29 Jan 2020

30/1/2020: Penultimate day afloat

The survey, rig check and test sail last week went very well with only a few niggles identified.  We met Tumi's new owners, a couple from Melbourne, and enjoyed a few G&Ts in the cockpit in late afternoon sunshine. We'll miss the water and boat views it affords! So it's full steam ahead towards completion on 31st January and then the start of a new travel lifestyle for us.

Thursday was incredibly hot and humid reaching the low forties and the breeze was hot, rather like sitting in front of a fan heater ... even the locals were complaining. We laid low on board most of the day before joining the broker and his wife/baby for a drink at the Newport Arms, a rather famous waterside pub on Pittwater. It was still hot but the misting machines helped keep us cool and we passed a very pleasant couple of hours.

On Friday we went on our last trip on Tumi around into Cowan Creek, another waterway off the Hawkesbury River. As usual the wind was against us so we had to motor sail, an aspect of sailing we won't miss! But it was nice to be out and heading off somewhere different, admiring the woodhead headlands and coves of the Ku-ring-gai national park. Despite all the fires throughout NSW the park has escaped burning, so far. That said we did see one small area smoking on our outbound trip on Friday which we were pleased to note had been extinguished on our return on Saturday afternoon.

Our destination was Cottage Point, a small and remote hamlet of several houses and a famed restuarant,  the Cottage Point Inn. Renowned for its multi-course degustation menu, we decided to treat ourselves. Sadly, for us, it didn't live up to the hype: they had lost our reservation for a start, despite confirming it by email, and so we were shown to the only available table in the back corner of the terrace and felt rather out of the way next to the service station. Despite  our position service was then slow and the menu itself didn't really hit the spot for either of us ... generally nicely presented but the flavours didn't appeal .... what a shame as it was expensive! Hey ho, it was still nice to be out and we used their mooring for the night so not all was lost!

Sunday was Australia Day and we had been invited for dinner/overnight stay by Nikitoo, the Oyster 625 from the WARC rally, who were in the marina in downtown Sydney at Darling Harbour. We decided to make a day of it and arrived into the city late morning. Down in The Rocks and at Circular Quay it was a hive of activity with crowds lining the waterfront and Sydney Harbour Bridge to watch the procession of boats and aircraft fly pasts,  and enjoying the myriad market stalls lining the narrow streets of The Rocks ... I couldn't help myself but buy some silver jewellery that used coral as a mould! A fun and friendly atmosphere in the sunshine. We decided to have lunch at Graze, a restaurant owned by Paul's daughter-in-law's aunt and uncle. It's on the lower level of the Sydney museum of contemporary arts overlooking the water. We spent a very happy couple of hours dining and people watching.

Later that afternoon we wandered over to Darling Harbour and joined Hugh and Marianna on board their lovely yacht, the only boat we know with it's own rum tank on board with a bar pump handle to help yourself! Darling Harbour was buzzing with people, music, fireworks and we all enjoyed dinner out at a harborside restaurant before returning to Nikitoo for a nightcap.

We picked up a hire car at the airport on Monday morning to drive back to Pittwater and start the packing process, together with finally starting booking flights and accommodation for Tasmania and New Zealand. It's all beginning to feel very real now .....

20 Jan 2020

20/1/2020: Back on board, Pittwater

We arrived back a week ago after what felt like a neverending journey,  not helped by a 9 hour layover in Bangkok and the fact we had return flights to Brisbane but the boat was in Sydney. Forty four hours door to door! Thank God we were at least flying business class and got some sleep.

After a surprisingly good first night's sleep we unpacked, washed down the decks (so much ash and dust in the air because of the terrible fires) and then welcomed Peter and Nicky from Chanto (another WARC rally boat) who brought lunch and we provided the wine! Off to a great start!!

Sadly Tuesday didn't dawn too well as after a poor night we both woke to the onset of a flu bug, presumably caught on the plane. As the week progressed we deteriorated getting to the point where we were running temperatures well in excess of 100 degrees, feeling nauseous, aching all over and with blocked sinuses. Yuk. Throw in the jetlag, then we were really feeling sorry for ourselves and Tumi became a quarantine ship!

We were zero company for Chanto and Nikitoo, another rally boat who arrived on Wednesday. All this gathering was building towards a WARC mini-reunion on Saturday night, something we hoped we would be better for.

Saturday arrived and while Paul had turned the corner I was dragging my heels and by 4pm, still feeling pretty rough, I asked him to reiki my head. And it worked! By 5pm we were enjoying pre-reunion drinks and banter on Resolute 2 who had the owners of two other rally boats on board, and by 7pm the eight of us made our way over to Nikitoo.

What a fun night! Lots of laughter, hugs and anecdotes, all washed down with whatever we wanted! And our latest night yet, well morning really by the time we were back on board Tumi and going to bed for a few hours before we all met at a local waterside restaurant for a loud and lively breakfast. It was the first proper meal we'd eaten for a few days and so we tucked in with gusto!

There was other dimension to our first week back on board: the negotiation and sale (subject to survey) of Tumi. We'd taken the hard decision last September to list her for sale and she went on the market as we left to fly home in early November. Despite a very quiet market for yachts of our size, we were lucky enough to have an acceptable offer made. It was a bit touch and go for a few days whether the buyer would go ahead with Tumi or another Jeanneau 469, but it all worked out in the end, although it didn't help on the sleepless night side of things! So on Wednesday this week the survey will be conducted and assuming all is well, then by the end of the month Tumi will no longer be ours.

We don't want to tempt fate and arrange any land-based travel until the sale is all done and dusted (just call us superstitious sailors!) but we plan on flying to and touring both Tasmania and New Zealand before we head home, and more of Australia too. So while the mode of transport will change, the adventures continue!