We’ve been working hard the past month both in moving the boat up from Port Stephens, and performing maintenance and cleaning all over Tahina (to prepare her for our season on the Great Barrier Reef). But, a nice balance to all the hard work has been the re-union with many of our friends we have developed during the past two years crossing the Pacific. Our friends who have also been taking their boats and lives on the experience of a lifetime. And, these same friends have also been working on their boats preparing for the season.
Once we reached Brisbane, we knew several boats were parked in the area. Many of the crews were just returning to their boats after travels to various locations. I’ve already mentioned several in earlier posts that we visited there: Callisto, Totem, Songline, and Oso Blanco. It was great to see all of them. Especially Totem and Songline because the former is staying in Australia for a while, and Songline has been put up for sail and Aussies Kristina and Phil are moving back on land for a while. So we won’t see them for an undetermined time.
The day before we left Manly, we knew that our friends on Kilkea II were arriving after a nice 9-day sail all the way from New Zealand. We didn’t have confirmation, but Karen and I took the 1.5 mile walk to the train station, rode the train to the nearest town to Rivergate Marina (where the port of entry for entering boats is located) and proceeded to walk towards the marina (4km) away. We caught a bus to try and get us closer, but the bus driver didn’t tell us to get off before we crossed the river bridge. Turns out there is no easy way to get back once you cross that bridge, so we had to take a taxi. It took us 3 hours in total, but we finally got to the marina and found Kilkea on one of the docks with a locked gate. We went 20 meters away to the marina office and they unlocked the gate electronically for us. As we started out the office door, a woman asked if we would like a ride on their golf cart to the gate. I just broke out laughing, because at our marina in Manly it was a half-mile walk to the office and they didn’t even provide bikes or anything! We finally got to Kilkea and gave them a warm welcome to Australia. They had friends from another boat visiting with them as well, and we all had a good time and drinks for a few hours catching up on each others’ lives. David and Marian were thrilled we came to see them, and we are looking forward to seeing them again as we travel north to Darwin. The other boat crew had a car, so they took us back to the train station.
The next day, we moved our boat up to Scarborough. We had a beautiful day and a great sail for the 3 hours it took to get there. The reason we went was so we could visit with our friends on s/v Boree. Bert and Ingi just got back to their boat after a visit to their homeland of Germany. They are spending the year here in Australia before heading out again, so we wanted to make sure to see them. After anchoring, we went in for drinks with them and plans to go to dinner. Several other boats we know were there (e.g. s/v Worrall Wind, and El Regalo), but their crews were off traveling still.
We had only been there a while when the crew of El Regalo unexpectedly showed up. They have their boat up for sale and had a buyer, so they returned early from their camping trip. Brian and JoDon were invited to come with us for dinner, we had last seen them in New Caledonia when Brian had an accident cutting off the end of a finger. It was great having dinner with these friends and catching up as well.
The next day was when I was supposed to pick up the spinnaker. This story is worth its own post, so expect it later.
Meanwhile, we arrived in Bundaberg. Here were many boats we know: Leu Cat, Serenity, Trim, Sea Mist, Delos, and others we don’t know as well. And, Callisto caught up to us a day after us. We’ve been continuing our boat projects, but yesterday we got invited to a 4PM “beer time”. The restaurant here at the marina doesn’t have a happy hour (they ought to!), but it was a great excuse to quit work early. We had a great time visiting with everyone, and the female half of Trim had just returned from the US.
Everyone is really excited about heading north. Many of the boats here (except for Callisto and Tahina) stayed here in Bundaberg for the past 6 months. So, they are particularly excited to be headed out sailing again. Most of the boats are expecting to leave in the next few weeks. Tahina will be at least two weeks behind most of the boats headed North. But, not to worry, most of these boats will be joining the Indonesia Rally with us, so we are sure to at least catch up with them in Darwin, if not at the GBR.