by Roger Deane, GBR9125

Not that it is normally the thing you think about at the start of an adventure abroad, but we thought it was pretty cool that the return flight back from Australia was scheduled to land at 5:05! They call it the ‘Dreamliner’ and flying out on the Qantas flagship non-stop to Perth was a fabulous experience. Good choice of films available too – I watched Jaws thinking I might learn something….just in case!

We didn’t realise quite how much stuff we had until we tried to put the luggage and 4 people into what was basically a London Taxi at Perth airport. It was quite hot, and it was windows down all the way for the 30-minute ride in to Freemantle.

We’d opted for an apartment in the centre of town which as it turned out proved to be an ideal spot – a particular feature being the wine discount store opposite (called Cellarbrations!) and, although we didn’t use it, a swimming pool for washing sailing kit!

Having dropped off our bags we headed off on foot to find the sailing club, boats and bikes, and after a small diversion to a fishing tackle supermarket, we got there.

What a lovely spot. It’s Australia and you have to be so careful about the UV when you are in the sunshine – at the expense of Sartorial elegance Zinc sun cream was obligatory!

We already knew that the containers had been unloaded, not incidentally as part of the welcome by our hosts, but on the insistence of the Aussie customs officers who thought they saw a leaf in the bottom of one of the boats when they inspected the contents! A leaf! – like that was a bigger hazard than Terry Scutcher’s sailing kit!

Boats were already coming and going from the harbour and the smiles on the faces of those coming ashore told us all we needed to know about the sailing conditions off Fremantle on the Indian Ocean.

Dolphins in Fremantle Harbour

The organisers had assigned each boat with a berthing spot and once we’d found ours it was rigging time and launch. I have to say the sail out of the harbour was not a pleasant experience – a high sea wall deflecting the wind upwards only for it to come down on top of you and mean the only way out was to literally hug the boats berthed in the marina and wallow out – most odd…but as they say a bad day in Fremantle harbour is better than a good day at Ogston…..or Burton!!
But was it worth it……OH YES!…. On rounding the marina wall there it is – turquoise water with white capped waves and just a hint of the Doctor coming to visit. Later in the week we were joined here by dolphins just to add to the smiles.