I arrived in Bundaberg, Australia from Fiji in November 2016. I then headed down to Brisbane and finally Sydney where I sat out the hurricane season. A good thing as Hurricane Debbie did a number on the Northeast coast. Finally I left Sydney and headed up the coast to Horn and Thursday Islands by way of Cairns, Gladstone, Airlie Beach, Lizard, Mt Adolphus, etc. I departed to Debut, Indonesia on July 18, 2017.
1. The people are wonderful. They are outgoing and friendly.
2. I got a chance to enjoy some great culture in Brisbane and Sydney.
3. After a year in the Pacific it was nice to have great Internet, semi-decent marine stores, and good public transportation.
4. I enjoyed a class reunion with people I had not seen in forty years.
5. I got to join a sailboat race in Sydney Harbor. Quite the treat!
The not so good:
1. I have been sailing for 60 years. I have been sailing around the world for eight. I have never encountered such consistency difficult conditions. Winds are strong. Waves are high. Currents are strong. In some areas thunderstorms are common. Well sheltered anchorages are rare. Anchorage areas in city areas are full of local boats making it difficult to find a spot. One earns ones stripes. And spends a lot of uncomfortable days and nights.
2. There are no cruisers' bars. By this I mean places where cruisers gather to meet each other, splice the main brace, tell sailing stories and listen to music. In bars there are no bar stools. Everyone sits at tables. Not an easy environment to meet people. Even with 40 Sail 2 Indonesia boats at Horn anchorage there was no place to go in the evening.
3. The waters are dangerous. One of the joys of the Caribbean is the ability to fall off you boat and swim at any time. The jellyfish, crocodiles and snakes make that a bad idea in most places in Australia.
4. A personal note. Cigarette prices make NYC seem cheap. I am sure lots of kids are eating ramen or going hungry so their parents can buy smokes. (The cheapest smokes are $29 for a pack of 20.)
Australia has very strict animal import laws. The biosecurity people were wonderful but having XO on board was limiting. Enough said.
Fair winds and following seas :)
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