Checking out in Opua New Zealand
Smooth sailing on flat seas had us believing in the forecast of more of the same
Under a thousand miles to go
The first squalls arrived on the fourth day.
The seas building to twenty five feet
Moving from gale to strong gale on the Beaufort Scale
Just before we rolled the sails and the engine stalled.
Biosecuity cleaned out our freezer
All of our eggs before Biosecuity arrived to take them away
An Aussie welcome
April 6, 2017
Newport Marina, Australia
27'12 S 153'05 E
Just hours into our seventh day we reached Morton Bay but our struggle was not over. Just as we entered the sand channels of the North East Channel the engine died. Our heading was straight into the wind so we could not sail. My instinct was to head back into the gale for sea room but I did not think that would be good for our relationship so we let the anchor go instead. It grabbed.
I changed a fuel filter; bled the air out of the fuel lines; and, we were ready to go but getting the anchor up was harder. The thirty knot wind blowing against the current delivered big square waves and current was holding us sideways to the anchor. The engine could not make headway to slack the chain for the windless to pull it up. We finally managed to get it back on board one link at a time.
Now it was very slow going against the weather, bucking forward at just two knots. I figured that a flat sheeted staysail might keep the bow down so the propeller would grab. We unfurled it with happy result. We picked up speed and finally, very very very tired, at 9:00 pm, arrived at the Brisbane River customs dock where six officers were waiting for us. We landed in bed at 12:30 am on April 5th.
After five hours of uninterrupted sleep, our longest since leaving New Zealand, Jeannie was busy making our 'quarantine breakfast', hoping to beat the arrival of the biosecurity officer who was due to make sure we did not infect the country. We knew he would remove our chicken, eggs, pork ,fresh fruits and vegetables for burning. We aimed to eat all we could.
The officer arrived just before the seven egg omelet went into the skillet. He went about collecting five garbage bags of food. We tried to bribe him with an offer to join us in eating the contraband. He had just had beakfast but, with our promise to eat the omelet, did not dump it into his bag.
Once cleared, we moved twenty miles north yesterday to meet Aussie friends, Brian and Eva Oldfield on Zofia. Over dinner last night Eva, who had been following foleysail.com and closely watching our weather, reported. The combination of Tropical Cyclone Debbie, which, on the day we left New Zealand, made landfall in northern Queensland with the highest winds ever recorded in Australia; instead of dying over land as predicted, misbehaved and turned back to sea and south as a gale to join another low over the Tasman Sea, and then come looking for us. This is what we had sailed into.
We are now busy cleaning up the sticky residue and soaked bedding, rugs and rags from the salt water that buried us and found its way through unsealed vents and fell from our soaked foul weather gear each time we returned from the deck. We are also going to gain back the eight pounds we each lost.
Jeannie asked the question, 'What happens to sailors who go through this and don't have Onora?'