Our time in Mandurah was extended when Marcie returned to the USA upon the death of her mom in May. She planned to return to Nine of Cups in June, but instead, after David’s mum fell and broke her hip, David returned to Las Vegas and Marcie met him there. It wasn’t until August that things settled on the home front and we finally rejoined Cups.
Our entire time in Mandurah was punctuated by friendly, wonderful people. We enjoyed BBQs, picnics, farm tours, wine tastings and more, but the clock was ticking and we finally bid all of our new friends goodbye and began heading north towards Geraldton, a good jumping-off port for crossing the Indian Ocean.
We weren’t quite ready to leave Oz yet though. There was still so much to see and we opted for a little more sightseeing before leaving this country-continent that had been home to Cups and crew for nearly three years. Our first stop was Fremantle, or Freo as the locals call it, the main port for Western Australia’s capital city of Perth. Though we could have spent weeks, we limited our visit to three days … three busy, action-packed days into which we tried to cram everything there was to see.
Several Aussie friends had encouraged us to visit Rottnest Island, just off the coast of Freo. They wanted to make sure we had an opportunity to experience the quokkas. Quokkas? No, not an indigenous group, rock band nor a religious sect, but rather another of those unusual Australian marsupials that we’d never heard of before. How could we miss an opportunity like this? We didn’t.
We opted for shorter passages heading up the coast taking advantage of short weather windows. Two Rocks seemed a reasonable place to put in for a night and it was. It was leaving that was a problem. An adrenaline rush for our boisterous exit nearly a week later certainly topped all previous harbor exits.
We finally made our way to Geraldton and made preparation for our Indian Ocean crossing. It was not as easy as we’d imagined. Getting fuel was problematic. The windlass crapped out and needed replacing. We made the best of it all, enjoying what the city had to offer while getting chores done and gearing up for the ocean passage ahead.
Finally, all chores completed, fuel aboard and new windlass installed, we checked out of Geraldton and headed into the Indian Ocean, destined for the famed Cocos Keeling Islands.
Join us next week as we visit the Cocos and make our way across the Indian to the islands of Rodriques and Mauritius, bound for Durban, South Africa.