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Jeanne Socrates reports on land cruising from Australia

by Jeanne Socrates 14 Jun 2020 06:37 UTC

After completing her record-making non-stop, solo circumnavigation, Jeanne took to the road in a campervan to tour Australia by land. That is until Covid-19 shut everything down.

My Australian tour was decided on well before I left on my last circumnavigation and partly came about as a result of research into my Australian heritage while I was recovering in Mexico from the bad accident I had in Sept 2017. My father was a RAAF pilot in England who was killed in WWII 5 wks after my birth. (As Jeanne Falkiner growing up in blitzed East London, I effectively had no father until I was 9 yrs old when I was lucky to gain a very kind step-father).

Having found out so much about my Australian family, and having contacted several cousins here, who were all very welcoming, I was determined to come and see the country of my father and, especially, where he had grown up. I decided to tour Australia thoroughly over the Northern winter months, having previously only seen a small part of it (Cairns/Gt Barrier Reef/Darwin/Kakadu, after sailing W from Vanuatu in 2007, and Tasmania, after a passage to Hobart from Cape Town in 2012). While passing S of Australia last year, I made many frequent radio contacts all over Australia, several of whom, on hearing of my travel plans, insisted that I should try to visit them.

In addition, I wanted to visit as many Yacht Clubs as possible in order to go sailing in different parts of Australia and/or give talks and meet fellow-sailors. That happened to an extent (in Sydney, Melbourne and Geelong - Wooden Boat Festival) but many talks were cancelled due to the pandemic - including an OCC lunch. Soon after I flew in, mid-Feb, Sydney Royal Yacht Squadron made me welcome and took me out sailing in Sydney Harbour area - wonderful! While here in W. Aus, I was also made welcome at Fremantle S.C. and Royal Perth Y.C. - but no sailing or talks are possible just now.

I have to say that my tour of inland and coastal Oz has been an eye-opener - such beautiful, varied scenery, birds & plant-life! Also, due to my family's sheep-breeding successes (F.S.Falkiner & Co was well-known for having developed top-quality merinos - especially 'Poll Boonokes'), I've been made welcome at several (ex-family) Riverina sheep-stations, learning all about sheep-farming from experts. I've even slept in my father's family home, the current owners (merino sheep farmers, of course) being exceedingly kind.

So that's my story - a totally different 'life adventure' from my sailing ones. There's a lot more I could add - but I'm keeping it short!

This article has been provided by the courtesy of Ocean Cruising Club.

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