It was very difficult for us to leave Sydney… not only because the good weather windows to sail up the east coast were rare but most of all because we really loved this beautiful city and had such a good time there.
Goodbye got a bit easier, when Dean and his family decided to come and see us in Port Stephens over their Easter holiday… so we left Sydney harbour with a silent promise in our hearts to be back some day.
To make things easier with four adults and four kids on board for Easter we wanted to book a berth in a marina instead of anchoring. So André got a quote of 140 AU$ per day in the Marina of Port Stephens. André wrote to the Marina manager, thanks for the offer and told him that we were on a circumnavigation and this was way over our budget. The answer of the Manager was very short: “Having been in this position myself a few years ago, how about 50$ a day?” What a nice gesture, we did not really expect that he would lower the price! But of course we accepted that deal.
The Anchorage Marina in Port Stephens is very well maintained and set in beautiful surroundings just next to a nice beach and a small playground with BBQ facilities. It turned out to be the perfect choice for our Easter weekend with Dean, Karen and their two girls. But before our friends were joining us we did a beautiful hike to the Tomaree lookout. What a beautiful view on the coastline and Nelson bay. We spent unforgettable Easter days together with our Sydney friends and explored Fingal Bay together. Of course saying goodbye was not easy… thank you Karen, Dean, Emily and Hannah for a wonderful time. We will miss you and hope to see you again on your next holiday in Switzerland.
We left Nelson bay and had a good passage to Southport. At sunrise, just off the coast of Byron Bay we caught a yellowfin tuna. André wrote an instagram post and we received a prompt comment from our Swiss friends from BAJKA : “We can see you😊 we will come for dinner!” They were staying on the campsite of Byron Bay and took our lines in Southport Marina in the afternoon. Jaël and Amina were of course very excited to see their friends Nael and Illian again.
Ela, Lukas and the boys stayed with us for three nights. The kids enjoyed the great playground and Lukas helped André with the installation of our new stove. Then we had to say goodbye, as they were heading back to Sydney. Next time we will see each other back home in Switzerland. We have sailed all the way from Niue to New Zealand together, the kids went to school in Opua and even after they had sold their boat we managed to meet again in Christchurch, Sydney and Southport. We are looking forward to catch up with them back home in Switzerland someday!
We moved to a beautiful anchorage next to South Stradbroke Island. In the evenings the kangaroos were coming to the beach and one afternoon Jaël, Amina and me went on a mission to see some kangaroos close and to find out what their traces looked like.
We spent our time waiting for a good weather window to New Caledonia and did a lot of provisioning. Unfortunately the good weather window did let us wait a bit too long. Normally Dean from Brisbane (a good friend of Karin), wanted to join us for the passage to Noumea. He and his family are getting ready to go on a sailing adventure next year and he would have loved to join us to get more experience in longer passages! But his business was calling… he had to fly to China instead of sailing with us to New Caledonia. We spent a beautiful weekend together with them and Dean took us to an amazing wildlife park where the kids could feed kangaroos and pet koalas.
Finally we left on Amina’s Birthday. We celebrated a day in advance as we already knew it was gonna be an upwind passage. We had to go quite a bit south to make it more comfortable. Jaël stayed in the cockpit every day of this passage. She was afraid to get seasick if she would watch a movie downstairs in the cabin. So they were listening to Kasperli, Globi and fairytale stories in the cockpit. After seven days we arrived at nighttime in Nouméa.
Of course we enjoyed the French flair of New Caledonia. A slice of crispy baguette with a little bit of salted butter, a croissant or a pain au chocolat is hard to beat and makes the crew happy. Also the beautiful market with delicious fresh fish, huge selection of vegetables and herbs were like paradise for the chef of the galley and added a bit of a Mediterranean touch.
We met old friends again, like Jon Petter, Ingrid and Karen-Marie from the Norwegian boat VILJA and Pam and Eric from Pieds-à-mer, which we have not seen since Opua. And we also made a couple of new friends, like Jenni and Neil from SORTIE, TOREA V – an Australian family with 4 kids, ZIG ZAG – a German boat with three kids and QUINCO – an Australian boat with one girl, same age as Jaël. Jaël and Amina enjoyed playing on the pontoon together with Mia, Noah and Lino from ZIG ZAG and Karen Marie from VILJA.
We sailed to Île des Pins and did a beautiful hike together with TOREA V.. Afterwards on the beach VILJA and ZIG ZAG, who had just arrived joined. After a few days we headed back to Nouméa as our new Genoa sail was meant to arrive. ZiG ZAG moved already on to Vanuatu. We promised to keep in touch and to meet in Vanuatu again.