Intrepid local couple Andrew and Elizabeth Brazier have ended their honeymoon with a leisurely sail into Sydney Harbour – after sailing 13,000km across the Pacific Ocean from Los Angeles.
The 72-day journey without a pit stop at any of the beautiful tropical islands they passed was no “pleasure cruise”, but an effort to bring back the 10m-long sloop named Perpetual Succour in which Andrew sailed to LA in 2018 in a bid to promote indigenous youth literacy programs.
The adventure-loving pair met in October 2018 when both were participating in the annual Christus Rex walking pilgrimage from Ballarat to Bendigo.
Andrew, a doctor, and Elizabeth, a nurse and artist, were married at Maternal Heart Parish in Lewisham last November and flew out to LA three days after the wedding to bring the sloop home.
“The necessity of ‘doing something about the boat’ has been hanging over us for sometime, and we just didn’t have the heart to sell her,” said Andrew.
“It is our first home together and I have developed great fondness for this boat, which is much more than a sea faring vessel to the both of us.”
The pair pulled through heavy squalls near Tahiti and catching the tail of Cyclone Sarai, without misfortune or injury except for the seasickness Elizabeth endured as a “neophyte” to sailing.
They posted updates and a satellite progress tracker at their new website Together in the Pacific.
They both celebrated their birthdays during the trip but say their most precious memories will be cementing a combined prayer life without the distractions of the outside world.
“We’ve had the opportunity to live the first part of our marriage praying the liturgy of the hours, the rosary, the divine mercy chaplet, and so forth,” said Andrew.
“The journey has put us together within a metre or two of each other for over two months, and it’s forced us to learn very quickly the ins and outs of each other’s inner beings.
“Fortunately it has been very easy for both of us and we are able to love each other more fully as a result.”
Now they are looking forward to their next adventure which is to settle into married life. The couple plan to live initially in Penrith or the Blue Mountains.
“I am most excited about establishing our home together – it is very exciting,” Elizabeth said.
“The second thing I most look forward to is seeing our family, friends and fellow parishioners again. Though it has been only 12 weeks, it feels like so much has occurred since that time.”
Elizabeth said she was most grateful to Andrew for being constantly on call as the only experienced sailor on board throughout their journey, and getting them safely home.
“Ocean crossing on a little boat requires a high level of self-sufficiency and resourcefulness, and I had complete confidence in Andrew’s ability,” she said.
“But throughout this whole voyage I have been astounded at his proficiency. It’s been a very rich time in our lives.”