logo Pearl of Persia
Date: 23 Aug 2013 00:24:18
Title: Relaxing in Australia

Lat 16:50.0S Long 145:40.0E
We have been in Australia now for just under a month. Arriving in Mackay
was a very emotional experience, and a real sense of achievement . We have
crossed the Pacific and now we can relax a little enjoying the delights of
the Great Barrier reef and the Coral sea. It was great to meet up with all
the other Oyster rally boats and compare notes of the crossing.
With our feet on firm ground in Mackay we enjoyed some proper shopping for
food and other items. The weather was a little bit of a shock. Even though
the sky was blue, there was a cold wind that blew everyday. Having been
used to tropical weather we had to dig out our warm clothes. The warm
bedding that had been put away on leaving the Canary Islands, had to be
brought out. We hired a car and drove out for a couple of days getting a
real feel for the surroundings of Mackay. Mining and sugar are the two big
industries. As you drive out of the town there are sugar cane fields
everywhere, and then you see the massive mills where the sugar is processed.
We drove up to the rain forest where you could see the infamous Platypus in
their natural surroundings. Having driven for 2 hours in rain and towards
the end, mist and fog, we saw no Platypuss and no beautiful scenery. So we
drove back again a little despondent.
I flew down to Sydney to meet Shirin and Arthur who were flying from London
to spend 3 weeks with us and Andrew sailed the boat alone up to Hamilton
Island one of the main tourist islands in the Whitsunday Islands Seeing
Shirin and Arthur come through the gates at Sydney airport was fantastic.
We hadn't seen them since we left Antigua in January. Arthur, who is now 2
years old seemed to remember his granny with no problems. This was the
little boy who couldn't speak when we last saw him, but now is full of
chatter. We spent 3 days in Sydney so that they could get over jet lag and
enjoy some of the sights in the beautiful city. The aquarium and the
Toronga zoo were the firm favourite.
We then flew up to Hamilton to meet up with Andrew. Arthur took a real shine
to his Grandad and within minutes the shouts of Grandad across the pontoon
were like music to Andrews ears. By now the weather had turned glorious, but
not much wind so with the engine on, we motored up the coast, through the
Whitsunday Islands and each evening, anchored off a beach or in a bay. This
provided some much needed time for little Arthur to let some steam off on
the beach. We saw quite a few whales which is always special, first
spotting the blow and splashes in an otherwise calm sea and then, if lucky,
a leap out of the water and the majestic tail. Six days later we arrived in
Cairns, the last big town before the long passage around the northern tip of
Australia to Darwin. Shirin and Arthur are now back in England, the final
provisioning and jobs are nearly completed and in the morning we set off
towards Darwin, up to Cape York with hopefully enjoyable day sails and then
across the Gulf of Carpentera.

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