Officially Homeless!

When we sailed out of Darwin in July 2008 on board our first yacht Malaika, we were off on an open-ended voyage across the world with our youngest daughter, Ali. We’d sold our house and had no fixed address, so we were granted “long grasser” status by the Electoral Office. Now, seven years later, and in a different boat, we’ve gone a step further and today we’re officially homeless as well.

Lex, with our daughter Ali on Malaika in the Similan Islands, Thailand in 2008

Finally, it’s time for the big announcement. We’ve held off making it until it was completely signed, sealed and delivered, and it’s taken all of three months to happen, with falls at every jump along the way. We have sold our beloved Tramontana, our home since late 2009. Superstitious and (as it turned out) well-deserved paranoia kept us from making an announcement about it, fearing that if we spoke too soon it wouldn’t happen. Settlement on our buyers’ property actually collapsed twice at the last moment during that time. However we knew they were the right people to take over the custodianship of this boat. Being very experienced sailors, they knew a great boat when they found one and they’d fallen in love with her the moment they saw her. So we waited.

Tramontana at the Spit Bridge, Sydney 2015

We sailed to Newcastle NSW last week to finalise the sale and the handover. Just to keep the tension wound tight, settlement was delayed for the third time, by the biggest storm the east coast has seen in years. Our last night on board was memorable for the worst weather and the strongest, loudest winds Tramo had ever been in, but we were safely tied up (and triple-tied at that!) at a berth in Newcastle marina. While canopies and sails were being shredded all around us, she suffered no damage at all. So, after numerous delays, yesterday morning, 23 April, we handed Tramontana to Jenny and John, her ecstatic new owners.

Lex checking the mooring lines at the Newcastle marina during the gale

So what’s next? We’re not really sure. A year ago, we decided it was time to change tack and sell our boat, time to do something different, so we set out for Tasmania last October, hoping to find a buyer along the way, but without any real plans past that. Why Tasmania? Maybe it’s an overreaction but after 40 plus years in the tropics, we wanted a change of climate. A Tasmanian winter should sort that out! We’re going to be house sitting for a few months – a month in picturesque historic Richmond, in a house that’s 188 years old, and three months in a lovely place high above the D’Entrecasteaux Channel near Kettering, on the coast south of Hobart.

Different kinds of waterways beckon now…

Darwin remains home – even if we don’t have a house there at the moment – and we’re sure we’ll wind up back there. Three of our four children and most of our grandkids are there, plus four decades of friendships, so we’re treating this as a sabbatical rather than a re-location. In the meantime, we’re going to explore Tasmania as thoroughly as we can, and I’m going to get the next book written!




22 thoughts on “Officially Homeless!

  1. Congratulations Joanne on making such a major decision in your life! How exciting to have the next stage set out in front of you… I wish I had known you were in Newcastle (before 2 days ago!) – I would’ve loved to catch up with you :) All the very best with your new venture and enjoy your time in Tasmania. The cold will really bite into you over the winter, especially after Darwin! I’m really looking forward to your new book – Ronan’s Echo is still up there with my favourites of all time!

    • Thanks Brenda! I was hoping we’d have the chance to get together but it was just too crazy this week… to put it mildly! But will remember you’re in Newcastle if we get back that way. Looking forward to a totally new chapter in Tasmania, for a while, anyway! Did you have any damage to your house this week? and is your power back on? Jo x

      • Jo we only lost power for 8 hours fortunately – others lost it for a lot longer. And we had a flooded garage which I have sorted and thrown things away already. But compared to many others, our damage was minor. We are a bit nervous about the forecast storm due to hit sometime in the next couple of days now! We certainly don’t need it after what we’ve had!
        I hope we can manage to catch up one day – it’d be awesome to chat about Ronan’s Echo and your other books too :)
        Take care and enjoy Tassie! xx

        • Hope the latest storm passed you by gently, Brenda. It’s been wild weather along the east coast, and the effects are still going on and on. Plus a cyclone hitting Exmouth on the west coast at the same time! I hope we can meet up too – we’ll be back to collect our stuff eventually! :)

  2. Hi Jo,
    Great news about the sale of Tramontana!
    Enjoy Tasmania! We had many happy trips there when Dan was at uni.
    I look forward to your next book.
    Find regards,

  3. Congratulations!!! Great to read that you’ve sold Tramontana. Enjoy your stay in a proper house :) . Take care, enjoy life and stay healthy.
    Jaap and Maria

    • Thanks Jaap and Maria! We’re glad that she’s gone to very good new owners, experienced sailors who will sail her for years. Now for something completely different for us! It is good to be in a house again, even if it’s not our own house :)

  4. Wonderful Jo and Lex – you are packing in the experiences. One of my favorite books was entitled “I Haven’t Yet Unpacked”.

    • Thanks Terry – I keep meeting people who’ve had stuff in storage for so long they can’t remember what it is any more. We’re hoping we won’t get like that!

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