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.