We left the Gold Coast at first light passing through the Southport Seaway and turning north.  My intentions when I started this trip was to travel to the Whitsunday Islands and spend what was left of winter there.  However as you will see it turned out to be much more than that.  In fact it was to be three years before I returned to my starting point.  I have with me as crew a Finnish girl, Minna Lotta.  Jane is 'over' passagemaking and will meet up with us along the way.