After a long time on our own, we loved having a family visit. And then, just as we were sinking into a bit of a funk after they left, we had another welcome social whirl.
We anchored near Cleveland close to the crews of two boats we haven’t seen or met up with for over three years. First we navigated into the canal community ashore until we found the beautiful Manta catamaran Shamara III, owned by Peter and Maggie Sharp. We first met them in Stuart, FL, soon after we bought Escape Velocity and spent an impromptu get-to-know-you on the dock before one or the other of us left the next day. A year later we spied them as we anchored in St. George’s, Grenada, and once again spent only a short time catching up before they sailed north to spend the hurricane season in St. Lucia. We gave them a couple of bolts of green marine canvas we weren’t going to use and they gave us what seemed like half their liquor supply in exchange.
We learned recently that there are at least five Mantas here in Australia and most are within shouting distance of this spot. We hoped to share an anchorage for a weekend, but most of the other boats aren’t available until mid-December and Jack and I are anxious to get south as soon as possible. That led us to the canal and Shamara III and a friendly welcome to the beautiful home of Peter and Maggie. Come for coffee, they’d said. Coffee turned into lunch and a ride to the chandlery for a new boat hook, then dinner and laundry facilities and loaned boat parts and a couple of bottles of bubbly and a day you only get when you spend time with people who own the same kind of boat and who’ve shared your unique experiences, albeit at different times. We were so chuffed to be with world cruisers again and the four of us chattered away until way past our bedtimes, so engaged in each other’s company that we forgot to take photos.
The next day we met up with Tom, the former owner of Dancing Bear, whom we met along with his crew Dirk in the Galapagos. Dirk met us ashore when we limped back to Isabella after our dismasting, and he and Tom, along with the crew of Qi kept us sane, entertained and on task as we made our preparations for the long motor back to the mainland to get rerigged. For that we are eternally grateful and it was a treat to relive Tom’s Pacific crossing and hear about his transition back to land life.
All good things must end and the next day we weighed anchor and started the slow and sometimes tense journey down the shallow straits of southern Moreton Bay to the Southport Seaway where we’ll once again take on the Tasman Sea to Sydney. Increasing headwinds convinced us to stop 15 miles short of our goal and we anchored at Jacob’s Wells for the night and continued at dawn for the final leg. It was a beautiful morning, still and full of birdsong.
A few hours later we were in Gold Coast, Australia’s answer to Ft. Lauderdale, anchored near Sea World, surrounded by more international boats than we’ve seen in months and buzzed nonstop by jet skis, helicopters, speedboats and this thing we haven’t seen since, oddly enough, Ft. Lauderdale. I don’t even know what it’s called.
We continued our social week with sundowners on Evenstar along with Erie Spirit, both American boats. Who’da thunk, after all this time?