Tuesday, November 27, 2007

She's Gone

We have sold our beloved travel companion, Maia. It was back in September that Craig's cell phone rang with the news. We were still traveling home, on our stop in Hawaii. In fact, Evvy had just done her first real long board surf at the break called Canoes in in Waikiki. Before Craig had even toweled off the water from this mid-day surf session, the cell phone was ringing. The number calling started with a "61" plus a lot of other numbers, had to be Australia calling. The broker was conveying an offer. At first, Craig could not remember what price we were asking. It turned out that the offer was exactly what we paid for the boat, so we took it!

The buyer needed more than a month to organize a trip up to the see Maia, and complete the sale. He was living in Sydney, so it was a few thousand miles for him to travel. A few days ago, it all turned out OK. The buyer was "extremely pleased" with Maia, according to our broker. No further negotiations, the sale was done. We are looking forward to completing the sale so we can find a home to buy in downtown Oakland, using the proceeds from this sale. We are looking forward to getting our new (to us) boat for the SF Bay again. That is different story to come. For now, we want to wrap up our Australia trip, to let you all know that it worked out. We came, we sailed, we sold, and it all worked out. Thanks to all for your love and support in this trip. We look forward to cruising again, before too long.

Craig, Evvy and Dave

Friday, October 5, 2007

Le Trimiran

Leaving town at 5 a.m. isn't easy, but we had the added bonus of the Sydney marathon running that day. Urging us on was the prospect of seeing Laurent and the construction of Utopia, a 53 foot trimiran in New Caledonia. Seven years ago Craig went cruising out of Hawaii with Laurent for about 4 months. Laurent spent about 3 years sailing from France, until he stopped in New Caledonia, where he taught for 4 years. Now he has stopped working, and is spending full time building his new boat, a trimaran completely of his own design. For the boaties, get this - he made it from a unique polystyrene & plywood sandwich, which he vacuum bagged in each panel! This will make the whole thing weigh just 6 tons, a light and strong design.

It was amazing for Craig to see Laurent, and the boat Steve that he sailed with 7 years ago. Laurent and his partner Sandrine welcomed us warmly to New Caledonia with a wonderful fish salad and french baguettes. We had definitely left Australia, the food was getting crazy good! We had lunch in the salon of the trimaran, and got to start looking at our tour of the boat. At 53' long and 40' wide, it is really big, and big job to build!

The hulls are complete and were assembled just feet away from the water at the beginning of this year. In fact, most everything is there: hulls, engine, mast, rudder, center boards, electrical system, and even a main sail. However, most of this has been there for about 6 months, as Laurent, Sandrine and many many friends work on 1,000 crucial details that make the boat work. Of course there is much more to the story, much of which is told at the web site for Utopia.

Anchored just off shore from Utopia is le Steve, where we spent the next week while Laurent and Sandrine lived aboard their new boat for the first time. Craig was happy to reunite with this boat where he spent so much time. It was amazing to see it with new eyes, because then he had not yet owned such a substantial boat, but now it seems quite reasonable to handle. More on this former story is in a friends' web site that also followed the Steve way back in 2000. Here is the link.

For the next week we got to know Utopia as well as help tick a few things off the job list including prep to paint the boat for the first time! Craig also drilled holes in strips that were attached by epoxy to the hull to be used to hang the nets between the hulls. The nets are a real substantial part of the boat needed to move around, they cover a big area as the floats are FAR away from the main hull. Evvy prepared the top of the floats for a layer of epoxy with synthetic sand designed to make a non-skid surface. The work was interesting, a good way to get to know such a craft.

It wasn't all work though. We took a tour of the town of Noumea, went out to dinner, too le Steve for a couple sails, and even went to a community meeting to work against asbestos contamination for which Laurent and Sandrine volunteer. Craig enjoyed re-awaking his French and Evvy got some French lessons. Sandrine is still working to teach French in the schools on a part-time basis as they prepare to leave.

The week in New Caledonia flew by quickly. Before we knew it, we were off to Hawaii, ending our 6 month tour outside of the country, on our way back to jobs waiting for us.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Hawaii landing, Sydney story

It was hard to believe when we opened our eyes yesterday that our vessel was skirting the waters just off Hawaii. By 'our vessel' I just mean the Airbus airplane that we boarded in Sydney. We touched down in Honolulu, making our trip to foreign lands complete. We're back in the land of aloha, enjoying a wonderful home of Craig's friend Victor, the former director of the legal aid programs where he worked. But that story is yet to be told. We'll back up to tell you our Sydney story as our first 'bone':

After leaving Maia in Mackay and Airlie Beach with Sonya, the three of us headed for Sydney to visit Evvy's wonderful friend Vivian and her partner Ian. Arriving after 11 pm, we were relieved that we could still get good pub food and quality beer - ahh to be back in a big city. The next day Vivian took us touring Sydney. Walking from her flat in Paddington, we walked to the King's Cross neighborhood, then through the city's gardens, the waterfront, and on to Sydney Harbor.
We caught a city ferry to tour from the water (along with a few hundered other tourists, many American) out to the beach town of Manly. After living to long in Manly Queensland, we thought it was only fitting to go to Many, New South Wales. This beach town actually had a 4th floor to its "hotel" (no accommodation), where they set up barstools with a great view of the beach, catching an element often overlooked in Queensland pubs.

Vivian also has a favorite sushi restaurant, so we were anxious for our first taste of wasabi, hamachi and saki since leaving Oakland.

Our second day in the Sydney was spent walking the beach from Clovelly Bay to Bondi Beach. Sydney's public facilities did not disappoint, with no fewer than 5 public salt water pools long the way. After watching so many people in funny uniforms on the lawn bowling fields, we decided to join in and pitch some bowls on the vistas of these bluffs. This is Evvy showing off how close her bowl is to the "jack". It was the best toss of the day.

The waves crest over the saltwater pool off Bondi Beach, here the Iceberg club pool, keeping a constant flow of fresh water through them, but making that right hand swim lane more interesting.
We caught the bus back to downtown where our promised a pub crawl of Sydney's many fine pubs began. Ohhhh to have good beer again - 3 Sheets to the Wind ale was the favorite.
We were to remember these when we awoke at 5 am to catch our plane to New Caledonia. That story will have to wait until after we do some more visiting here on Oahu's windward shore.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Good-bye to Maia

We said good-bye to Maia yesterday (sigh). Thanks to Sonya's help, the move went smoothly. We drove up to Airlie yesterday afternoon and plan to stay near the Whitsundays until we take off for Sydney tomorrow. Things are changing pretty quick in our world. (Unfortunately, we are back to using the internet at public spots, so no pictures for this post.) It is great to be back near so many of our sailing friends, but weird not to have our little floating home. We made our transition a little easier today by mailing home a big box of boat gear that we won't need while couch surfing.

Although our time on the boat has ended (sniff) we are still traveling. Before we head home we're set to visit Noumea, New Caledonia, starting Sept 23 and Honolulu Oct 2. We'll be back home on the 9th, ready to go back to work on Oct 15.

Thanks to all of our friends and family for supporting us through yet another transition. We have enjoyed our sailing time, but are looking forward to being home to see friends, get to work, and get back to the sights, sounds and tastes of California.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Return Cruise

We're back in MacKay, preparing Maia for the sales block. She's got a web page now with our broker here. Much has happened in the few days since we last hit the dock, from showing the boat to the broker, arranging for caretakers in our absence, to doing major paint work on the boat, including the entire mast, dodger, most of the decks, the cockpit, the chain locker and more. We've been hard at work since there are possible buyers scheduling to come see Maia, so we've got deadlines. There are stories to be told for our last days cruising that we look forward to writing up, once we get Maia fairly prepared in a couple days.

Crew member extra-ordinaire Dave is leaving for home tomorrow. It turns out that flying on September 11 is still quite a bit cheaper than other days. Go figure. We really benefited from Dave's help, good spirits and camaraderie for Maia's adventure. We won't have long to miss it though because we plan to leave the boat just a week after Dave does. As soon as we return, we are looking forward to sailing with Dave and Colin back in the SF Bay on their boat Pacific High.

In the mean time, here's a couple pics from our return trip with Moves Afoot, a Wharram design Tiki 38 catamaran. We had a great couple weeks with them before we had to say good bye.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Heading South

Just a quick note to say that we're about to start heading South, for the first time, back to MacKay. We're planning to take at least a week to get there, and we have friends on their catamaran Moves Afoot to buddy boat with for a little while. This will be our last time in the Whitsundays for the trip, and some of the last sails we take on Maia. We will soon have a listing up with our broker, and are already starting to making preparations to leave the boat. Craig and Evvy are hot the trail to find plane tickets home; we are looking forward to seeing our old friends scattered around the Pacific on our way home. Internet and phone connections come back to us when we reach MacKay late next week.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Whitsundays continue

The crew of Maia have taken a few side-trips on other people's boats to some of the islands. On Wednesday, our friends Ralph and Jen on El Misty were motoring around on a calm day because they needed to charge their batteries and offered to take us over to Daydream Island. We checked out the resort, had a walk on the trail and went for a snorckle in Lovers Bay. Like so many of the island resorts this one is top-notch. As such, it has its obligatory art work:

Dave, Jen and Craig smile as Ralph demonstrates how to best enjoy the statuary.

The resort has the best mini-golf course we have ever seen. The theme is different places in Australia. Jen clued us in that Australians don't have "shrimp on the barbie", they call shrimp prawns, and it isn't common to bbq them.

On Friday we piled on to our friend Warren's 40 foot catamaran Odyssey to head out to an enormous party on Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island.

Mind you, there are NO facilities on Whitsunday, it is a national park with pristine beaches. Well, for this one, they brought out big tents, a huge sound system for the band, 4-5 kitchen set ups, all on a few trucks they brought in by barge. About 300 boats gathered for a real Australian style bash. We had an excellent time swimming and walking on the beach.

This was a close call with the first croc we've seen.

On our sail home we starting racing a large tug boat. Skipper Warren pulled up the big spinnaker and we sailed away from them - no dinosaur bones needed.

The big spinnaker with the boxing kangaroo is a favorite. We've heard that this is the logo for a very cheap fluffy white bread, like Wonder, called "Tip Top". This particular one came from a boat called Australia II, which won the America's cup. Unfortunately, a few minutes after this photo was taken, the spinnaker split and now needs to be repaired.

We have been having a great time in Airlie Beach. The weather is warm, so we have plenty of opportunities for swimming. The boat is safely at anchor, which keeps expenses low, and we are surrounded by friends. Our friends Dan and Jenny inspired us to stay up late and visit all of the nightclubs in town. Good news for Darrin, I don't think your lifetime ban is on the books, a decade can bring a lot of forgiving and forgetting. Unfortunately, we also do not see any tourist trimarans here, so yours must by plying other waters now.

The Shire Council for Airlie is trying to keep up with the resorts, so they added this enhancement to intimidate the men in the public urinals. Dan and Craig demonstrate

Here's the scoop on our exit plan. We took a big step towards home: we have decided to leave Maia with a broker in MacKay. We will be there sometime in early September, or just about 10 days from now. Dave has bought his ticket home, flying on September 11, so we figure we should be situated about that time. Evvy has a friend, Sonya, who is coming to visit about a week later. Then we'll be heading home in late September. Rather than rush home we're looking at making some stops on the way home in Sydney, New Caledonia, and Honolulu - all places where we have friends.