The ocean sky
Soldiers Point (Port Stephens NSW) to Hobart Tasmania. April 2017
Port Stephens (New South Wales) still has many beautiful wetlands, small but important reminders of the once vast wetlands which surrounded the bay before European settlement.
On April 16 2017 Ocean Child pulled out of the Soldiers Point Marina in Port Stephens. Graham Breeze, from Hobart, had flown up to Newcastle to meet me. Our first stop was the little 'holiday' village of Huskisson in Jervis Bay, where we tied up to a public mooring.
We stayed in Huskisson for two days, trying to fix an oil leak from Ocean Child's newly repaired gearbox. My mechanic, Ben Thwaites, had suggested we obtain a "quad" O-ring in Nowra, but this proved impossible. So we pressed on towards Hobart.
In the distance, the Tasman Peninsula, Cape Pillar, and Tasman Island (on the left).
Above, Tasman Island looking towards the west.
And below, looking towards the east... the jagged columns of Cape Pillar.
One of the great joys of sailing is watching the sky....
In March 2017 I made the decision to sell Ocean Child in March 2018. It was a difficult decision for me to make... Ocean Child and I have had many adventures together. Not long after making the decision, I had a disturbing dream. In the dream I had already sold her. I was walking alone along an empty beach. The ocean lay to the east, and the sun was setting over forested hills to the west, at the back of the beach. The setting could have been Fortescue Bay in Tasmania... or it could have been somewhere else similar...
I looked out to the ocean. On the horizon thunder-storm clouds were building, towering high above the sea, but the sky above me was clear. The setting sun suddenly found the storm clouds, and lit them up in orange and yellow, in greys and shining whites. I knew exactly what was happening out there... I had been there with Ocean Child. And I knew that Ocean Child and I would never again see that beauty, the danger, the majesty ... the wonder and power of the ocean and the storm. We would never be there again together. I started to cry uncontrollably, and, with my eyes shut by the tears, knelt down on the sand...
Back in the real world... we arrived in Hobart on Tuesday April 25, after a trip with day after day of calm weather. Although we had to motor in the absence of wind, the Eastern Australian Current gave us a push of up to 2 knots, especially as we travelled south down the NSW coast. Once we headed out over Bass Strait, we found very little of the EAC left, to our disappointment. The trip measured about 900 nm as the seagull flies. It took us 9 days.