For our fifth and last post in this series we reflect on what we have done and where we are at.
After three weeks at sea, covering about 1300 nautical miles with help from several crew members, Wade successfully brought Anui from the Gold Coast to Melbourne. It is not easy to undertake a voyage with people you don’t know, particularly within the tight confines of a boat. There is an element of risk for both skipper and crew. You get an impression as you first meet on the side of the dock and you hope for the best, but you never quite know how things will pan out underway. People who volunteer as crew can have different levels of experience. Some have skippered their own boat, some have sailed on other people’s boat, some are just willing helpers who enjoy being at sea. Wade was not fussed about finding crew with strong sailing experience. He just wanted to find someone who could stand a watch, including night watch, help with manoeuvres and take directions. Overall he was lucky to find good assistance at short notice. So thanks go again to Hayden as well as Greg and his brother Mal. And let’s hope they got some positives out of the experience too.
Since his arrival in Melbourne Wade has been busy: cleaning up the boat inside and out after passage making, investigating why the prop fell off and sorting out a replacement, preparing the wiring for our extra NKE navigation gear, ready for installation and calibration by the dealer, and finalising outstanding business matters… all so we are ready to resume our cruising life and decompress.
The new prop (a very pricey two blade folding prop) is on its way from Denmark and should get here soon, but requires the boat to be hauled out to be fitted – even more expenses for something that should never have happened and to add insult to injury there is nowhere in Melbourne to lift Anui out! So Wade has purchased and fitted a fixed prop to get us out of trouble for now from Collins Marine in Sydney who have been really helpful. It will allow us to sail and manoeuvre without concern until we haul out at Boat Works next year – a bit more drag, but we are not racing.
These last few days have gone pleasantly: Christmas with family came and went… a couple of surfs with brother Murray, company from a few friends and the wait for « Miss Cricri » to get back home.
Dad has been in the seniors’ residence now for 10 days. He quite likes his apartment and we have added a few ornaments to make it more personal. He needed a small desk for his laptop and we even braved an IKEA build!
We have been focused on getting him settled but it has been difficult. He has his reasonable days and bad days. His condition fluctuates greatly as does his distress. The truth is the disease is accelerating. Is Dad well supported? Absolutely. Are we doing the best we can for him? Definitely. But there is only so much family can do. It is such an emotional roller coaster for all of us, such a mix of conflicted feelings.
Christmas was a quiet affair, but Dad was well enough to join in. The five of us had precious time together on Christmas Eve and we are thankful for this.
And we did this again on the weekend when the whole family got together.
Having done my utmost for my Dad and helped Véronique, it is now time to say goodbye with a very heavy heart. I will catch a plane to Australia early on Monday morning. As my Mum used to say whenever I left France to return home, “let’s just kiss as if we will see each other again tomorrow”…
I will be back with Wade and Bengie on Anui on the evening of New Year’s Eve, just in time for the fireworks. Although it will be back to “normal” life for us, dark clouds are on the horizon.