Have just returned to the hotel after spending an unbelievable day at the Opera House watching the arrival of Jessica Watson. We feel very honoured to have been included in the VIP section along with family and friends for her arrival, putting us right in the thick of things. It was great to finally meet Jessica and her family, albeit briefly. I was blown away by her confidence and maturity and how articulate she was in front of such a crowd. I get off the boat after two weeks completely rattled and incoherent, she gets off after seven months and presents as potential Prime Minister material! I haven't seen such a great role model for other young people since I don't know when. I was struck by how down to earth, friendly, and unpretentious her whole family are and can see how Jessica has turned out the way she has. After seeing how she conducted herself today, I hope that some of the "knockers" that have been out there will now understand that she is quite an exceptional young woman who was very focused and extremely well prepared for the challenge that she set herself.
So what have I been up to in the past week? After the last blog we had to get out of Sydney for a while, due to budgetary constraints and Jo doing her head in trying to drive here. Before leaving, we were entertained for lunch by Sue Crafer - a top international sailor as well as a sailing physio, and the best in the world at what she does. Thankyou to Sue and her husband Noddy, as well as Dr. Steve Wilson, one of the Paralympic classifiers, for a great afternoon down on middle harbour in an absolutely beautiful spot at Noddy's wooden boatshed over the water.
We spent much of the past week exploring up in northern NSW - what a top spot! It is such a different landscape from WA. It was excellent to catch up with my Uncle Reg and Susie, and a big thankyou for having us stay there. We returned to Sydney Friday morning in order for me to do my bit for the "Jessica Juggernaut". I was requested by Channel 10 to take them out on the harbour on Spirit to do a dress rehearsal for them so they could get some practise getting on and off the boat and get all the timing and technical details well prepared for. And no, I did not have to go so far as to paint the boat pink and wear a blonde wig! It was a great day, I had Jesse Martin and the English teenage solo sailor Mike on the boat with me which made for some great conversation. And I got to tie up at the Opera House, right where Jessica pulled up today. Great experience, will never forget it.
Am planning to leave Sydney tomorrow, or if final preparations take a bit longer then it will be early Monday morning. Also just want to mention one of my American "bloggers", Janell from Oklahoma, who is visiting Sydney and took the time to come and find Spirit, leaving a lovely note for me that is greatly appreciated. Janell if you are reading this, I'll be down at the boat tomorrow morning at the CYC, leaving about 11AM.