Monday, May 3, 2010

Dodging Sharks, Ferries, Ships and Sea-planes

Well Spirit and I arrived safely in Sydney according to plan last Friday. The last two days getting into Sydney proved to be some of the most stressful sailing I have had for the whole trip, basically because of all the traffic out there that I'm not used to having to deal with. I couldn't work out where the shipping lanes were so I could avoid them - because it seems to be a free-for-all out there in terms of ships just being everywhere. Consequently I really didn't get much sleep for those couple of days and was constantly on the alert. I did in fact have a pretty close call with a ship, despite seeing it on the radar and going out and physically looking for it, it still managed to sneak up on me seemingly out of nowhere, setting off the AIS (which alerts me if I am on a collision course) and giving me the fright of my life by coming much too close for comfort. I had a bit of time to kill when I made good time on the approach to Sydney so did manage spend some time sight-seeing on my way in. Trouble is I was so fatigued by then that I found the Harbour traffic a bit overwhelming and not at all what I'm used to. I found myself dodging all manner of vessels from ferries to sea-planes. I was even circled by a shark! It swam with its fin sticking out of the water, just like in the movies. I was told that they didn't really do that but now I've seen it with my own eyes - and in Sydney Harbour what's more! Won't catch me swimming there...

Thanks to the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia for their generosity in letting me berth Spirit there. I should be leaving Sydney around the 15th, I'm hoping to be here to be one of the thousands that will welcome Jessica home. Then I will leave for the next leg of the trip - straight to Airlie Beach in Queensland. I anticipate it taking about 2 weeks to complete, all going well.

Oh yes and I had quite a thrill this morning - picked up the phone and it was Therese Reine (Prime Minister's wife) on the line! She'd heard of my exploits and rang to wish me well and congratulate me on getting this far. I quite admired Therese after seeing her interview on the Seven Thirty report a few months ago. She has a genuine understanding of what a person in a wheelchair has to deal with on a daily basis through growing up with a father who was a paraplegic. She was very easy to talk to, down to earth and really personable and if my daughter ends up with the same sort of mindset I will be a very happy man. I think she will actually, she is very special.


  1. Hi Jamie
    What a trip!It's been fantastic to keep up with you and hear all the fantastic adventures so far.I should think that storm felt like it would never pass.I will be over visiting in Brisbane on the 1st for a week so if it works out we will drive up and say hello.I hope you enjoy your time in Sydney and the weather warms as you head north.

  2. Hi Jamie -- Very good news to hear you are safely in Sydney! Must have been very draining on an already fatiqued body navigating through that traffic. But you did it safely...that's what counts! Also nice to know you will be there for Jessica's homecoming. (I will look for you in the crowd!!)

    You are an amazing person, so full of determination and tenacity. Your blogs are quite inspiring as well as what you are accomplishing out there. I feel privileged to be a part of your journey and hope to meet you one day to give you my very best wishes in person.

    Janell in Oklahoma, USA

    PS- You might smile at my verification word: trenativ as in 'tree native'. I grew up in a beautiful setting on a farm. A spring-fed creek ran in a U not far from our house and yard area with huge trees all along it. I climbed most every tree out there, swung from the vines, and thought I was Tarzan's Jane. I was frequently referred to as a 'little monkey'..... trenativ is a good word for me today! :)

  3. Hi Jamie great to read your latest blog. I look forward to checking in at various times during the day to see if you have put “pen to paper”. Pleased you got into Sydney Harbour safe and well. I’m with you I wouldn’t be swimming in Sydney Harbour either, apart from sharks never know what is likely to be in there. Should be a great day when Jessica arrives, not long to go now and she will be home after her battles crossing the Southern Ocean. Well mate again congratulations on your safe arrival in Sydney. Enjoy your time on land and Jessica’s return. Ric (in Adelaide)

  4. Jamie - thanks for keeping us posted. We haven't forgotten about you, amongst all the excitement around Jessica's epic sail around Tassie these last few days! In fact, I came down to the Yacht Club to have a look at Solo 1, and posted on Jessica's blog, how SMALL it looks, to us land-lubbers, who can't image actually going to sea in a boat that size, let alone confronting the weather conditions that you people have had to deal with Down South. It will be interesting to hear Jessica's comments on getting back into shore, and the adjustment to Heavy Traffic, after having so much space to yourself, for so long. Thanks for showing us a glimpse of what it's like, from the waterline. Never mind the sharks - just make sure you steer clear of those Little Penguins! Take care ...

  5. Hi Jamie,
    What a difficult arrival in Sydney you've experienced. I would not have thought it would be a free-for-all situation on Sydney Harbour. Not knowing where the shipping lanes were must have been quite frightening. I'm glad you're safe. I have seen sharks in the ocean with their fins sticking up. mmmmm, that was time to get out of the water.

    Thanks for telling us about the conversation with Therese.

    Enjoy Sydney and take care.

    from Melbourne

  6. Good morning Jamie,

    What an amazing description of the Harbour with all the traffic ... and a shark! As you were describing the shipping it brought to mind a recent series called "Big Ships" on TV and I was able to understand what you meant but can only imagine the frightening experience of that big one looming down on you.

    How fortunate you are to be there when Jessica arrives home. I'll have to watch TV carefully and look out for you, and a call from Therese Reine - what a lovely surprise.

    Looking forward to your next blog but in the meantime enjoy your rest.
    Sunshine Coast. Qld.

  7. Jamie,
    It was great to see you arrive safely last Friday, you looked fantastic and I am so proud of you. Many thanks for the wonderful day on Sunday, how lucky were we with the weather and to see the beautiful harbour up front and personal, the fish and chips were'nt bad either. Great to hear that out first lady has been in contact, what a wonderful woman. Many thanks, love to you, Jo and Bella.
    Go Jamie!! Lotsa love Cathie

  8. Well done on reaching that place that looks like Newcastle upon Tyne. Why dont you come up here and see the proper bridge, we dont have any sharks either the Ice bergs stop them.

  9. Hi Jamie, Sorry missed your departure in WA. Great to follow your blog so far. I remember meeting you in Rockingham hospital a few years ago and you saying how envious you were about my upcoming Clipper trip, that has been and gone and now i read with envy all your adventures. I'm lucky enough to be coming to Sydney this weekend. I'll be down at CYCA and will have to come and admire two very special s&s and two very special sailors. Look forward to meeting you again.

  10. Jamie,

    I hope you are getting plenty of well earned rest here in Sydney.

    Last Sunday I was at Rushcutters Bay for a party to welcome back two sailors and the closest moored Yacht to us was your Spirit of Rockingham in all her glory.

    If you thought it was crowded when you entered the harbour, you had nothing to compare with what Jessica Watson will see next Saturday.

    Some anticipate that more than 50,000 people will be on and around the harbour to greet her.

    Best wishes to you for the rest of your journey.

    Fair sailing,