Just a quick update to let you know we are leaving Australia today, after an unplanned visit of 6 months! We are in Bundaberg and have been waiting for a small but nasty little low to pass through the Tasman Sea. We’ve been pretty busy here in Bundy getting Distant Drummer ready for stormier weather and rougher seas than we have yet experienced. I guess so far we’ve been very lucky with the weather; the wind may not have always be in our favour (i.e. mostly on the nose!) but at least we haven’t had too many strong winds or gales and the seas have been mainly comfortable.

Anyway we’ve completely cleared the deck of outboards and surf boards, bicycles and jerry cans and other accumulated debris of the last 12 months! We managed to find space below and stashed it, lashed it and netted it up so it won’t fly around should we start rolling around. I’ve cooked enough soups and stews to last us until NZ and beyond and they’re all waiting in the freezer to be picked off!

It’s not been all work and no play. We managed to fit in a tour of the Bundaberg Rum Distillery and we’ve even had a small holiday – a couple of days in Brisbane. We visited the Andy Warhol exhibition (fascinating, better than we expected) and. being a little under equipped for the colder climate of the Tasman Sea, we bought some cold and wet weather gear. On the way back we dawdled up the Sunshine Coast, passing through many small towns full of historic buildings. We stopped for lunch with some old friends in Coolum Beach – great!!

We’ll be spending our wedding anniversary and Christmas at sea en route to Lord Howe Island which is a huge seamount sticking up from the floor of the Tasman Sea with a little speck of an island poking above the sea surface. We’ll stop there to re-fuel and regain our wits then spend New Years and Neil’s Birthday on the way to NZ. So when we get there we’ll certainly have a lot to celebrate – as well as being in NZ and completing our amazing voyage!!

The last year really has been fantastic. Sailing has given us the ability to visit some wild and remote places in the comfort of our own home which simply cannot be beaten. We’ve had some wonderful experiences and everyone we’ve met has been friendly and helpful and never slow to get together for a drink and a chat. It’s also been interesting to discover the joys and dramas of being a nomad and living a less conventional lifestyle. It is not completely carefree but the constraints and conditions are different – weather mainly constrains our movements and repairs and maintenance seem to eat into as much time as we are prepared to give them. Occasionally we have mourned our lack of mobile and internet coverage. The freedom of stopping and moving on through and between countries at our own pace is brilliant and we are looking forward to resuming our wanderings after our stay in Nelson.

So on a last note from Australia we wish you Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year!!

Lots of love

Suzy and Neil

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