Boat jobs and more exploring in Queensland

Monday morning (25 May) we had a leisurely start and picked up our courtesy car at 10. We then went to the Westfield shopping centre in Coomera and purchased some fresh provisions. After that we headed to the doctors for another check up. The GP was pleased with progress especially as Richard is not having any of the ‘usual’ side effects from his medication. So onwards and upwards. We then drove back to the boat, stashed our shopping, and returned the car. We were relaxing down below when the rigging guys came back with the new bearings and worm drive. They fixed and fiddled with it – they thought it was like a tetris puzzle deliberately created to frustrate LOL. Eventually they had it installed but, by now, the wind had picked up in strength so we decided to reinstall the mainsail another day. But at least we could now sleep without the continuous banging of the foil inside the mast when the fisherman go out around 6am in their tinnies….

Tuesday morning we were up early and sanded down the whole rail and underneath the rail on the starboard side and then Richard sanded the new boards in preparation for more varnish. He also drilled all the holes into the boards so that they could be filled with varnish to ensure that the sealing of the wood is complete prior to constructing the whole thing. Steve and Jo on SV Tamanu arrived back into the river during the day so we had a chat with them by phone although they were too busy to come ashore.

I also did battle on the phone (again) with Medicare which, on average, takes over an hour to get through to a real person. This time I was told they still couldn’t find our application / email. Then they asked “what did you call your e-mail in the subject line?” I told them what I had written only to be told that it would be rejected (without any type of acknowledgement) unless I used their exact format which, of course, doesn’t appear anywhere on their website so how the hell are people supposed to know?!? OK, continuing to be pleasant through gritted teeth on the phone, I emailed it again (this was actually the fourth time) and was told to call back in a week.

In the afternoon one of the riggers returned to help us reinstall the main – with Richard putting the vertical battens in while I fed the sail into the slot and the guy manned the halyard winch. Once hoisted we then tried to furl the sail but, for some obscure reason, it wouldn’t furl properly although did actually go away.

The wind was picking up again by now so we left it at that to be revisited another day. We had a quiet night onboard wrapped up in blankets as it was pretty damn chilly.

Wednesday morning we varnished the whole rail (penultimate coat) underneath the rail and the final coat for the boards. Thankfully it was a lovely sunny day again.

Steve and Jo had lifted out of the water onto the hard during the morning and David and Hella had also returned to the marina onboard SV Calagorm. So I popped round to see everybody and made arrangements for sundowners later in the BBQ area. We rested up for the afternoon and then joined them all there later – it was lovely to catch up again and we had such a good time that we stayed out a bit later than planned.

Thursday we rubbed down the rail for the last time (phew!). We then hosed the whole boat down to get rid of the majority of the dust before then going round wiping the rails down. After that we chilled out on board before meeting the gang again for sundowners.

Friday morning early there was little wind so we unfurled and furled the main a couple of times. Hmmmm. Something is definitely not quite right despite it being relatively easy to pull in and out so we left it alone. The riggers already know that they have to return to resolve this issue but we wanted to try it for ourselves anyway so we’ll call them back when we have finished varnishing.

The weather forecast was for 50% rain on Friday and we definitely didn’t like the look of the heavy clouds so we decided not to risk varnishing as we wanted to take our time over the last coat. Instead we treated ourselves to breakfast in the Galley restaurant and then did the laundry. During the morning the solar guys had come to see if we were ready to turn the boat around and get the new panels installed. Not quite yet so we promised to be in touch when we were ready next week.

At 2.30 pm we headed over to the launching area and, along with David and Hella, we watched Tamanu get splashed. We then said our sad farewells to Steve and Jo again and waved them off as they headed north. Having picked up our car for the weekend we met with David and Hella for our final sundowner with them as they were leaving with the tide early in the morning. Another nice evening. Oh yes, and you’ve guessed it, it didn’t rain during the day at all – very frustrating!

Saturday morning and it was supposed to be rainy and cloudy but the skies were blue and cloud free. So we decided to varnish the rail and by around 11 we were finished. Had been quite a job so very pleased that we had finally got this done.

After getting ourselves cleaned up we drove down to Sanctuary Cove. They had recently built 300 new marina slips and were offering great deals on them so we thought we’d check it out. We had hoped to talk to someone in the office but they told us to email our questions in. The great deal here in the Boatworks (50% discount) is coming to an end and so it may be worthwhile moving on for July / August while we wait for the all clear to go cruising from the medics. This is a very upmarket marina village which is also attached to golf courses, country clubs and a 5-star hotel so would definitely make a nice change. But although the slip price appears very reasonable to attract people in there are probably lots of add-ons which could make it too pricey. There is also the possibility that they might not allow people to liveaboard either – so sent the email and will just have to wait and see.

After leaving Sanctuary Cove we headed south to Burleigh Heads. This is a very popular surfing type of place with lots of quirky stores and eateries. As we approached the main town it was rammed with people and cars – no chance of getting parked up there to explore. So we continued up the hill and found another car park on top of the cliff. I drove in and, surprisingly, someone pulled out of a space so I got parked up straight away. We then admired the views back down the coast and decided to follow the headland walk through the rainforest. Was a lovely walk although pretty busy and we had to dodge lots of large groups out for a stroll.

Coming around the headland we came across a small swimming area which was protected by some pretty big waves surfing into the gap. We crossed the road bridge and then walked out to the other headland and enjoyed the views….with some crazy kids virtually flying over the surf in their boats…. The beach to the other side of the headland was long, pure white sand and absolutely stunning.

We sat and people watched for a little while before returning to the car via the same path having done a round trip of three miles. Richard managed this with ease and only had to slow down because of me and my dodgy hip.

We returned to Morphie via the coast road and took it slowly. We had enjoyed being out and about again and definitely want to return to Burleigh Heads another day. Perhaps a weekday might be preferable to a weekend?!? Back on board we watched the movie Contagion which perhaps wasn’t the best choice in the current climate LOL.

Sunday morning we woke up to heavy rain and it took a while for it to clear. Thankfully the varnish was fully hardened so we just had lovely rain bubbles sitting atop the shiny new finish. Really pleased with how it had all ended up.

We then headed off in the car to Jacobs Wells as we thought we would check out this popular anchorage. Well, it was rammed, with cars, bikes, jetskis, tinnies, fishermen and all sorts plus, of course, a couple of pelicans. We enjoyed just sitting down with ice cream watching the world go by.

Continuing north we headed to Cleveland through the huge fields of sugar cane. First stop was the ferry terminal as this is where we could take a car across to North Stradbroke Island which looks like a good trip when restrictions are eased. We also had a glimpse at another anchorage we fancied near Peel Island. By the time we got to the main town it was pretty much closed up with few people around which was a shame but not surprising for a Sunday afternoon. It was chilly and rain kept threatening so in the end we returned via the shopping centre to pick up some more fresh fruit and vegetables. Had been another full and tiring day.

This morning, Monday (1 June) and Richard did the final varnish coat under the rail while I did battle with Medicare again. This time I’m told that the email address (which I had double checked via their ‘contact us’ link on their website) meant that you had to have capital MES at the start with the rest all lower case…..hmmmm……really?!?!? The guy wasn’t interested in talking to me at all and said he couldn’t search the system for my email either, despite other operatives being helpful and trying to do that last week. Well, you know, I’m fed up with all this. So I decided to do what I probably should have done back in April and I’m trusting Australia Post instead. Luckily there was a car available this afternoon so that I was able to get to the post office to send it by registered mail so that I can track its arrival. Fingers crossed this finally gets it sorted.

So in between all that I was blogging while Richard purchased some stainless steel screws so that he could start installing our new rubrails. So we are definitely keeping ourselves busy.

The last bit of news from here is that Covid restrictions have been significantly lifted today with overnight stays now allowed anywhere in Queensland so people can holiday / travel as they like within the state. We certainly expect a mass exodus of cruising boats to start heading north imminently. But the state border remains closed so Queensland is only open to Queenslanders (and those of us who just ended up here).

Stay safe and well everybody. Hope lockdown isn’t driving you all crazy. Take care of each other. Lots of love and bye for now.