Saturday, December 15, 2018

Back In The Water


We spent a week in the yard at The Boat Works up the Coomera River, south of Brisbane. This is really a great yard. The most comfortable yard to live on your boat while on the hard that we’ve ever seen. And trust me, living on your boat while it is on the hard usually sux. They use airplane style steps instead of ladders, free loaner cars, clean and private showers and heads, a nice AC lounge, plus they are very careful while hauling and blocking your boat.

We had some great help on a few items from Ryan and crew at 143 Boat Building. Also got the Yanmar engine mounts swapped out by MMC. New galley seacock, new lower rudder bearing, 18 liters of Blue Carboline bottom paint and a shiny buffed hull.

After we dropped back in the water we headed down the river toward the Gold Coast. This place looks like Miami or Ft Lauderdale without the charm. Really nice beaches, jetskis, helicopter rides, Sea World and high rises. We installed our new Spectra Cape Horn watermaker and tested her out while at anchor and only sprayed salt water all over the cabin twice.

We’ve  been lucky enough to re-connect with friends Judy and Sherman, on Fair Winds, and will be following them down to Tasmania.

We plan to leave the Gold Coast Seaway in a few hours. Sail south down the coast for about 2 1/2 days or until the north winds change direction, with the goal of getting to Pittwater, a good anchoarge just above Sydney.


Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Off the Dock and Southbound


We finally got off the dock at Bundaberg. It wasn’t a great start. We headed out of the river in the early hours and pointed toward the Great Sandy Straits. Rolled out our staysail and had a bit of a rolly run south. All day the winds kept picking up. By the time we started to enter the top of the straits the winds were blowing 40kts gusting to 45. Chris and I were looking at each other with that look that says Why are we doing this?

By late afternoon with made it into the SW anchorage on the unfortunately named Big Woodie Island (25*19.93S, 152*59.23E). It was at least flat waters and some protection from the north winds. Bed time came early. The sun comes up around 4:40am here, so we woke early. The winds were now 6kts from the west, the sun was out and there were turtles in the bay. Life was not near as depressing as yesterday. A days run timed so we hit the high tide while going through the narrows of the Sandy Strait saw use make it to the Inskip anchorage near Wide Bay Bar before dinner. Since we’d done this whole area last year we weren’t in our tourist mode, just wanting to get south.


We spent the night in the Inskip Anchorage, outside Tin Can Bay, which is just around the corner from the Wide Bay Bar exit (25*48.85S,153*02.47). This night image was of the Tinnanbar fire. There has been a brutal heat wave in Queensland and hundreds of bush fires to go along with it.





Before exiting the Wide Bay Bar the prudent seaman (or seawoman) calls the Tin Can Bay VMR (Voluntary Marine Rescue) group to get the latest ‘recommended’ bar crossing coordinates. You can see the significant difference between the route in 2017 and the route in 2018. In 2017 when we went across and the shallowest we saw was about 10 feet. This year it was 21 feet.


Our crossing was benign. But……

they can be exciting (photo from the blog of S/V DreamTime).


After our bar crossing we did an overnight passage to Moreton Bay (aka Brisbane area). We arrived at the main ship channel at about 1:30am, just in time to hit large traffic rush hour. At this point of the inbound and outbound transits the big ships have pilots onboard. We ended up in radio conversations 4 times with the pilots on various big ships working out safe passing scenarios. We didn’t want to get run over and the pilots didn’t want to limit their careers. All very friendly and handled over the VTS (Vessel Transit Service) channel 12. The picture above is the cruise ship Pacific Dawn passing close by our port side after contacting us on the radio.


Thursday, November 22, 2018

Bunnings Sausage Sizzle Saga

After a long, but good flight on Air Canada from Vancouver to Brisbane I landed back in Australia. I rode the tilt train for another 4 hours and got to Bundaberg where Georgia has been sleeping for the last few months. I got a room in the Lighthouse Motel. This is one of those places that is clean enough, but they don’t take any online reservations that I can find and certainly don’t push for any high star count.

While staying in the motel I got to enjoy the best of Australian TV. The news was all atwitter over the Bunnings Sausage Sizzle controversy. Bunnings is the local hardware store chain, much like a Home Depot or a Lowes. They like to regularly sell have a sausage sizzle on temporary tables setup out front of the doors. Its usually a charity doing the actual selling. In North American that means they are selling hotdogs on a slice of Wonderbread. For safety reasons they have decided to move the cooked onions to underneath the hotdog instead of on top. This reduces the chance of a rouge onion slice falling on the floor and causing someone to slip and fall. Very controversial, even the Prime Minister has piped in when he was in Singapore for a world leader meeting:

While back in the US for so long the constant news cycle of the next less than honorable thing that Trump did was getting really old. There's just so many times you can listen to yet another bold face lie and bother to keep listening. We need a hotdog saga to ease the pain.
After a few days got Georgia back in the water. It takes a long time to strip a boat for a long storage. Unfortunately it takes even longer to put her back together. Most things seem to be still working. The Yanmar engine fired right up. Pumps are working. Failures include the gas-struts in the boom vang and the remote radio microphone. Next up is to get the sails back on, get Chris back here from Nepal and start to head south. Plan is to do a quick haulout with a bottom paint and miscellaneous in the Boat Works yard up the Coomera River south of Brisbane. Should take 3-5 days to get there, weather depending.