Menu
Lifestyle

Jessica returns to hero's welcome

Aerials of Jessica Watson arriving home to Mooloolaba.
Aerials of Jessica Watson arriving home to Mooloolaba. AGL Action Rescue Helicopter

OUR girl is back.

Just after 1.30pm yesterday, teenage around-the-world sailor Jessica Watson sailed up to the Mooloolaba Yacht Club to a hero’s welcome.

From Caloundra to Alexandra Headland, thousands of Jess’s fans turned out to cheer her home, cramming every vantage point to turn the beaches, lookouts and rock walls into a sea of pink.

For Jess, her arrival back on the Sunshine Coast marked her “real homecoming”.

About 4000 people crowded the beach outside the Mooloolaba Surf Club for her civic welcome, young and old cheering for the petite sailor as she took to the stage.

“It’s great to be home,” Jess told the crowd.

“This is where it all started for me and it was with the support of this community, the Sunshine Coasters, that really got me there and supported me right from the beginning.

“Coming home to a perfect Sunshine Coast day like this was quite enough, so to have this amazing welcome ... it’s all just a bit much.

“It’s enough just to be home and this amazing welcome on top is simply amazing.

“I’ve been dreaming of a day like this for a very long time.”

A tired Jess said she was looking forward to some quiet family dinners and early nights and sleeping in her own bed “for the first time in a long time”.

Catching up with friends was also high on her agenda, as was getting back on the water as a sailing instructor.

Jess told the crowd the hardest thing to cope with when she was out at sea was getting a bad forecast.

“You worry, you don’t know how bad it’s going to be,” she said.

“Of course, once you’re in the thick of it you go with it, so it’s no big deal.”

Jess said she had a great week sailing home from Sydney accompanied by her mentor, Coast sailing stalwart Bruce Arms, her rumoured boyfriend, fellow around-the-world sailor, Mike Perham, and her brother, Tom.

“It was really great to sail with Bruce. It was a lot of fun,” Jess said.

“We stopped a few places along the way, too, and it was great to see some sunshine and go to the beach.”

For the next month Jess said she would be busy finishing her book and documentary, to be launched in late July at the Sydney International Boat Show. Getting used to fame had also been a struggle.

“It takes a bit of getting used to, particularly after spending so much time by myself,” Jess said.

However, she was adamant that she was “the same old Jess”.

“Yeah, it (the journey) has changed me in little ways, but I’m still the same person in a lot of ways, too. Plus I’m eight months older and there’s a difference between being a 16 and a 17-year-old girl.

“What I’ve really learnt is that life is just about having fun. Don’t take things too seriously.”

Though she was happy to be home, Jess said there was a “big part” of her that wanted to jump back on her yacht, Ella’s Pink Lady, and sail back out to sea. She said she was desperate to travel and see the world “not on a boat”.

“I will miss being out on the water and being on Ella’s Pink Lady,” Jess said.

“But saying that, I am very glad to be home.”

Premier Anna Bligh said Jess embodied everything Queensland stands for. She said Jess was a “pioneer” who had the spirit to do anything she believed in.

“You’ve inspired me, you’ve inspired the people around us here and most importantly, you’ve inspired people here in your home town.”

READ MORE

Out at sea with Jessica Watson

Jess poster fetches $2100 for kids

Young and old welcome Jessica home



Rocky man can't afford to live, but the housos get solar?

POWERED UP: Darrin Ferguson is angry about solar panels going in across the road on housing commission houses.

'THEY have to do something about electricity, it's killing us all'

LETTERS: Country can't be run by protest votes

BATTLER BUS: Queensland One Nation leader Steve Dickson (left) and One Nation leader Pauline Hanson are seen during a doorstop at a Nambour petrol station after departing on tour from Brisbane, Monday, November 6.

Don Schmidt says a country can't be governed by protest votes.

LETTER: Remembering those killed on our roads

SLOW DOWN: Queensland has already seen a staggering 217 road-related fatalities this year - 11 more than at the same point last year.

November 19 is World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.

Local Partners

Schoolies hotspot no one expected

FORGET Bali and the Gold Coast. Schoolies this year will be partying at a much fancier destination, proving kids these days are nothing like they used to be.

A great orgasm can make you go blind

Vigorous sex can cause a number of injuries, including breaking a man's penis.

Having a mind blowing orgasm could send you blind

Jamie Oliver wants more

Jamie Oliver's latest television series and book, Jamie's Quick and Easy Food, goes back to basics.

But first the Naked Chef is stripping it bare again

Best pubs in Queensland: How The Cri stands test of time

Ryan Turnbull and the Criterion Hotel in the background.

It's the one constant throughout flood, fire, famine and depression.

"I am angry": Student banned from attending formal

FORMAL: Jacob Cauchi didn't get to go to his formal in Gympie.

It was meant to be his night of nights

World champ surfer Nikki van Dijk’s biggest fear

Nikki van Dijk is a Holden ambassador.

Surfer Nikki van Dijk reveals her motoring past and present.