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Back on the Gold Coast

posted Oct 7, 2010, 11:47 PM by Greg Norris   [ updated Feb 2, 2012, 8:59 PM by Sue Norris ]
Well that was fun!!!!???? We cleared out of Southport on the Gold Coast on the  1st October, a Friday and as everybody knows (but we didn't) you never leave on a Friday. We were going to leave in September, the day before but we were so not ready and the weather was awful.
Customs were great and gave us our clearance certificates and stamped our passports. Then we went to get fuel, and fill up with water before we headed out to the Seaway and into the Pacific Ocean on our way to Noumea at last. We were a bit apprehensive but excited to be finally on our way.

It was quite breezy, 10-15 knots but that was OK we needed wind  to sail.
Once we were through the seaway we hauled up the sails and headed to New Caledonia. As the afternoon wore on the wind increased and the sea became rougher. As night fell Greg started to feel ill.

At about 8:30 our first mis-adventure occurred - the headsail ripped and continued to shred itself for the next 3 days - we couldn't get it in! Greg hoisted our emergency storm headsail and we continued on our way, Greg's medication was not working. We gradually sailed north-east while fighting East Australian current which heads south at 2 knots. By morning we were 27 nautical miles offshore but only a few miles north of the Seaway.
The wind and current continued to hammer us for the next 2 days. In that time we drifted south in the current until we were just south of Cape Byron. In that time we had gear failures and Greg was still feeling no better.  We were taking less than 2 hour watches while the other one slept - (or tried to).We had to do something so we decided to call Customs and request an emergency re-entry. We planned to head back to Southport and be there in 12 hours. but the weather had other ideas. During the night we had strong wind warnings and amazing storms, bucket loads of rain fell. We found it difficult to keep the boat heading north, all the more difficult in near blackout conditions with no landmarks to focus on.
By daybreak we were off Tweed Heads and arrived at Southport at about 12:30 in the afternoon. By then it was gloriously warm, sunny and calm.
The seas were still quite high and we surfed into the seaway on  a huge wave. We had a call from Customs and they said that they would be there in a day or 2 to check us back in. We hadn't been anywhere -what was the hurry?

We have stamps in our passports which have other stamps over the top recording that officially we DID NOT LEAVE.

When we had anchored we noticed that the drinking water tanks were empty - something had knocked the hose off, the water had drained into the bilge and had been pumped out.

We were definitely told that it was not time for us to go yet.

We didn't see any whales and we only had one interaction with some curious dolphins which came to play with a slow yellow boat.

We had many curious looks as we entered Bums Bay with our gaily flying scraps of headsail - people came over wondering what had happened to us - we were interesting for a short while.

We are now safe on the Gold Coast, recovering slowly -  and will be here until we can source a new genoa and repair the other things that need to be done.

FOOD CONSUMPTION 4 days
3/4 kg jar of fruit
2/3 packet Sao biscuits
1 pkt snakes
a few gingernuts
3 slices each of "cruising cake"

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sail1.jpg
(55k)
Sue Norris,
Oct 8, 2010, 12:36 AM
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sail2.jpg
(169k)
Sue Norris,
Oct 8, 2010, 12:37 AM
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