Our week in Manly, Queensland

Tuesday afternoon (20 October) we walked into Manly Harbour Village to check out the facilities and did a bit of shopping. We encountered these very skittish birds along the promenade strutting their stuff and then went and checked out the local pool. It’s certainly very pretty around the streets with all the trees in flower right now.

Back on board we applied online for a renewal of our Australian Control Permit (due to expire end October) and within a couple of hours the new one was issued so Morpheus is legal here now until end October 2021. So that was great news.

Then we got the disappointing news. I was told by my doctor and physio to keep phoning the hospital to find out the status of the referral regularly. I was informed that I had been put on the non-urgent list meaning they could offer me a consultant’s appointment in two year’s time (at the earliest) which would then be followed by around another year of waiting time on the elective surgery list. I was really upset and definitely did not expect that. The GP had indicated that the scan results necessitated urgent attention and he was going to try to escalate me up the list. His view was that it would definitely be less than 12 months. So I guess my ‘visitor’ status must have been the final decider rather than the severity of the problem. I have to say, we do feel like we’ve been led astray a little bit. So the bottom line is that I’ll have to get this fixed at home. The dilemma is when?!? Lots of variables we need to get our heads around. Should we abandon Morphie without a known return date as international borders are closed until around the end of 2021 (although gives lots of time to organise surgery and recuperation)? Return home to a Covid lockdown which means we can’t even see friends and family? How long will it be before my mobility is restricted to the extent that living on the boat becomes difficult? We need to get our heads around all this and will let you know what we decide, so watch this space!

Anyway, moving on, the weather was very windy and cold, so we were happy to be tucked up securely in the marina and enjoyed a quiet night on board.

Wednesday morning it was a nice day but severe thunderstorms were now being forecast for Friday onwards. So we decided to stay in the marina where we would be protected / surrounded by lots of tall masts LOL. Thunderstorms here in Australia are powerful often with large damaging hail and very strong winds so definitely shouldn’t be underestimated. Anyway, decision made we decided to start trouble shooting the Balmar charging system which appears to have developed gremlins in recent months. We first attached the Gateway to the system so we could download updated firmware to the battery monitor. That’s worked perfectly in the past but, this time, the iPad couldn’t connect via bluetooth to the Gateway. So we thought maybe it was an Apple bug so we downloaded the app to an android phone and tried again. Again wouldn’t connect. So we just had to reset all the values and alarms on the monitor and see what would happen with that and, thankfully, it worked. But the loss of ability to download updates is annoying and these pieces of kit are not inexpensive, so we have sent an email to Balmar to see if they can advise what to do next. We purchased these pieces of equipment quite soon after their release onto the market so we do wonder whether the early units have bugs that have since been ironed out by further developments. Never mind, it works for now, fingers crossed it will continue to do so.

In the afternoon we went for a walk and watched some of the boats out racing in the bay before returning back for a quiet night on board. It rained really heavily overnight.

Thursday the rain started to clear but then clouded over and rained again. The batteries were struggling with very little solar gain and we kept tripping the breaker on the dock (which took out all the posts) so we didn’t want to plug into shore power and upset our neighbours. In the end, we just decided to run the engine to top up the batteries later in the afternoon. Then the heavens opened and we had a thunderstorm all around us although it never really threatened to come too close. So we just relaxed down below for the day.

Friday was another miserable cloudy day with a fickle wind and a bit chilly so we lazed around most of the day. But we did manage to fix the wind generator monitor – woo hoo! Annoying though that it had taken this long to get the information for a factory reset from the manufacturer’s helpline and, having gone through the manual cover to cover, I can assure you the required sequence of pushing buttons doesn’t appear anywhere! Later on it warmed up – was such a nice evening so we had both sundowners and dinner in the cockpit.

Saturday morning we were a bit more industrious filling up with water; flushing the watermaker; scrubbing the walls in the heads; defrosted the freezer; and then took ourselves off to the marina cafe for coffee enjoying their over-the-water dock. Whilst there we used the marina wifi to download some more things to watch offline later. Quite like the lighthouse type lights here in the marina too – guess they might be original sea markers or something.

When we got back we had a charging fest as the wind generator was keeping our batteries topped up nicely. We had planned a trip into the village but check out this storm coming! So we got overtaken by events when the heavens opened and we had thunderstorms around us yet again. Thankfully no hailstones again. So we ended up with another quiet evening on board.

Sunday it looked like it was going to be a nice day. Sadly, the freezer problem had not gone away – sometimes it gets too iced up and the restricted airflow around the plates causes problems with it staying at temperature, so defrosting is often all that is needed to be done. Sadly that hadn’t worked! So Richard put some more gas into the system to give it a boost. We then had a nice breakfast in the cockpit and, as it remained dry, we decided to head off to the village’s Irish Pub for a late lunch.

So we were sitting on an outside table on the pavement when the sky went black, so we moved to another table with a bit more cover and the heavens opened. OMG the rain was biblical so we quickly moved inside for cover.

The thunderstorm was very close and the noise from the thunder was teeth chattering with the powerful lightning strikes something to be in awe of. Richard thought it was exciting I thought it was just simply terrifying! Anyway, we sat and had a couple more drinks waiting for the rain to ease, before we quickly headed back to Morphie with our fingers crossed that she had fared OK. Thankfully she was, phew! Lightning strikes on a yacht is something to be feared, that’s for sure.

Monday morning and it was time to leave. We had breakfast in the cafe then slipped away around 10am dodging this strange tug / barge combination en route.

We arrived at the Huts anchorage at noon and it was peaceful and calm with nobody else there. So we had a lovely afternoon and early evening in the cockpit before the bugs drove us below.

This morning, Tuesday, and we picked up anchor early so by 6.45 am we were underway to head to Tipplers, our final destination before heading back to The Boatworks on Thursday. The wind was howling and it certainly wasn’t a nice day to be out on the water although the pelicans didn’t seem to mind too much. Even the sand dunes looked a bit miserable in the gloomy morning light.

We had our anchor down by 9.30 am and, unusually, there was nobody here. So we picked our spot and had breakfast in the cockpit listening to the weather forecast. Again there is a thunderstorm warning but not as severe as being shared yesterday. We have just had a dolphin visit, which was nice, although sadly they didn’t stay around to play. Not sure we’ll go ashore today as it is so miserable so fingers crossed for a nice day tomorrow!

So not a lot happening really just more curveballs to contend with not least the weather here in Queensland. Thought this was supposed to be the Sunshine Coast LOL. Anyway, bye for now folks, please take care and stay safe. Thinking of you all.