april 2009: australia

Australia: Sailing north – Jervis Bay to Moreton Bay


Jervis Bay – Tasman Sea – Jibbon Beach (Port Hacking) – Manly Cove, Rose Bay (Port Jackson) – Trial Bay (South West Rocks)- Clarence River (Yamba/Illuka) – Coral Sea – The Broadwater (Gold Coast) – Moreton Bay

Seven things we have learned

1. The logistics of disembarking from Zinc dressed to party and looking good can be complicated. For example, it may require dressing for a wedding in a public toilet in a Sydney park and asking the council cleaning lady to button up your cocktail dress. Or, it may require two attempts and a change of clothes (if on your first attempt you pitch pole the tender in the shore dump and become soaking wet).
2. If at first you do not succeed, give up and get your dad to finish the task (thank you John R for the upgraded internet connection).
3. Paddling back to Zinc on a six foot surfboard with a spoodle on your back, a dog lead around your neck and a loaf of bread attached to the dog lead does not work. The bread will get wet.
4. Hold on to the hand rail when cleaning fish guts off the sugar scoop while Zinc is underway. The skipper did not do this and fell overboard. The skipper was fortunate the first mate remembered how to execute the man overboard pick-up technique she learned in sailing lessons.
5. We may return home sooner than anticipated if the skipper continues to break expensive “unbreakable” surfboards (two in four months).
6. We packed loads of stuff we do not need. We omitted to pack loads of stuff we do need. Cheers to passing through the Gold Coast (home) after four months of living on Zinc and having an opportunity to repack now we (sort of) know what we are doing.
7. If you flip the tender in the shore dump, the engine will flood and you will need a mechanic to fix it. If you cannot find the spoodle after flipping the tender, lift a corner of the (upside-down) tender and she will scamper out and up the beach.

The skipper and the spoodle paddle to shore after flooding the engine

Four of the best bits

1. Sailing our first 2,000 nautical miles (3,703.8km). Sailing apprenticeship/training programme complete. The skipper (who was formerly known as bombardier Rowney from the 1st Field Artillery Regiment) designed and implemented the programme based on the following premise: “A good solider must seek out, prepare for, and train in all conditions. While training you must do things the hardest possible way. Only when you get to war can you do things the easiest possible way.” The first mate is very happy she has finished training and is now at “war”.
2. Shaun and Jacki’s wedding.
3. Easter in Yamba with family and friends:
*Land, land, glorious land. Immobile. Stationary. Stable. Meals, showers, walks, bike rides, car rides, afternoon naps and sleeps on land- cherished treats after three days at sea.
*Surfing twice a day each day.
*Let loose around town with a small child, a nappy bag and a bike. Visiting the park, pool, beach. Paddling out to “Nessy-boat-Dale-boat-Sush-boat” on the kayak. Feeding stale blueberry bagels to fish off the back of Zinc. Watching Poo Bear several times. Life is infectiously enchanting when you hang out with an almost two year old.
4. Lodging on land at the five star on Albatross.

Mannix Mead – skipper in training

Four of the worst bits

1. Sponsorship withdrawn. The first mate (reluctantly) returned Chad’s sunglasses. The first mate is happy (sort of) that the sunglasses are now with their rightful owner.
2. The trip from Jervis Bay to Sydney and then waiting out a three day storm while attached to a public mooring buoy at Jibbon Beach, Port Hacking:
*Cold, wet, seasick.
*The health and happiness of all on board deteriorated significantly when the swell rose to over 11 meters and wrapped around the headland into the normally protected and calm mooring area.
*The first mate was paralysed. Unable to sit up. Unable to eat. Unable to read. Unable to finish a game of backgammon. Unable to sleep.
*In a seasickness induced hallucination, the first mate envisaged she was nailed in a coffin that was being thrust from side to side and up and down stairs. She thought it was pretty good to be already in a coffin because she would not have to be moved when it was time to bury her on land.
*The skipper woke numerous times each night to check and ease the rocking, screeching, bouncing, straining, creaking, moaning Zinc.
3. The trip from Sydney to Yamba:
*Three horrible days at sea in rough, stormy weather.
*Losing two to three precious knots of boat speed to the notorious east Australian current.
*Horror night shifts. Struggling to stay awake. Struggling to stay warm. Struggling not to throw up. Struggling to stay dry.
*Tacking back and forth at the mouth of the Clarence River for three hours while waiting for the sun to rise and the tide to flow so we could cross the Illuka/Yamba bar.
4. Further evidence of aging and weathering. A pedicurist urged the first mate to purchase special ointment for her weathered feet. The pedicurist told the first mate the ointment was developed by a vet for horse hoofs.

The brown spoodle and Mario with his pants down

Spoodle report

* The spoodle met six bunnies with white fluffy tails. The spoodle went into a frenzy when the bunnies scattered in different directions and ran into the bushes because the spoodle did not know which bunny to chase.
* The spoodle was babysat by Laura while we attended Shaun and Jacki’s wedding. The spoodle played in Laura’s garden. The spoodle slept in Laura’s bed. The spoodle ate treats. The spoodle was not excited about returning to live on Zinc.
* The spoodle is a black dog but the spoodle became a brown dog from over-exposure to the sun and to salt water. The spoodle became a black dog again after a day spent at the pooch parlour getting her long, luscious sun and salt bleached locks shaved off.
* The spoodle will remain on board Zinc until Darwin. After arranging the hand over of the spoodle to the first mate’s middle sister’s family in late May, the first mate cried and was able to obtain the skipper’s approval to keep the spoodle on board until Darwin, from where the spoodle will be flown to her foster family.

The spoodle and her best buddy Laura

Nature report

Very little nature to report. We surmise nature was hiding during terrible-weather-April. Although, we can report surfing with turtles, dolphins and flying sting rays at Turners in Yamba and watching phosphorous covered dolphins, silhouetted by the moon, mack airs around the bows of Zinc, during our night sails north.

Surf report

*Grumbles (Port Hacking) (named by the skipper after the first mate who he went surfing to escape)
*Fairy Bower (Manly)
*Turners (Yamba)
*Angourie Point
*Illuka Breakwall
*South Straddie
*Main Beach
*Burleigh Point
*Mermaid Beach

Dive report

Too cold to dive.

Book report

The skipper read:

*Ask the Dust by John Fante (4 stars)

The first mate read:

*Difficult Loves by Italo Calvino (4 stars)
*All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (4 stars)
*The Good Earth by Pearl S Buck (4 stars)
*Tully by Paullina Simons (3 stars)