Australia, Blog

The Horizon is Calling

The end of cyclone season is fast approaching. A break from ocean sailing has done us good. We are feeling good. Florence is looking it. Our blog is however looking a little neglected. How on earth do you fill four months of your life without a job?

Very easily it seems.

The last four months have translated into over 1000 miles sailed, around 60 anchorages visited, countless boat jobs and repairs completed, many more added to the list, many wonderful unexpected people met and many wonderful people we expected to meet with missed.

To cover it all would mean thousands of words. Thousands of words we do not wish to sit and write. Thousands of words we’re sure you do not wish to sit and read. If one picture equates to a thousand words, a story through pictures we shall tell.

Pittwater and the Cowan Creek

Upon leaving Sydney, a few weeks were spent just North of Sydney, up Cowan Creek, a nature reserve full of sheltered anchorages and free public moorings.

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Reflections in Cowan Creek
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The all round protection gave a welcome break from worrying about the frequently changeable weather.

Many anchorages had no access to shore so getting off the boat meant dinghy trips into the mangroves and tree climbing.

We made the most of the trails in the bays that had access to shore.

Boat baked banana bread and coffee, or a good book in the hammock offered a welcome break from sanding and varnishing.

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Back in Pittwater, a couple of lovely local sailors took us for a view of the famous ‘Home and Away’ beach.

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Florence at anchor in Resolute Beach, Pittwater. We only seem to take photos on the calmest and sunniest of days. Be aware the story painted by this picture could be misleading. It certainly wasn’t like this every day and the weather only allowed for one night in this idyllic anchorage.
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Views over Pittwater the same day.

Port Stephens

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Mackerel skies in Port Stephens
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It was a brief stop in Port Stephens before catching the next weather window north. By this point we were growing concerned about getting to Brisbane in time for Amy’s Mum and Step-dad visiting.

Coffs Harbour

A short stop in Coffs Harbour allowed us to re-provision, solve some issues with the alternator (thanks to Damon on Ocelot), engine and auto pilot. Thankfully all very simple fixes once diagnosed.

Yamba and Iluka (The Clarence River)

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Playing with the reflections in the rock pools near Iluka.

A thunderstorm had us running to a more sheltered anchorage on the Clarence River.

The Southport Seaway (Gold Coast)

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The sail up from Coff’s Harbour to the Clarence River was a beautiful downwind run in the company of new friends on Ocelot.

The Southport Seaway brought the opportunity to catch up with some very hospitable locals who follow our videos and spoiled us rotten.

A cycle inland also allowed us to finally find some koala’s in the wild.

Plus many kangaroos.

Moreton Bay

Despite the weather trying it’s best to stop us, we managed to arrive in Brisbane/Moreton Bay in time for two very important visits.

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The first visit was from Amy D, a very good friend I first met at university many years ago. She now lives in New Zealand and her company was a major highlight of our time spent there.

Next to arrive into Brisbane were my (Amy,s) Mum, Helen and Stepdad, Robert. It had been nearly 3 years since we had last seen them, just before we left England back in 2016. With 3 weeks together on board we were able to explore further up the coast. First we enjoyed the beaches, walks, wildlife and seafood of North Stradbrook Island.

Then the sand hills and wreck snorkeling of Moreton Island.

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A hairy surf in over the Wide Bay Bar of which there are no photos, only exciting memories, brought us to the Sandy Straights and Fraser Island.

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Sunset sailing up the Great Sandy Straights
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Wild, rare Australian Humpback dolphins visit Tin Can Bay Harbour daily.

Fraser Island, the largest Sand Island in the world, gave us some beautiful forest hikes, including a hike to the Stunning Lake McKenzie, a fresh water lake in the middle of the island.

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A fresh water dip in Lake McKenzie

Another overnight sail brought us to Bundaberg where Mum and Robert could catch the train back to Brisbane for their flight back to the UK.

So that brings us to the present, bobbing at anchor and waiting for the weather to head further north. We have come full circle, back to Bundaburg, our Port of entry into Australia. Every mile North of here will be virgin territory for us, an exciting prospect. The last 3 years have been spent moving forwards. New ground, new seas, new people, new experiences. Returning to familiar ports and retracing our steps, although much less daunting, lacks the excitement and change we have grown accustomed to. The horizon is calling.

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9 thoughts on “The Horizon is Calling”

  1. So glad you guys enjoyed your trip south and back. Now the sail north beckons. From Bundy you really must get out to the Bunker&Capricorn group. Really, you must! So just wait for the right weather window and do yourselves a favour – aim for Lady Musgrove and immerse yourself in nature then reef hop to Fitzroy Reef then Northwest Island at a Minimum. Give yourself a week – you won’t be disappointed! From there on to the Keppel Islands and north from there. N‘joy!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for the fabulous photos. Brings back memories of when we sailed the East Coast in 2000.
    We are loving your blogs

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lots of great photos. I really took me back.
    I was first on Frazer island as a teenager in the late 1970s . Nice to see that lake Mackenzie is the same a truly and uniquely beautiful spot.
    We ran into a rare bird eating Spider hiking there, still 40 years later the scariest thing I ever saw!! I was wondering how you like your oyster? I’m thinking on ordering a boat from there factory. How did you choose it?

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    1. Hi Michael, We really enjoyed our hike to lake Mackenzie, thankfully no scary spiders for us. We love Florence, she is solid, well built and sails really well (which being dinghy racers is a big plus for us). As for choosing Florence, she was the best boat available at the time and in our budget. We needed a boat which was ready to go as we only had 6 months between purchasing her and setting off on our circumnavigation. We have no experience of buying a new boat from the factory. However when we have contacted them for information they have been friendly and helpful despite us being the 4th owners of Florence. If we had the money we would definitely consider another Oyster.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi!

    I recently discovered your youtube page and i’ve been hooked ever since. Can’t wait for more videos of your travels.

    Even tho i have never really sailed anywhere other then a couple of times on the great lakes in Canada, I always felt attracted to the adventures sailing seems to provide.

    My lack of experience and the fact i don’t really know where to start makes all this a bit scary but I hope one day i will have the courage to embarc on such a trip.

    Thanks for sharing them with us and stay safe.

    Antoine

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Loving seeing this country through your lens! We know how lucky we are to live in such a varied landscape. We are newbies to the sailing world with a coastal trimaran, and live in Cairns, Far North Queensland. If you are coming this way it would be a great pleasure to share the Tablelands with you!
    Looking forward to more adventures.

    Liked by 1 person

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