Charlie the cat has come out of hiding. He tends to tuck himself away when the engine starts or the sails come out. Usually he’ll stay hidden until we drop anchor—but now that we’re sailing full days I guess he’s resolved to be brave and face the open ocean.
We haven’t made it very far yet. When you consider a sailboat moves at the speed of a novice runner, and because of a heavy whale migration we are only doing day passages, we can, um, still see Brisbane. But the city is behind us.
Unlike catching a flight, leaving by sailboat follows a looser schedule. It’s kind of like the final weeks of pregnancy—you know the baby will arrive at some point, but it’s better not to get too attached to a specific day. We had an EDD, but went overdue enough that I think our friends and neighbours started to pretend we weren’t actually still there. But then everything aligned and we slipped the lines and headed away.
Our first day saw us tucked behind Peel Island, sipping hot rum toddies as the sun set. Years ago we were given the advice to leave in stages; get away from the hubbub and then regroup somewhere quiet before really leaving. So that’s what we did. The wind was coming from the wrong way to head north so we hunkered down and visited friends on Straddie. The 3-mile dinghy ride in 25 knot winds may have been ill advised but the visit was worth it. And starting our way north well-rested and well-organized feels right.
Now we’re en route to Mooloolaba. Whales are spouting in the distance, Charlie is curled up against me, and it’s gradually sinking in that we’re on our slow way. Behind us are wonderful memories and precious friendships that we hope will follow us into the future. Ahead of us? I guess we'll see.