Thanks all for the comments. I ran a nationals for a class where I declined to be paid for the event, but the sneaky bastards inveigled my bank account details out of my wife and dropped some cash in. I figured the only decent thing to do was buy some IS binos so I can call OCS on more of them next time around.
I have a lifelong rule to never own anything with the Canon brand on it (long story) so I've been considering the Fujinon 14x40. While 12x magnification should be plenty, I suspect the 30mm lenses of the 12x30 might be a bit limiting.
Good to see SA is still good for advice from peeps who know what they are talking about - thanks again.
I had a similar bias against Nikon, used Canon gear for photography for years. I got over it; I think it's more of a religious issue and both companies make top quality gear.
Before heading off shore we bought a refurbished pair of Nikon StabilEyes 14x40 (4° field of view). Not really a sensible way down under for you to buy them, but we bought ours at the Defender tent sale where they had a limited number of refurbished units for sale. If memory serves it came in under $700 vs. buying a brand new pair for around $1200.
Absolutely love them. Seeing numbers on cans, reading names off of ships and boats - all those things work as advertised. You can read things you can't even see with the naked eye while under sail and moving. One of the better uses we've found is offshore at night for discerning ships lights. You can resolve that patch of light on the horizon to see exactly what the light configuration of the ship is.
We could even make out that Saturn had rings, though you couldn't discern them or tell colors or anything.
From the people we talked to when we bought them, in most cases "Refurbished" meant "Returned", as people bought them and decided they didn't want them so returned them with very light, if any use. Very few of the Refurbs are actual repaired units, most just can't be sold for new any more.