Day 218, Year 2: Flight Out of Sydney
Date: Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Weather: Partly Sunny Day
Location: En Route from Sydney, Australia to USA
Well, its been an interesting three days of travel. Right now we are on a United flight from San Francisco to Boston, but we almost didn’t make this flight. After the delay on Tuesday, we arrived at the Sydney airport at 12:30 PM on Wednesday, four hours early for our 4:15 PM flight to San Francisco. But as soon as we got in line we were handed a very nice letter from United saying the United plane did not make it in from the US and that we would be offered a flight on the Friday flight. Since
we have tickets to fly us to Charlotte on Thursday, this was a little problematic. So we waited in lines for almost three hours. After telling our sad story to a United agent, we found out that we could be rescheduled to the 3:30 PM Quantas flight to San Francisco and still make our original San Francisco to Boston flight and our Charlotte flight. It took almost an hour to find this out and then we waited in the longest line I have ever waited in to get our tickets. By the time we got our tickets,
it was almost time for the flight, so we practically ran to get to Customs and Security. Naturally in Security we were pulled to go through the more thorough checking of bags, making it just in time for the final call for the flight. We arrived in San Francisco, went through Customs, and then when we got to the Security gate there, I was pulled aside for the Level 1 check again. Do I look like a terrorist? This check took forever and the woman in charge of my things was not the most lovable person
I’ve ever met. She would ask if something was mine, and I would instinctively reach out to the item, giving her cause to say very firmly, “Keep your hands off.” This kept happening to me and other people going through and was a little intimidating. Once through this ordeal, we grabbed a quick bite to eat and then got to the gate just before our boarding call. We didn’t even have time to get any US money, so we can’t buy any food or drink on this flight. I drink beer, not hard liquor, but right
now a good stiff drink of something would sure taste good!
We will land at Logan in Boston in about three hours and it will still be Wednesday due to crossing the International Dateline. Tuesday night’s dinner with Francetta Glowinski was great fun. She is the woman who was also left behind in Sydney on Tuesday due to our delay coming in from Brisbane. We found out that she actually got off the flight from Brisbane and got to the bus transfer station more quickly than we did. She got a bus that left immediately, and she was still too late for the flight.
We had both booked our tickets online and since there is not a United desk in Bundaberg, we didn’t have seats assigned. So 45 minutes before the flight, our seats were given away. Anyway, we had fun consoling each other about the delay and we learned about Francetta’s fascinating life. She is a nun with the Franciscan Sisters Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus Christ and Mary. This order is also known as the Wheaton (Illinois) Sisters. She spent most of her life as a chaplin at Loyola University
in Chicago, and has more recently taken a position as a chaplin in a Chicago hospital where she works mostly with patients dying of cancer and their families. It is easy to see how people would quickly learn to trust and love her. She is full of life and a delight to be around. In addition to being delayed, half of her baggage has been lost. All we had to offer her yesterday was a new toothbrush, but she stopped by our room this morning to return it. She actually found her ditty bag in the one
piece of luggage she does have. She has been here in Australia visiting with a friend in Brisbane for the past month. On other trips to the South Pacific, she has visited Indonesia where some of the sisters in her order work. It will be fun to stay in contact with Francetta as we travel through Indonesia next year. I’ll pass along the name of a book that she highly recommended since we will be traveling to Indonesia. It is Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. We don’t know if Francetta was able
to get a flight home to the US today, but we do hope so.
This will be our last official daily log for this cruising season and, again, it has been an amazing year. Actually we started 2007 in the United States and celebrated the birth of our first grand child on January 21. We spent the next month watching Samual Ellery Goldstone grow during his first month of life. Then is was back to New Zealand where we spent a month traveling through the North and South Islands with Alan and Helaine Kanegsberg, friends from Concord, New Hampshire. Alan and Helaine
flew out of Auckland on March 26 and we spent the next month in whangarei getting Windbird ready for a new season. we left New Zealand in May and spent three months in Fiji. The following is a summary of our voyage this year that I will be sending to friends and family who do not follow our log. If you have been reading the log, it is a little repetitious, but it does capture the essense of the Voyage of Windbird for 2007.
“‘Bula’ is the hello greeting there, and we will forever remember those beautiful Fiji smiles and greetings of ‘Bula, Bula!’ everywhere we went. Mark’s brother Steve joined us in Savusavu and spent almost three weeks with us. We had an incredible time together visiting villages, snorkeling, and fishing. Steve caught a huge wahoo with our fancy fishing reel mounted on a long paint roller handle and we enjoyed that wahoo for weeks after Steve left. We thought it couldn’t get any better than Fiji,
but we next visited Vanuatu and found we loved it there as well. Vanuatu is definitely the most primitive of any of the countries we have visited. The government is promoting Kastom Economy which is another way of saying that they want the people to keep their traditional ways. There is no electricity and very few paved roads except in the two cities of Port Vila and Luganville. Every country we have visited is different and you love each destination for its different flavor. We traveled to
Vanuatu in company with Paul and Marie on Ranger and stayed together throughout our explorations there. The highlights of the Vanuatu experience were visiting an active volcano on Tanna Island and attending the “Back to My Roots” festival on the island of Ambrym. This was three days of traditional dances and ceremonies. We were drawn into the traditions of the people and felt as one with them. Mark says this was the highlight of his two years of cruising. It certainly rates very high on my list,
but I have so many favorites. I loved visiting villages and schools in both Fiji and Vanuatu, but I equally enjoyed the underwater world. We snorkeled at every opportunity and shared many hours with fish of all colors and shapes and sizes. Every snorkeling experience was different and every one was incredible. On almost every underwater excursion, we would find families of anemonefish. I could stay in the water for hours just watching these fascinating little guys. We ended our season in New
Caledonia. This was a bit of a shock because we were back in a country where even the tiny islands had paved roads and electricity. But we soon looked past that to the beautiful white sand beaches and sparkling turquoise water. The views out over the lagoons were just breath taking.”
We have now ended our South Pacific islands cruising by sailing to Bundaberg, Australia, and will be moving on to Indonesia and Malaysia next season. We could spend many more years here in the South Pacific, but we have decided to push on. We will be in the US until sometime in March or April when we will return to Australia and cruise up the coast along the Great Barrier Reef. We will make our way to Darwin, Australia, by July and then join the Sail Indonesia Rally. This is, of course, considering
that there are no major political issues that crop up in Indonesia and Malaysia between now and then.
I will be posting logs from time to time while we are in the US, but for those of you who read the log daily, this is the last daily entry for the 2007 season. Some of you are very faithful readers and we feel that we have gotten to know you through your comments sent to us. Thanks for being there to encourage us in our voyage. And some of you have sent some really good questions that we hope to answer in the form of Captain’s Logs that will be posted while we are home. So check in from time
to time to see those posts. When we begin our 2008 cruising season, we will send an email to those of you have contacted us through the website in case you are interested in following along again next year. Until then, happy sailing thoughts to you.
Note: Photos from New Caledonia have not been posted. Hopefully they will all be posted sometime in the next two weeks. I thought I would get this done in Australia, but life on the dock there was just way too busy.
Your log is at the top of my daily ‘pleasure’ reading … I will miss the daily dose of sailing and travel. If I don’t hear from you, here’s wishing the Handleys a happy Christmas with your family and a healthy New Year.
Yeah, air travel sure isn’t what it used to be back in the days of civility and customer service. And dealing with the transportation security people can sometimes be a nightmare. I’m so glad to hear you at least made it to SF and were on your way to Boston.
I, too, will miss reading about your travels and adventures every day. Hope you have many wonderful times with your family over the next couple of months.