First Blue Water Adventure

Its January 2018 - the year we leave!

Are we ready to set off around the world? No!

But the planning and Matt’s hard work - with a bit of help from his friends – in getting the boat prepared, meant we were ready for a practice off-shore run – a 900NM round trip to Lord Howe Island. Woohoo!

Lord Howe Island - 450NM from NSW Australia

Lord Howe Island - 450NM from NSW Australia

Skipper Matt - born to be on the water

Skipper Matt - born to be on the water

Dolphins en route

Dolphins en route

With five crew - Matt, Syd (me), Rob, Michelle, and Nicky - all planning to do some legs of the bigger journey ahead, we set off out in the evening, complete with a seal waving us off from Manly, and a pod of dolphins sending us on our way through the Sydney Heads to the wild blue yonder.

At this point I promptly threw up!

It was rough out of the heads, and it stayed that way a while much to my misfortune. However, after a rough night, eventually the sea calmed - too much. Now we were motoring - unfortunately at a very slow 5knots as we were battling the strong current heading south off the Australian coast. But that is life and we just had to suck it up and keep going until finally the wind set in again on the last day.

As a newbie to blue water sailing, the things that stunned me most as the Sydney skyscrapers, smog and then land faded out of sight, were:

  1. They call it ‘blue water sailing’ - and now I knew why. The sea is sooooooooo blue. The deepest most beautiful dark blue I could imagine. I simply had no idea.

  2. Once you can no longer see land the whole horizon changes - there is no focal point. You are encompassed by a big blue circular horizon. It seemed to me like I was in a big round fishbowl. It was crazy and cool and strange all at once.

  3. Flying fish are real - I had never seen them before and here they were. Absolutely fascinating to watch - especially when there’s a seabird chasing them.

  4. Seabirds - how do they manage to be so far from land? They are just beautiful.

  5. The nights - yes the stars are fabulous and the milky way and mars were strong and bright, but the ‘water stars’ or phosphorus in the water twinkling away in our wake was magnificent. I could watch it all night.

And that was a good thing as I kept vomiting, but also kept myself going, through my designated night shifts. It was something to look at and take my mind of how terrible I felt. So much for those seasickness pills. (Sigh)

Balls Pyramid

Balls Pyramid

However as the days progressed, and the sea kept calm (thank you sea), I began to adjust and by the third day was off the pills - just in time to arrive.

The first sighting we had was not of Lord Howe but of Balls Pyramid about 10 NM south. A fascinating piece of rock – it is truly quite an incredible sight. (It is a remnant of a shield volcano and caldera that formed about 6.4 million years ago.)

Not long after, we spotted the famous clouds over the twin peaks at the southern end of the island, and gradually the rest of the island came into view.

It was great to watch the island get closer and closer bit by bit - this was definitely different from flying in - it takes hours to cover the distance from first sighting to arriving and anchoring. Anchor we did - and just in time for a sunset swim and beverage! Our first offshore journey was under our belts!

Lord Howe 3.jpg
Sunset anchoring - we had arrived!

Sunset anchoring - we had arrived!

It was great to watch the island get closer and closer bit by bit - this was definitely different from flying in - it takes hours to cover the distance from first sighting to arriving and anchoring. Anchor we did - and just in time for a sunset swim and beverage! Our first offshore journey was under our belts!