23 April, 2007

Saturday 12 April

A nice shot of Sydney Harbour Bridge to start with......

When we last wrote, we were about to head back to NZ for three weeks to see family and friends and attend to a bit of business.

The first night in NZ I managed to get to see the Hurricanes play at Wellington stadium, and snatch a last minute win from the Blues! Thanks to Helen for getting me a ticket to the game. While I was at the rugby, Shane went to a 40th birthday party for one of his fireman mates at the surf club in Lyall Bay. During the evening he went out on the deck to have a cigarette and felt the full brunt of a southerly wind coming straight off the Southern Alps – welcome back to Wellington’s weather!!!!! To be fair, the weather was pretty good for the three weeks we were home, except for the last couple of days in Auckland.

The trip home went well; it was great to see everyone again after having been away for nearly a year, and we were certainly racing around trying to fit everything and everyone in.

Mid-March and it was back to the boat. Sydney had two major thunderstorms while we were in NZ, but ‘enzwell’ came through them unscathed. We went back to our anchorage in Balls Head Bay, and caught up on all the goings-on from our English friends, Patrick and Elizabeth.

We have had a couple of trips to Manly for Shane to get a surf in. Unfortunately our most recent trip there a couple of weeks ago proved fruitless. We went ashore and over to the beach two days and on both there was hardly a wave to speak of. Later on the second day though, the beach got closed as they were on ‘tsunami alert’ after the big earthquake in the Solomons.

As you can see, Manly isn’t a bad spot to spend a bit of time…..

We had our first lot of visitors in a while just after we got back from NZ. Wendy and Jim came to stay for a weekend. Wendy has been a friend for years, and flatted with me in Wellington for three years back in the mid nineties. They moved to Jim’s hometown of Canberra last year. Over Easter we went down to Canberra and stayed with them. Shane and I hadn’t been to Canberra before, and we were very pleasantly surprised. Canberra is a lovely city – wide boulevards, a fantastic War Memorial, lovely lake in the middle of the city, and at this time of year the autumnal colours of the trees were spectacular. We have to say that Canberra is well worth a visit, and we thoroughly enjoyed our trip there.

We have been busy doing a bit of ‘organising’ in the last month. We have entered the Darwin to Kupang rally which starts on July 21st. Wendy and Jim are down to crew with us, so we will see a bit more of them in three months! It took a little bit of effort to get the entry in, as we had to plan our itinerary through Indonesia for our cruising permit. But we are in the rally, along with 76 other yachts, and the number of entries is still rising! They will take a maximum of 100 yachts, plus on the same day that rally leaves, the Darwin to Ambon rally starts as well so there will probably be about 150-200 yachts scrambling to get out at once. Should prove interesting ????

The other thing we have been busy organising is our trip to Europe in October. Two of Shane’s brothers decided it sounded like a good idea to go to Paris while the Rugby World Cup is on, and hang out there and take in the atmosphere. So we decided we should join them too……. Tickets to the games are both hard to get and out of our price range, so we have our spies out to track down a good sports bar to watch the games, particularly the final in which the All Blacks will come through victorious (she says with fingers tightly crossed…….).

After two and a half weeks in Paris we are heading to Athens and Santorini, and then back to Bali where we will have left the boat. We’ll carry on through Indonesia in November, and probably look at spending Christmas in Singapore. After that, it will probably be to Malaysia, either the states north of Borneo or up the eastern coast of the mainland. We will see how things go, and pick up tips from other yachties on where is good to visit.

But in the immediate future, we are about to head off from Sydney. We are getting the last bit of work done on the boat on Monday, and our last inoculation shots, then it will be off to Manly for the night (and one last final surf!) and out the heads and on to Brisbane on Tuesday. Sydney is starting to get a little cooler now, so we have decided to head off to the warmer climes of Queensland!

It should take us about five days to get up to the sunshine state. It will be the longest trip I have done, but it will be good experience for what lies ahead over the coming months. I just hope that the seas aren’t too rough, and that sleep deprivation doesn’t get the better of me…….. We’ll have a few days in Brissy, and then the next stop will be the Whitsundays.

Not too sure where our next instalment will come to you from; probably Cairns where we (hopefully) will be painting the boat’s bum before we head over to Darwin.

Till next time,

Shane and Heather