Mooloolaba to Tin Can Bay

Sunday afternoon (22 May) we headed into the Surf Club to listen to the live music. It was very busy and loud with not much notice being taken of the two musicians set up in a corner (who were average at best). So a tad disappointing but it was nice to be out and about again. During the afternoon the lifeguards (which rely on charitable donations here in Australia) did a raffle – so I entered – and won the first prize out of a $50 gift voucher to be spent in the Club. Woo hoo!

We decided that we really didn’t want to spend it there and then as we were about ready to head back to Morphie, so checked the expiry date (12 months) and decided that we’ll just have to return to Mooloolaba on our way back south to have dinner on them then! On our way back to the marina we sat for a little while watching these really interesting cloud formations.

Monday morning around 7am and Richard headed out to find Alex the marina’s recommended guy to have a look at our outboard. He was just opening up and came down the dock straight away. With a few pulls and a bit of a spray he was confident that it was a carburettor problem and took it away with him for a ‘sonic’ clean. It was a relief that we were able to get someone to look at it so quickly with a promise of being fixed by the end of the day.

In the meantime we were getting ready to leave Mooloolaba so we used the dinghy to go round and wash the salt and river grime off Morphie’s hull. Then we filled up the tanks with water. I then headed into Mooloolaba and managed to get some cash out; some last minute fresh provisions; topped up our GoCards (for bus journeys in Queensland) and put on the lottery. Richard in the meantime headed to the fisherman’s wharf and purchased some diesel and unleaded petrol. He decanted the diesel straight from the cans into the fuel tank and we were now half full, so enough to keep us going for a while. Later in the afternoon Alex was back, the carb was reinstalled, and everything worked! OMG what a relief. Apparently the problem relates to ethanol in the petrol which our two stroke was not designed to deal with. So lesson learnt that we need to check the ethanol content when purchasing unleaded petrol in future. We also found out that the valve in the outboard petrol can was leaking slightly so rain water had gotten into the fuel. A bit of gaffer tape fixed that problem LOL.

We then had a quiet night in as we intended to be heading out first thing in the morning. Tuesday morning we were up early and slipped away at 6am to go out at slack high tide across the bar into the river watching the trawlers returning as we passed them in the river.

The weather report had included a swell warning about coastal bars but the height forecast was manageable so we decided to go knowing that we could always abort and turn around in the river if they were worse than forecast on the day. As we approached the bar there were swells breaking across the entrance and it was pretty feisty conditions but Richard pushed on. He gunned the engine and drove us through managing to avoid the swells pretty well. We weren’t the only people out there as a number of catamarans followed us out and all thankfully made it through safely although it certainly wasn’t pretty!

Our destination was Double Island Point where we planned to stage until the conditions allowed us to cross the Wide Bay Bar to get inside Fraser Island. Well the conditions on this passage were miserable with lumpy big seas and we sailed downwind under genoa alone.

We certainly got a lift from the swells with our speed surfing up to 9 knots at times. At one point there was a huge crash and the sound of glass breaking – we both just looked at each other – and Richard headed out onto the deck to see what had broken. Well, it turns out, that our radar reflector had broken away from the shrouds and had fallen and smashed onto the coach roof. Thankfully there was no damage to the gelcoat and it wasn’t anything more sinister!

As we came around the headland into the bay we were joined by the biggest wave we had ever seen – it was at least 20 feet high and the white surf was blowing off the top as it built and built towards the beach. We had never seen anything quite like this before and the picture certainly doesn’t do it justice!

Luckily we were able to stay out of its way and got a good anchor set in sand at around 3pm having travelled 52.5 miles. The anchorage wasn’t absolutely calm as it surged a bit but we felt pretty secure. Once we were settled we contacted the Coast Guard to let them know of our safe arrival and spoke to them about the possibility of crossing the Wide Bay Bar on Wednesday morning. They said it was very unlikely as the swells were refusing to lay down and were actually increasing with the conditions being much worse than the forecasts so they recommended that we contact them again in the morning for an update. As this is a dynamic sand bar they did, however, send us through the waypoints for the crossing (which actually weren’t that much different from when we crossed the bar outbound late 2019). So we put these into the plotter ready to go whenever that may be.

We had a quiet night on board, having been treated to a beautiful moon before heading to bed really early after the excitement of the day.

Wednesday morning and we awoke to see the sunrise.

We checked the wave buoy at the Wide Bay Bar online and found that the surf was still too high for a crossing in our opinion. So we phoned the Coast Guard at 6am and they confirmed that conditions were definitely iffy so we would wait another day. Oh well, never mind, chance to turn over and go back to sleep LOL. We lazed around all day just reading and chilling.

During the day we picked up the news that our friends on SV Begonia – Kyle and Maryanne – had had serious difficulties at the Tweed Heads bar. The YouTube video footage we saw later was absolutely hellish and we are just so very grateful that they were able to get back to safety unharmed despite some damage to their boat. Very sobering viewing and we just wish that arm chair sailors would hold off on their online criticism whilst this couple recover from this dramatic event and before the whole story is known. These guys are very experienced sailors and the initial report suggests that they lost power due to being propped by some rope in the water which resulted in them losing both power and steerage putting them at the mercy of the waves. Despite this they managed to navigate their vessel to the entrance of the river where they dropped their anchor and were then helped by the authorities.

In the evening we sat on the coach roof (suitably togged up in hoodies and joggers) to watch the lunar eclipse. It was a bit disappointing as the bright red moon wasn’t bright red at all but kind of deep cherry. But the night sky was amazing and we even saw two shooting stars so made a couple of wishes. Fantastic sight and so glad we sat up to watch it. Retiring to bed we were disappointed that the surf was up again so the anchorage wasn’t as comfortable as before.

Thursday morning, once again, we checked the conditions and there was a mass exodus of boats heading to the bar so we contacted Chris on the boat behind us (SV Watusi) and confirmed that we were going to head over there to take a look and would make a judgement once we had spoken to the Coast Guard and had eyeballed the situation. Chris and Sharon had been at Double Island Point for six days waiting for a window and had never crossed before so we were more than happy to lead the way for them. So we picked up anchor – as the moon set and the sun rose – and headed the 10 miles to the first waypoint having confirmed with the Coast Guard that it was doable. It was just a beautiful start to the day.

We were overtaken by a few catamarans at this point and reached our first waypoint. The waves were breaking around us as we headed to the next waypoint and we realised that, actually, the next waypoint was in the boiling surf and so Richard cut the corner to avoid this and Chris followed our routing.

By now we were surfing down and along waves towards our next waypoint and this catamaran (SV Asif) came alongside and sat way too close. We were not impressed, all we needed was for a wave to pick either of us up in the wrong direction and we could potentially have collided. But we were at full speed and didn’t want to back off in these conditions. He was the ‘overtaking’ boat so should have kept clear. I took a photo of him just to make sure I had his boat details and he had the gall to wave back as though we were the best of friends. You just can’t fix stupid….

Here’s a copy of our plotter – the outbound track follows the Coast Guard waypoints but the new inbound track definitely cuts the corner. Thankfully we managed to see no less than 11 feet below our keel.

We finally made it to the river mouth and I spoke to Sharon on Watusi on the phone. We were heading to Tin Can Bay which we know is a nice anchorage and they followed us in. We were settled by 9.45 am having covered almost 21 miles. We celebrated our safe arrival by having sausage sandwiches for breakfast – naughty but nice! We then tidied up, cleaned the salt off Morphie, relaxed a bit and then made ourselves presentable for sundowners. Chris and Sharon joined us later that afternoon for a few celebratory drinks and we had a lovely evening together.

Friday morning we had a leisurely start and waved goodbye to Chris and Sharon as they headed out as they need to get to Bundaberg to fix a few issues with their boat.

There is some inclement weather due over the weekend so we have decided to stay put for a few days and will move on after this has passed. The forecast is for 4-5 metre swells offshore again so don’t think there will be any boats crossing the bar towards us anytime soon. We want to spend some time in Kingfisher Resort (which is yacht friendly apparently) and really would like to explore Fraser Island so we are just waiting for a few nice settled days before we head up through the Sandy Straits to get there.

Later on we went ashore for petrol. We headed to the Tin Can Bay Marina and the outboard was spluttering away and then died although thankfully we made it to the dock first. We filled up our cans with petrol and then moved dink away from the main part of the fuel dock so Richard could start pulling it apart and checking it out again. You can only imagine the language….sigh…. Whilst we were debating what to do (especially as it was a very long row back to Morphie) this guy working on a neighbouring boat came over to see us. He explained that he had previously owned an outboard repair shop and recognised that this was a fuel issue from the way it was responding. We explained what had happened in Mooloolaba and he knew straight away that Alex probably hadn’t reset the engine properly after reinstalling the cleaned carburettor. So this guy talked Richard through changing the air mixture and how to reset the idle as well and, would you believe it, the outboard started and just purred!!! Thankfully we have learnt a few things too. Talk about lucky that this guy was around and he gave his time freely and without charge. We were very very grateful.

Feeling much more confident that we could get back to Morphie, we left dink tied to the dock and walked to the IGA supermarket for some provisions. We then stopped for coffee and a scone in the local bistro Mother Cluckers which had some interesting art work dotted around. Was really lovely.

We then walked back to the marina to pick up dink and headed back out down Snappers Creek – with a very happy dinghy captain – towards the anchorage checking out the prawn fishing fleet along the way. Do you think one of these might be owned by a Londoner?!?

When we got to the river we found that the tide had gone out quite a long way which we hadn’t anticipated due to the delay in sorting out the outboard so we had to go very gingerly along to stop the outboard from hitting the sandy / mud bottom. We made it back and it was clear that Morphie was enjoying herself being back at anchor once again.

Back on board we stowed our goodies and had a lazy afternoon. As the sun wasn’t particularly strong and the wind was light we had to run our generator to top up the batteries in the evening before staying down below for dinner and another new Netflix series.

This morning, Saturday, and we had planned to go ashore (having checked the tide times LOL) but the wind had picked up and is howling through the anchorage which would mean a very wet dinghy ride back in the chop. Although the sun is out the wind has chilled the temperature right down so it only feels like 14 degrees C right now so we are wrapped up warm down below and I don’t think we’ll venture anywhere today after all.

Still watching the news from home and, again, it looks like there might be some doubt over the lifting of restrictions in June. So much uncertainty about organising events and we hope that this is all sorted out sooner rather than later especially in time for my friend Carolyn’s significant birthday celebrations! Missing you all and, this week, am sending an Australian kiss to make you smile. Take care of each other.

Bye for now, Jan

Coomera to Mooloolaba

Sunday afternoon (16th May) we headed to The Galley and met up with Sandra and Nigel. After a delicious lunch we headed back to Morphie for a few more drinks and lots of laughs onboard. In fact we were having so much fun we forgot to take photos LOL. We said our farewells and promised to be in touch when we return to this neck of the woods later in the year.

Monday morning we went to the office to report the missing courtesy car key. They have a spare but it is not going to be inexpensive as this was an electronic key that opens / locks / alarms the car. Oh well, nothing we can do, as we really couldn’t find it and had turned the boat inside out looking. We settled our final Boatworks marina bill (or at least until they charge us for the replacement key) and headed into The Galley for breakfast bumping into Ernest on the way. We invited him to join us for breakfast and we enjoyed catching up with him – it certainly made a change from sitting around on broken chairs in the boatyard LOL. Very naughtily he paid for our breakfast despite our arguments and just wouldn’t take no for an answer. So thank you again, Ernest, much appreciated and see you out on the water some day soon.

Around 11am we slipped away from The Boatworks and headed down the river. The conditions were pretty calm and, when we arrived at Tipplers, we decided that we could continue up towards The Huts anchorage inside Canaipa Passage. Was a lovely day out on the water and we enjoyed watching the birds resting on the sand banks which uncover at low tide; the ‘jellyfish’ clouds; the wallaby on the beach; and wondered what the story was behind the latest sunken boat. We couldn’t go any further than this anchorage because of the shallow spots and the falling tide so we enjoyed a lovely serene evening on anchor with no other boats around us.

Tuesday morning we had to wait for the tide before we could leave so around 10am we picked up anchor and started up the river system. It was pretty skinny in places (often with less than 2 feet below the keel) but we made it through OK although we did have to do some sharp manoeuvring to avoid a complete idiot in a motorboat in the narrow channel. He was going at least 10-12 knots and clearly didn’t know that you are supposed to pass port to port in a channel. Basic stuff! In fact, with the shallow water to one side and him bearing down on us so fast, we actually had to turn to port to get out of his way and stay safe. If we had gone to starboard he definitely would have t-boned us and we would probably have run aground. We shouted and swore at him but he just carried on regardless. Was a bit of a dodgy moment!

Trying to get our hearts back to their normal pace we continued slowly through and out of Canaipa Passage into Moreton Bay. At this point we were on a downwind run so we got the genoa out and sailed all the way to The Sandhills anchorage on Moreton Island including executing a few jibes. Was a really good run and we both enjoyed it.

As the anchorage was relatively empty we decided to chuck out a lot of chain (as we had some rusty spots) and was glad we had done so when the wind picked up which meant the wind generator earnt his keep topping up the batteries. We enjoyed a great sunset and retired down below. Annoyingly the wind then switched due south which meant that we had very little protection from the fetch so we had a bit of a disturbed night as we nodded up and down.

Wednesday morning we were up early and had weighed anchor by 6.40 am. It was cloudy and raining with limited visibility but the wind was about 15 knots sustained with higher gusts and we enjoyed sailing just outside but parallel with the shipping channels through the top of Moreton Bay and into the ocean. It was freezing though! We were not far offshore but the sea state became quite swelly and as we were running downwind it was a bit wet and feisty with us reaching speeds up to 8 knots surfing down the waves at the northern entrance of Bribie Island. Although not at any risk both of us felt uncomfortable with the constant side to side movement. There was quite a lot of big ship movement out there too which, luckily, were nowhere near when we had to cross the shipping channels although I did change course at one point for a big tug boat.

Eventually we rounded the headland to go into Mooloolaba. This is a river entrance between two walls and can offer some shallow and challenging conditions. So we headed into the bay and got our fenders and lines ready (having already made a reservation in the marina whilst underway) and started our entrance lining up with the leading lights and made it through at slack high tide (and avoiding the dredger that was working in the entrance). So we were very pleased to have completed this 45 mile trip and be tied to our slip by 2pm,

Yes another marina…. The proposed next leg after Mooloolaba involves going through the Wide Bay Bar which needs settled conditions as it can be very tricky and we need to sit out the current strong winds and swells for a while. We really enjoyed our land trip here so decided this was as good a spot as any to wait it out….

Having checked into the marina we had showers and headed over to Pier 33 for a couple of beers to celebrate our arrival.

Then back on board for dinner and a Netflix evening. Oh yes and I spotted that our tracker had not followed us on our passage which really annoyed me. I had not changed any settings from the previous day when it had worked perfectly well, so ‘pinged’ our GPS coordinates so that, although it just shows a straight line from ‘a’ to ‘b’ at least it actually is showing our current location. I think I have fixed this now so fingers crossed for the next passage – looks like another problem caused by an update to the app.

Thursday morning it was a lovely calm day and we had a late start. Richard fixed the bow wash down pump as it had come adrift the previous morning. We then headed to the fresh seafood markets to purchase some fresh fish – this is stocked from the trawlers which come into port directly behind the market. They had a great selection so we stocked up with about eight meals worth.

We returned to Morphie and put the fish in the freezer before then walking into Mooloolaba via the waterfront and the Wharf. We spotted the bus stop and decided to head to the nearest shopping mall to get the rest of the things that still remained on the shopping list. We got off the bus at Kawana and managed to get everything on our list and even avoided the very busy food court LOL.

On the way back to Morphie we had a couple of drinks in the pub on the Wharf before having a quiet night on board.

Friday morning we had another leisurely start. It remained sunny (despite the forecast for rain) but the wind had picked up and we were creaking on the dock. The conditions were currently looking favourable for a Wide Bay Bar crossing on Thursday so fingers crossed. In the meantime we are going to enjoy being based in a different location. We then did a few jobs like the laundry; fixing Richard’s flip flops; fixing my Gill jacket; and eventually we were lured out of the boat to the fish market again for a takeaway of fish and chips and the battered red band snapper was absolutely delicious. We then had a quiet night on board.

Saturday morning we were going on a fuel run – there is no fuel dock here in Mooloolaba – but there is a floating one for small boats up one of the canals. So we got some cans off the rail and left the dock and as we meandered up the river the outboard conked out.

We couldn’t believe it. It is only months since we had had this serviced and repaired along with a large bill – so really not happy! We rowed back (thankfully wind assisted) and tied up to the back of Morphie. Richard spent most of the day trying to work it out. He changed the spark plugs; changed the fuel lines and connectors; cleaned the carburettor; and even changed the fuel. But it just won’t work. So after a very wasteful day we gave up and returned dink to the davits and we’ll see if we can find a mechanic on Monday. Damn….

We then walked back into town and joined the Surf Club as members. We enjoyed sitting outside (wrapped up warm) watching the sun going down. We were surprised that there were people in the sea as it was freezing cold! Eventually we were driven back indoors by the cold and had some dinner before returning back to Morphie.

Today, Sunday, and I’m blogging while Richard is reading. We had a list of jobs to do today but, of course, it’s raining and thunderstorms are forecast for later. There is live music at the Surf Club this afternoon so we might go and spend a few hours there enjoying the entertainment.

Still keeping a watchful eye on you all at home and hope that you are enjoying the easing of the restrictions. Nothing new to report here about international borders so we remain uncertain about what is going to happen next – but we have decided to park it until we return from this trip north, looking for some fun in the sun, before we have to run back south for cyclone season. Today you can have a virtual hug from me….

Bye for now, Jan

Boat jobs in The Boatworks (final week)

Friday afternoon (7th May) Richard had his telephone consultation with the hospital consultant. They confirmed that not much had changed and, although there remained some damage to his heart muscle, he was doing well and was able to tolerate the drug regime. And, the best news of all, was that they don’t want to see him again for another year! Woo hoo, we can go sailing, finally….

Later in the evening we headed to the works yard and was treated to a beautiful red sky en route. We had sundowners with Ernest and other tired cruisers taking time out from working on their boats. Was a nice social evening.

Saturday morning, I headed out to get the car cleaned while Richard stayed behind and the new genoa tracks were installed. So another job off the list.

We then drove off at noon (in two cars) heading towards Manly pick up Steve and Jo. The roads were absolutely rammed and we crawled in traffic much of the way north. When we got there, sadly, Jo was feeling poorly after having her first Covid jab so we headed out to lunch with Steve at the Moreton Bay Trailer Boat Club. This place has a great Fijian Indian chef so we couldn’t not have the curry of the day LOL.

We dropped off Steve and Jo’s car and thanked them again for their kindness in lending it to us. We are both sailing north in the coming weeks so we hope to catch up with them in a few anchorages along the way. Having said our sad farewells we then returned to the Boatworks in the courtesy car we had borrowed for the weekend.

Sunday morning and I was up and out early to do some shopping while Richard stayed behind to give the boat a good tidy up down below. We then got ourselves ready to receive guests – Andrew and Lynne from SV Mischief – who are on the dock behind us. We had a fun evening and it felt really good to have a social weekend again after all the hard work of the last couple of weeks.

Monday morning and boat jobs started again. I used a compound to ‘cut’ the gelcoat on the topsides and used the polishing machine to get the best finish. Phew was pretty hard work in the heat of the day. Richard stayed below and washed down the gelcoat with water and vinegar to stop any mould from forming. He then moved on to oiling all the teak cabinetry and finished off with the hoovering.

Afterwards we got ourselves cleaned up and while Richard was off having a shower I relaxed on one of the sofas only to get splattered in bird poop through the open cabin hatch. How the hell this damn bird sitting on top of the mast could get it through the hole without hitting the boom is beyond me LOL. So my idea of relaxing went out of the window as I had to clean it all up before Richard got back. After that was done I headed up top and the bird was back – I could have sworn he was laughing at me – so I shook the rigging to get him to leave and he did, but only after sending another large deposit onto the deck. So more cleaning to do……sigh….

Later on we headed over to see how Ernest was getting on with his jobs and he had now antifouled his boat Crossbones and she was looking very smart with her new name decal too.

Tuesday it was time to wax and polish the topsides so we both worked together doing that. Afterwards Richard started to put the boat back together – lots of little jobs like putting the boards back on the rail in readiness for the fuel cans to be reinstalled; running the lines back to the cockpit; putting the blocks onto the new genoa track etc. I kept busy washing down the two dodgers and the ‘infill’ sunbrella canvas from our bimini on the dock. Once they were scrubbed and dried I started to re-waterproof them but ran out of products half way through. Never mind, we managed to get a last-minute courtesy car overnight, so headed out to buy some more and also did some provisioning while we were out. Oh yes and during the day we chased down to the gelcoat man yet again as he still hadn’t finished the job on the stern, although, thankfully it is watertight. Not impressed at all! Back on board we had an early night.

Wednesday morning and I was a bit sad because it had been three years since I had lost Mum. Really can’t believe that she has been gone for so long and I still miss her so much everyday. I carry a photo of her in my purse so I had a little chat and sent her a kiss. Love you Mum.

We then spent a few hours in the cruisers’ lounge downloading some more Netflix content making the most of the time whilst the laundry is going around in the tub. All done we returned to Morphie and Richard got on with more jobs like reinstalling the lifebuoy on the rail and ‘burped’ the dripless stuffing gland which means letting water run through it to avoid any air locks. This is a simple job but, of course, not in an easy location being buried in the bilges beneath the aft cabin berth so the ‘garage’ had to be emptied to give access to the locker.

Finally getting to the end of our lists so we had sundowners again with Ernest and other cruisers in the works yard and was treated to a huge thunderstorm so we all ended up sheltering in an old shipping container LOL. Thankfully the storm circled us rather than a direct hit on the river so we didn’t get any hailstones this time. All very dramatic though…

Thursday we concentrated on the sofa cushions and took them all into the cockpit where we cleaned them (with a new product we had found), then finished off with some leather wax and then buffed them. They certainly look a whole lot better for getting some care and attention. And that was it for the day.

Friday we started on the cockpit and cut, waxed and polished the gelcoat. The gelcoat man had still not turned up and Richard went out to see the guys to complain – well that didn’t work, so we decided to accept defeat. The damage isn’t bad, it is sealed, and we will need to get other gelcoat things done anyway at the next haul out. The driver of the boat that hit us – a salesman for one of the local powerboat companies – has been great throughout all this and was as fed up as us about it. As some compensation he gave us some company rash shirts…. The stupidity of the guy though was that he was working on another boat on the same dock. He very quickly did a runner when he realised we were still around and, if he had done the job well, we would probably have used him for more work in the future so talk about shooting himself in the foot. Marine “tradies” in Australia often have a poor reputation and this is the first personal example we have had. Most people have been great! Oh well, never mind.

At 4pm we picked up the courtesy car and headed out to Tim’s house to see how he was doing after his recent spinal surgery. He was walking surprisingly well and we shared a nice bottle of wine while we caught up. Oh yes and the kookaburra was waiting to be fed outside on the deck so I had another close encounter. They are just so beautiful and, despite their huge beaks, they are very gentle too.

We picked up a takeaway on the way home and had a quiet night in.

Saturday morning and we were up early and headed to the doctors. As we are now leaving the area we wanted to get prescriptions for our medication and also to find out how we go about this down the road. He is happy for us to do phone consultations and can send us future prescriptions via email so we are good to go!

We popped into the chemist to get a month’s supply and then did a huge supermarket provisioning run. We got back to the boat and I started unpacking the first trolley load while Richard returned to the car for the rest….well, he came back and we put everything away. Then I asked him for the car keys. And, guess what, he couldn’t find them!!! So we retraced his steps and even ended up diving in the big bins to check they had not been thrown out with the packaging rubbish. Nope…can’t find them…and, of course, because this is a courtesy car they actually had the registration printed on the tag so this makes the car vulnerable to being stolen. But we had to ‘park’ the angst as we had Tim and Naoko coming over to see the boat in the afternoon. So we prepared some food and invited them on board. We were a bit concerned about Tim climbing on and off but he managed it well and we gave him the helm seat to sit on for more stability. We had a lovely afternoon in the cockpit, in the sun enjoying being on the water with friends….

After they had left we went through all the food cupboards and did some more searching but, alas, no keys. Damn! But at least the security gates are locked at 6pm so we know the car is safe overnight. Richard has been to the security guys; the works guys; and the Galley to see if they have been handed in but no. Really don’t know where they could be….

This morning, Sunday, and I’m blogging while Richard has stripped the bed and is doing more laundry. We were both relieved to see the car still in the car park this morning. We are definitely leaving on Monday and heading north so very excited about the possibility of going sailing again, although of course the immediate forecast isn’t perfect but we are not on a schedule so who cares…. I had wanted to pop out this morning to get some last minute things – particularly some fresh fish from the trawlers and a propane refill – but having a locked car with no keys has stopped that although we have loads of food on board so definitely won’t starve LOL.

This afternoon we have a reservation in The Galley as Sandra and Nigel are coming over for lunch so we can see them again before we depart. So looking forward to another social event. Morphie is looking absolutely beautiful and it is definitely worth all the hard work, especially when we have been receiving compliments all week from the tradies working on neighbouring boats. Feel like very proud parents right now!

Well, things at home seem to have changed a bit with the highly infectious Indian Covid variant being introduced. Really don’t know why the Government didn’t ‘red list’ India sooner to avoid the inevitable transmission with returning travellers but guess we all have a PhD in hindsight in these situations. Hopefully it can be contained and more lockdowns can be avoided. Here in Australia things changed again with the announcement in the Budget that the international borders would definitely not reopen this year and maybe not until mid 2022. Although they are going to be letting boats in directly from New Zealand as part of the Tasman travel bubble this is not allowable the other way. So will we get home this year? Not sure is the honest answer…

Anyway, on a more cheery note, as you can have hugs at home again now, here is an Australian hug to make you smile.

Bye for now, Jan

Boat jobs in The Boatworks (week 2)

Friday morning (30th April) we were up very early and got everything stowed away in preparation for the boat coming out of the water. We got a call asking if we were ready as they had an earlier slot than scheduled so we left our berth and stooged around in the river until the travel lift was in position and then headed in. The operator was not sure we would fit going in bows first but we managed to resolve it in the end by tying off the strops to ensure that the front one would not slip from the leading edge of Morphie.

We were then lifted and got off and had a coffee whilst we watched the guys jet wash the hull which was covered in slime plus a heavy covering of barnacles from the time spent in the river.

At this point the heavens opened (and, of course, our jackets were on board) so we loitered around near to where she was going to be situated and tried to keep dry.

Eventually Morphie was in position and we were able to get back on board. We tidied up and then headed out to The Galley for an early lunch whilst the rain continued to fall heavily. After lunch we washed the hull down but rain stopped play again as the heavens opened and we had thunderstorms all around us so we just had a quiet night on board.

Saturday morning it had rained heavily overnight and the forecast was for showers throughout the day so we started early at 7.30 am. We both worked on removing all the barnacle residue from the boot stripe, which was a real mess and it took us quite a long time.

Afterwards Richard concentrated on rubbing down the antifoul which, for the most part, wasn’t in too bad a condition.

I started sanding the propeller and the rudder stock.

We both then used a compound to try and restore some of the boot stripe paint – this is in pretty poor order now and so we’ll probably get this taken off and repainted in the next year or so. By 4pm we were both pretty shattered so called it a day and had an early night.

Sunday morning we had another early start and, by 9am, it had started raining so we stopped for breakfast while we waited for the showers to pass through. We then climbed into our scissor lift and cleaned the stainless steel below the rail and the rubbing strip. We then followed this up by doing an initial cutting and cleaning of the hull’s gelcoat.

Once we had finished I rested up while Richard took himself off to Bunnings for more supplies and, along the way he was stopped by the police for a random breathalyser test. Richard had had a couple of beers the night before but wasn’t concerned by this and the policeman was very happy with his ‘no alcohol recorded’ result and let him go on his way. We then had a quiet night on board once we were cleaned up although the boat looked like a bomb had hit it with tools and materials scattered everywhere in the cockpit….

Monday morning we awoke to a nice sunny day so uncovered the rail which we had protected from the rain where we have prepared the wood for the new genoa track to be installed. The rain stayed away and we walked around the hull and looked at our efforts from the day before. Well the steel was gleaming but we still detected some chalkiness in the gelcoat so decided to go around again and used a heavier duty compound. We then went around again for a final wax and polish and were both very happy with the end result!

While we were working Ernest, from the boat behind us in the yard, came by to say hello. He had recognised our boat name and we realised that we had met this Australian guy in Havana, Cuba. What a small world! So after we had finished working we got together with him and his neighbour Neil and had sundowners in the yard. And yes Ernest is not normally blue – he was enjoying his beer before his evening shower LOL. Was a fun time.

Tuesday morning we were up early again and visited the on-site chandlery to buy the Propspeed (for the propellor and the rudder stock) and some barrier paint for the antifoul before treating ourselves to breakfast in the Galley.

Afterwards I headed out to the nearby Westfield mall to pick up some items for dinner (as we have no working fridge or freezer whilst out of the water) whilst Richard started rubbing down the ablative antifoul. The areas which had deteriorated the most were then painted with a primer so we now had a spotty hull LOL.

I finished sanding the propeller then Richard reinstalled the teardrop zinc so that I could continue with the next stage which was to apply the Propspeed. This was my first attempt at using this material which had quite specific mixing instructions, so fingers crossed! I found it a bit gloopy to apply but was pleased with the end result….

Once I finished doing this Richard applied some additional underwater sealant around the rudder stock and the propeller shaft. Richard then applied the first coat of antifoul and was quite blue when he finished LOL. Because of the dire forecast overnight we covered up the rails once again to stop water ingress into the screw holes.

Wednesday morning the forecast was dire with heavy rain forecast all day from around 9am. So Richard was up at 6am and started to apply the second coat plus a third coat on the leading edges and the waterline which he got finished before the heavens opened. Great effort!

In the meantime I was out shopping on a trip to Bunnings – this time for some pre-ordered rubber gaskets for the fridge and freezer – and then to the supermarket for dinner ingredients, followed by the liquor store for more supplies, finishing up with a visit to the neighbouring Gold Coast City Marina to pick up some new marine stainless steel screws for the zincs.

I came back and Richard was still working below the boat trying to keep out of the rain. He fixed the other zinc; removed the bow thruster, which I then cleaned up; and then cleaned up the refrigeration plates and the grounding plate. All three of these plates were heavily calcified and the end result is just amazing….

Have to say that Morphie was, by now, looking absolutely beautiful after her time in the boat spa and we really pleased with the results of our efforts so far.

Thursday morning was our date to return to the water. First thing I headed to the office to pay our bill as there is a no cash, no splash, rule here. I came away with a goodie bag and Richard is very happy that we now finally have Boatworks hats LOL.

On return I waxed the boot stripe (now that the masking tape had been removed) and Richard cleaned and tidied away all the tools. We got our spare fuel cans back on board too (although not reinstated as we still have to finish waxing and polishing the topsides first). The gelcoat man came to fix our minor stern damage – which we had largely managed to polish out – and started the work but didn’t finish by the time the travel lift turned up for us to be lifted up.

We were lifted up into the straps and then Richard was able to antifoul the patches caused by the stands and underneath the hull which had been sitting on the blocks. Morphie was left hanging for a while to give us some drying time while the guys had some lunch.

After an hour or so they were back and we were moved through the yard to the slipway.

We climbed back on board, we were splashed back in, and then reversed out towards our allocated slip around the corner. The guys were there to catch our lines and we were happily in position by around 2pm.

We then got ourselves cleaned up and headed to the doctors for our flu vaccinations. Afterwards we had a wander through the mall before going to our favourite Thai restaurant for a lovely meal to celebrate the end of another week of hard, but satisfying, manual labour. And if you think we look tired, that is because we were LOL.

This morning, Friday, we were supposed to be going to the hospital for Richard’s final consultation. However, during the week they changed it to a phone consultation instead, which is fine as it means we don’t have to rush down the M1 to Southport and we can carry on getting on with things. We are currently in the Cruisers’ Lounge where I’m blogging and we’re doing the laundry at the same time. Going forward we intend to stay in the marina for one more week as we have some jobs to complete so no rest for us quite yet!

We hope you are all well and enjoying the increasing freedoms at home and perhaps even dreaming of a holiday this year!?! Stay safe everyone, sending lots of love and hugs. Today you get another indigenous cutie, this time it is a tree kangaroo that can be found in northern Queensland. Not sure what they eat but he is definitely a bit tubby LOL.

Bye for now, Jan