Monday, November 18, 2013

kelp


so - the first weeks back in pure bred western civilization are behind us...and wow - are we stunned!

probably i should start at the beginning, as the last blog entry stops with us being still out at sea.
we wrote that we planned to anchor behind moreton island to go into brisbane the following day...well, we did not! as customs does not like yachts to do a stop before clearing in, they asked us kindly but firmly to try with all means to get in. only for safety reasons would they permit an overnight anchoring. 

and after being asked so nicely we decided to go for it...with engine AND sails. and even though there were 2,5-3kn of current against us, maloo wanted to tie up for the night....and who are we not to let her.
so we arrived at the rivergate marina and had a glass of wine/bottle of beer and went to sleep. the next morning customs and quarantine cleared us in surprisingly fast and without any hassle...and there we were: in Australia, mate!

we went out for a nice pub meal on oxford street and stared at the people walking past....feeling a bit "behind the moon"-ish. 
the next day left us feeling even more alienated as we went to a big mall trying to buy a prepaid sim card...and if you do not want any data for your mobile phone, well, you can't get a card.

the supermarkets are overflowing with things to buy - just choosing a liter of milk in the cool labyrinth of no/low/medium/traditional/extra fat, pasteurized or non pasteurizes, homogenized or not homogenized, with extra vitamin D or lactose free....and then square that by organic/non organic and times it by goat and soy and you get the picture.
and now you tell me....can i be blamed for needing about 10 minutes to find "my" litre of milk? needless to say that the first shop took a while;)

but i have to tell you, it was a strangely funny experience as the a deep buried memory of a life before maloo tried to surface and breath like a stem of kelp trying to reach the water's edge. and just as it was about to touch the waterline a funny colored fish came and bit through the stem leaving the kelp plant drifting away in a gentle sea.
this fish came to eat a couple of these "kelp" plants in the last few days...and at this moment i am not quite sure what to call him. however, he does great "gardening" allowing me to swim freely without getting caught in the plants and dragged under, enjoying the beauty of the kelp forest from a safe distance without getting wrapped up in it...and i hope that he will stay for good! as it seems being part of our plastic wonderful fantasy world with all its nice new clothes and flat screens and glitzy stuff is much more fun and enjoyable when you do not take it too serious.

after time he might get too exhausted cutting all the kelp though and swim away!?....maybe then it will be time to go to look for him again;)

as for our plans in the immediate future? - well, we spent over a week giving maloo lots of deserved love! a new anti foul, polished hull and deck, a clean in every locker, changing all her oils...lots of pets with soft rags....and we made her an australian lady by officially importing her.
we caught up with family and took them out to a wonderful short trip to peel island hoping they might get the sailing bug and one day will hang out with us again. we also enjoyed a tiny bit of city life and the proximity of supermarkets and restaurants.

but most importantly.... a life's dream was fulfilled! at Steve Iwrwin's Australia Zoo i got to cuddle a possum and spent time with the most amazing wonderful wombats. life can't get any better!!!!!! 



going up brisbane river


...and the boy is home!


a night in the air on sparkling maloo



Hope, the possum




cuddling hope



mhmm - sweet potato


a tassi devil getting ready to...


...roar like a lion


tawny frogmouth

playtime with wendy the wombat












what a great day











Sunday, October 20, 2013

...to australia - day/night #5

painfully slow - that's what sums up the last 24h.

unfortunately all the good wind disappeared and when some of of came back we were already fighting the north going current.
the east coast of australia barriers itself with two strong currents - further out east there is the north going current, closer to shore there is the famous east australian current running south. ( i ( i say famous because it's the one that nemo's dad takes down on the way to sydney....for further research watch "finding nemo" :)

so our wonderful penta came to the rescue again as we were only doing 2,5kn with flapping sails. (it was 5,5kn through the water, but the current got good hold of us)

the traffic increased significantly in the last 100nm - i know i have said it a few times already, but AIS is just a great magic invention.

and so we sat on rolling maloo, watched the sun come up and for something to appear on the horizon listening to the australian coast guard checking on ships and yachts. they must have quite a powerful vhf as we picked up mooloolaba coast guard and tincan bay coast guard 60nm off shore.

at 8:00am i went off watch to get a bit of sleep - at 9:30 Mark woke me with " land ho!"

to be honest...i was still half asleep when i went out and saw moreton island to the port side...but when the two dolphins came to say hello i was wide awake!

we will anchor in the bay for the night and go into brisbane tomorrow...

and maybe by then my head will be clear enough to sum up what it feels like to be here as i simply miss the words at the moment. you have to excuse me though - after 3 complete sail changes (meaning all sails in /out/in/out/in/out) within the last hour of my watch and a rolly bed afterwards i am stunned, happy, sad and most of all - a bit tired:)

thanks to our wonderful maloo again for bringing us here safe and sound - tonight's toast will go out to the best boat in the world!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

...to australia - day/night #4

at first: thank you!!!!

whatever you wonderful people did out there...it worked! just after 4:00pm a nice breeze started and got maloo flying again.
during the night we were doing great speed on a very comfortable sea...in short - wonderful sailing!

in the morning hours i changed back to wing on wing aka goose-winging and we're currently still doing good speed heading straight for our waypoint at the top of moreton island.

yesterday at lunch we were not so sure anymore if we would make it for an anchorage by monday night we were so slow, but with now only 155nm to go that should be possible.

the day's highlight so far was definitely sunrise/fullmoon-moonset...how often do you get the chance to see the full moon setting in the west and the sun rising in the east horizon to horizon with no land, no cloud no nothing to block the view? it was simply divine!!!!

so if all keeps on going well, we should be in land's proximity tomorrow. wonder how it will feel to see not just land, but the australian continent appear on the horizon....

Friday, October 18, 2013

...to australia - day/night #3

where is all the wind gone?

since last night 11:50pm we are running under engine. the wind died after a heavy rain squall and we were flapping along only doing 2-3kn.
by now we are pretty sure that we will have to spend another night out. of we're lucky we might make it into moreton bay and anchor there for the night before going up the brisbane river.

to clear officially into australia we will have to go to river gate marina which is only 2nm off the city center of brisbane....but also quite a way up the river. as there is lots of traffic and sand banks and ferries and and and, we will not do the entrance at night....apart from the great views we'd miss out on, we don't like to navigate areas we don't know in the dark.

at least the swell died down a little too making for quite a comfortable ride. still - a bit of wind would be nice!!!!

during the wee morning hours we went over the capel bank...quite interesting when in the middle of the ocean the seafloor rises from 2000m+ to 48m (and in one area to 10nm) below the surface only to drop down again after a view miles. but with no big swell it is hardly noticeable. so much for the day's big news;)

if you can, send us a little breeze - 25-20 from the SE would be perfect! thanks!!!!!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

...to australia - day/night #2

the last 24h the wind eased off and changed more to the east, so the night was rather slow sailing.
in the morning we changed sails and poled out the heady to goose wing ....unfortunately the wind slowed even more, so we might be looking at spending another extra night at sea as we do not like to get into the brisbane river too late.

the wind is supposed to come back tomorrow again - let's hope if we make up some time.

apart from that it has been a beautiful sail and the conditions are great! 15-20kn of wind (then 10-12kn), a nice 2-4m swell. life is good on maloo! the only thing i hope for is for the temperature to rise a little. during the night it is bloody cold and also during the day we sit in our wet weather gear to stay toasty.

oh well, not much else to write....so: maloo standig by on VHF 16!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

...to australia - day/night #1

wow - so there we are...sailing to australia!

we left port moselle around 03:45pm yesterday afternoon, after a wonderful send off from our beloved Chilli Cats and Lazy Bones (that had me crying) and filling every last cm3 with duty free diesel at the fuel dock.
the weather forecast showed 20-25kn from the SE and 2-3m seas outside the fringing reef of new caledonia.
experience taught us to expect more wind and messy seas with a forecast like that - so we mentally prepared ourselves for quite a ride.

a good hour after leaving we went through the pass and to our surprise, the conditions were as forecasted - the sea actually more comfortable than inside the reef.
maloo started flying along doing 7,5-8kn on 3rd reefed main and 3rd reefed heady and we slowly try to find our way into passage-sailing again.

even though conditions did pick up a little towards the night, a late sunset followed by a bright moon and a very early sunrise again make for a great sail! if it all goes well, then we should have another 4 nights at sea.

and though mark and i had 14 months time to prepare for this....the thought that the next time round our feet will touch land it is going to be australian soil is bizarrely abstract - let's see if in the next 4 days we will be able to bring our heads around to that;)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

nouvelle cal├ędonie - so not like scotland

whoever thought that this big island looks like scotland was probably very very homesick and saw what he wanted to see, or just had too much kava on vanuatu.

we spent the first few nights in the port moselle in noumea - a town so crazily french, that you understand why so many indigenous people sit around scratching their head looking lost.
unfortunately it is not french in a positive way though. we found noumea rather un-charming, but for a stop over it does the job.

after a few days and going through a rather easy customs procedure we left noumea and stopped to the bay the prony on our way to the ile de pines.

here, new caledonia is well and truly beautiful and enchanting. the norfolk pines mixed with coconut palms in front of australian style red soil are a special sight, white and super soft sandy beaches are simply lovely.
we have to admit, that we are a bit tired of sight seeing - maybe because tanna was such a top experience - maybe because emotionally we are too close to australia already and with all the stuff that needed to be arranged prior to departure it was very hard to keep our head here in new cal.
nevertheless we enjoyed a relaxing week with only a little swimming, since the wind and water was tempered according to the season (which is spring)- some amazing snorkeling with the most colorful coral seen so far and magic sunsets.

but the wind is calling our name again....and so we will head off tonight for our last long passage for a while.
we will sail into brisbane and clear in there. however it won't be the end of our trip just yet!!!! - we plan to sail on down the east coast and take our lovely maloo into sydney habour....a pretty lady should be taken to pretty places!

we will post on our blog during passage - so sail with us if you are keen! we, as always, are happy to hear from you on maloo@mailasail.com.

so - what else to say? maybe....

au revoir noumea, au revoir nouvelle cal├ędonie.....g'day australia, g'day brisbane





sunset in the Baie de Prony


Ile Des Pins






and again without the spoilt view