The departure Tuesday 24th May 2011
And so the journey begins......well almost. We had been busy in Perth since we arrived from Busselton at the beginning of March. Last minute jobs were endless, lists were, however, slowly being whittled down and the boat was looking ready to go. We had helped Shae get into a unit of her own, sorted out Gaida’s place, got finances in place, organised direct debits for accounts and ticked off the myriad of things to do when you decide to leave a land based life. But, we were still waiting for the water maker to arrive from Trinidad and then we could go. A strange place you might be thinking for a water maker to come from but that was the truth and it was annoyingly delayed through a faulty regulator the factory could not fix. They ordered new regulators but it would all take time and we were getting to breaking point. When we at last had word from the dealer that it had left Trinidad and we had a tracking number we knew something was coming our way and that Fed Ex were onto it. Its journey was quite remarkable via the world wide routes of Fed Ex deliveries, Memphis, Anchorage Alaska, Taiwan, Singapore, Belmont and finally Shae’s place in Tuart Hill. It arrived in wooden box not unlike a small coffin and the quality of packaging was indeed reassuring. Grant arrived the next morning and began the tricky process of installing a lot of stuff into a pretty tight space. He managed well and it sits in its modular form mostly in the engine room but with the important control panel well within view in the galley. Grant happened to check the brushes before staring the motor and noticed a clip holding them in place was lying loose in the bowels of the casing. It was damaged and so began the hunt for a replacement before we could actually test the machine and get going. He spent a day driving around Perth from Malaga to Belmont, to Welshpool, Canning Vale and by a stroke of intuition, a hunch really he found 2 clips from a Leeson motor and we were in business. All day he had been sending text messages, “ trying Belmont, looks good”.......” no luck, have one more idea” might have it this time on my way”. It was dramatic and when he finally came down below with the two clips in his hand I hugged him. Clips were inserted and the water maker started dribbling out pure crystal clear water from the undrinkable salt version, a truly remarkable event. This was Tuesday about 4 pm and our collective angst to finally getting going meant we saw Grant to the gate, rolled up the extension lead, threw off the lines and got the hell out of the pen. Rotto would do for a start, anywhere really so long as it was free of mooring lines. Nick McPherson, a good mate from Busselton waved us off from South Mole and The Doc made her quiet way across to Rotto and we “borrowed” a mooring for the night in Thompsons’ Bay.
We planned to get to Lancelin the next day, a good 70- odd mile sail so it meant an early start with brekkie on the way. Getting out of Thompsons with a fresh North Easter is always interesting and add to that a certain level of anxiety, apprehension and cumulative tiredness and it was a quiet boat for the first few miles. We had too much sail up and hadn’t accounted for the freshness of winds once you get offshore. The Doc likes a reef at about 20 kts plus but it was lumpy, cold and grey and nobody felt like going forward to do the deed. We hung in with the full main and a squeeze of jib and as the breeze eased around mid morning more jib came out and The Doc was flying up the coast. There is no better feeling than sitting under the hard dodger dry and warm and watching water whisk pass the boat at 8kts. The sun eventually crawled its way over the clouds that blanketed Perth but it was a winter sun and there was no bite of heat or comforting warmth in it. My anxiety levels were a tad higher than Diana’s and I remember the first half of the day sitting under the dodger grim faced, staring ahead at a lumpy white capped sea and thinking.........thinking....what will break first and is this really for me??? Deep and disquieting questions dear readers considering it was day ONE but as they say, every journey begins with a single step and this was our first sail away from familiar waters. We would need to get our sea legs back, our seasoned salty confidence that we had when we finished our last sail around Oz and it will come with time. At about 5.30 that night we turned in around Lancelin Island and dropped the anchor in flat calm water over 4m of soft white sand. The boat pulled back on her chain and off the stern was a winter sunset that burned and sizzled black and gold. We toasted our first day with a beer and a thought that yes.........our journey really had begun.