There to Here – Western Australia, Here We Come

 Esperance was a warm & welcoming town. Above, a view of the anchorage and town clock.

Esperance was a warm & welcoming town. Above, a view of the anchorage and town clock.

 A chance to meet the locals at LeGrand National Park, Western Australia.

A chance to meet the locals at LeGrand National Park, Western Australia.

We pick up our From There to Here story in Esperance, Western Australia.  Making landfall in Esperance after the long passage in and across the Great Australian Bight was welcome in many ways. Though the passage across the Bight was challenging, it was also amazing. Now that was behind us, however, getting back to civilization definitely had its pluses. Friends of friends were waiting for us and gave us a warm welcome, a yacht club mooring and lots of warm Aussie hospitality. With a borrowed car, we managed a road trip to LeGrand National Park and enjoyed the outstanding scenery along the Great Ocean Drive. And then, once again, it was time to move on.

 

 

 11-Mile Beach along the Great Ocean Drive

11-Mile Beach along the Great Ocean Drive

All too soon, we bid farewell to our new friends in Esperance and headed to Albany, about 225 nm away. We stopped at small anchorages en route to break up the passage and wait for weather windows … and fix stuff. Once inside the calm waters of King George Sound, we found a free mooring further inside at Oyster Harbour.

 We found a quiet, calm anchorage in Oyster Harbour, Albany.

We found a quiet, calm anchorage in Oyster Harbour, Albany.

To our surprise and absolute delight, more friends of friends welcomed us … with a loaner car, no less. After touring Albany with new friends, Don and Judith, we took advantage of our free wheels and headed to the world-acclaimed Valley of Giants Treetop Walk.

 Inside a giant red tingle tree at the Valley of the Giants, Tree Top Walk

Inside a giant red tingle tree at the Valley of the Giants, Tree Top Walk

Beyond the colossal tingle tree exploring, we were in the neighborhood of friends we’d met during our stay at Deal Island a year before. It didn’t take long to renew the acquaintance and feel like family as they extended more genuine Aussie hospitality to us while visiting at their home.

 Tom, Maree & Floyd welcomed us into their home in Walpole, WA. We hadn't seen them since they were caretakers on Deal Island a year before. 

Tom, Maree & Floyd welcomed us into their home in Walpole, WA. We hadn't seen them since they were caretakers on Deal Island a year before. 

The rounding of Cape Leeuwin, our fourth great southern cape, had been weighing heavily on our minds. Soon the prevailing winds would change and we couldn’t avoid the passage any longer. We’d heard and read horror stories about this cape and we were expecting the worst. As it turned out, we lucked out and rounded the cape in calm, clear conditions, leaving the Southern Ocean behind and entering the Indian Ocean.

 A tot of rum to Neptune as we round Cape Leeuwin ... fourth of the five great southern capes.

A tot of rum to Neptune as we round Cape Leeuwin ... fourth of the five great southern capes.

Breathing a sigh of relief, we found ourselves able to relax in the calm of Geographe Bay, coasthopping from anchorage to anchorage in coastal towns like Quindalup, Dunsborough, Busselton and Bunbury. Each little town offered something unique and interesting and we moseyed along enjoying what there was to see.

 Cups anchored off Dunsborough, WA

Cups anchored off Dunsborough, WA

 The iconic Busselton Jetty at sunrise.

The iconic Busselton Jetty at sunrise.

 Checkered Bunbury Light nestled among the Norfolk pine.

Checkered Bunbury Light nestled among the Norfolk pine.

While in Albany, we had been contacted by the manager at Mandurah Offshore Fishing & Sailing Club offering us a free berth at the marina in exchange for a presentation of our travels to their members . Wow … what an offer and we scooped it up. The plan was to stay for a couple of weeks and then head north to a jumping off point for crossing the Indian Ocean to Africa.

 All tied up at the Mandurah Offshore Fishing & Sailing Club.

All tied up at the Mandurah Offshore Fishing & Sailing Club.

We might have been ready to sail on, but Fate has a way of taking its own course. While in Mandurah, Marcie received word that her mom was failing quickly and it was time to come home. David remained with Cups while Marcie left immediately and flew from Perth to Boston, arriving just in time to say goodbye.

 Me, Bea (my mom) and sister, Lin ... just months before she passed away.

Me, Bea (my mom) and sister, Lin ... just months before she passed away.

Join us next week as Marcie returns to Mandurah and we continue making our way north up the Western Australia coast and then finally begin our passage across the Indian Ocean.