We have both received our personal exemption from Maritime Quarantine in NSW. So you know what this means: we are outta here. Yeah!
We are very thankful for the assistance we received from Grant Campbell of the NSW Police Command Centre who supported our application. We had been waiting for nearly two weeks for a response from the Health Department to our online application. He was instrumental in getting it finally looked at and granted on Compassionate and Exceptional Circumstances last Friday night.
We are also grateful for David Ashworth’s help, who is the Assistant Harbour Master at Gippsland Ports. He was very accommodating and looked after us well. We felt welcome and safe for the two months we spent in Paynesville and Lakes Entrance.
Au Revoir Gippsland Lakes
We have spent many years at the Gippsland Lakes, love the region and have made enduring friendships there. So this is a small nod to this beautiful part of Victoria we came back to and took shelter in.
Slide right to see each image of the slideshow.
And just as we celebrate our imminent departure, here is a most luminous sunset:
This section is for yachties among our Australian followers. We were determined to do our research and understand the COVID-19 regulations as they affect cruisers like us. Here is what the Health Order says: « Under Public Health orders by the Minister for Health and Medical Research, people who arrive in Australia from overseas or by vessel from another port outside NSW must enter into quarantine for 14 days as directed by NSW Police. »
The regulations might evolve in a few weeks and changes to the Health Order might come through to allow interstate voyagers and crews to disembark without the need for quarantine. They certainly have been requested by NSW Police. However right now any boaters wishing to travel through New South Wales waters from another state and go ashore along the way will need to quarantine in an approved facility on land unless they have an exemption. No ifs or buts.
You may be eligible for an exemption to the Public Health (COVID-19 Maritime Quarantine) Order 2020 (NSW) on the basis of compassionate / exceptional circumstances where you have arrived in NSW on a vessel that:
- has not entered Australia from outside the exclusive economic zone, and
- has not entered a non-Australian port at any point on its voyage and has not left Australian waters, and
- all persons on the vessel boarded at an Australian port.
To apply for an exemption, complete the online form at www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Pages/quarantine-exemptions.asp. It is important to confirm that you comply with the above 3 bullet points in your application.
If you would like stress free voyaging through NSW waters, and like us want to do what is right, we encourage you to follow due process. We hope our experience helps others.
On the move at last
Having been in lockdown for 10 weeks already, we then had to do a little more waiting for the right weather to leave safely and get ‘around the corner’ as there was another strong front coming which looked like this:
So another week has been spent waiting for the front to pass and the seas to calm down. And then, just as we were about to escape, having given up on receiving the final parts for our Telstra signal booster, they arrived at the last hour! So it was worth delaying our departure by a few more days and have Nicholas from Voyager Marine Electronics complete the installation.
Sunday 7 June is D Day… D for Departure, Decamping, Dancing, Delighted! The ocean is calling and we must go. We expect being back at sea will be a real mix of feelings: freedom, rustiness, slight nervousness, relief, intense pleasure. After six months of sailing inactivity except for a small interlude at the Prom, we have to get used to the movement of the boat and ocean, the cold of winter sailing; we have to reacquaint ourselves with our gear, get in the swing of our itinerant life again. You want it so much but then it is here and it feels like ‘OMG we are really going! Bye bye electric heater and flat water!’
So where to? In our usual fashion we are planning to day hop, stop at little frequented places and sleep at anchor every night. Having waited for manageable southwest winds, we have rendez-vous with seals and dolphins at the Skerries, whales and albatrosses as we head for Bittangabee and Broulee, and beyond that we will see. However the weather will dictate what we can do! Stay tuned for details of our great escape.
Be prudent. Be serene. Do the right thing.