We did it!!! It feels incredible to be safely berthed in the Coffs Harbour Marina in AUSTRALIA after sailing across the biggest ocean in the world to get here.
After I posted ‘Frustrating Day’, we had the most wonderful sailing conditions. The wind was soft but enough to keep us moving at 7 knots (HQ loves her light airs), the seas remained flat and comfortable, and the sky cleared up so we could enjoy full moon lit nights. We think the ocean was telling us something: “Look how nice I can be when I behave. You know you love me and you know you’ll come back to me.” It is true.
We saw land from 30 miles out. I cried because I was so happy and proud. And then I went back to bed.
20 miles out we could hear Coffs Harbour Marine Rescue Service on the VHF: “Marine weather warning: strong wind to gale forecasted”. We were confused because the winds were still light and our gribs had showed 5-10 knots. We assumed we’d be motoring the final stretch, but it was not to be. The wind built quickly and before we knew it we had 35 knots from behind. No big deal for us, official Pacific Ocean sailors.
The challenging part was going to be getting into the marina. We called customs on the satellite phone and Anthony told us we could come to the service dock in front of the marina office rather than anchor outside. We did our worst ever mainsail flake (we blame the wind) before we motored through the narrow and shallow marina entrance. We tied up at the pier and it was official, we were in Australia.
Clearing customs was easy. Anthony is a really nice guy, even though he took all our oatmeal and granola and various other quarantined food items 😉 Within an hour our passports were stamped and we were allowed to set foot on shore. There were big smiles on our faces as we jumped up and down and a few laughs from people watching.
Because we were tied up at the service dock, quite a few people stopped to chat to us. Everyone is so friendly here. We’ve also noticed that Aussies apologize for everything in the same way that Canadians do – “I’m sorry for [insert non-issue that is completely not person’s fault anyway]. “ In a funny way, we feel like we’ve come home.
Today we woke up at 5am and we moved the boat into a proper berth. Will did an excellent job on the wheel, as always, but I think it was our hairiest docking experience ever since the wind was still howling. But that’s irrelevant because we’re safely tied up now. We’ve just given Hydroquest some well-deserved TLC: a haircut (the scraggly netting on her lifelines is finally gone), removal of the now useless empty jugs of fuel that were strapped down on her deck, and a good rinse and clean-up down below.
Next on the agenda is taking care of ourselves. I can’t wait for my haircut. We didn’t pop the champagne last night because we were just too tired and overwhelmed, but tonight before we go out for a celebratory dinner, we’ll toast to Hydroquest, adventure, and following your dreams. I can’t write that this experience was easy, but it has certainly changed us as people, has changed the course of our lives, and is definitely our biggest accomplishment in life so far.