Australia: Final days with Morpheus in Coomera

Thursday morning we were up really early as we wanted to get our sails off before the wind kicked in. First was the staysail which we dropped to the deck and then pulled it over the rail onto the dock where it was flaked and put into the sail bag. Next in line was the genoa, a much bigger sail, but all went well. Finally it was the turn of the main. This is never that easy with just the two of us as we have to remove vertical battens as the sail is lowered. But all went to plan and we both breathed a sigh of relief that they were all flaked, bagged and ready to go. During this exercise we identified a few areas of wear and tear that need addressing. In discussion with Evolution Sails (who are Rally partners who confirmed a discounted rate) they agreed to collect them on Friday. This is their “busy” season but this didn’t cause us a problem as we are returning home for Christmas. They confirmed they were happy to do any identified and agreed repairs and then store them for us until we return next year. Such great people to deal with!

Next job on the list was to get the diesel jugs off the rail so that we could wash and wax the topsides. We were just getting ourselves sorted when this guy walks up and asks if my name is Jan?!? Replying in the affirmative he then rushed off…..leaving me slightly bemused….then returned with an Eski filled with a selection of local cold beers. These beers were a gift from our friend Dave (back in the UK) and it was his uncle, Peter Thompson, who delivered them (he lives in Brisbane). We had a nice time chatting to him (although slightly embarrassed by the state of ourselves and the boat at this stage LOL) and thanked him so much for the visit. Thanks Thomo, great surprise and much appreciated.

After Peter’s brief visit we masked up the capping rail and eyebrows ready for varnishing. Weather had stopped us doing this earlier in the season so we decided to change our plans and organised to be lifted first into the Works Yard (on Friday) before being moved again to Long-Term Storage (where working on the boat is not allowed). The BoatWorks were incredibly responsive to all requests and it was very simple to get the arrangements changed. We were very impressed with their ability to be flexible to accommodate us.

Masking completed we then dropped dink into the water and stripped him bare and stowed everything away. Then we cleaned dink’s topsides before turning him over to give his hull a clean too. Finally all done we hoisted him onto the bow ready for storage. We didn’t strap him down or cover him with tarp at this stage as we need to keep the rail area clear for varnishing. Final job for the day was to install the mast cover which we use when Morphie is being left on the hard. That was it for the day – it had been a long and tiring one so we just had dinner, a couple of sundowners, and retired for an early night as both of us were physically shattered.

Friday morning and Evolution Sails came along just after 7am as promised. We were getting ourselves organised to get lifted later on when EnaVigo came in and were lifted up. Jody and Steve had won a good prize in the Rally welcome week so it made sense that they would lift here to get a few problems resolved. Was great to see them again.

At 9.30 am we were heading towards the lift only to be told to come in backwards… Richard went back out into the river, turned around, and reversed in. All went well and we were soon properly fitted into the strops using our labelled lifting points (something we had done in New Zealand). We also tied the two strops together to ensure that the forward one didn’t slip on our keel. Job done we were slowly lifted out of the water and dangled above the dock where they pulled up some steps to let us off. We got off (having remembered to switch off the fridge and freezer first) and watched Morphie be moved slowly into the wash down area.

She was pretty clean so we were very happy with that. We had a coffee while Morphie was being jet washed and then followed her progress to her position in the Works Yard where she was placed into her cradle. Lots of boat movements going on all the time here in the yard.

It went all very smooth and, despite these being anxious moments, it was very professionally done and we were unusually relaxed. Thanks guys!

We were then given some steps so, around noon, we climbed back on board. No climbing ladders here, what a luxury! This place is amazing with over 40 businesses on site and you could certainly spend a fortune if you didn’t want to do the work yourselves – boats are constantly being lifted or splashed. But I think you would need very very deep pockets LOL.

Then the hard work started. We rubbed down the wood in preparation for the first coat of varnish. Richard started varnishing while I headed to the (free to use) Liveaboard Ensuite facilities to get cleaned up. There are a number of these all around the boatyard, are impeccably clean, and there is lashings of hot water. Lovely!

When I came back Richard had almost finished varnishing the rail (but decided to leave the eyebrows until the morning) so I packed up a cooler with food and drinks and headed to the Cruisers BBQ area on the waterfront.

I met Steve and Jody there and Richard joined us shortly afterwards. It is quite a meeting place this area and is very social despite it being a bit buggy.

Saturday morning, Richard got up early to varnish the eyebrows. After that we did some laundry in one of the laundry areas (which are also complimentary) and then headed to the on-site restaurant, The Galley, for breakfast. Was absolutely delicious.

We then returned to Morphie and started rubbing down the rail. I kept an eye on the time and ran back to the laundry room a few times to swap stuff in and out. Eventually we finished rubbing down the rail and then started on the eyebrows which had dried quickly in the heat. Richard started varnishing again whilst I rested up as my back was starting to complain a bit.

After he had finished applying the second coat we got cleaned up and then headed to the BBQ area and bumped into Mark on Makluska. He had had a difficult passage as his yacht had started taking on water 150 miles off the coast of Australia which resulted in equipment being airlifted to him which enabled him to come into Coomera under his own steam. Coomera is not an official port of entry but, as he was officially a ‘vessel in distress’ it was allowed and he was cleared in situ in the boat yard. Quite a story and very pleased that all ended well for him. It was pretty late when we returned to Morphie, had dinner, and went straight to bed.

Sunday morning we were up very very early. The heat during the day here is pretty difficult to work in and the deck is so hot you can’t actually walk on it! So we wanted to start rubbing down as early as possible. By 9 am we were pretty much done with the sanding and I went and got cleaned up. I left Richard finishing off while I went off with Mark in his courtesy car to the bottle shop as our supplies were depleted.

By 11 am I was back with tinnies and some ice to keep them cool. We then had a small brunch and I started on this blog whilst Richard continued varnishing. In the evening we again went to the BBQ area and chatted to a few people before retiring for an early night completely shattered once again.

Monday morning and we rubbed down again then varnished for the final time. Then we removed all the canvas.

Afterwards we headed to Garage 25 for a complimentary pastry and coffee and admired the fantastic display of cars and motorbikes. The owner of the BoatWorks used to be a racing driver and this is his personal collection. He was actually in the cafe that morning – cleaning tables would you believe – and we were very lucky that he let us in to see the vehicles up close. What a guy!

In the afternoon we borrowed a courtesy truck (which are also complimentary to liveaboards in the boatyard) so that we could fill some diesel jugs and fill up our tank. We always try to leave the fuel tank full to avoid any condensation problems. I also cleaned some of the stainless….. Again another long, hot, physical day. In the evening we headed to the BBQ area and met up with Steve and Jo (fellow Island Packet owners on SV Tamanu) who had arrived into the marina earlier that day. Was lovely to catch up with them again.

Tuesday and we were up early. Again I was using the laundry while Richard went to collect our rented scissor lift as it was time to work on the hull. He wasn’t that comfortable using it to start with but soon got the hang of it.

So we both climbed in and went around (and up and down) peeling all the tape off and cleaned the stainless under the rail plus the rub rail. Then we went around again and washed and polished the hull. So she was now stripped bare and ready for storage. She looked pretty sparkly at the end. Thankfully that was it for the day!

Again we headed to the BBQ area and toughed it out with Steve and Jo despite the huge fat black mosquitoes that seem to like to bite us! Another early night followed.

Wednesday morning and it was time, at last, to work down below. We got our clothes out and packed our suitcases for going home plus the hand baggage sorted. We then prepared everything else for storage. We pickled the watermaker and made sure the water tank was full up as this was our last chance to do this. At 3pm Sid the travel lift turned up to move us from the Works Yard to the Long-Term Storage Yard. So we watched Morphie being transported across the road and into her final position.

The guys were very professional and made sure we were level to minimise any water sitting on the decks in our absence, including lifting Richard up on the fork lift to do the ‘water’ test.

We had showers and ate dinner before heading to the BBQ area for the final time. We were joined by Steve & Jody and Steve & Jo so had a fun evening, also being joined later on by Mark. We did take a selfie but Richard managed to cut both himself and me out of the picture LOL! Eventually it was time to say final fond farewells and return to Morphie for our last night on board.

This morning, Thursday, and we got out stuff off the boat and did a final clean around and check before heading to the showers. Then it was that sad moment of each season when we had to say farewell to our girl. Always makes me feel quite emotional! Take care Morpheus, thanks for looking after us this season, and enjoy your well-earned rest.

At around 8.45 we were eating a healthy fruit breakfast in The Galley. At 9.20 am the Uber turned up to take us to Brisbane airport. We had a good drive and arrived in good time. We checked in (although the computer said no a few times first annoyingly) and then enjoyed Qantas hospitality in their Business Class lounge whilst we awaited the flight. We are both pretty tired and are looking forward to relaxing in our Sydney airport hotel later.

We are really excited about going to Sydney not just to view the sights but also to have long-awaited reunions with both family and friends whilst there.

Bye for now