crewmember signs onboard
When the decision was made, that Yamba was the place for us to stay
and the car was bought, it was time to see more of “the country
with many possibilities”. Madeleine and Bror invited us to their
farm in Cawongla many times – after a while we almost invited
Madeleine and Bror are very welcoming people and when we visited they
also got some extra help on the farm. With our newly bought “Porsche
Turbo Cabriolet” it was 1½ hours drive from Yamba inland
With her steadily growing belly Heidi stayed on the farm most of the
time, when the Captain was out “playing” cowboy. After some
training Eivind got good control of the animal, which you don’t
mention by name onboard a boat. As know, if you say the word “horse”
onboard, it may bring bad luck – for both ship and crew.
Together with Madeleine and Bror Eivind was often seen on the horseback
in gallop, with “full control” over 160 moving cows and
100 moving calves. When Eivind returned to the farm, the smile in his
face was not to be misunderstood. This was really fun - and definitely
a lifestyle Eivind would like later on…
along the coast
The original plan was to sail to Sydney before we settled in Yamba.
Instead of sailing we brought the tent and headed for the Pacific Highway
in the beginning of September. Sydney Opera, the coast and the Blue
Mountains were on our itinerary.
Camping life is not too bad. After a detour north via Southport where
we met friends from New Zealand, we drove south to Australia’s
biggest city – Sydney. We arrived the same day as Jørn
Utzon, the architect of the Opera House, died. The flags on the famous
Opera and on the Harbour Bridge were flying on half pole. We wrote some
words in the condolences book. From Sydney via the Blue Mountains we
camped north back to Yamba. The car did a good job all the way and the
tent passed the test.
Every Thursday Bror and his neighbours gather on the sauna steps on
the edge of Bror’s dam. Eivind also found his way to some of this
Thursdays. Thursday is regatta day – everybody came with their
remote control sailboats.
The very serious competition took place in the dam between the main
house and the sauna. After the obligatory cans of Australian beer, the
finish sauna were entered by all the contesters.
To give all the members of Cawongla Yacht Club a real feeling what sailing
on the ocean involves, we invited them to a coastal passage with Empire.
When the day got closer we were a little worried about the weather forecast
– the predictions were just a little wind - or no wind at all.
When the sailing day came, it blew more than enough… 15m/s from
the south gave several of the yacht club members an experience they
will not forget. The crab fishing outside Yamba will be exceptionally
good in the time to come…
with a baby
One day in December we got new neighbours in Yamba Marina. Even though
it still was a few months until we expected our new crewmember, Heidi
was happy when she discovered that the new neighbours were a family
with a baby. Australian Tanya and Steve with their 6 months old daughter
Gingerlily lived onboard their yacht Wayfinder. They had cruised several
years in the Pacific, with Japan as one of their favourite places. They
were not only in the same age group as us, they alsogot Gingerlily while
living onboard. Tanya and Heidi had plenty to talk about in the following
and New Years Eve
Also Christmas 2008 was celebrated in the “spirit of Scandinavia”.
Christmas in the Caribbean with Mariann at Bequia in 2005, in Ushuaia
with other Scandinavian sailors in 2006 and in Whangarei (New Zealand)
with Swedish Sharon and Pelle and Norwegian sailors in 2007, the Christmas
traditions were kept. This was also the case together with Madeleine
and Bror in Cawongla, where we celebrated both Christmas and New Years
Ham, turkey and “Jansons Fristelse” among other goodies
were on the table. Even though we have sailed far from home to experience
new places and meet new people, it feels good to celebrate the festive
days also with Scandinavian traditions.
Later we expected visit from Lennart. Lennart is also one of the “Cape
Horners” we met when we sailed near the tip of South America.
Lennart came to visit both Bror and us – and he was hoping also
to meet the new crewmember – but it looked as if Lennart was coming
a little bit too early to meet the last mentioned.
Again we were visiting in Cawongla, so that Bror and Eivind the next
day could drive to Brisbane airport to pick up Lennart – but it
did not turn out that way. The night before Lennart’s plane was
supposed to land at Brisbane airport (and 10 days before Heidi was due)
Heidi tells Eivind as he returns from a nightly visit to the toilet:
“I think I have had contractions for two hour now, the last 40
minutes with 9 minutes between” – “but it is probably
false alarm”, she added. Eivind was not that convinced that this
was something that would just pass by it selves.
On the telephone Eivind calmly asked the midwife on duty at Grafton
Base Hospital (which was where we hoped Heidi was to give birth) “if
she thought it would be a good idea that we headed their way?”
The midwife confirmed Eivind suspicions and said “that if you
have plans to give birth at Grafton Base Hospital, NOW is the time to
hit the road”. The hospital is situated a little more than 2 hours
drive from Cawongla…
We were not completely unprepared - the “give-birth-bag”
was long time ago packed and placed in the car – just in case…
The drive towards the hospital became a little more exciting than wanted
since the contractions came closer and closer. When we were about one
hour’s drive away from the hospital – in “no man’s
land” with no houses nor any cell phone coverage – the contractions
came three minutes apart. Luckily the contractions slowed down again
and we arrived at the hospital at 4 o’clock in the morning, with
plenty of time “to spare” before the little one’s
arrival. That we didn’t know as we were driving from
Cawongla to Grafton...
the 4th of March at 1420 (local east coast time). His measures were
3215gr and 51cm. At that time we did not know that it was Eirik that
had arrived, since we did not know weather it was a girl or a boy we
were expecting.– and no name-suggestions were final. After seeing
the boy for some time, we “saw” that it was “an Eirik”
that had arrived (see
what the local newspaper is writing>>>).
As Heidi was resting at the hospital for a few days, Eivind put the
hood in the direction towards Cawongla and Madeleine’s and Bror’s
farm again. It was really good to see our sailor-friend Lennart again.
Together with Madeleine and Bror Lennart and Eivind visited the yearly
Kyogle Rodeoshow. Eivind even challenged Bror to do a ride on a bull’s
back, but they both ended up only watching…
When Heidi “was let out of” the hospital, the new Sailor,
the Mate and the Captain headed for Cawongla – again. Eirik did
not get the chance to sign onboard until Monday the 16th of March. 12
days after arrival he was finally able to check out his yacht for the
are helpful people
Some weeks after Eirik was born, family from Norway came visiting. We
were really looking forward to their visit. Vigdis and Tore (Heidi’s
parents), Irene (Eivind’s mother) and Janne (friend and godmother)
came all the way to Yamba to inspect the little one.
Since we were expecting a lot of people on visit, Bror lent us his Ford
Explorer with 8 seats, so that we all could fit in one car. In change
we lent Bror our “sportscar”. After pick up at Brisbane
airport Eivind and the visitors headed for Yamba, where Heidi and Eirik
When it was about one hour’s drive left before Yamba, we stopped
at a rest area for necessary “work”. When the car was to
be started again, the battery was completely dead. Absolutely all other
people stopping at the rest area came over to us to try to help.
There was a short-cut in the starting battery. Jumping cables was no
use. Since no one had a new starting battery with them, it was not much
the helpers could do. Anyway - our newly arrived guests got to feel
the Australian hospitality and friendliness we had told them about.
That our marina neighbour’s brother by a coincidence was passing
through the village just before the rest area, became our luck. He bought
a new battery and drove by the rest area where he delivered the new
battery to us – and suddenly we were “back on the road”
Christening on the river
Torgeir Vea, the priest at The Norwegian Seamen’s Church in Sydney,
was pleased to say “yes” to our request about performing
a Christening ceremony onboard Empire. Since Vigdis and Tore, Irene
and Peder (Eivind’s son) was planning to visit around Easter,
that seemed to be a good time for the Christening – with
Rome, the motorboat belonging to one of our neighbours in Yamba Marina
and Empire threw off from Yamba Easter Monday. After anchoring in Clarence
River, the Christening ceremony took place on Empire’s deck -
accompanied by the music from the river-waves. Eirik got his name with
family from Norway and godmother Janne and Australian friends on deck
– with saltwater from the Pacific Ocean in the Baptism bowl. The
day was rounded off with festivity and fish soup in the apartment in
Yamba where the Norwegian guests resided during their Australia-stay.
It was a memorable day for the new Sailor and the proud parents.
Before we were ready to throw off from Yamba to continue our sailing,
we really got to experience some of the extreme Australia-weather. Earlier
in the season the news headlines were about big fires in southern parts
of Australia and heavy flooding in northern parts. In the end of May
it was the northern part of New South Wales (which includes the area
around Yamba) that was drabbed. Heavy rain inland combined with full
moon, high water and wind blowing on shore made Clarence and surrounding
rivers flood. In Grafton, the city where Eirik some months earlier was
born, the water-level in the river rose more than 15 meters above normal.
Huge areas came under water and many people were evacuated. In Yamba
where Clarence River empties into the Pacific Ocean, the flooding didn’t
cause that much trouble. When the water level was at its highest in
Yamba Marina, it was still 60 centimetres left on the concrete poles
that keep the floating pontoons in place. The main road in to the city
came under water one of the days. Except for that the damages in Yamba
Instead the city was cut off from the rest of Australia for more than
one week, when the road system outside Yamba was put under water. The
shelves in the shops in Yamba were quckly emptied. Food was flown in
to Yamba with helicopter. Luckily – onboard Empire there was no
troubles – Empire was before the flooding well stocked and prepared
for the oncoming voyage up the Australian east coast.
When it again was possible to sail on Clarence River, and the waves
from the big storm far east had calmed down, we threw off from Yamba.
We waved “see you later” to our friends in New South Wales
with tears in our eyes. When Tanya and Steve showed up on the breakwater
where Clarence River meets the Pacific Ocean – and blew their
foghorn – we got even more tears in our eyes. We were glad to
know that already some miles north on the coast we would at least meet
some of our Australian friends again.