We’re bound for North Australia

4:45pm, Sunday 2 May: 15 minutes before the cruisers BBQ, the phone rings

Us: “Hello.”

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.

Anyone know ‘Old Seadog’ Barry?

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!

Floris gets to work with a shovel: Now THAT’S going to take some scrubbing

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 ….

Park Running in a tutu (on May 22 – get it?)
Tree hugging: ancient kauri trees
New neighbours: White-faced heron, an Australian migrant that began breeding in New Zealand in the 1940s
Yarn bombing: it’s everywhere

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

Baggy outside beauty salon Blush, voted New Zealand’s best salon! Only the very best for our girl.

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
Hard at work: enjoying a spot of painting in the sunshine
Baggy Before
Baggy After
🎵 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.

Provisions: this was just the first load …. !

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.

Hatea River, Whangerai, Northland, New Zealand: our beautiful safe haven

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
Posted with love from the Covid-free land of fluffy white dogs in pink tutus!!

7 thoughts on “We’re bound for North Australia

  1. “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”-Ernest Hemingway

    Safe journey!♥️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Paul & Sally, this is fantastic news, although poignant in its way. My son-in-law, Loums, (Catherine’s husband), has family and friends in Mauritius – they last visited a couple of years ago. So if you do fetch up there, let me know in advance, and I’ll put you in touch with each other. He has many friends and family who will be happy to help in all aspects of putting you in touch with the right people! Fair winds, Amanda xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Amanda – that’s very kind. It’s always lovely to know a local when you arrive somewhere new. We have everything crossed for Mauritius 🇲🇺 and will keep in touch. Lots of love xx


  3. Great news! Since you’ll be sailing up the coast of Queensland, you must make a stop at the legendary Percy Island! You’ll also have to try fresh Barramundie straight of the boats in McKay.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely to read the latest blog and to hear plans for the next stage in your epic venture. Say hello to Lord Howe Island for me if you drop in en route across the Tasman. Great diving there. Wishing you fair winds and following seas. Paul and Dawn

    Liked by 1 person

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