Out into the Tasman Sea.
Aukland. N.Z.The e-mail says that we should phone our yacht broker back in Manley. A serious offer! Would n`t you know it, now we have settled into land cruising in New Zealand in our diesel van and have Gwyn visiting us from Canada for Christmas, interest finally picks up with Shiriri.
Soon she is sold, the survey passed and the deposit in the brokers hands.... and then the buyer gets ‘sick’ and backs out! We don`t know it yet, but this pattern of unusual selling fumbles will continue until we finally leave Australia. The Gods are prodding us back to sea. Even as we back out of our slip for the last time, the broker comes to say that the latest ‘sure thing’ buyer who has had his money all lined up for the last month is still saying on the phone this morning that it is too bad we are leaving, he has the money!
We are sick to death of living this high stress life in which on the one hand Shiriri will definitely sell any day and at the same time the period that we can have our boat in Australia without paying import duties is coming to an end and the right season for the trip home approaches. We polish our boat to show for sale, while at the same time we try to prepare for our long and difficult voyage home.
The plan for our voyage must allow for contrary winds and currents for two thirds of the trip. While in the southern hemisphere we must struggle to get as far east as possible before we catch the south-east trades and angle up across the equator. Somewhere past the ITCZ we will be into the north-east trades which will try to set us back toward Japan. Still further north, we will enter the westerly gales wind pattern that should blow us home to Vancouver Island. Dear Shiriri with her gaff rig and full bows does not take well to going to windward in big ocean waves and we have many thousands of miles of this kind of sailing ahead of us. Plus, this year the cyclone season is still active south of the equator and may start early to the north. Things will be tight. A cyclone could kill us.
One day a van arrives with all the food supplies we will need for four months at sea. We are glad that Shiriri has such a large amount of stowage space: we must not count on replenishing our supplies along the long lonely way home except by what we can catch with out homemade lures and perhaps a stop at a coral island along the way.
Anne has stayed longer in New Zealand when Heather and I flew home after four months exploring the north and south islands. We need extra time to haul Shiriri once more to put on a final coat of anti fouling paint so she will not add a layer of seaweed and barnacles to slow us down. On her last day in New Zealand Anne sells the van and flies back to join our final preparations.
One day in mid May we get a favorable forecast, say goodbye to all our friends on the dock and head back out through the sand bars of Morton Bay and into the darkening Tasman Sea.