|Poinciana tree, Oz doesn't have poinsettias... But these are stunning|
On Saturday 1 December, we chose to head out of the river. We timed dropping our mooring as the tide shifted from flooding to ebb to carry us out the river to Moreton Bay (and managed to save our space and the space two boats down for incoming Britannia and Convivia with the help of neighboring s/v Celiydah). What started as a mellow motor turned into a relaxing motor sail as we retraced our path under the Story Bridge then the Rivergate Bridge down the river near its terminus. By late afternoon when we reached the exit of the
, the passage culminated in a
windy/wavy/busy river exit. With current now strongly ebbing out and brisk
afternoon winds howling in, steep waves were created in the less than 0.1-nm
wide channel. Already a challenge before adding multiple fast large powerboats
entering and exiting the river, an incoming sailing vessel under spinnaker, an
exiting motoring sailing vessel mere boat lengths behind us, and the final
cherry on top, cargo ship traffic. Chris was excited by the adventure and
motivated Shawn (a bit under duress having expected a relaxing passage) to
short tack upwind in steep seas in the busy reef flanked narrow channel. Memories
of short tacking up the fairway in Berkeley Marina flashed through our minds as
we worked, Chris at the helm and Shawn on the jib sheets, like a well
oiled machine. Tao, of course, negotiated the situation with ease. After
several heart pounding short-tacks, we finally made enough way upwind to fall
off out of the channel to enjoy a Brisbane River sail, surprisingly
reminiscent of the SF Bay with similar shallow depths and weekend warrior filled
|Brisbane River mouth, check out our dotted yellow tacking track!|
Having spent two blissful weeks up the river watching late spring blooms, eating fresh food, hiking around the city, riding the CityCat and CityHopper ferries, sailing Fatty and doing yoga, we decided it was time to point our bow toward
and an available
marina space to start preparations for our next steps. After being moored in
the flat river (side to nearly continuous ferry wakes), we sailed Tao from the heart
Bay Brisbane out
the River into and ultimately to an
available slip at East Coast Moreton
in a town named Manly. As the sun lowered into the Manly hills, we fired up
Yannie and pulled our triple reefed mains’l down as we motored into the huge .
Filled with several marinas berthing hundreds of vessels, we were happy to
have confirmed what space was available for us with a map. Winds still very
fresh, Chris expertly maneuvered Tao into the tight slip and Shawn proficiently
wielded fenders and with the help of friendly neighbor boaters, snubbed Tao to
a stop and tied her to her first floating dock since Manly Harbor Mexico nearly 2 years prior.
|Post wedding dress purchase pizza party!|
Though there is so much to do in Oz and so many places to see from a sailboat, it was time for us to start lining things up for our next tranche. Both of us put energy toward wedding planning- the big event (at that point) a mere three months away in Mexico, oceans away physically and figuratively! Chris persistently tediously worked on essay laden applications to Masters of Education programs at Harvard, Stanford, Santa Barbara and a teaching internship at Punahou (in Honolulu, where Obama went to high school). Meanwhile, Shawn busily taught yoga, visiting Brisbane area Bikram studios, figuring out the Brisbane public transport and successfully (with invaluable help from Britannia’s Amanda) found her wedding dress just before Christmas!
|Lorikeet! Picture captured by Tucker s/v Convivia|
Although connected to the city with public transport trains, ferrys, and buses, strong will was required to leave the quiet non-ferry waked marina to head back the 1.5-hrs into town. Luckily friends and yoga studios drew us to the city as Britannia and Convivia arrived in Brisbane the day after we moved to Manly. We switched off trips with Britannia visiting at each other’s boats and forging lasting friendships. We also joined the Convivia crew for an unforgettable trip to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary where we all acted like kids (okay, maybe just Shawn) and interacted with koalas (FYI they are not actually bears), kangaroos, platypus, laughing kookaburra, lorikeets, Tasmanian devil, wombat, and emu. Until now, these had just been words of strange animals in a far off land.
Chris and a baby kangaroo. Note the huge emu above the kanga!
laughing kookaburra and lorikeet
fluffy chickens and a Tasmanian devil noshing
This does not look comfortable!
Britannia visiting Tao and a mess of Christmas cookie making (note the olive jar rolling pin)
Christmas Eve and Boxing Day dinners
All of this excitement on its own would have been manageable, but add on top of it the most contentious, emotional, and time consuming project of all... (drumroll please)... getting Tao prepped to sell, and the past months have been a roller coaster in warp speed.