G'Day Mate- Leaving Australia

Peregrina's Journey
Peter and Margie Benziger
Thu 28 Jul 2011 23:12
Position Report:  12:28.000S    130:51.000E

G’Day Mate
Having been married to Margie for 32 years, I thought I had only one mate…until I came to Australia!
In Australia, everyone greets everyone else with a hearty “G’Day mate!  So literally ‘everyone is your mate!’ 
Australia is the fastest growing ‘wealthy country’ in the world.  It now has almost 22 million mates. But still there are only about 2.5 people per square kilometer average because of sheer size of the country. However, most of the people live along the eastern seaboard, the route Peregrina sailed. Thus we got to see and meet a lot of Australians. We have a lot of mates.
What will we remember about Australia?  More than anything else is the incredible friendliness of the Aussies. We now know people in most major towns from Sydney to Darwin. We have shared meals with them, traveled with them and stayed in their homes. 
Let me introduce you to a few people who embody the Australian spirit of friendliness:

Meet Ronnie and Alan, standing in front of their beloved rebuilt Trawler “Storm.”  Alan is a former Qantas airline pilot and Ronnie is worked as a flight attendant. Over the course of seven years they rebuilt Storm from the keel up with a lot of the work done in Alan’s workshop above his garage.  In this photo, Storm is covered in protective sun cloth. Once aboard you quickly understand why; she is a work of incredible beauty. Carved woodwork abounds covered with layer after layer of hand tipped varnish. We met them sailing and dined on their boat, stayed in their home for days and Alan helped me rebuild my deck boxes on Peregrina in his workshop.

We did flood relief work with Ronnie and Alan following the killer floods of 2011.

While we worked on the flood relief in Yeronga, Australia we met this kind woman. She had packed a picnic basket with sandwiches and homemade cookies and was walking around the devastated neighborhood that had received eleven feet of flood waters. We were hot and sweaty when she arrived. Her smile, delicious delicacies and kindness renewed our energy.

Meet Cathy and Greenie. Cathy is from Papua New Guinea and Greenie is an Aussie. They live full time on their sailboat and we have cruised and explored with them. Whenever we needed a hand on Peregrina they unflinchingly offered to help.

Cathy has a laugh that infectious. Here she is hilariously exhilarated after just missing stepping on one of Australia’s most poisonous snakes that was sunning itself in a hole in the bridge we were crossing. The term “laughing in the face of death’ comes to mind.

This is an awning maker in Gove, Australia who offered to repair Peregrina’s ripped foresail. Many places Peregrina travels there are no marine services, chandleries or trained professionals. But, nevertheless, we keep going with help from “landlubbers” with big hearts.

This is a remote lighthouse that has no road to it. We anchored in Pancake Creek and hiked an hour and a half to the top of the cliff. Once there, the lighthouse keeper and his wife invited us into their home, served us tea and homemade cookies and told us all about the lighthouse. They welcomed us with open arms and hearts. They volunteer each year to take care of  the lighthouse for six weeks with no pay. They just love lighthouses … and meeting new people!

Following a violent storm Chris and Sally found themselves aground with their beloved sailboat Crysalis II being pounded by waves and rocks. Their rudder was ripped off the boat. We were nearby and able to help get them off the lee shore. We became good friends. When Margie went home to visit the girls, Chris and Sally drove an hour and a half to pick her up and take her to the airport.

This is our friend Dale, on FreeForm. He owns a gymnasium but decided that he wants to sail more than run a business. So, he made a trusted employee a partner and now he is free to sail the world while receiving income from the gym. Dale share many helpful navigational tips about sailing the Great Barrier Reef.  He will be coming with us on the Sail Indonesia Rally.

But now the sun is setting on our visit to Australia. As we travel the world we have many memories of beautiful locations but the memories that we cherish are the people we have met.
 While Margie remains my marital Mate and the first Mate on Peregrina, we both now have many, many Aussie mates.
G’Day Mate
No Worries