Jeanne Socrates reports on land cruising from Australia

Jeanne Socrates reports on land cruising from Australia

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.

By - 06/06/2020

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!

Editor's note:

Jeanne reports that she is trying to complete a memoir but has been making little progress despite many speaking engagements having been cancelled. In the meantime, Jeanne has been busy racking up additional accolades, including a Special Recognition Award from the CCA in December, the CA Duchess of Kent Trophy for the second time presented by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston in January, election to Honorary OCC Membership in April, and a special plaque having been installed on Victoria Harbour’s Wall of History, overlooking the harbour (and Nereida) close to the Parliament building in B.C. She's hoping to meet up with fellow solo sailor Bill Hatfield in Brisbane after state borders open and before completing her planned tour of Australia by driving over to QLD and finishing in Sydney. 

She writes, "I think my motto, 'Life is precious - make the most of it!', has become even more relevant during this pandemic! Take care and stay safe."  

We wish you the same, Jeanne.

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