So much has happened since our last (ahem ... September 2013) post. Most importantly and wonderfully, we now have a son - Jack - who joined our crew on 21 November 2013. We spent 6 months in Adelaide catching up with family and friends and adjusting (somewhat) to being parents for the first time. We sweltered through the hottest Adelaide summer on record including 11 days above 42°C (108 °F). How funny that we chose to "escape" the Queensland summer by returning home.
In the meantime, Bass Voyager waited patiently for us up North.
And then a strange opportunity presented itself. Through family friends we learned about a small catamaran that may be coming up for sale. Curious, we followed it up and ... well, long story short, we went ahead and broke rule number one of boat ownership: never buy a second boat before selling the first.
Fast forward to one week ago and 15 week old Jack, Kitty, Michael and I moved on to our new catamaran Minke II, or just Minke as we've started calling her. She's perfect for us. Comfortable, not too big, plenty of potential to improve her and make her "ours". We're in love. For the boat nerds, Minke is a 11.5m Simpson Inspiration catamaran, built in Brisbane in 1995 by Bruce Roberts. Foam core construction, fractional rigged, blah, blah, blah...
Minke II is a family boat. She's bigger, more stable (she's a catamaran after all). She's pretty and has bouncy trampoline things at the front. She's fibreglass, which equals low maintenance - I never would have fathomed how important that would become to us with Jack in our lives. She's well travelled and has proven herself over many miles sailing around Australia and South East Asia. As a result she's well decked out for long term cruising. Her home port is Port Adelaide, so she was clearly meant to be ours!
Which brings me back to Bass Voyager and my statement about getting attached to boats. Bass Voyager will always be our first love. She's a truly great boat. She's strong and built to handle any conditions. She sails brilliantly for a heavy steel boat. She could take us anywhere, and did - through the Southern Ocean, into the most remote parts of Tasmania, and twice across Bass Strait. She was so forgiving to a couple of sailing noobs with more bravado than sense. She is the symbol of our new-found freedom and represents the best three-and-a-bit years of our lives (so far!). And so it hurts my heart to admit that we've got a new boat in our lives.
People can and do raise families on much smaller boats, but we're soft. We can see ourselves comfortably living on Minke well in to the foreseeable future. Bass Voyager would be harder with a young child, let alone an energetic toddler or a 6ft-plus teenager! At least that's what we're telling ourselves.
So what's next? We are currently in Bundaberg, getting used to living aboard with a baby, and slowly unpacking our lives into the new space. We are in no rush to put Bass Voyager on the market and want to spend some time showing her some love before we do. So the plan is to sail up to the Whitsundays on Minke, leaving Bundy in a few weeks from now (or whenever we feel like it and the weather cooperates) and then move Bass Voyager the few hundred miles back down from Magnetic Island. We can anchor our two girls together and commence getting BV ready for sale. I hope they get along.
So with a new boat comes a new blog name and address: www.minke2.com.au. All of Bass Voyager's adventures will stay here, because they are all part of our ongoing story. I cant promise I'll keep the blog as up to date as I used to - its totally Jack-dependent - but I'll do my best because I love having this little journal to look back on and enjoy and remember.
Jack Friedrich Harris and Mum. Man do I look tired in this photo...
A few of our favourite memories on Bass Voyager...
At Rapid Head in South Australia
View from the homestead on Three Hummock Island in Bass Strait, Bass Voyager in the distance
Arriving at Port Davey, Tasmania
BV in Sydney Harbour
Anchored in Cowan Creek, Hawkesbury River, NSW
BV at Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island
Bass Voyager under sail in the Whitsundays