About Us

Welcome to our blog, describing our voyage aboard the two BRAVO's; the first boat a Kelly Peterson 46 with homeport in Seattle, Washington. The second is a new Boreal 52, launched in February 2020. We headed south in 2010, and have been voyaging in one form or another since. Cheers, Adam and Cindi

"As for me, I am tormented by an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts." -Herman Melville, 1844

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Western Australia Catchup, Part 2

After storing Tojo at Barry's place (a friend of friends Don and Deb) outside of Perth, we flew to New Zealand for a few weeks.  NZ allows visiting yachts 2 years in country before they have to be "imported", paying duty and fees (north of $30K in our case).  Bravo's time was expiring in November.  (Hard to believe it had been 2 years since the last time we sailed into NZ waters!)  Our plan was to splash Bravo back in the water, carry out sea trials, and get her ready for the sail across the Tasman Sea to Australia.  It's a tough bit of water in the best of circumstances.  We had been watching the weather for several weeks, and saw an endless series of fronts heading up the Tasman from the southern ocean, about one every 2 or 3 days.  As the trip is about 8-10 days, it was pretty easy math.....getting a good window would not be easy.  An email to weather router Bob McDavitt confirmed...."this is the worst time of year to make this passage.....if you could wait until March or April you'd be much better off".

Given that, plus the fact that Cindi's wrist x-rays still showed some "non union" of the bone graft (though it is MUCH better), we successfully appealed to NZ customs for a 6 month extension.  We now have until mid May to get Bravo out of NZ.  So the plan is to return to NZ in March to prepare to sail to Oz.

From NZ we flew to Seattle for a whirlwind quick Thanksgiving visit with friends, and the usual litany of doc and dentist checkups.  Ughhhhh.....  It was a quick trip indeed, and we missed catching up with several mates and family members.....for that we apologize.....will do better next trip.  But Thanksgiving up at the Hawkens annual 4 day bash was great as ever

Kevin had us covered for (in??) beer, laying in a good supply of stout, cider, pilsener and ale

Cindi and Hazel enjoy some quiet time

Fred mashes a mean spud!!!

Grey and Carolyn.....nice.....

Good times indeed!

After Seattle (and a quick trip for Cindi to an ASHP conference in Las Vegas), we came back to Perth to resume Tojo travel.  Perth seems a thriving modern city, one of the most remote large cities in the world.  

Great wineries in the area (Swan Valley and Margaret River) gave us plenty of chances to refill Tojo's empty shiraz tank!

Tojo looks right at home in the vineyard, don't you think???  Notice how folks tend to give us a pretty wide berth!!!

The old shipwreck museum in Fremantle was a great visit!  All sorts of info and displays on many of the ships which met their end on the cliffs of Western Australia, as they headed up to the spice trade in Indonesia.

The Australians are world leaders in reconstructing old wrecks, including saving both metal and wood from from further decay.  Amazing processes taking many years to stabilize each part.

Preserved, reconstructed stern of the Batavia wreck

The spring wildflowers in Western Australia were fantastic, with many species found nowhere else.  Folks come from all over the world for wildflower tours in the area.

After all of this tourist sightseeing, we were itching to head back bush again.  The WA coast has so many little National Parks and spots with beach access for 4 wheel drive rigs.  You can hardly see them all in one trip, but we did find our share!  Here are some random shots as we made our way south down the coast.  (we haven't been bogged (stuck) yet, but came close a few times!!!  all part of the fun!!!)

There's got to be a story involving a kayak here!!!

Adjusting tire pressure for rocks and sand is an ongoing task

Cape Leeuwin, the most southwesterly point of Australian mainland, where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean

Even on nice days, the power in these southern ocean swells is fantastic!

These little blue-tongued skinks are common, sunning themselves in the road

It's mostly a bluff for the little guy, but it does get our attention!!!

This swimming hole, near Drafty's Camp on the Warren River, did not suck, at all

Some of WA's national parks have some amazing limestone caves open for exploration.  This one is Jewel Cave, a beaut!

Flies in Australia are, well, FLIES!!!  And there can be lots of them!!!

New addition for Tojo:  we found this mesh "fly box" that fit our awning.....SWEET AS!!!

In one of the parks we did a beautiful drive (the Heartbreak Trail!!!) through a region of magnificent old growth karri forest.  Karri, a specie of euclyptus, is the tallest hardwood tree in the world, reaching over 80m tall.  In the 1930's and 40's, eight of the tallest trees in this region were selected as lookouts, to allow rangers to spot forest fires.  Three still exist, and are open to the public to climb!!!  Quite amazing, really, as these trees are in the middle of the forest, with no one around.  I guess they figure, if you fall from that height, there's not much anyone can do to help you out!!!  We had to give it a go, and found the tallest one, the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree, over 75m high to the top platform.  The pegs are lengths of steel rebar driven into the tree, and they spiral around to the upper reaches, where they change to a series of ladders climbing from platform to platform.

What could possibly go wrong???

We really liked the historic town of Albany.  Nice downtown area, surrounded by great beaches.  Albany has a very well protected harbor, and was the place where the New Zealand and Aussie troops assembled to load aboard troop transport ships, headed for battle in WW 1.  The most well known battle, of course, was fought at Gallipoli, commemorated by Anzac Day.

The National Anzac Center Memorial Museum has recently been built in Albany.  It's a beautiful, understated piece of modern architecture, designed by award winning architect Peter Hunt.  Overlooking the bay from where the ships departed for the war, the place and its exhibits are indeed a moving tribute to the soldiers from here and New Zealand who fought in "the Great War".

View of the King George harbor in Albany.  Must have been quite a sight as the 38 ship convoy departed in 1914.

There are plenty of great hikes here in SW Australia.  On New Years Eve we were in the Porongurup National Park.  Did a fun hike up Nancy's Peak, Hayward Peak, and a scramble up Devils Slide.  The day was misty and cold, but it was a good to get out before New Years Eve festivities at the caravan park.

Cindi nears the top of Devils Slide

The next day we moved to the Stirling Range.  This park includes the highest points in Western Australia.  The tallest peak, Bluff Knoll, had a good trail up one side, and more than 200 rock climbing routes on the other.  We had no gear, so opted for the trail.  The views from the top didn't disappoint!!!

Bluff Knoll from a distance

Tojo parked in the car park below

Gotta love a trail crew with a sense of humor!!!  (stakes found w/ other trail maintenance paraphernalia)  

The beaches of south Western Australia are world famous, and we see the reason why.  For those with a 4 wheel drive rig, willing to let the tires down a bit, the beaches are truly pristine, and go on for miles and miles.  Fantastic!

Well, we're now in Esperance, and have finally caught up on the blog!!!  We're getting prepared for the trip across the Nullarbor Plain, a vast, flat, desert like area running along the Great Australian Bight coast.  New tires for Tojo, refill the shiraz tank, add about 10 days of food, and we should be good to go.  The next big adventure begins tomorrow!!!