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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Too Many Choices

Just like two kids in front of a candy store with a handful of coins, we had too many choices. North, west or east, which way should we go?

After following our dream for so long, suffering hardships, enjoying conquests, savouring  experiences new to us, we realised Albany would be our last point for an early return to loved ones and suddenly found our course wanting. So, we paused and re-considered as one should. Were the goals ahead equal to those we would forsake? It became a difficult decision.

Now you see our predicament. Each choice has advantages, each its own deterrence.

Going home north via the wondrous Kimberley is filled with navigational hurdles that include fast currents and turbid water. Additionally there are crocs everywhere, making swimming unwise, and then after Darwin, we’d have to do battle with headwinds. Or we could continue going west and cross the great span of Indian Ocean to Africa and then return to Australia via tiny St Paul in the roaring forties. On many a black night, when cuddled aft watching our sails soar across the heavens we have often dreamt of making another long ocean passage to explore exotic lands. But, in going that route there would be no easy communications; no internet, no video calls, no mobile coverage, isolating us further from family and friends for nearly a full year. That might not have been so terrible years ago - before so many devilishly cute grandchildren. Now there's a third choice, turning around, going east. Returning to Tasmania would take us back to a beautiful island filled with unspoilt nature. Jude and I, when close in bed sharing visions of our future often discuss basing our floating home in the Apple Isle. That would give us winters at home with our grandchildren, summers cruising the many bays and rivers of Tasmania. Plus there’s an added enticement. Tasmania’s closeness to our neighbour New Zealand would allow us the chance to sail across “the pond” for a NZ summer cruise, and from there, a possible journey with the wind to New Caledonia.

Making this decision has caused several sleepless nights in Albany because once taken round Cape Leeuwin by the predominant south wind, it’d be much harder to turn back. So a decision here became mandatory. After long thought, we have decided to turn Banyandah around and sail a fourth time across the Great Southern Ocean. But hey, we’re still just big kids, so once inside the shop, with our lines off the dock, a change of decision might still be made.....

A few photos of Albany:
The tiny entrance to Oyster HarbourAnd once inside,  a landlocked safe haven
Albany is blessed with not just one safe harbour, but two - plus an open roadstead named after King George.
The main shipping harbour just off the town is called Princess Royal, and then there's a lovely landlocked bay filled with nature that was discovered by Captain Vancouver in 1791, who named it after the oysters he found.

(20 more photos 100 words)
Some Friends:
Our dear friend Darren, who owns
the friendliest slipway in Australia
Roy and Jean, who have been trying
to go cruising since we were here last

The Two Doctors, Bjorn and IanAnd their boats, both wooden, Bjorn's closest

Easy access to shore, albeit a mite busy with the fishing boats Our lovely view, minus the sail under repair
Our 10 day walk on the Bibbulmun Track through the Tingle forest:
Runs from Perth to Albany, 956 km long, huts every 20 kmThe Tingle is one of the world's largest
Unique WA flowersBuggered at the end of every day
Gorgeous - both the view and my lady
We also found time to do a camp in the Stirling Ranges - an hour's drive north from the boat:
We climbed the peak behind, Toolbrunup 1052 m, last time hereNote the unusual flowers on the grass plant
Wedge Tail Eagle have been know to take small lambs
And finally, our good friend Dr. Ian took us to Western Australia's most southern most point:
He said lay on my tummy and look overIf you look closely, you'll see Ian & Jude
And here's why sailing oceans is dangerous -

I was wondering why my mainsail was hard to pull up. If this had blown apart mid-ocean....

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