Rachael – Tasman Tales 18th March 2014

At times we weren’t sure it would actually happen, but after lots of anxious anticipation, false starts and weather window watching, on the 1st of March we were finally off.  Out Sydney Heads and into a lumpy, chaotic windy, rainy sea.  Already missing hanging out with my brother Simon and Frankie, with whom we’d been lucky enough to spend heaps of time with whilst in Sydney. Although, he may enjoy having his time back after being No. 1 chauffeur, tour guide, shopping assistant, brekky companion, running partner, fun time uncle… Thanks Simes!



Hanging out with Simes. Blue (ie. grey, misty) Mountains and Sydney.


So we were off to New Zealand.

From Journal 4th March 2014: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader…heading East into the sunrise.  We have a house (boat) with 360 degrees uninterrupted ocean views.  We have been three days at sea and each sunny morning brings renewed outlook? Energy? Spirit? Relief anyway to tick off another night.  This morning a gentle rolling southerly swell as we head East – at least we are pointing toward NZ now.

We are getting into the ‘swing’ of passage making, my sea legs (stomach) almost sorted, Jarrah and Khan have started creating fun games like Jarrah’s Treasure Hunt for Khan complete with detailed map and instructions (and of course treasure) and inspired by Khan’s paper pirate hat complete with eye patch, sword and parrot.  Meals made when the sea is kind and rushed when not.  Sleep… ah, sleep?  In brief bits when one can get it.  Oh, and don’t wait until you to ‘feel’ like getting up.  Job to do so get up anyway.  Then feel better.  


Is it my turn to helm or sleep??  Justin displaying his    multitasking skills.



Captain Harris and his crew: At least we don’t look silly? And can I say I love my overalls and gumboots!

DSCF5320Jarrah sleeping in our favorite sea bed – on the mid cabin floor

DSCF5306                                                                                                                                    Andy Griffiths was a favorite read.



The Navigation Team at work.

We counted and ticked off the first days.  Then celebrated our nautical mile half way on Day 7.  Then the days seemed to melt into ‘another’ day.  Not counted, but each focussed on solely for the weather it was forecast to bring.  My body unable to differentiate between day and night.  At first the nights were markers of time.  Later, once in the swing of helm/watch shifts, more accustomed to short bursts of sleep and with an ever brightening moon, I came to really look forward to the nights.


An ‘artsy’ Justin at the helm under a bright moon. Cape Reinga, NZ 

The nights brought their own rhythm.  Marked by the setting sun and moon, brilliant stars or intense blackness.  Cold wind rushing past awakening a thrill as we soared through the water.  Alone on watch in the silence of the sharp night air.  All the perfection of the night sky and ocean on display for me alone to enjoy. 


The dawn light my favourite time.  As the morning colors crept              across the ocean skin.  Silvery and brilliant.

During the days we were the centre of a circle of ever changing blue.  The Tasman..the Space Between…   Vast. Empty. Alive. Unknown. Surprising. Tiring.  Awesome. Awaiting.  Inspiring. Disheartening. Scary.  Seducing. Quiet. Wild. Uplifting. So Deep and so, so Blue…


Justin and Khan sporting lovely Tasman hair dos.





                                            In safe hands with Captain Harris in charge.

From Journal 10th March, 2014: Yesterday a hard day.  ‘That’s New Zealand gone’.  Tropical Cyclone planning to head us off so close..so close. What now? What options? Out to sea. Worry. Stress. What is possible? Boat and crew ready in case of roll.  Waves over and over the boat.  Drenched Justin on deck again and again. Kids scared. Beam us up? Where to if not NZ?  Where is safe.  All options disappearing and difficult.  Run the gauntlet at Cape Reinga…to beat Tropical Cyclone winds…go figure??!!  Only other option to head out to ‘wait’ in cyclone fuelled sea for a week?!  Hard to keep it together but (have to) find a way.  The change in feeling in my chest from being boldly on a mission, to mission aborted. A crashing, empty, heavy stillness. So close.

We couldn’t control the weather, the wind and the sea.  But kept going, pushed hard, monitored the weather forecasts, worked together and gave ourselves the best chance.  Then from underlying worry about us being safe and wondering if we would be able to get there, able to do it? To yes we can! Yes We Did! Yes.  Satisfied relief.

DSCF5322Our Middle of the night arrival at Opua, Bay of Islands, New Zealand was celebrated firstly with Doritos and beer… then sleep. 

4 thoughts on “Rachael – Tasman Tales 18th March 2014

  1. Yaaay, you made it, wow it,is such a good story, it almost sounds real 🙂 – just reading all your updates is terrific, actually feels like we are a part of it. Glad you are all safe and sound (ish), cant imagine how scary, exciting and disappointed you must have been all in a short space of time.
    Great reading, well done captain harris, you steered them in safely, all though I know it wont have felt like that. Thanks for sharing, hope you have dried out, and caught up on some sleep, me ‘arties
    lots love.
    simes, and hugs and thoughts from frankie in USA.

  2. Rapt you arrived safely can’t even imagine the endless ocean stretching out before you, on and on!!!! So the next part of your journey begins, sleep eat and be merry!!! Look forward to reading more. Big Kissy to you allxxxxxxx
    Zog family 🙂

    • Way back in the dark ages I traversed your track in the Willem Ruys en route to Lima, Panama and the world. Life certainly looks different so close to the waves, really scary lows but amazing highs to share with the earth -bound mortals. What unimaginable experiences for Jarrah and Khan to remember always. Keep us in the loop, it’s quite a buzz to share your adventure. Our love, John and Judy xxxx

  3. Whoo hoo!!!! So glad you made it safely across the big wild seas. I’m sure the NZ weather site had a spike in hits for the number of times I checked it. I’ve no doubt there were some scary moments and decisions to be made but it looks like you lot have found your sea legs! Lucky you had that practise run at Wilsons Prom and Lakes Entrance 😉
    Big love and big hugs to all of you from all of us xxxx

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