Just in case any one was worried, we have arrived in Oz

Graham Shaw
Wed 30 Nov 2011 03:17
After hopping through most of the small Pacific island nations, we arrived on the large island of Australia. Sorry, we arrived a while ago, just very slack in updating the blog.  The trip from New Caledonia was beautiful, the wind was perfect with a smooth sea - all good for our final big sail.  We managed the trip in 5 1/2 days arriving just in the dark at Bundeburg, with a nice welcome from the local dophins.  We managed to keep up with the other two larger catamarans, which made us very happy with our small 38ft up against a 44ft newer model Fountaine Pajot and a 46ft Prout.  She is such a fast little boat.  Appoaching Bundeburg we had to dodge lots of large ships, and in fact one was just a little too close:
(Note from Graham: before anyone asks, I had had VHF contact with the OOW long before it got to this stage)
On arrival we had the usual officials came to visit, but this was a little different as Australia is known to be very strict and fierce.  Well, we lost all the usual fresh stuff and the frozen stuff which we had thankfully used all but a few items, but the most important was my carvings which I have been stressing for weeks about.  The whole process was a breeze, all the guys were very friendly, not threatening at all, and my carvings were given the all clear.  Also, more importantly, the Port2Port Rally paid for our customs / immigration / quarantine clearance (330 Australian dollars) and gave us lots of goody bags.  The Port2Port Rally is there to entice you to Bundeburg to help the local community, because as you all know the boat lot need food, booze and lots of repairs as you go along, so this works out well for all.  They also put on a free BBQ with kangaroo steaks during our stay, with some kangaroo in the background, to see the before and after stages.
One of the Port2Port Rally parcipating yachts, who were a spanish couple on a British flagged boat called "Friday Freedom", won the best dressed pirate competion that was held by the rally organisers.  Little did anyone know they were in fact real pirates.  On "Friday", just after we arrived, the customs officers stormed the boat which had been in the harbour for over three weeks, arresting the young couple, and found over 300 kg of cocaine on boat plus a few millon dollars in cash.  The boat was hauled out and some more was found hidden in the keel.  This was all on the news and even shown in the UK on the a big haul which include some people in Sydney as well.  I think they will not have any "freedom" for a long while!!
Well, we have been cleaning the boat up making her look lovely, with Gray spending many days polishing the hull which has not been done since the day we bought her.  Fixing all those little jobs you never get around to doing.  Of course every evening we managed a get together with many of the cruisers we have not seen in a while, which of course entailed food and alcohol in large quantities.
Beautiful sunset over Bundeburg: the red sun comes from all the burning of the sugar cane and the smoke in the air from this.  Bundeberg is famous for the rum produced here, not that I had heard of it before I arrived, but this is rum country, where sugar cane is grown everywhere.
We decided to head down the coast to Mooloolaba, stoping on the way at some very beautiful anchorages, with some very interesting warnings on the beach side.
There were also ones for dingoes and snakes!!
We managed a nice walk in the bush without being eaten, stung or bitten.  We did not tempt fate by wandering in the long grass.
This was the dodgy bridge?
On one of our stops we came across the ferry, which delivers cars to and from the beaches.
Also a different kind of canoe in Oz, with a sail.
We have managed to pack the boat up, and move all our stuff to our friends' house in Tin Can Bay, where they have the most beautiful bird in their garden.
We also went to see the dolphin feeding in the bay, which I have to say was a very poor affair.
We also managed a tour of the local forest which is quite close to us and see the waterfalls.
And also the local water world which is next to the marina.
Finally looks like our last party on Catacaos, with the guys from Whatcha Gonna Do, Ceilydh and Connect 4, also being Diane's birthday - party games - and new haircuts for the boys who are all going for interviews - scary stuff - but a good time was had by all.
Especially Lucas, who has picked up a older woman!
Doesn't the boat look empty?!!!
Now all that remains to do is the small matter of finding someone to buy her.  We have begun the paperchase of the importation process, and once we have paid the import duty and sales tax, the broker can list her for sale.  In between time we may head down to Sydney to visit friends, and we intend to go to New Zealand at some stage to see family and friends.