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Date: 01 Nov 2012 07:51:00
Title: Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!

Lat 19:46.93S
Lon 160:16.33E

Thursday 1st November

We left Vanuatu on Monday morning (29th). I had meant to send a blog before we left, but I never quite got around to it, so apologies for the lack of updates for a while! We were expecting the first day of our week long passage to Australia to be very light winds, but as soon as we were out of the Segond channel on Santo, we found 20 knots on our beam, so we were flying along at 8 knots for a lot of the first day. We set a new Mystic record for the longest distance travelled in 24hrs - unfortunately we didn't write down co-ordinates at the right times to be able to get the exact distance, but it would have been about 180 miles (previous best was en route to Marquesas when we did 173 miles).

We've passed through a few light squalls, but Mystic has done her usual trick of taking advantage of the extra wind from the rain clouds without actually getting us wet! (Although I'm sure the captain would like to think it's his 30 yrs of racing skills coming into play!) Weather for the last 2 days has been glam - sunny, clear days and friendly wind - 12 to 20 knots. We are currently approaching Chesterfield Reef which is in the middle of nowhere but as it's half way between Vanuatu and Bundaberg, it's a popular stopping point for yachts on the Port 2 Port Rally which we are participating in. The reef has a tiny island and water depths suitable for anchoring. However, we will be passing it in the dark, and we just want to get to Aus as soon as possible. The Port 2 Port Rally is organised by a friendly group of yachties that live in Bundaberg. We pay an entry fee but come out on top as they pay our customs and immigration fees for us. It's a bit of a gimmick to get more yachts into Bundaberg to boost the marine industry and tourism in the town, but when they're selling free money and an easy process of clearing in and importing the boat, it was the obvious choice for our entry port in Australia.

Speaking of Australia, I have a confession to make - I was back in Bondi last week! I undertook a secret trip back to Sydney to attend my citizenship ceremony and officially become an Australian! Highly annoying that I couldn't change the ceremony date for when we would be back in Aus, but rules is rules and it was not for lack of trying! Thank God for frequent flyer points! I'm now a proper Aussie and will get my Aussie passport when we get back. Don't worry Brit kids - I still keep my British citizenship too, and in an England/Australia rugby match I will still be cheering for England and singing Jerusalem down the pub! I now have dual nationality which is pretty damn cool as it means I can come back and live in Australia or NZ anytime for the rest of my life. Not that we're thinking of it in the foreseeable future, but it might be a good retirement plan! I wanted to keep my visit a secret as I didn't want any early celebrations of being engaged or back on dry land until Archie and I arrived together. I stayed at a friend's and it was lovely to catch up. Lucky Archie got to stay on the boat in Luganville and clean the boat! His head is much better and seems to be healing well. It was very strange to be back in civilisation again - even my iPhone got recharged and used - how amazing it is to be so connected to the world all the time, and have access to anything you want at the touch of a button. (well, not actually even a button on an iPhone). Some people complain about the fact that they are so contactable, but try living without it for 8 months and then tell me how you feel!

I think we're heading into what Ewan referred to as a "light and shite" day of no wind tomorrow (Friday) but then hopefully the wind should pick up again and we expect to arrive into Bundy on Monday morning. Morale is pretty good. We've been sleeping well and we are super excited to be so close to completing our crossing of the largest ocean in the world. Plus, I have all the time in the world to pester Archie about wedding plans!! Haha!

Sally the mayor presenting me with my citizenship certificate - I had to run to the shops to buy a new outfit as all I have on the boat are stained boardies and ripped t-shirts!

With Jenny - my guest of honour! (Plus Warrick too!)

VB and a Lamington. At the same time. Could I BE more Australian?!

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