Keeping busy in Queensland

Tuesday (2 June) we got up early and started work. We removed the masking tape off the inside of the rail around the whole boat (which wasn’t easy as it had been on for longer than the recommended two weeks) and cleaned off the adhesive residue. Then I removed everything else on the starboard side. Richard installed the new stainless rub rails which involved a lot of drilling and filling of original fixing holes. I then worked on the starboard side under the capping rail (which I could reach from the dock) and cleaned all the stainless stanchions followed by cleaning and waxing the hull between the capping rail and the lower rub rail. We were then able to secure our dock lines properly through the cleats rather than using our winches to keep the ropes above the varnish. Richard also assembled the new boards / footman loops / webbing straps in readiness for the spare fuel cans to be re-installed on the rail when we have finished everything else. Was a long day for both of us and we were pretty shattered by the end of it but were pleased with how Morphie was looking.

Wednesday and Richard had to have more blood tests done so we had a lazy start then picked up our courtesy car and drove to the hospital in Southport.

We parked up easily and went to the pathology department to find it absolutely rammed with a ticketed numbering system. This was the first time we had seen lots of people in the hospital so clearly they are returning to some sort of ‘normal’ service. Well we ended up waiting for over an hour until eventually Richard’s bloods were taken. We then headed back towards Coomera and did a quick shop for fresh fruit and vegetables. This was pretty rushed but we managed to make it back just in time to return the car (which had been booked for a three hour slot). By the time we unpacked and stowed everything away we were pretty tired so rested up the rest of the day.

Thursday morning and we got assistance on the dock to help with catching lines so that we could turn the boat around. It is pretty shallow here so we timed it for just after high tide and Richard reversed out, spun us around, and reversed in. Good job! We got dink off the arch and pulled ourselves close to the dock so that the guys could work on the solar panels on the arch. Here’s Morphie waiting patiently for the next instalment of her upgrades….

Safely tied up I then headed to the laundry while Richard informed the solar guys we were in place and ready. Chris came down in the afternoon and started the new panel installation.

This wasn’t without its challenges as some of the fixings had to be modified but it all went very well. The old panels were clearly failing as you can see from the close up. Here’s Richard modelling the old and new side by side.

Overall, we were very happy with the new panels and the installation – we just need to wait for some sun to see what a difference they make.

Friday morning, Richard sanded and varnished under the rail on the port side and the stern now that he had access to this side from the dock. Although it wasn’t a particularly sunny day the solar gain was significantly higher than what we had got used to. I took some time out to colour my wild lockdown hair in one of the cruiser ensuites and then returned later to clean the stainless on the arch (now that dink had been reinstated giving me something to lean on when I’m up there). The riggers came by again to look at our main (which refuses to furl properly within the mast despite numerous attempts) so are going to return next week to help us out. Now that we have turned around in our berth the wind is on our stern so we need to wait until the wind blows from the north again. Fingers crossed we’ll get that resolved sooner rather than later.

At 4pm we headed over to the office to collect the keys for our courtesy car as we were lucky enough to have one for the weekend again. Car picked up and parked near our berth we headed down below for another chilly night wrapped in blankets. We were pretty disappointed with the response from Sanctuary Cove who said that we were welcome to go to their marina but they would only sanction one month living aboard maximum. So we have decided that we’ll stay here until end of July (and will probably do some land travel within Queensland now that we are allowed to stay overnight away from ‘home’) and move to their marina for the whole of August after which, fingers crossed for good news from the medics, we’ll be able to go sailing.

We have never really been long-term marina dwellers so this life is a bit different to what we are used to but, having said that, the courtesy cars here do give us freedom to get out and about. We are thinking we might do a road trip in July and are really hoping that we can cross into New South Wales and join my nephew and his family for a week of their school holidays. At the minute they are saying the border may open around 10 July but the Queensland premier has also said it might not be until September so we just have to be wait and be patient. But considering what our friends and families are going through back in the UK we feel very fortunate to be here in Australia.

Saturday morning and I headed out to the mall to get a hair cut while Richard sanded and varnished under the port rail and stern. On my return, thankfully now without the mop of lockdown hair, we had a look at the completed varnish job as it had rained a few times and left some marks. We have decided that, actually, we are not completely satisfied with the final coat and are going to do it again. More work (especially with all that taping up) but it seems a shame not to finish it to our own exacting standard LOL.

After brunch in the Galley, we headed out towards Helensvale and the large Westfield mall there.

We were on a mission to get some ‘leisure wear’ as, of course, we took most of our warm weather gear home in December and left it there. Task accomplished. Next stop was Good Guys for a fan heater and an extension lead so that we can plug it directly into the shore power on the dock. Found a small one and hurried back to eagerly try it out.

That’s when it all started to go wrong! Richard plugged in the heater and it didn’t work, although the extension lead (which is an exterior rated one) had a red light showing so there was definitely power. So I got out the instructions and despite there being nothing on the outside of the box this heater will not work on an extension lead. To check it out we plugged it in directly and yes it was fine! Damn……so Richard headed off in the car to swap it out. While he was out I tried on my new stuff only to find that my hoody had a security tag still attached as we had gone through a self-service till and hadn’t spotted it. So Richard came back with the new heater and, woo hoo, we now had heat down below. We then drove back down the motorway to the mall to get my hoody un-tagged and, of course, this left a hole in it. So over to customer service to swap it out for a new one making sure that the tag was removed this time before I left the store!

Finally we got back and everything was as it should be. We were very warm and toasty and, you’ve guessed it, we didn’t actually need the heater that night.

Sunday morning we headed south towards Danger Point which is the furthest southerly point in Queensland.

Spectacular views across the ocean and down to the beach to admire the waves where lots of surfers were enjoying the water. Funny to think that they were actually in New South Wales as the border cuts straight through the top of this hill, so these images are looking south.

Was great to watch for a while and we kept an eye out to the blue for humpback whales (who are now on their annual migration north) but sadly didn’t spot any.

Later on we found out that a surfer had been killed that morning by a great white shark just a little bit further down the NSW coast. Here’s a lifeguard trying to get others to safety. If sharks threaten humans they can be killed but they failed yesterday. And today it’s been spotted again – see the breaking news below. Scary stuff.

Here are the views looking north towards Southport and the Gold Coast.

Heading back up the coast we stopped in Coolangatta and walked the fabulous white sandy beach.

We then walked along the promenade admiring the cars (and a few bikes) which belonged to the Scarab club. We chatted to one of the members and Scarab isn’t named after an Egyptian beetle at all but for Still Cruising and Rocking and Boozing LOL. Fantastic watching them all cruising around. They weren’t officially allowed to congregate in large numbers so they were in groups of 10 so that they could enjoy their day whilst still socially distancing.

Leaving this behind we drove to Burleigh Heads looking for a place for some lunch. But although we wandered around for a while we really didn’t find anything we fancied so continued on up to Southport. We thought we’d try out the Yacht Club as it gets great reviews. But as we drove into the car park we came across unfriendly signs saying that you had to be a member or have prior permission to park, or the car would be towed. Hmmm….perhaps if we had a reservation we could get a parking permit….but without one we didn’t want to risk the car, especially as it doesn’t belong to us!

So we parked near the Marina Mirage which has some fancy waterside eateries but they were all closed. We didn’t fancy the pub that sat over the water either – the menu basically was pizza or burgers or fish and chips – so headed instead across the car park to the Hog’s Breath Cafe which also gets good reviews. We took a seat and ordered steaks and jacket potatoes to be told no spuds – so I ended up with chips anyway!! So much for trying to be good…..sigh….. Was a treat but, sadly, the whole experience didn’t live up to the hype.

On the drive back to Morphie it started to threaten rain as the clouds continued to build and we just got ourselves tucked up down below before the heavens opened. Was lovely to be warm again!

This morning, Monday (8 June) I was up very early to return the car keys to the office. It is really cold and damp and the forecast is for rain for most of the week (see, that’s what comes of wanting to do more varnishing). There is certainly a very heavy dew on the topsides. I’m blogging and once it gets warmer and a bit drier we will probably tape up and hope to sand the rails down again….but will have to see how the day pans out….. Richard has heard from his heart specialist nurse Imogen this morning that his blood results are good so they may increase one of his medications again as he is tolerating them so well. But up to the doctor in a couple of week’s time.

Anyway, that’s about it folks, stay safe and take care. Bye for now