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.
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!