While we were disappointed to leave New Caledonia ahead of schedule, our consolation prize was a great sail to Australia and the promise of new adventure.
We estimated that it would take 8 days to sail the 990 nm from Nouméa to Newcastle, Australia, but we ‘flew’ here in 6 days, close reaching most of the way. While it was a bit uncomfortable to live at a 15° angle due to boat heel, it was well worth a fast passage.
We could have made it in 5 days if it weren’t for an unfavorable current and no wind 350 miles out which had us motoring under 4 knots for 20 hours.
But then the current turned, the winds kicked back in, and before we knew it, we were tying up at the lovely Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club
As very satisfied participants in the Down Under Rally, we benefited from the Rally team’s support before, during and after our passage. were treated to a week’s berth in the marina and received VIP Customs, AQIS and Immigration clearance upon our arrival.
Howard Keegan, the marina manager, personally welcomed us on the dock and provided incredibly helpful local knowledge (including where to find the good street art). The officials were courteous and efficient. We felt very welcome!
After catching up on some much needed sleep, we enjoyed access to ample, affordable provisions at nearby stores, a few meals out in delicious restaurants, and some magnificent street art by both local and world renowned artists – check out my gallery of it here!.
We’d hoped to stay longer as there is much to do in Newcastle, but a weather window once again presented itself, and so we sailed southward toward Sydney.
Our first anchorage was in Coasters Retreat where we picked up a mooring buoy and were immediately invited over for sundowners by Effie and Alan, the friendly crew of SV Kai Rani. They introduced us to a number of members of the Coastal Cruising Club of Australia and suddenly we were surrounded by new friends.
The next day, our new friends invited to join them on shore for a Club BBQ and introduced me to a few local species including my first wallabies.
I felt like a kid again.
The next day, we sailed onward with our friend Stefano of SY Novae up Smith’s Creek and discovered heaven on earth.
We’ve toured about by dinghy, rested, and enjoyed a few dinners with our new friends, the crew from SY Mistyrell, a local boating family that is preparing for their own extended cruising adventure.
We will continue to relax here until the 28th and then sail onward to Port Jackson, also known as the famous Sydney Harbor. So excited!
Checking This One Into Lucile de Godoy’s Welcoming Photo 101 Rehab – The Clinic For Passionate Photographers
**Updated 7 December 2015 ** Delighted to have portions of this post included in the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club Summer 2015 Newsletter **