that didn't really help us understand any better.

Our brilliant original plan had been to spend a glorious summer in Sydney harbour followed by a leisurely sail up the east coast after cyclone season, stopping along the way to visit friends and to maybe see parts of the coast that we missed on the way down, and then up to Darwin to join the sailing rally that leaves for Indonesia in July 2018.  But with our new and unexpected immigration status we now had to scramble to figure out what our options were to sail out of Australia in the next month?

Going southeast to New Zealand is the first and obvious choice, and even though we love New Zealand and we've been there 3 seasons already, the prospect of a 1,200 mile passage on a route that I knew would not put me in a happy place, was a bit of a bummer. Combined with the fact that this also meant several subsequent long passages to Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia all to bring us back to right where we'd started exactly a year later. So we discussed going north ASAP to Indonesia, but we would have to leave right now. And along with uncertain weather and it being not quite the right time of year to do it, we'd be doing it without the support of the helpful rally folks who make the Indonesian customs immigration paperwork puzzle a less confusing puzzle, it didn't feel right. It felt rushed, I'm not ready to think about Indonesia yet, I'm not prepared, I feel like I need to think about it and plan it and be ready. I'm not ready. So now we're in limbo. Our visa runs out in a month and our options are sailing to New Zealand or north to Singapore or maybe taking a chance and resubmitting our visa applications out of the country and hope that they allow us back in?

It feels like we're playing a game where we have to pick a card, except that this time someone else is going to pick our card and whatever they pick is going to significantly impact what happens next.

I guess it's all just very good flexibility practice!


October 1, 2017     |    Yankee Jack anchorage, Fraser Island - The world's largest sandy isle, and a very popular vacation destination for sandflies.