Recluses at Sea

The adventure of exploring on Anui was about to start again. We could feel it in our heart and see it with our eyes … look around… beautiful curves, rich timber, and a light and feisty craft! Well so we hoped… it might take a while before we can roam far and wide again.

For now we are enjoying our sails to Phillip Island and Wilson’s Promontory. We have had our first real opportunity to use the NKE navigation gear. We have again made use of Steve at Melbourne Marine Electronics who guided Wade on the phone to recover lost settings – don’t ask – and make adjustments. He has been so patient and helpful and got us sorted.

It feels so good to be out of the marina and cruising again! Here is some of what we notice:

  • The anticipation as we raise the sails, the sigh of contentment as we switch the engines off and Anui accelerates.
  • The noise of the wind, the waves slapping against the hulls, the creaks and groans of the boat… At sea and at anchor, wind and ocean sounds are always present, as is movement.
  • The seabirds flying past us and our first albatross for ages – one of the treats of being in southern waters.
  • The pod of dolphins escorting us for miles and more of their buddies joining us from different directions, charging towards Anui.
  • The cold of sailing along the south coast in Autumn, but the odd pleasure of rugging up.
  • The realisation of having forgotten a few of our sailing processes. How can one get so rusty so quickly?
  • The exhaustion after a full day sail but pleasure of being in an anchorage somewhere quiet and scenic.
  • The peaceful and soothing swinging at anchor as our surroundings slowly move back and forth, with the waves crashing on the beach the only noise, like a gentle breath in the background.
  • The magnificent sunrises that make up for early departures.

We missed all that so much! And in this time of turmoil we feel lucky: lucky to be reconnecting with nature, lucky to renew our sea wanderers’ life, lucky to be retired and not have to worry about work, lucky that self-isolation and self-sufficiency are already the norm for us whereas for most people it is a difficult transition requiring a major gear shift in thinking.

So what’s the plan?

We have a month before Wade has to return to Melbourne for follow-ups. However who knows whether these will in fact take place! It is also quite unlikely we will be able to head north afterwards, given the increasing interstate travel restrictions. At this stage all we can plan for is our stay around Wilson’s Promontory for a little while then the Gippsland Lakes.

We intend to make the most of this time on the South Coast, whether it is for a month or much longer. We are in the fortunate situation of being able to enjoy nature on our floating home, keep ourselves safe through isolation for our sake and that of others. We are hoping a short sharp approach is taken in Australia with the lockdown. If everybody responds and does what needs to be done, the pain may be short lived. As Wade’s cousin Brad put it:

Your grandparents were called to fight in world wars, you’re being called to wash your hands and sit on the couch… don’t fuck this up!

Avoiding going stir crazy

We have a bit of a routine in place. It keeps us occupied and physically active, the two things we need to keep ourselves contented. We make sure we do a yoga session daily, we walk the pussycat, might take a walk ourselves, play the piano, read novels on the kindles, write, attend to boat maintenance, play with photos, and cook nice meals.

Bengie singing!

We are staying connected with friends and family with more regular mobile calls rather than just texts, frequent use of WhatsApp for France. It’s the irony of this crisis: it stops us from being physically close to those we care about, but we are chatting, supporting one another, exchanging news, thoughts and ideas more often so as not to get lonely.

And you, how are you managing? What are you doing to adjust?

Stay hopeful. Stay healthy. Stay in touch.

33 thoughts on “Recluses at Sea

  1. I am not at sea, but my pre-crisis lifestyle included a fair degree of social distancing, so adaptation has not been difficult. My heart goes out to those who have been more dramatically affected–those who have lost jobs, those who are sick, those who are suffering from a feeling of isolation. I too am reaching out to others more regularly than even using all of the electronic means available. There are certain moments when I feel acutely the stress of the current situation, but mostly it is ok. I loved the sunrise photos and absolutely adore the shot of Bengie singing. Take care, Chris, as you and Wade ride out this storm.

    • Hello Mike – yes it is hard to comprehend how people who have lost their livelihood can survive this crisis both physically and mentally. As you say, even when you are lucky like us, there are times when the isolation and waiting alone make us feel lost and lacking in meaning.

      Glad you like the images. Bengie funny enough is enjoying the return to cruising, walking and she is attracted to the piano. Sometimes meowing but mainly a new place to snooze in front!

  2. Hi Chris and Wade, who would have thought 3 months ago whilst rocking and rolling in Williamstown that we would now be faced with this experience. We are fine with many jobs on the farm keeping us occupied, even had my mum move in with us, quite cosy with the 3 of us in the cubby. Look after yourselves , I imagine the Prom would be lovely at this time of the year..

  3. You ask, how are we doing? We are staying home and keeping our Social Distancing in effect. Tyler is doing his School work via the internet. I stay busy in my office at home. I process my photos that I brought from Peru. You must have seen some on my blog. I was very lucky when I left Peru because only 3 or four days later the wouldn’t allow anybody to leave the country, Airports were closed. As you can see, life is not easy in the cities. Take care, my friends. Lovely pictures! 🙂

  4. I am now thinking that I should have offered to do on site fix ups and commissioning given the current health crisis.
    Thank you for the kind words. Stay safe.

  5. We spent 3 days on “Tripod” last week, and 4 days camping around south Gipps, but Thursday morning were obliged to leave the park we were in because we are not permanents there !
    So we packed up and leisurely drove home. Like yourselves we are not reliant on work income.
    Just lost a delivery from Gosford because the buyer could not justify our interstate trip by land !

    • Hi Doug, are campsites closed now? We have seen a few people at a distance on the beach and we guess they would have had to set up camp overnight, certainly at Waterloo Bay, maybe not at Norman Bay.

      Yes we suspect interstate trips, even by sea rather than road will be difficult. It is pretty obvious Anui is Victorian based with Melbourne plastered as its official home port on the back steps! Very evident too on Marine Traffic! We might end up spending more time than expected in the Lakes. But for now we are enjoying the Prom, especially today it is warm and sunny. Stay well.

      • Yes, caravan parks are closed from Wed. midnight. Only people with no home to go to are allowed to stay. Not sure how free campsites go & State/National parks go. The principle seems to be holidaymakers with a home within the state are to stay or go home; not even use holiday houses.

  6. Great photos of a beautiful time ahead for you all 🐾. Interesting times for all of us. Your prose is well articulated. Stay safe.

  7. So well written Chris. Captures the season and mood perfectly. Glad you have been able to “escape” Melbourne successfully, and no doubt you are in the best place for you now. Had everything gone to plan we would have been heading across the strait with these perfect weather windows. But for us, last Sunday, everything changed. So quickly…! We have made the decision to get back home to Alice Springs. Our instincts were to get back to our family, to sit out the storm. They wanted us to come home, and when your children plead with you, it’s hard to say no. The good news is Selah is safe, in a beautifully protected marina, surrounded by liveaboards who are in for the duration, happy to keep an eye on her, and spin the engines every four weeks. Plus we have plenty of family who will use her as a floating apartment when visiting Launceston. I write this from Alice, under enforced isolation, for two weeks. After the last six months, we are both exhausted, and we are looking forward to a couple of weeks R&R. Then I’ll find some part time work, and start replenishing the cruising kitty. So our trip is postponed for 12 months. We are disappointed, but not heart broken, as we get to spend some precious time with our family, and be with them, if it all goes pear-shaped. We are conscious that our problems are minor, compared to so many. You do realise, you will be a life-line for those us who are landlocked? There is purpose and meaning in that for those who will be struggling with enforced isolation in the months ahead. With Anui’s capacity for extended voyages, I guess it would be possible for you to still go North, perhaps go straight through to QLD, and quarantine for two weeks upon arrival, then head for the reefs? Stay safe guys. Thanks for letting us share your lives.

    • Hi Pete and Deb, huge but understandable decision on your part. We can imagine how torn you are. This is no ordinary circumstances and being with family is important. I personally realise this with my inability to be with mine.

      We still don’t know what we are going to do. It is pretty clear QLD does not want interstate visitors and although we can quarantine easily, a dash to the reef may not be allowable. We are still debating what we’ll do once we are clear about Wade’s medicals. If the shit really hits the fan, we have more support in Victoria than anywhere else, but the thought of spending a winter here does not fill us with joy!
      A possibility is sailing to Iluka/Yamba but we’ll see. More on this when we know! Take good care. We are thinking of you.

  8. ‘love Brad’s comment! Half your luck! We have just done the opposite and have just arrived on a dock at The Boat Works, having had a midnight collision with another boat (at 0030 in 20 plus knots of wind) and a bent anchor (Andrew’s description is ‘pretzel’). Stay safe. love Trish

    • Oh what??? Just what you need on top of everything else and as usual calamities happen in the middle of the night! Did somebody drag into Sengo?

      • Yes and no. It was a case of wind against tide and the dance step differences between a big heavy catamaran (us) and an older monohull who had anchored just slightly too close!!! One had an east -west two step and the other a north -south waltz! The anchor was the result of trying to pull it up in the dark over a buried crab pot! The only injury is the boat…. humans just a little disappointed.

  9. We seem to be attracting them this month….see the newsletter when it comes out. It is just that this one got just ‘that bit too intimate!.

  10. Have fun at the Lakes. Bengie singing is hilarious. Love the sunsets. Stay safe you 2. Enjoy the boat and nature, better than at a dock somewhere. S

    • Hi Sue – still at the Prom for another week we think. It is lovely here and we have gone from bib & brace, sea boots and beanie to bathers today. Even both braved the cold water to clean the water line! Bengie is happy to have have renewed her walks too! And yes she was funny bleating at the piano !

  11. We could feel your sailing joy and sense of relief from the other side of the world! Bengie singing at the piano was a laugh …..
    We’re self isolating in Glaswegian suburbia, but there has been a bit of irony in our lives. We have (had) a 40′ gum tree in our back-yard! Whoever heard of gum trees in Scotland? Anyway, it developed a serious lean over our neighbour’s place, so a bit like Wade climbing the mast I got up the ladder and cut it down in stages. Luckily, unlike masts at sea, the earth stood still …. now we have a pile of good fire wood and no fire place (yet) ….Take care guys and enjoy your mini cruises!

    • Glad you could sense the joy of us being at sea again… we were wondering whether we had gone a bit too lyrical with the impressions!
      Your little bit of Oz in Scotland chopped to pieces… how sad!
      Stay well and look after each other.

  12. Hi Chris and Wade. Lovely to get my “water fix” through your photos. I am still in NZ and going into the 2nd week of lock down at my parents retirement centre. Good to be here for support but don’t know when I will be able to get home.
    You certainly have the very best of self imposed isolation.

    • Hello Graham – We were wondering whether you had made it back. At least you can be of help and company to your folks. Keep your chin up. Next water fix in a few days 😊 ⛵️

  13. Hi Chris and Wade,
    So glad you didn’t take my earlier advice Chris and also glad that Wade has got through this phase of treatment. Lovely pictures and a good relief from all the other stuff (I had 9 relevant emails from my hospital admin yesterday all about “that virus” as my infectious diseases colleague put it.) Looks like you will get to know that section of coast even better than you already do.
    We have (sadly) had to put our rowing club into “hibernation” as it was acting as a honeypot for people to gather. So might be a while before we get to see each other “on the water”.
    beautiful day here today, and as I am working at home today, I think I’ll have a swim shortly.
    Stay safe and well,

    • Hello Meredith, really nice to get your comment. Yes the decision about my Dad in France was taken out of my hand, which in a way is easier. He very quickly was unable to have visitors and now they are in complete lockdown over there, just a week or so ahead of us in Australia. Life as it used to be seems a distant memory. I guess rowing for you can still happen, but not in an organised group… Singly!

      We are not sure how things will go for us. We are off the South coast for another four weeks at least then we’ll see. We want to go north, at least to northern NSW, but we will see how the restrictions develop. Quarantine and isolation are easy for us, but if they start slapping fines on anyone who is not in their home state, we will be affected when we come ashore once in a while for provisioning! Let’s hope it does get to that.

      Glad the pictures are a good relief… We feel lucky to be in the position we are in on Anui and are freer than most, so happy to share our surroundings virtually. Stay healthy and safe.

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