4:45pm, Sunday 2 May: 15 minutes before the cruisers BBQ, the phone rings
The phone: “Hello. This is Border Force Australia about your request to sail to Australia.”
Us: We’re surprised and immediately suspicious.
Our first request was refused. You can fly to Australia from New Zealand, but yachts can’t sail there without permission. A second (whimsical) request was submitted two months ago. This had to be a wind-up.
We considered the following reply.
“G’day Australia, ow ya goin? Sounds corker, but you’re a few stubbies short of a six pack talking about exemptions ain’t ya? Ain’t it about time to be throwing a shrimp on the barby this arvo and cracking open a few Fosters? Bonza!”
The phone: “Sorry to call you on a Sunday, but you need to apply directly to the Australian state you wish to sail to. Once you have their permission you can apply to us for final sign off.”
Us: Stop singing ‘Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport’.
“Good on ya (slow morph to normal accent) ah, we need to sail to Queensland now that the Trans Tasman bubble is open. Are yachts being given permission to do that?”
The phone: “Yes, permissions are being granted. I’ll email you the contacts in Queensland and you can contact them directly.”
And so it was, one week later, we were in proud possession of the permissions to sail to Queensland, Australia, quarantine free and two six month visas.
We are SO lucky. We were granted permission on ‘compassionate and compelling grounds’ and all of our other cruising friends have had their applications refused
Holey dooley, what a rip snorter. Baggy Round the World was back in the circumnavigation game! Corker!
And we’ve been singing our own version of the famous sea shanty ‘South Australia’ ever since!
🎵 To North Australia we will sail, heave away, haul away
To North Australia from Whangerai, we’re bound for North Australia
Since the last blog
We finished our six month summer cruising adventures in April and moored up at Riverside Drive Marina (RDM), Whangerai, Northland.
For those who read the last blog we were in a right pickle over what to do, with several options … and thanks to everyone who came up with good ideas and advice.
It’s now official. We’re NOT selling Baggy, leaving her and flying home or attempting some crazy sailing expedition straight to Indonesia!
Our marina is buzzing. Boatie neighbours are from Finland, France, Belgium, Sweden, Netherlands, Canada, South Africa and America and the Sunday BBQ is a lively shindig.
We’ve got our own band and even have a few celebrities.
Solo sailor Barry Perrins from Plymouth, UK, is more commonly known for his popular Facebook and You Tube channels ‘Adventures of an Old Seadog’, which has 90K ‘armchair sailor’ subscribers. A steady stream of fans come to the boatyard to meet him. We have a few seconds of stardom in Video 174 ‘Boat Moving’ … be ready to spot Baggy at around 12 minutes 56 seconds!
Then there’s Ivar and Floris Sailors for Sustainability from the Netherlands. They’re blogging and vlogging stories about thier sailing trip around the world in search of sustainable solutions for humanity and our planet.
And there have been heaps of other distractions ….
But, the moment we knew we were on the yellow brick road to Oz there was no time for mucking about. We had some serious work to do.
Early one morning Baggy was hauled out of the water and we spent two weeks living on stilts.
Baggy’s Beauty Refit
We have indulged her in top to toe treatments.
- a thoroughly sprayed and scrubbed bottom
- copper paint touch-ups
- replaced cutlass bearing
- repainted diving compressor cage
- serviced engine water pump
- repaired auto helm
- restitched spray hood
- deep cleaning
- a thorough clear out of every locker and shelf
- new genoa sheets
- cleaned and polished top sides
- brand new anchor chain
🎵 Baggy is a very fine boat, heave away, haul away
She’ll make sure we stay afloat, we’re bound for North Australia
In other news …
We managed to book our two Covid-19 Pfizer vaccines, just in the nick of time. Our second jab is on 5 June and we’re leaving New Zealand the first weather window after that.
We’ve strategically provisioned with food we’re allowed to take into Australia. With enough dry goods onboard for three months it means we won’t waste time food shopping when we get there = more time diving!
We’re ready. What now?
1 We’re going to sail 1700 nautical miles across the Tasman and Coral Seas to Mackay, Queensland, Australia. It should take us around two weeks.
2 We’ll sail up the east coast of Australia, diving the Great Barrier Reef and potentially visiting Whitsundays, Townsville, Cairns, Thursday Island. Our plan is to be in Darwin by early August.
3 From Darwin we’ll sail 2000 nautical miles to Cocos Keeling Islands for a 24-hour rest and re-supply before continuing our epic Indian Ocean crossing.
4 From Cocos Keeling we’ll sail 2400 nautical miles across the Indian Ocean to Mauritius and/or Reunion.
5 From Mauritius and/or Reunion it’s straight on to South Africa with an ETA of early November for safe haven before the cyclone season starts.
And we’ll be staying in South Africa till early 2022 before heading up the Atlantic Ocean.
🎵 We’ve half way round the world to go,heave away,haul away
But the South East Trades they always blow, we’re bound for North Australia
It’s a poignant time.
We arrived in New Zealand 18 months ago, with no idea we’d be ‘stuck’ here for so long. But WHAT an incredible experience it’s been.
We’re over the moon to continue our journey, but now we’re leaving Covid-free New Zealand for the big bad world outside.
We’ve been insulated from all the pandemic horrors for a long time and feel a little daunted by the prospect of getting back out onto the high seas and ‘real’ world again.
🎵 There’s just one thing that’s on our minds, heave away, haul away
That’s leaving fair NZ behind, we’re bound for North Australia
But, we’ll be vaccinated, as prepared as we can be and can only take it one country and ocean at a time.
So – next stop Mackay, Australia and you can follow our sailing track on Yellow Brick.
🎵 The Tasman Sea is very wide, heave away,haul away
But we’ll get to the other side,
we’re bound for North Australia
Heave away,your rolling king,heave away,haul away
Haul away, you’ll hear us sing, we’re bound for North Australia