Alongside Coffs Harbour Marina
Weather: overcast, showers, cool
We are now alongside the marina. I think I made a good decision coming to Coffs Harbour. The customs officers, Stuart and Michael were excellent; polite, courteous, friendly and easy going though of course also professional and thorough. They did all three jobs of customs, quarantine and immigration so it was a simple one stop process. They called me on the radio about 9 in the morning and directed me to a berth in the marina where they met me to take my lines, and as Stuart said hello he obviously knew I had just completed my circumnavigation and that I had left Australia quite few years ago. I thought, “Boy, these guys are thorough, must have a good data base.” But then Stuart mentioned Bob Cat and I really doubted whether old BC was on the Australian Customs data base. It turns out that Stuart is a bit of a yachtie himself and had been following my blog. I felt quite honoured that my journey and writings had touched another person I had never met before. So Stuart knew all about our travels and had an excellent background knowledge on me and Sylph which I am sure streamlined the clearance process a little. Stuart even knew about the stowaway lizard which I regret to report was buried at sea with all due ceremony a day out from Coffs Harbour when I found his little dehydrated body on the side deck.
To bring things up to date, I had an excellent sail in my last 24 hours. The morning dawned a flat calm, we had drifted overnight despite one attempt to sail; I looked to the south thinking how disappointing if we have to motor the last 20 odd miles to complete our circumnavigation. But around midday a light nor' easterly sprang up, I quickly set sail to it and we were underway again. As the wind was abaft the beam I had to steer as I could not get Sylph to hold a course by herself with this wind angle, but it was only a few hours, and at 1710, just on sunset we sailed in between the breakwater and Mutton Bird Island, tacked twice in the now very light air and dropped anchor in 6 meters of water between the old jetty and the inner harbour breakwater. Perfect!
The circumnavigation is complete but the voyage is not; a voyage is complete when the ship arrives at the original port of departure, every thing else in between is a passage, so in this case Sylph's voyage will be complete when we arrive back in Sydney, though at a personal level it will be Adelaide which is my home port and Sylph's port of registration, though I have to confess that Sylph will always be a Sydney boat where she was built and launched and sailed from for many years including six Sydney to Hobart yacht races back in the 60s and early 70s.
My goal is to make Adelaide by Christmas, which should be very do-able from here.
Now I am attending to getting a new windvane rudder made, I have made the acquaintance of a few sailors at the yacht club and they are proving very helpful. And I will probably haul Sylph out yet again to repair the small patch of paint that for some reason has failed below the water line, I suspect it is related to Sylph slipping that little bit in trailer at the carenage in Apataki when she was being relaunched. So I figure we will be here for about two weeks, then south to Adelaide.
All is well.