Life after Boat

You may have gathered that we’ve been land lubbers since my last blog post (almost a month ago… woops!), so this post’s subject is easy – where are we now? And, where have we been?

First of all, I have to reiterate the awesomeness of Sydney by water. We were able to live in and get to know many wonderful neighborhoods: Manly, Neutral Bay, Cammeray in Middle Harbour, Blackwattle and Rozelle Bays off Glebe, Drummoyne, and Balmain. I’d like to think that our knowledge of the city is quite comprehensive. Our love affair with Sydney could’ve lasted much longer, but the relationship soured just a touch when Hydroquest sold and we had to start paying for accommodation on land. Ouch!

We’d sent home most of our warm clothes, but we couldn’t imagine being so close to New Zealand, and not going over there. Who knows when we’ll be back in this part of the world…? Lucky for us, we have a whole network of cruising friends who spent the cyclone season in NZ. Early April seemed like the perfect opportunity to catch up with some of them before everyone sails back north.

If you’ve been paying ridiculously good attention to this blog, you may remember our friends Jean and Stephanie from Mexico (our last time together was Jan 2013 in Barra de Navidad, so we never did get to have that celebratory ‘crossing’ toast together in the SoPac!). Friends Lionel and Irene we got to know in Banderas Bay and over many hilarious games of Pictionary in French Polynesia, but we hadn’t seen them since Moorea.

In addition to enjoying the company aboard Le Letty and then Kiapa, the highlights of NZ were: in Bay of Islands, picking mussels off the rocks at low tide (and dodging the big swells as they crashed in) for Moules Frites. Continuing our fabric lessons with Stephanie (my arms were too sore after lesson #1 to progress much further). Going for a sail on Kiapa in Whangarei Bay and watching out for cute little penguins. And getting to know Auckland and family friends Phili and Mark, who hosted us for a few nights in Mission Bay.

New Zealand was short and sweet. Bali is hot and cheap. We’ve found excellent accommodation here including fast wifi and all you can eat a la carte breakfast. A tasty dinner for two can cost as little as $9 (including beers). A perfect running and surfing beach is close by, and the sunsets are always gorgeous.

Needless to say, Life After Boat is pretty good. We are relaxed. We are warm. We have no boat projects. We aren’t worried about dragging anchor. We don’t have to prepare to go to sea in x number of days. We have lots of time for work. Yes, life is good, but we are boat-less… We have to get used to travelling without our home. We can’t look forward to where she’ll take us next. We can’t explore the way we are used to. Sometimes those boat projects are actually quite satisfying. And being at sea can be quite pleasant. Can’t forget the feeling of sailing into a new land…

Hmm. We also have a lot of time for Yachtworld.

Categories: Life after HQ | 2 Comments

Hydroquest Sold

We flew back to Sydney on March 1st. Oh, the wonders of air travel…

A week after our arrival we moved Hydroquest (who, by the way, won versus the birds!) to a mooring at the Balmain Marina. It’s an excellent location and also the site of the Sydney office of David Bray Yacht Sales. We’d made it clear that we weren’t interested in selling HQ prior to our return in March and that, in fact, a sale into April or May would be just fine. But we met with George and mentioned that Hydroquest was ready to be shown. Two days later we had an offer.

Needless to say, things moved quickly, and we were relieved to have already flown home with four very large and very heavy bags of ‘stuff’. We were able to move our remaining ‘stuff’ off Hydroquest in a couple of days. Where does all this ‘stuff’ come from! We’re turning into an anti-hoarders …. “Throw it out, throw it out!”

So yesterday we said goodbye to Hydroquest, our First Sailboat… no future boat will ever have that Title. Of course there were tears, hugs, and kisses. Obviously neither of us are feeling much connection to our material objects, but Hydroquest herself is a different story. She’s taken us to amazing places and she’s been our protector across the big Ocean, so much more than just a home. A relationship with an offshore boat is a special one and we’ll always remember her as boat we loved.

I’m getting teary about it all over again….

Hydroquest will have the pleasure of continuing to enjoy sailing in Australia – lucky girl! You may wonder about our future plans…  We will stay in Sydney for at least another week or so but Australia starts to feel awfully expensive when accommodation costs are thrown into the mix. We’ve loved our time here but other places (in the Southern Hemisphere) are calling our name. We’ll keep you posted.

Categories: In The Land Down Under | 10 Comments

When one adventure ends

When one adventure ends, another one begins.

Hydroquest, our home and the real ‘rockstar’ of our Pacific crossing, is for sale in Sydney, Australia. Yes, this was always part of our plan, but it’s been an emotional few days now that it’s official.

Without the confidence we had in Hydroquest, our voyage would not have been possible.  We would not have had the experiences we had, or seen the things we have seen.

We’ll be back in Sydney in March to ensure she’s still in tip top shape and to eventually say goodbye. Just like us, we know that she has more more adventures in her future.

Please don’t stop checking up on our blog; it’s not ending!


Categories: In The Land Down Under | 3 Comments

Hydroquest vs The Birds

Turns out that Sydney Harbour has a lot of birds. During our action packed five day trip to Melbourne (thank you Browns for hosting us!), a whole flock of flappers took up residence on poor Hydroquest. Her solar panels, boom, and dodger suffered the worst.

This will not happen again. HQ now looks like a fishing trip gone very wrong.

It took us eight months to sail here, but we’ll get back to Vancouver after 28 hours of travel…

No birds allowed

No birds allowed

Categories: In The Land Down Under | Leave a comment

43+ at the tennis today…

It is incredibly hot here. So hot that we decided against another day at the Open… Yesterday was sweltering at 35 degrees (no shaded viewing for most courts) and today it’s like stepping outside into a sauna. That’s okay – it was great fun to be there once. Today we’ll enjoy the matches with the comfort of air conditioning.  I’m in awe of the players out there!

Melbourne Open - after the Pospisil vs Groth match

Melbourne Open – after the Pospisil vs Groth match

Categories: In The Land Down Under | 4 Comments

Getting into trouble in NSW

It all began on New Year’s Eve. We left Cammeray Marina on the morning of January 30th and motor sailed around Middle Head to Athol Bay – The destination for fireworks viewing in the Harbour. There were already many boats anchored, but we were early enough to snag a good spot near all our friends. We set the anchor hard and then put all the fenders out.

Strangely enough, after a night without issue, the next afternoon Hydroquest was touching the sailboat behind us. Or it was touching her?  By that point there was so much chain laid out on the sea floor, different amounts for everyone, who knows what was happening down there.  Regardless – we moved Hydroquest to anchor in another very tight spot… Not an easy task with everyone watching and hoping we didn’t get too close to them.

Late afternoon on NYE, we decided to initiate a BC-inspired ‘dinghy raft up party’.  Okestern, Ninita, and us dressed up (seriously – the most formal we’ve been in years – white collared shirts and ties for the guys and black dresses for the girls. Barefoot, of course) and jumped in our dinghies with beers and music and beckoned for other dinghies to join us.

Twenty minutes and twenty-five more dinghies later, we had a giant flotilla! Then, much to our chagrin, the Police boat showed up.

All the spectator yachts watching our infamous raft up were laughing at the prospect of seeing our party broken up. But – the Police boat joined on to the end of the raft up for a couple of minutes (I think they wished they could stay longer) and then sent us floating on our way.

Needless to say – the fireworks were incredible. The whole experience of ‘bumper boats’ was completely worthwhile.

Late morning on January 1st we moved Hydroquest over to Blackwattle Bay, aka the international yacht anchorage.  It’s a fantastic location in the city, but unfortunately the holding is very poor. In fact – we had to rush back from downtown one afternoon after a phone call from Nina and Ola who were onboard:

Ninita: “Hi guys, did you re-anchor Hydroquest before you left?”

Us: “Uhh, no…. “

Ninita: “She’s in the middle of the channel.”

Us: “Uh, what?!”

It goes down on the records as the ONLY time we’ve ever dragged anchor with our Manson Supreme.  It took us – no joke – seven times to reset the anchor in Rozelle Bay just around the corner (we normally set it on the first attempt). We snagged big rocks, old cables, plastic bags and other garbage.

When we were FINALLY secure in about 3 ft of water under the keel at low tide, we had a visit from the Maritime Police. The designated anchoring spots are marked with yellow buoys and yes, we were just outside them.  The designated area was completely full and too shallow for us.

It took another two (friendly) visits from the Maritime Police for us to finally move. And since we need to leave Hydroquest for a little while, we realized that a mooring ball was going to be absolutely necessary.  Fifteen phone calls later, we secured the last available commercial mooring in the entire Harbour.

The sob story continues:  We went to pick up the mooring and ‘plop!’ Will’s iphone dropped out of his jacket pocket and into the drink.  No more iphone. Then we rowed the dinghy to shore and the paddle broke. No more paddle. Then we went into town and walked across the street and were apprehended by the Police, again. Luckily, no ticket for jaywalking was issued.

So – now we’re in Melbourne, VIC. We were just getting into too much trouble in NSW. ;)

Australian Open starts today!!

Categories: In The Land Down Under | 6 Comments

Happy 2014!

Hydroquest anchored in Atholl Bay

Categories: In The Land Down Under | 6 Comments

Four Days of … Food.

This year we celebrated the holidays with the SweCan sailing family.  You may recall that we parted ways with SV Okestern (Caroline & Johannes) and SV Ninita (Nina & Ola) in Tanna, Vanuatu, in early October so it was awesome to reunite in Sydney.

Our line up of holiday events spanned four days. Swedes have their main celebration on Christmas Eve, so the eve before Christmas Eve is ‘Waiting Up’ night … Hmm. It involves staying up, drinking ‘glögg’ (aka mulled wine) and watching movies. It wasn’t hard to convince us to join in.

On the 24th, they set up a beautiful Swedish ‘Christmas Table’ (buffet). The five different types of pickled herring had them all licking their lips, but the tastiness just didn’t translate for Will and I. We did eat smoked salmon, special baked bread, hard bread, ham, egg with caviar spread, beetroot, sausages, Swedish meatballs, and more ginger cookies and sweets. Snaps and singing punctuated the meal and before we knew it Christmas Eve lunch had extended well past midnight…

On December 25th,  I had to drag myself out of bed to start the Canadian Christmas cooking. I’ve never had sole ownership of the task before, so I figured that cheating on various parts of the meal would be forgivable.

Up first was making pumpkin pie. I had begun my search for canned pumpkin a week earlier. There is an abundance of pumpkin in Australia (pumpkin served in EVERYTHING here) so when I brought up the concept of canned pumpkin puree, I got a few laughs and the question: why wouldn’t you just buy pumpkins and puree them yourself? I almost thought I would have to. However – I found a great online forum of North Americans also dedicated to the quest for canned pumpkin in Australia.  Tipped off to one particular store, Will and I rushed over there last week and bought the second to last can of pumpkin puree on the shelf – for $9.99.

The turkey was also very easy. Warm summer temperatures mean that it’s acceptable (or perhaps most common) for turkey to be eaten cold. So – I was able to buy a pre-cooked cold turkey from the local grocery store. An hour in the oven on low – and Voila! The stuffing was made on the stove top, the gravy out of a package, the frozen brussle sprouts boiled, bread sauce in a pot, and the potatoes and sweet potatoes roasted as per usual technique.  Hmm, maybe I cheated a bit too much?

Regardless, my Christmas dinner tasted just like the real deal. It even induced multiple ‘turkey comas’.

Our holiday festivities didn’t end there… we are in Sydney after all! The start of the Sydney to Hobart Race is always scheduled for December 26th, Boxing Day, regardless of weather (!).  Here’s where (finally) an Australian tradition made its way into our schedule.  New friends Dan and Maxine invited us to watch the race and enjoy a Boxing Day seafood lunch at their home. Wow – we had a fantastic view from a park on Middle Head and the celebrations continued….

Were we celebrating NOT being out there ourselves, sailing towards a gale?  Perhaps.

Categories: In The Land Down Under | 4 Comments

Presentations @ Van & Seattle Boat Shows

We are busy getting Hydroquest in tip top shape while we’re at a dock (8 hours of polishing yesterday… ughhh) and also preparing her for the holiday season.

Also on the To Do list, finalizing our presentation for the Vancouver and Seattle Boat Shows. I’m finding it very difficult to compress photos and highlights of the past two years into a 50 minutes slide show!

We will be leaving Hydroquest in Pittwater and flying back to the Pacific Northwest for the shows. Unfortunately, Hydrovane does not have a booth at the Vancouver show because of the overlapping dates, but we will be presenting on the first night.

Friends, family and everyone else with an interest, please come and hear about our adventures! We are sooo excited to catch up with everyone back at home!

Vancouver International Boat Show:

  • Wednesday January 22nd @ 6:15pm

Seattle International Boat Show:

  • Saturday January 25th @ 6:15pm
  • Saturday February 1st @ 6:15pm

Sarah and Will, Vancouver Boat Show

Categories: All things Mexico, Getting started, In The Land Down Under, Islands of the South Pacific - Land experiences, Passage Reports - what's it really like at sea?, Projects | 2 Comments

Planes, trains, and automobiles

Since I last posted, we’ve been on the move.  That is… moving via regular methods transport: buses and walking around Sydney, a plane up to Brisbane, a train up to Noosa, and car rides all over the place (scary stuff, especially with Will driving on the wrong side of the road!  “LEFT!” “LEFT!”)

Seeing my parents after almost a year was awesome. We had two short days in Sydney and the same in Brisbane, but we definitely maximized the time together.  The ironic thing is that they hadn’t even planned this trip to Australia around us; they are actually here for the Ashes (a cricket test series between Australia and England). Our change of plan to sail all the way to Oz in one season just happened to coincide with their cricket schedule.  How lucky for all of us!

Highlights in Sydney were doing the Bondi to Coogee beach walk and eating dinner at restaurant China Doll… a meal that Will and I are calling one of the best of our lives.

My parents then set off to visit friends in QLD and we moved Hydroquest to her home for December - a slip in Cammeray Marina. We reunited again a week later in Brisbane. Inter-Australian-city flights are so much cheaper than Canada so it was a pleasure to hop a plane and be in Brisbane an hour and a half later. Too easy!

Next on the schedule was a visit to friends Linda and Ian who moved from Vancouver to Noosa a year ago. And we can see why… Noosa has it all: wonderful relaxed pace, tons of outdoor activities, great climate, beaches and parks.  They are working in real estate so were able to give us an informed idea of the local market. We visited a couple of open houses, an auction (strange Aussie selling process), and had tours of various urban and rural areas. To answer the question from home: NO, we are not moving to Noosa, but we did really love it… So much so that we extended our stay by five days!  Thank you Linda and Ian!

In the past two weeks we only took one boat ride… but it was about as stress free as boating gets.

Today we are back in Sydney, aboard Hydroquest who is still happily moored in Cammeray Marina where we left her. As wonderful as our land travels have been, we came back to our pretty boat and she felt more like home than ever.  A few easy boat projects are on the schedule for this week and then we have to get organzied for our Canadian/Swedish Christmas and New Year’s. We hear this city puts on a decent firework show ;)

Categories: In The Land Down Under | 1 Comment

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