Looking back at two years in Australia

If you want to read this in german

After almost two years here in Australia, it’s really hard for me to say goodbye. 

When we arrived here in Brisbane, Australia, on 11 November 2021, I didn’t know much about this incredibly big, fascinating and beautiful country. I imagined Australia as a red continent with lots of desert, drought and high temperatures, I only wondered when I heard about forest fires in Australia back home. What could be burning in the desert, I thought to myself. 

But after the quarantine at the Grand Chancellor in Brisbane, we went up the river, anchored in the middle of the CBD and met our first long-term friends. A couple from Western Australia who were here awaiting the arrival of their first grandchild, David a Brit was in the army in the Falklands at the same time as Neill and Janie, his wife is a nurse like me and so the chemistry was instant.

During our quarantine period my daughter told me she was getting married and we planned a home stay for six months. Before that, we had to find a suitable place for our Artemis that also suited customs. Bundaberg was the best and cheapest option and so we set off. 

No ocean sailing this time, no we spent Christmas on Tangalooma, New Year on St. Helena and met our next friends. With Chris and Sue we just talked briefly about our shopping list for three months and Neill sent Chris a link to it. A few days later it was a bit windy. They invited us to come and moor at their boat and use their house, which was just incredible and we were very happy to accept the invitation and I can tell you straight away that we have taken advantage of their hospitality a total of three times.  On St. Helena we met Andrew, Olesja and their girls Sofie and Isobel, we gave them one of our business cards and after a few weeks we received an email with an invitation to visit the family. We were picked up and stayed overnight straight away, again the chemistry was right and we used their house as a stopover on our way to Germany to escape the jet lag.

We sailed through Moreton Bay, along the coast, up the Mary River to Maryborough, took a lightning strike off Fraser Island, hiked to Lake Mckenzie on Fraser Island and then reached Bundaberg. There we dry-docked our Artemis and flew to Germany for six months.

When we came back, we had a huge project ahead of us, we renewed our coppercoat, our antifouling. First we sanded everything down, then two coats of undercoat and then three coats of coppercoat! At the same time, Lucy and Paul in Bundaberg were also renewing their antifouling and luckily we met them again and again over the next year and a half. 

Unfortunately, their antifouling was not so good, because when we took both boats out of the water in Hobart, we only had slime on it and on ” Damischer Ridda” that is their boat, huge mussels had grown that could not be removed.

In Bundaberg, sailors told us that there is a Wooden Boat Festival in Tasmania and since our Artemis is not a wooden boat, but also beautiful, it would certainly be something for us. So why not, let’s go to Tasmania; we had no idea how far it was to Tasmania. We sailed along the east coast, stopped in Pittwater, visited Paul and Lucie, luckily found the last buoy there to cycle into the Blue Mountains and visit Catherine.

 A week before Christmas we were allowed to use her house as a base camp for our cycling for five days, not to mention her spa pool behind the house. We invited Catherine to sail to Sydney and spent a week exploring the harbor, Manley and the surrounding area, we had so much fun! The crowning glory was the fireworks on New Year’s Eve, which we watched together right from the boat next to the Opera House. We continued south and Catherine rejoined us on board in Tasmania. 

We took advantage of every wind window we could to make quick progress towards Eden. Our plan was to make a stopover in Flinders Island in Bass Strait, but the wind meant otherwise once again and so our first stop in Tasmania was Beauty Point on the Tamar River. 

Now we also had our first Bass Strait experience and it was quite windy, a lot of water above us and our Artemis, but at the Port Dalrymple Yacht Club we were able to desalinate crew and boat for free and stay one night for free. At the yacht club we met Stewart, who actually lives in Port Macquarie and is a specialist for solar systems.  We sailed at least half the Tamar River to Launceston and found the only anchorage there, as the tides here are over 3.5 metres difference in height. We visited the Cataract Gorge Reserve and could finally get active as cyclists again, actually we wanted to try out the new bike park in Georgetown with another couple, but the wind was too good to miss the weather window to Hobart. We anchored at Eddystone Lighthouse but the swell was too strong and on we went towards Freycinet, we had a wild ride but at Bryans Beach our anchor hit the water. We sailed to Coles Bay, climbed Mount Amos and, like six other Germans, marvelled at the incredibly beautiful view to Wineglass Bay. To save some way and so that we could still discover Maria Island, we took the shortcut through the Dunalley Canal. Luckily, we met Ivan and Ann on 

their sailboat Laurabada at anchor near Maria Island. Like us, they were on their way to the Wooden Boat Festival and Ivan offered to organise the transfer through the channel for us. Great, a thousand thanks!!! We didn’t know then that we would spend many more brilliant hours with them.

We arrived in Hobart in time for the Wooden Boat Festival and met all our friends again at the parade and afterwards at the festival. Catherine had come and sailed with us once again. Ivan introduced us to John, who himself had sailed around the world with his wife Dee, and we were invited to Kettering. Luckily, because we had a small toilet problem which turned into a drama, but not when you know a Deegan family who can organise and fix anything. After two weeks in Kettering everything was fixed and our Bruny circumnavigation could begin, in Port Arthur we met Claire and Collin. Now the right wind window opened up for Port Davey in the “roaring 40s” and we spent ten days in a fantastically beautiful, unspoilt and secluded area. Unfortunately, our plan to sail further along the west coast to Strahan came to nothing, because the wind just didn’t want to play along. Then back through the D’Entrecasteaux Canal, where Collin spotted us with our Garmin, radioed us and we spent four wonderful days on his farm. We marvelled at Clair’s cottage and had a wonderful, fun evening with great food, lots of laughter and fun. A thousand thanks for that.

Saying goodbye to Tasmania was insanely hard for us, but the increasingly cool temperatures finally made us take off. In Lakes Entrances we left Artemis alone for a week to work as “WFFies” (Work for Food) with James on the farm. Catherine made a small diversions of 400 km, picked us up and we spent an absolutely fantastic week as farmers. We planted trees, fed cows, mowed and did a thousand different things, so brilliant. We were invited to three different birthday parties and did a night fishing with Frank joining us.  Thank you James for this fantastic experience we had on your farm.

 Back in Lakes Entrances we then met a real “Pom”, Andrew had his boat in the marina there and a British flag and so we struck up a conversation. Thanks again to our business card, we received an email and were able to stay in touch and plan our next meeting in Bermagui, where Andrew spontaneously interviewed us for his radio station.

With the whales we moved along the east coast and then reached Moreton Bay again. We were allowed to moor up with Sue and Chris again, for us it was a bit like coming “home”. We met Olesja and the girls for dinner and wanted to meet Andrew in Cairns. The wind shifted, we left and our visit with Anne and Ivan was cut short to an afternoon coffee and dinner. We would have had so much more to tell each other, but in the evening we sailed off, past Fraser Island, Bundaberg, Gladstone. In Pancake Creek we stopped, visited the lighthouse and in Great Keppel Island we finally managed to meet Stuart and his wife Heather, we didn’t have our anchor in the water yet, we already had an invitation for dinner on their boat. We continued through the Whitesunday Islands and on Magnetic Island finally caught up with our “Fraser friends” Sally and Nevil and together we sailed to Palm Island – an Aboriginal settlement – and Orpheus Island. We enjoyed our time together intensively and played extensively again. We then went on to Cairns, where we met Andrew, watched women’s football together and took part in a quiz evening. But since we still didn’t have an answer to our visa extension, it was time to move on, because it was still a long way to Darwin. So we sailed along the Great Barrier Reef around Cape York, on to Thursday Island and then pretty much straight to Darwin. Here we rented a car for the first time in Australia and drove inland, we visited the Litchfield National Park and swam in almost every waterfall and spring we could find. We discovered Darwin and increased our knowledge of crocodiles umpteenfold. We saw these huge lizards up close in and under water at Crocosaurus Cove in Darwin, which was really interesting.

We gave Artemis a tune-up, got a new anchor chain and last but not least cleaned the underwater hull.

We had our appointment with the Border Force to clear out at 8.30 am on 18 October, after which we left Australia.

That was a quick review of our wonderful time in Australia.

We would like to thank all our friends for a wonderful, intense and unforgettable time.

We will never forget how selflessly you took us in and shared everything with us.

We will stay in touch and Germany is not that far away!!!


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