The lines thrown off…
We did it.
The build up, preparations and anticipation before setting sail was intense.
We tried to get as much done as we could, and then had to pick the right weather window to leave on. We thought we would leave Sunday, but there was a front hitting, so we waited.
Monday morning we set off, throwing those lines and leaving the harbour for the start of our adventure North.
I can tell you there were some tears of relief to finally be going, fear for what was to come, and joy that we were fulfilling our dream after 7 years of planning and prep. We headed for Rottnest to hold out for the night. It was a three meter swell, and it was the start of our first leg.
The beer we had at anchor was soo satisfying.
Heading off the next morning we left in the dark. We were watching for moorings and saw a school of garfish jumping out of the way of Lady C. We raised the sails and sailed away from the familiar, just the big wide ocean out in front of us.
We predicted a three day and night sail to our closest safe anchorage – Port Denison 170 nautical miles away ( around 315 kilometres)
There was a 2-4m swell rolling through and for the first two days the wind was lighter than 10 knots, so we had to do some motor assisted sailing. Our thirty year old Yanmar diesel 20hp engine was put to the test. We normally don’t put her on much. We had to do about 20 hours of motoring sailing and when we finally got some wind, Base went down to check the engine room and discovered that we have a oil leak from the main head of the engine. Luckily we called a marine mechanic friend from sea rescue, and were able to get some advice. It’s going to be a big job, but for now we are just keeping the oil topped up and trying to really pick our sailing days with wind, and not using the motor much.
We spent 56 hours sailing and hand steering( still working out our self steering wind vane).
It’s hard to convey the range of emotions a journey like this takes you on. There were night watches in full wet weather gear where I was singing on the top of my lungs to stay awake and be on the ball steering and keeping our compass course.
I’d have sea sickness bouts, but then times where the wind was nice and we glided between the 4 m swells …up…down…up…down. We were visited by humpbacks and albatross along the way and we got to see glimpses of the barren Western Australian coast as we got further North.
Pulling into Port Denison was a welcome relief. We got tied to the Jetty and headed to the surf. I decided some land time was needed and stayed shoreside. Feeling the Earth beneath my feet and appreciating how solid it was.
We had about 24 hours before the front was due to set in. Another sneaky surf the next morning meant we really got to feel the vibe of what this trip is all about sailing to find surf. After a few waves under our belts we needed to batten down the hatches. Luckily we got given the advice from a local fisherman to head to a mooring for the next 24 hours.
The front is hitting now. We are rocky rolling on the mooring, but we are safe. We now have to wait it out and start planning our next leg North.