Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Koalas & Kangaroos!

After our long passage to Australia, we needed to just relax for a little bit and take things easy. What could be more relaxing, we figured, than hand feeding kangaroos and cuddling with a koala! Luckily Crystal knew just the place, the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, only a thirty minute bus ride from our hotel. There we saw all sorts of animals native to Australia, including kangaroos, platypus', wombats, tasmanian devils and of course koalas!

With our batteries recharged Anne-Marie and I were ready to tackle the logistical issues of getting all our stuff back to Canada.
Our worldly possessions on Crystal's hotel balcony
Luckily for us, it turned out there was a Pack and Send branch right beside Crystal's hotel! In no time we had all our stuff boxed and carried over to the Pack and Send for delivery, it couldn't have been easier!
Packed and ready for pickup!
With our logistics finished our time of free loading off of Crystal is coming to an end. Tomorrow we will start our journey south towards Sydney, making a few stops along the way. Thanks so much to Crystal for letting us crash in her hotel room! It has made our transition to land smoother than we ever would have thought possible!
Mexican night in Crystal's hotel room
For even more kangaroo and koala fun, checkout our picasa album here:

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Australia at Last!

We've made it to AUSTRALIA!!! Our sailing adventure (at least this one) has officially come to an end. We've achieved our goal of sailing from San Francisco to Australia and we're alive, happy and healthy. Tears of huge relief, happiness and pride welled up in my eyes as my feet touched solid Australian ground for the first time. Chris and I hugged, did happy dances and then asked… 
"Can you believe we've sailed from San Francisco to Australia?"
The answer was always, "No"
Then we would hug, dance and repeat!

But, lets now start at where the last blogpost left off. Our friends, Atmo and Petra, were super kind in allowing us and all of our belongings to sail with them from New Caledonia to Australia. We were very excited to do a passage on a catamaran and have an easier night watch schedule with more people on board. 

We left in wonderful sailing conditions and saw turtles, whales and dolphins on our first day. Spirits were soaring!

The rest of our sail to Australia was a very mixed bag. We had a couple days of little to no wind, where we had to motor and/or constantly adjust the light air sails. We realized a big advantage of a cat is that you can easily sail downwind without using a big clumsy pole. Because a cat is so wide, sheets can be easily be lead to the toe rail instead, a much easier approach. During our light wind time, we jumped in the ocean to clean off and I had a glorious sunset yoga session while underway, a dream of mine I wasn't able to fulfill on our boisterous passages on Starship. Thank you sailing catamaran Elfrun!

Double headsail sailing without poles
First ever passage yoga
Swimming in big blue

We had a few days of extremely rough conditions, where we were beating into 30 knots of wind with 5m seas. These were some of the worst conditions we've ever been in and we learned that rough conditions suck no matter what boat you're in, mono or multi-hull, but just in different ways. The cat had the advantage of not heeling nearly as much as a monohull, but it's movement was very unpredictable. "Bombs" would often go off as waves slapped between the hulls, producing a horrible noise and causing shuttering and jerky movements we were not used to. I felt slightly less seasick because of the lack of heeling. Chris felt much more seasick because of the unpredictable movement of the catamaran.
You wouldn't know it from the picture, but this was taken during very rough conditions

The rest of our days on passage were pretty average for this South Pacific season, high winds and confused seas, but manageable. We slept a lot, read a lot, ate a lot of Petra's delicious vegetarian dishes, struggled through night watches, and saw some beautiful sunsets and rises.

Thank you so much to Atmo and Petra of Elfrun. They really were our lifesavers in our time of need and we will be eternally grateful. They gave us free range of half of their boat, their entire starboard hull. We used one cabin to store all our stuff and the other cabin for sleeping. They really made us feel at home and we appreciate them allowing us to use their SSB radio to transmit our daily "we're alive" emails to our parents, even when power was in limited supply.

After arriving, crying and checking into Australia, we proceeded to move all of our stuff off of Elfrun, onto land, into a huge taxi and into our friend Crystal's hotel room. Can you believe our luck that Crystal is in Brisbane for a few weeks, exactly when we arrive? And she's also kind enough to let us and all of our stuff stay with her until we figure out our next steps. Thank you so much my good
All of our stuff on Elfrun
All of our stuff in the taxi-van
Celebration Dinner! WE DID IT!
We look forward to exploring Australia for a few weeks and then making our way back to our beloved Canada. We'll keep you posted on the rest of our Aussie Adventures.

Click on the link for a few more pictures: