October 28, 2003
At anchor in the Burnett River
(across from the Port Bundaberg Marina Quarantine Dock)

24° 45 S, 152° 23 E

Pacific Bliss in the Land of Oz
By Lois Joy                                                     

When I came on watch this morning at 0300, I could see the lights of Bundaberg glimmering expectantly on the horizon. My heart was filled with the wonder of it all and I felt good to the depths of my soul. The long-awaited Land of Oz! Pacific Bliss had not entered a ‘Western World’ country since June of 2001, when we docked at our home town of San Diego after our yacht’s maiden voyage from France. We’d been sailing the South Pacific islands for two years, arriving here as part of the Port2Port Fun Ocean Passage from Vanuatu. I had just made a pot of coffee. I sat at the helm in this silent night, taking it all in. A shooting star streaked across the night sky. A white tern circled the bows and then landed on the pulpit seat for a ride in. I viewed them both as signs of good luck. Ahead—to our starboard—the running lights of Rascal Too, our buddy boat, bobbed silently through the waves. Our new Aussie friends, Greg and Pat, were magnanimously leading us into their country. Never before on our circumnavigation—now over half-way—had I felt such a sense of elation and destiny upon arriving in a foreign port. Captain Gunter and able seaman Richard were still asleep. As our engines droned along at six knots, I had a second cup of coffee and felt higher still. I woke the guys as we reached our waypoint for the Burnett River. We followed the buoys on in, with Gunter now at the helm, Richard as the look-out and yours truly at the nav station. Changing our clocks to Aussie time, we dropped the hook at 0500, just at dawn’s light. Other than one night of stormy weather and one day of rough seas following, it has been a perfect passage of a little less than seven days—with a nice-and-easy average of 6.24 knots. Passages are not our favorite part of cruising, but we can’t complain. Our MaxSea proved accurate here in OZ and I must commend Ray, our autopilot, for a flawless performance during the 1100-mile passage.


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