We left Noumea fully planning to sail to Coff’s Harbor, but plans change (as they often do when you’re dependent on the direction of the wind). We actually had decent wind for most of the trip, but  some bad weather was brewing further south and when the haul-out facility we were supposed to go to broke their cradle, so they couldn’t do anything for at least 2 weeks, we decided to make landfall in Sydney.
The choice to sail straight to Sydney wasn’t a difficult one to make. It was always my dream to sail past the Opera house and it really seemed like a perfect ending spot for the trip. The trip wasn’t entirely without drama, because my perfect accident history was dashed … or more correctly put, it was pulled into a rope clutch. Three days out from Sydney, Topi held on too tightly to the gennaker sheet and when his hand flew into the rope clutch the result was a broken finger and a nail smashed off (we found the nail a few days later when we were cleaning the deck). We were lucky that Kjersti was with us, ready to step up to the plate, pulling forth all of her nurse skills. Though everyone was happy when we sailed into the Sydney harbor, none more than Topi, because then he knew he could finally get to a hospital.

I’ve always been on land when looking at the Opera House, so it felt pretty special not only to pass if from the seaside, but to do it on my own boat with a great crew around me.

Strange to think that the journey started 2 years ago almost to the date and close to 25,000 nautical miles later I am on the other side of the globe smiling at Sydney.

After we had clearing customs and quarantine, we did the only sensible thing:

After polishing off 2 kegs of beer, Peter crashed, while Einar, Kjersti and I shot ashore in search of some decent food. We were anchored right next to the Sydney Fish Market and didn’t have to walk very far to find food. In fact we just walked up the first street we hit and entered the friendliest looking Italian place we could find. To say that we took the place by storm is an understatement. We were much helped by the wonderful practice of being able to bring your own booze, which we had bought at the corner liquor shop.
We enjoyed two fine days being anchored off the fish market, before Tim Stranack with MDBS (my broker) called to say that he had found a place where we could haul out.
This was awesome news, because I wanted to put on a new layer of anti-fouling and change the zincs, so that AI would look perfect underneath for when the boat would sell. While the boat was hauled out and the boatyard put on anti-fouling and polished the hull so that she would sparcle, we cleaned out the inside. It was crazy to see the transformation. When we were done, the boat looked better than she ever has while I’ve owned her.
With AI sparkling in the sun we gave ourselves some much needed R&R and headed in to Sydney and went and saw “The Marriage of Figaro” at the Sydney Opera House. It was AWESOME. I never thought that I’d enjoy an opera, but I loved it.

The boat was hauled out in Pittwater and to Topi and my surprise, Jen, a girl we worked with on the Vision of the Seas, lived there. She was promptly invited onboard for a cocktail or 5.

Jen was supposed to show us the local nightlife, but when she passed out on the couch, we kept the party onboard. Another co-worker from the Vision, Wes, also came knocking and we had a Hell of an evening onboard, made even better when Dee (his girlfriend showed up).

Troy, my best friend from my filmschool days in Melbourne, also flew in for a couple of days of catching up (read: Strapping Young Lad fueled mayhem). We were too busy catching up, to worry about taking pictures, so there are none to prove he was onboard, but the depleted cognac stores proves I didn’t drink alone. It was awesome to see him again and we have already decided that he will come and visit me in Norway in 2 years time.

The time in Sydney flew and before I knew it, it was time for everyone to leave. Einar and Kjersti left first, followed by Topi, before Pete and I also grabbed our kit and walked ashore.

I left AI in the hands of Tim, who will hopefully sell her fast, because I am dead broke again. AI has been awesome to me, she has taken me half way around the Globe and has taken me to some of the most amazing places I’ve ever been to. Now the time has come to wave good bye to her and head home to return to school. I had a big tear in my eye when Tim picked us up from AI and took us ashore. Here are the last pictures I took of AI:

As soon as AI sells I can close the first proper long distance cruising chapter. It has been incredible. I now head back to Norway to return to school, to study to get my unlimited tonnage commercial captain’s papers. Soon I will be back at sea, and then I can captain anything from a supertanker to a … rowboat 🙂