November 27, 2011

Across the Bar and Back to Reality

heading toward a squall in the Sandy Strait
We woke at 5:30 am to pull out of the Great Sandy Strait.
Actually we wake by 5:30 am most mornings —the sun comes up about 4:45 am… But today we were up so we could cross the bar at Wide Bay Harbour. We wanted to time it right. The Coast Guard suggested going out at two hours before slack water on an flood tide—and we knew that both Discovery and WGD were damaged on their less-perfectly timed crossing, so we wanted to get it right.
C4 aground in the aptly named Sandy Strait
 Cruising through the Sandy Strait was a gentle re-entry into real life. The meandering, mangrove-lined waterway reminded me of the Florida Keys (although Bundaberg is not Key West and Mooloolaba is thankfully not Miami). Or maybe it’s that sense of sailing through a gateway between cruising and being settled. The Florida Keys played the same role for us 14-years ago as we wrapped up a 3.5-year trip.
C4 passing Double Island lighthouse
 Our crossing was easy. The water shallowed and the waves steepened, but then we were out and the sandy cliffs of the Australian Coast unfolded on our starboard side. With 65 miles to cover we unfurled the spinnaker and started to fly. We were sailing in company with six other big cats, but gradually, one by one we overtook each of them. Colourful sails dotted the water behind us and our voyage became deeply symbolic—alone and heading toward our future.
the high rises of Mooloolaba just visible on the horizon
 If you read blogs and books about sailors who go cruising you will read all sorts of things about planning, building, readying and the joy-angst of leaving. You’ll read about setting into the life and adjusting to the changes wrought by simplifying everything. You’ll read about the wonders seen, the profound knowledge gained and the friends made. And if you read long enough, and carefully enough, you’ll start to catch the whiffs of fear as we close with land and prepare to stumble back to shore. But often that’s where the stories end.

What is interesting about reality?

Mooloolaba has high rises. The first seen in eight months. With its posh homes, and winding canals lined with expensive boats it looks like Newport Beach CA, or, more accurately, parts of Florida. We wound our way past the tree lined-walkways filled with Sunday afternoon fun, expensive docks, and chock-o-block marinas to the back, where the free anchorage is and found a snug spot. Then, once settled, we headed along with C4 to dinner on WGD.
Four families--2-3 years of cruising each and it's time for $$

Warm and well-fed in the cockpit (and free of the gargantuan sand flies we discovered in the Sandy Strait) the laughter was the same as it has been all the way across the Pacific--but the conversation had changed. We didn’t talk about wonders seen, or dreams we still have. We talked of plans—but not exotic ones. We talked about dwindling savings, and taxes, and school for our kids. We talked about jobs that need to be started and boats that need to sell.

We talked of haircuts and shoes.


Anonymous said...

I never thought about what it was like to go back. What have other past cruisers experienced?

Anonymous said...

" that need to sell"

I trust you are talking about other peoples boat.

Diane, Evan and Maia said...

Ceilydh isn't for sale--we plan to live aboard and enjoy Oz:)