We’re here. We’re off

The flight to Syndey was without much distinction. Time passed more
quickly as Susan rented a Digeplayer. It’s like a little handheld DVD
player, but has several movies and television shows. We shared it back
and forth. I watched Happy Feet & Epic Movie. Both of which did help
pass time. On the airplane’s screen I watched Music & Lyrics with Hugh
Grant and Drew Barrimore. Once again, no great work of art.

Customs & Immigration was a breeze and we took a $14(Austrailian) taxi
ride to the hotel. Our key was waiting for us and we proceeded to room
606. It was a very small room with a double bed and a bunk bed above it.
A very small TV and a clock radio that hovered over small desk rounded
out the room. The bathroom reminded me of one on a cruise ship. It was
that small. The view out the window was of a Krispy Creme. We were in
bed by 8:30.

We awoke the next morning very early. We got ready and headed off to the
domestic terminal which right across the street for our 6:30 flight. We
got checked in and headed off for coffee. I had a large long black and
Susan had a large long white. I think I talked about these terms for
coffee last year. Remember when you come Howard, you want a long black.
We asked as the French man was making them if it was OK to take them
through and he said “Well, yes, it’s just coffee. Wiskey, no. Coffee,
yes. I don’t know why but it’s ‘whiskey, mayday, mayday!'” Or something
close to that. We laughed about he ‘mayday, mayday’ comment.

Indeed they let us through with our coffees and without having to take
our shoes off. We sat at our gate for a while and I realized that there
was hardly anyone there. I looked at the boarding pass and noticed I was
looking at the gate for our connection in Brisbane. Oops. We moved down
to the right gate and boarded fairly soon after that. We got to
Brisbane and got some gooey breakfast items. Mine was pretty good, Susan
wasn’t that happy with hers. Soon after we boarded the plane for Mackay
and noticed it was the same crew as the one that brought us to Brisbane,
even though it was a different gate and plane.

Arriving in Brisbane reminded me of the size the Kauai airport was the
first time I flew into it. It’s small, not Raiatea small, but small. Our
carriage awaited and with our bags we took a 15 minute or so ride to the
marina, which is located out of town.

We ran into the boat’s caretaker on the pier and she told us that it was
opened up and waiting for us. The bottom had been cleaned the day
before. We unpacked and went off for lunch at Ants Cafe. We both had
meat pies. They were tasty if a little soggy. I think they were warmed
in a microwave and the crusts weren’t as crispy as they should be. The
filling was good though. There were beautiful lorikeets by the dozens in
the park across the street. I walked over to see them. I didn’t have my
camera though.

Susan went off to customs and I worked around the boat. I got the old
dead radio out of it’s slot and the new one in. However, the connector
was different, so I left the wiring for later.

We caught the bus into Mackay and got groceries and a fitting for the
hose. Shopping took quite a while, as the boat’s stores were pretty low.
We stocked up a little, but don’t need to prepare for days on end of
offshore sailing. The store was quite fun, but I was a bit tired or it
would have been more fun. One of the cheapest meats is kangaroo, so I
got some. I had to convince Susan a little, but mostly she convinced
herself saying that they have to kill them anyway because of over

Back at the boat we unpacked the groceries and crashed. I was going to
cook, but instead we went for Thai takeaway. There is a nice strip of
restaurants at the marina. The food was pretty good and much more
reasonable since we got it to go.

Bed came fairly early as I couldn’t keep my eyes open much past 8:30. I
had smelled some mold in the v-berth and it started to bother my
allergies. I had to get up, take medicine and move to the center cabin.
I think the culprit was actually the sheets. Today I cleaned the berth
and we ran the sheet and towels through the laundry even though they
were clean when we got here. I think they may have been put away
slightly damp.

Around 10:00 am this morning we decided that we were pretty much ready
to go. So we did the remaining chores of getting water and fuel and left
right around noon. We headed north under motor, but were soon sailing
with just the jib out. The wind was steady which kept us going above 5
knots. Somewhere around 3:15 we arrived here at Brampton Island. We
anchored twice since we didn’t like the first spot we chose. While
wandering around to the second site we saw a nice big sea turtle. It’s
overcast and cool.

Brampton Island is at the lower end of the Whitsunday Islands. It’s
about 20 nautical miles north of Mackay. I’m not sure how long we’ll be
here, but I suspect not long. There are small hikes on the island and a
resort that is exclusive. It is the place Susan saw dugongs, though.
That would be cool! Brampton is also where Susan did her first solo

It was a good first sail for us. The first time just the two of us too.

One week to go.

Well, it’s down to the wire. I haven’t started packing yet! I’ve accumulated some goodies for the boat that I don’t want to forget. I’ve got cake mix for our birthdays in June. And frosting too. I’ve long thought that you had to make cake from scratch until lately. Those box mixes taste pretty darn good. Especially on the boat.

The plane leaves next Tuesday at 12:30 pm our time. We get in at 7:00 pm the next day in Sydney. We’ve got a hotel room at the airport and leave again the next morning on a 6:30 am flight to Mackay (pronounced “ma-k-eye”). We have two weeks to get the boat to Cairns (pronounce “cans”) to pick up Howard. It’s about 400 miles. That shouldn’t be a problem and we should  be able to stop a few places on the way.

Now, I’m getting excited.

Back to Australia

Susan and I are set to go back to Australia on May 29th for more sailing adventures. So, I’ve renamed and re-activated this blog. I’ll be in Australia until July 19th and Howard is coming down for 10 days in June. The Great Barrier Reef will most likely be the highlight of this trip. We were hoping to get the boat to Darwin, but we’re not sure we’ve planned enough time. We’d like to leave the boat at least part way there, but north eastern Australia isn’t very inhabited north of Cairns. (pronounced “cans”.) We’ll see what we can do.