Our return to Coomera…and storms!

Tuesday (27 October) we were having a lazy day on board when, in the afternoon, the heavens opened and there was thunder and lightning all around us (again). And it rained, rained and then rained some more. But we were secure in our anchor spot at Tipplers whilst we watched this military plane circle around us numerous times. All very curious. Was a stormy sort of sky as the sun started to sink.

Wednesday morning the forecast continued to predict more storms. But it was lovely and bright out so we hoped they had got it wrong (which wouldn’t be the first time). During the morning the physio cancelled my Thursday afternoon appointment and offered one the following week. Well, this just drives me nuts as we are returning to the Boatworks specifically for this appointment. So I fixed a doctor’s appointment instead as I wanted to talk to him about the outcome from the hospital referral to see if this would inform our decision about our future plans.

In the afternoon having enjoyed a brief dolphin visit we spent a few hours at the cafe enjoying a couple of drinks and, of course, saying hello to the resident wallabies. But the skies darkened ominously so we returned swiftly to Morphie and got ourselves ready for more storms. They rolled in and around us again for most of the evening until about 9pm when we thought they were done so headed to bed.

Come midnight the anchor alarm went off and we realised we were rapidly heading backwards towards the beach which had become a lee shore in the storm that was raging around us. We dressed as quickly as possible, Richard started the engine, I turned on the instruments and whilst he was motoring away from the beach (with the lowest depth sound being 0.1 of a foot) I rushed forward and picked up the anchor whilst getting a good soaking from the torrential rain and the assault on my senses from the thunder and lightning. We manoeuvred out from the beach and dropped the hook again. We got a good set and put out loads of scope just to make sure. We sat in the cockpit (soaked through) and realised that we had just missed the jetski anchored off the beach and had certainly woken up the campers as they were out there with torches – they probably heard our engine really close to them. Phew, what a nightmare. We think the severe and sudden wind gust from the other direction had broken our anchor out of the mud which then didn’t get a chance to reset. That was really close!!! We got dried off and huddled up in warm clothes in the cockpit as we sat anchor watch the rest of the night.

Thursday morning we were up early and returned with the tide through the river system to the Boatworks in Coomera. We were quite relieved to be tied to a dock yet again. We got ourselves secure and settled and then took to our beds for a few hours to recover from the previous night’s ordeal. At 4pm I picked up the courtesy car and headed to see the GP. Well, it was an interesting chat. He said the hospital outpatient staff are “parrots” unable to deviate from the worst-case scenario script. He had never, in his experience, had anyone wait as long as they suggested I might have to. He thought there was a chance I could see a consultant early next year. He also expressed concerns that Richard should not be exposed to Covid by going home due to his current ‘vulnerable’ status. I still believe he is being a tad optimistic on the hip but another curve ball or what?!? On my return to Morpheus we both sat in the cockpit and discussed all our options whilst reviewing the information from home. We decided to wait until the latest announcement about lockdown in the UK before making our final decision.

Friday morning we spent a few hours in the laundry which took longer than expected as a couple of machines decided to misbehave. We downloaded some more Netflix programmes to watch off line and then I delved into the annual insurance renewals. By this time the imminent lockdown at home had been leaked to the press so this just confirmed our decision to stay put. No point going home if we are just going to end up locked down and unable to visit family and friends. Of course, this decision, makes a difference to the insurance policies as they are generated around our time abroad. So I emailed the insurers and awaited their response.

The boat insurance was done quickly and easily including full cyclone coverage (as the season here is defined as 1 December to 31 March) so that was good. Thank you Admiral. The travel insurance, however, was a different kettle of fish. They were excluding Richard for anything heart related, as expected, but I wanted some clarification on some other important elements. They confirmed this exclusion covered air / sea / land ambulatory services, repatriation, and even death benefit. So basically Richard would be uninsured unless he had another injury / illness which would be treated here in Australia free of charge anyway under the Medicare system. They also excluded me for arthritis generally (not just my hip which was expected) so that leaves me exposed too. Damn, that’s just not worth having, especially for the premium they want us to pay. So I started the hunt for an alternative provider and, in the meantime, joined the Southport VMR (Volunteer Marine Rescue) which, for an annual membership fee, provides free local sea rescue / towing services.

In the late afternoon we joined Hella and David on Calagorm for sundowners and we had a lovely social evening. You don’t realise how big their boat is until you see it up there on blocks!

Saturday morning the forecast was for more storms and high winds so we doubled up on our dock lines before heading out to Garage 25 for their Caffeine Gasoline monthly event. We sat on the deck and watched all the comings and goings and had some breakfast being joined by Hella and David. Was such fun to see all the cars (and bikes) plus to explore the private car museum again too. So for all you petrol heads out there enjoy the pictures!

We then went out shopping including to Richard’s favourite wet fish shop in Labrador. We also had to visit three butchers for me to be able to purchase some liver and gammon steaks. Neither of these are readily available here so it must be a British thing LOL. Anyway, as we were driving around the storm clouds were bubbling up and we received a text message on our phone which said:

Emergency. VERY DANGEROUS STORMS. Likely impact Woodbridge, Beenleigh, Southport, Coomera. Giant Hail. Destructive Winds. Seek Shelter.

What?!? Definitely time to head back. Richard drove us quickly up the motorway as the skies just got darker and darker and the rain started falling. By the time we got back to the Boatworks it was pouring down so we quickly unloaded our goodies and got back onboard Morpheus. Thankfully we made it just in time before the full force of the storm was felt. Whilst we were unpacking the rain picked up and started blowing horizontally across the cockpit and into the saloon. We saw gusts of 50 knots. Then the hailstones started – luckily they were only pea sized and not the giant ones forecast – but the noise as they hit the boat was horrendous. We were really worried we were going to sustain some damage. The water was boiling around us and it was just so intense. Have never ever experienced anything like that before and not sure I want to do it again! Just thankful that we were in the marina and not having to cope with this on anchor too.

Check out the damage to roofs, solar panels and cars from giant hail only a couple of miles away from us inland. OMG! When the worst had passed we did a quick inspection and were relieved that we had no damage. Phew! Dodged a bullet that’s for sure.

Sunday morning and it was bright and sunny so we had breakfast in the cockpit before we headed back out to the shops for the things that we didn’t get the day before when our trip had been curtailed. We then tidied and rested up before we entertained Hella and David on board Morpheus for the evening. Another fun night was had by all and we enjoyed watching the rising of the full moon (with no howling)…..

Monday morning and the wind was stronger than forecast at 30 knots although it was bright and sunny. The forecast was now pretty grim for the rest of the week so we extended our stay here in the Boatworks which means that we now have time to give Morphie some love. Richard cleaned out the engine compartment and then picked up the new in-water pump and waterproof switch from the chandlery to create and install a new anchor wash down system. I started cleaning the stainless. After a busy day we had a quiet night on board feeling quite shattered from the physical exertion in the heat of the day.

This morning, Tuesday, and I blogged while Richard relaxed. At noon we went and picked up a courtesy UTE and drove around to Calagorm on the hard. We then drove Hella and David to the train station for them to catch their flight to Sydney and onwards to the UK. Was sad to see them go as we had enjoyed their company and who knows how long it will be before the borders reopen and they can return to their boat.

Our family and friends are about to endure another lengthy lockdown at home, so please take care everybody and stay safe. Sending lots of love and virtual hugs to you all. Bye for now