After lunch we are not too far from Botany Bay and we expect to be outside Port Jackson heads by this evening. The weather is still grey and miserable, but most of the crew are down below decks preparing themselves for their array of talent to be displayed at tonight’s last and final Sod’s opera. You can feel the pressure that they are putting themselves under to ensure that on the last Sod’s opera of the circumnavigation goes off with a bang!
By 1630 we are a few nautical miles off the Royal National Park and there is a break in the clouds where the sun is setting and through the grey the orange bursts through. There are also a couple of what we suspect to be Southern Right Whales in the distance; it is a very tranquil moment.
Down below is somewhat less tranquil! The chaos that looms below deck is all hands to practising. We are not going to anchor tonight but we will remain outside of the parameters of Port Jackson until we are ready to be received in the morning.
Because we are not anchored and have a slight ocean swell, some of the professional crew are required to keep watch on deck. Nigel and Fiona serve a delicious roast which is devoured and enjoyed by all. Up next is the final crew wages of the circumnavigation and the beginning of tonight’s performance. Kicking it off is foremast. It is a fantastic finale to the sod’s performances and it is good to see that everyone is involved, even the professional crew do their infamous rendition of the whale song, which has not been performed for some time!
The morning brings much excitement for the day’s proceedings and what better way of starting it with a chaos breakfast (one mass sitting). Gradually the watches are called up on deck to start preparing the ship for her final berthing. Mizzenmast put the buoys over the side and Foremast and Mainmast get the lines and fenders prepared on deck. ‘Priority 2’ the first vessel to meet us outside the heads and as we draw closer it is very overwhelming to see how many vessels are coming out to join the flotilla. We have Our Southern Swan, James Craig and other smaller vessels with many previous voyage crew on board led by Shirley Smith the Sydney Ports response vessel that has its fire fighting water jets full blast into the sky.
As we work we take it all in, it seems so surreal that 13 months ago we left for this epic voyage and here we are bringing her home safe and sound having had 706 voyage crew sail her and bringing her to the people and ports of Australia as part of the National Maritime Museums out-reach program. Often when asking voyage crew how you would describe your voyage, they respond by saying you will never truly know until you experience it. I have tried my best over the last 13 months through blogs and photographs to describe just what it is like to take part in such an epic journey, but it truly is an experience beyond words… An adventure of a life time
Total distance travelled (Inc ISAF regatta); 13,300NM
Total voyaging distance; 12247.5NM
Total distance whilst voyaging under motor; 4456NM
Total distance whilst voyaging under sail; 7791.5NM
Fair winds and following seas…