A life changing decision

Friday and Saturday were pretty lazy days with a bit of cleaning and laundry thrown in followed by quiet nights on board catching up on some Netflix content. We did, however, have dinner out one night and enjoyed a fabulous sunset along the way too.

Sunday we had a leisurely start before heading over late afternoon to Sandra and Nigel’s for a typical English roast dinner. Great food, fab company and even a lovely little parakeet on the tree watching us chatting on the balcony. Was absolutely lovely.

Monday morning we packed a bag and headed north to Hemmant to visit with Ed and Yvonne (SV Steelee). Wow, what an amazing home – so close to Brisbane but in the middle of the country. Huge outside deck overlooking beautiful countryside and paddocks. Yvonne put on a great grazing spread lunch for us and we just chatted and caught up. Was so lovely to see them again.

Later on we rested up before enjoying the most amazing BBQ dinner on the deck under a full moon. We even got presents….completely unexpected….to remind us of Australia when we got home. Such amazing generosity.

Tuesday morning we had a great breakfast – OMG not going to eat again for at least a week LOL – before saying our sad farewells. It had been such an amazing visit. We drove back to Morphie and just rested up the rest of the day.

Wednesday we had another leisurely day before meeting up with Ernest and Eddie in the evening and had a farewell dinner at the local Thai. Lovely food and great fun!

Thursday morning and we headed to the Boatworks to sign some documents in front of a Justice of the Peace. What?!? Why?!? OK so it is now time for the big reveal. You might have noticed from recent blogs, as well as lots and lots of socialising, we have spent quite a lot of time just relaxing. Well, actually, in reality we have been mega busy because we had – after many months of soul searching – put Morpheus up for sale. We had imported her into the country (paying import duty and GST to the Australian Government) so she could legally stay here indefinitely. This process resulted in a document called ‘Authority to Deal’ which is a customs declaration that confirms we have permission to sell the boat in Australia so we had decided to test the market.

So the next question is why? Well, we have owned Morphie since she came brand new out of the factory in 2008 and started cruising in 2012 crossing oceans, experiencing lots of unique destinations and cultures having made it half way around the world. We have had amazing experiences and don’t regret any of it. However, Richard’s heart attack in 2020 gave us both a shock and, to be honest, we simply don’t want to head offshore to third world countries where medical assistance in another emergency would not be readily available. Richard is absolutely fine and has recovered amazingly well but these random curve balls do make you think.

Of course the global Covid pandemic has left us “trapped” in Australia for over two years now. We have absolutely loved our time here and recognise that we were very lucky to have avoided the significant lockdowns at home or, like some of our friends, ended up being locked out of the country with our boat abandoned overseas. Looking forward, even though international borders have reopened, there remains significant challenges in continuing with a cruising lifestyle. And, of course, on top of that my hip is causing some mobility issues. To leave Morphie here in Australia in storage is not inexpensive with large monthly bills and we would probably be gone for almost 12 months while I get fixed up. So, decision made, we decided to test the market because going home unencumbered was definitely a relatively attractive proposition.

Boat brokers are pretty expensive here in Australia – 7.7% of value being the norm – so we decided to try to sell the boat ourselves although we did actually engage a broker to do the legals plus supply the escrow account which gave confidence to any potential purchaser that we wouldn’t do a runner with their deposit. We wrote an advert, cleared the contents of the boat to a local lockup, tidied up and took photos. We then published the advert and received some initial calls…. We had a couple of viewers – one hippy ‘influencer’ couple followed by a serious contender. However, he was talked out of it by his wife as they had just had grandchildren and she wanted to spend time with them…. And then it went quiet. We decided to reduce the price to stimulate some interest and this worked – Island Packets are not particularly well known here in Australian and are expensive when compared to what else is available on the market. Discerning sailors will know why but the newbies don’t… So we expected a bit of uphill struggle.

But, unlike many international sellers, we weren’t desperate to sell and, if it didn’t work out, we were very happy to keep Morpheus. Anyway, long story short, we advertised on the 5 February, we got a serious offer and banked a 10% deposit. We did a sea trial followed by a survey which Morphie passed with flying colours…. And, this week, on Thursday 21 April the sale went through. OMG can’t quite believe it. It has been incredibly emotional to say goodbye but we also know that the new owners will love her and cherish her going forward.

So we have temporarily moved in to Sandra and Nigel’s apartment here on Hope Island. Friday was a manic day of clearing out all our belongings and I admit to being very emotional most of the day. But, we broke into our day by continuing to socialise and had a very tasty lunch out on Friday with Lester and Helen (SV Joule). Afterwards we returned to Morphie and said our very sad and emotional goodbyes before heading to Sandra and Nigels where I admit we probably drank way too much!

Saturday we headed over to Morphie and met with the new owners again and did a final handover. And here they are looking very excited and happy with their purchase. This time I managed to walk away without too many tears….

Saturday night we headed out to George’s Paragon restaurant in Sanctuary Cove for dinner. Fantastic food – as always – and a great fun evening despite the problems with getting taxis to and from LOL.

Anyway, we are going to stay in the area for a few more days before we then start heading south to New South Wales to visit with my nephew and his family again. And, of course, there is also our touring holiday to Tasmania too which we are really looking forward to. So yes we are coming home and we are coming home for good! We need to get ourselves fixed up and then we can plan the next adventures! It will be a huge difference for us and we know we will definitely miss our cruising lifestyle but we are really excited to be going home, moving back into our house and, last but not least, catching up with all our family and friends.

Bye for now


Another social week in Queensland

Tuesday (5 April) we had a lazy day on board before being joined by Lester and Helen for the “buy one get one free” burger night combined with musical bingo at the Blue Water Grill and Bar. It’s a bit of a naff concept but surprisingly it was a lot of fun. Sadly no prizes won LOL.

Wednesday morning we had a bit of a tidy up followed by coffee out in the local cafe here in Hope Island before doing a bit of shopping and returning to Morphie. And that was about it for the day with a quiet night on board catching up with some Netflix content.

Thursday I did a bit more shopping (and cooking) and around 5pm we welcomed Helen and Lester (SV Joule) and Clive and Anne (SV Ishara) on board for sundowners. Thankfully the rain held off and we had a nice time sitting in the cockpit chatting.

Friday morning I headed out really early to the local hairdressers for a cut and colour – what a treat having been mostly colouring my hair myself during our travels – while Richard started clearing out cupboards in his usual ‘love it or launch it’ routine. Thankfully he didn’t actually physically throw anything out until I got back as he wanted to check and, yes just for once, I agreed with all his suggestions. Must be getting soft in my old age LOL.

During the afternoon we popped over to see Ernest on SV Crossbones just to check he was OK – he had been a bit poorly after his recent trip to New South Wales – and were pleased to find him on good form. Not wanting to risk anything infectious we stayed on the dock while he chatted to us from his boat cockpit. Whilst we were there, surprisingly, along came a nosy dolphin to give us all a boost. Didn’t expect to see one this far up the river so was a really nice treat but, sadly, no photos to show for it!

Saturday morning we did more general tidying up and the heavens opened yet again.

Thankfully, by the afternoon, it had cleared up a bit and Sandra and Nigel came onboard. Was a bit chilly so we sat down below and toasted Nigel’s birthday before heading out to dinner – was another lovely evening full of laughs and perhaps a bit of wine LOL. Here is the birthday boy looking very happy with himself before he tucked into his large plate of ribs!

Sunday wasn’t a very nice day so we just lazed around doing a bit of admin work on board.

Monday morning we spent a few hours just clearing and doing the laundry up until around noon when Lester came by to give us a lift to the nearby car rental place here on Hope Island. Yay, we have wheels again! We picked up our hire car – a relatively new Hyundai Elantra – and headed out to the mall for a bit of shopping stopping off at The Galley in The Boatworks for a coffee on the way. Was nice to catch up with David and the gang again…..

Tuesday we packed up a small overnight bag, said our farewells to Morphie, and took a drive north to Manly where we checked into the Manly Cove Marina Motel for the night. Wasn’t anything special but we thoroughly enjoyed the air conditioning, the TV followed by a leisurely soak in the bath. Oh what bliss!!!

Later on we headed across to the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron for drinks and dinner with Tom and Diane (SV Avalon) and we had a fun time catching up. Couldn’t believe how fast the evening went, actually!

After a really good nights sleep in a huge comfy bed that didn’t move we enjoyed great showers before heading off again – this time to Raby Bay – where we met Steve (SV Tamanu) plus Andrew and Lynne (SV Mischief) for breakfast in a cafe sitting overlooking Raby Bay marina. Was great to catch up with everyone again and the food was lovely too which is always a bonus!

If you are wondering, we are on a bit of a ‘see you later’ tour as we have decided, now that the borders have reopened, to do a bit of sightseeing in Australia before going home early June (just in time for summer) so we are not sure when our paths will cross again.

After saying our farewells, we then drove slowly back towards the Gold Coast where we popped in to see Tim (SV NavyDayz) for a cuppa and to see how he was getting on with his project – he is restoring an old sunken steel yacht and hopes to take veterans with PTSD out sailing at some point in the future. Well, rain and some further medical issues, have delayed progress but it was good to catch up with Tim and his son Thomas again.

Heading back towards the marina later in the evening, I didn’t feel like cooking so we headed to the Hope Island Marketplace to check out their food offerings. We came across the Canton Road Chinese kitchen and decided to give it a try so got a take away. We returned to Morphie – now in the pouring rain – and enjoyed what was probably the best Chinese we had eaten in Australia. Really good, yum!!

This morning, Thursday, the rain has stopped and the air temperature is much cooler so we are just planning a relaxing day on board to recover from the last few days of socialising.

Before leaving Australia, along with some other small trips, we have also just booked a self-drive car tour to Tasmania in May so really looking forward to that.

So our plans are just to continue being social and seeing as many people as we can before returning home. We have been very lucky to have met such wonderful, kind people who have looked out for us whilst we have been Covid pandemic refugees. But, that said, we are also very excited about seeing all our family and friends again having been in Australia for over two years now.

So continuing the Australian cutie theme, thought that for this blog I should share some baby Tasmanian devils to give you a glimpse of what we’ll be seeing in the flesh very soon (fingers crossed).

Bye for now,


Another week in Hope Island Marina

Wednesday evening (30 March) we headed out to dinner with Ernest at Blue Water Bar and Grill having enjoyed a beautiful sunset over the marina first. The guys both chose a pasta dish each and enjoyed them but I did catch the envious glances at my steak and guinness pie dinner LOL. Was a fun evening.

Thursday we dropped dink into the river and reinstated the outboard. Then we headed up the river to The Boatworks where we had a couple of things to pick up at the chandlery and made the most of our time there by also popping by to see Maryanne and Kyle on SV Begonia plus Lynne and Andrew on SV Mischief. Both these couples were heading back out soon so it may be the last we see of them for a while – it was really good to catch up. As we returned to Morphie we enjoyed checking out the luxurious properties on the waterfront as we slowly motored through the canal network. Of course, completely forgot to take photos of our reunions so you’ll have to make do with photos of their boats!

We then returned to Morphie for a quiet afternoon / evening on board watching the thunderstorms build all around us. Thankfully they were not too close but the rain came down with a vengeance.

And, of course, it didn’t stop raining all night or all day Friday either. So we just stayed on board keeping dry, relaxing, reading and watching movies….

Saturday morning it was still cloudy but at least the rain had stopped. We did some laundry and a bit of shopping before Lester and Helen came by to take us out. We ended up in Coolangatta having a fish and chip lunch which was a nice treat. We then returned for a quiet night back onboard.

Sunday it was cloudy and rainy again so we had a lazy morning. By about 3pm we were feeling a bit stir crazy so we headed to the Blue Water Bar and Grill to listen to the live music. The guy’s taste in music wasn’t ours particularly with a definite leaning towards country (which is very popular here in Australia). But we enjoyed the few hours off the boat before returning for another night down below out of the rain.

Monday it was pouring down, again, sigh….. Richard headed out with Lester to get some more screws (just to add to the hundreds we already have on board LOL) plus some petrol. I stayed on board and listened to the biblical rain lashing the coach roof. Come on, give us a break, this is getting really tedious…. In the afternoon we had organised sundowners with SV Ishara but, sadly, weather cancelled those plans! So another night on board and, for the first time in a while, it was quite chilly so we ended up snuggled up in our joggers…

Tuesday it continued to rain…the marina water levels rose rapidly until it then flooded across the pathways…and houses opposite us had water lapping up their garden steps. There was a lot of debris in the water too from flooding further up the river system. So we just hunkered down again.

Wednesday was more of the same with lots of rain and terrible scenes of flooding in both Queensland and New South Wales. Sadly it also hit many of the same communities as previously and there was, once again, loss of life. Our hearts went out to everyone affected.

Thursday we dried out a bit and headed off to the ‘Bowlo’ (the Paradise Point Bowling Club) with Helen and Lester for a few hours. We were treated to a spectacular sunset as we parked up and headed inside for our roast dinner – the weekly roast offering is such good value we can’t turn down this invitation LOL (although it was beef and pork night).

Friday I did the laundry whilst Richard spot cleaned and waxed the topsides where they had got dirty in the rain. Walking up the pathway we were both shocked by how much debris there was in the river and the marina certainly had their work cut out. We did a bit of a clean up and spring clean before relaxing for a quiet night in.

Saturday morning and it was a lovely day so we made the most of it and headed out for a little sail up and down the river system. Was good to get back out there even if only for a few hours although we could have done without the required emergency anchoring procedure when, for some reason, the engine conked out! This meant anchoring in the channel so we ended up being subjected to huge wakes and wash from motorboats who deliberately came too close – certainly made life a bit uncomfortable for a while. Not sure what exactly happened as the fuel filter was completely clean and the power supply was fine so probably down to a bit of dirt in the fuel – but we managed to restart quite quickly and get back underway, enjoying a downwind run back as the wind direction had switched to a northerly.

Sunday we had a lazy day on board before heading out in the evening for a lovely Thai meal sitting on the rail overlooking the marina as the sun went down. Was a bit naughty but very nice!

Today Monday I’m blogging whilst Richard is pottering around doing some small boat jobs – like starting and checking the generator; fixing one of the gas struts in the freezer; cleaning out the shower sump pump etc. There is rain in the air again…sigh…so that will probably be it for the day.

So that wraps this blog up – life is quite relaxed here in the marina and we are enjoying access to the facilities although do miss the serenity of being at anchor in an isolated anchorage. But with land access we get the opportunity to socialise, so making the most of it right now! Today to sign off I share with you the fairy penguin, the cutest and smallest of the 17 penguin species who grow up to 41cm and weigh in up to 1kg. They are found in Tasmania and gives you a hint of another Australian adventure we might be considering before we come home….


Bye for now


Being social in Hope Island Marina

Monday morning (14 March) we headed over to A pier to meet Ernest on SV Crossbones where he made us tea and force fed us TimTams LOL. I returned to Morphie while Richard and Ernest headed out to the Gold Coast City Marina on a mission to buy some good quality varnishing brushes.

While Richard was away I removed the three dorades and started rubbing down the red paint which had started to peel and flake.

When Richard came back he did some varnish keepers on the rail. We then relaxed while waiting for them to dry before I removed the tape and reinstated the dorades back onto the coach roof. Jobs finished for the day we then had a quiet night on board.

Tuesday morning Richard undertook some sewing repairs whilst I cleaned the saloon fans. Then I cleaned the stainless dorades before removing the tape off the varnish keepers. Boat jobs done yay! In the afternoon we took ourselves off to the tiny Hope Island shopping mall and used the free wifi to do some Netflix downloads. And that was it for the day.

Wednesday I went shopping whilst Richard tidied up – then we chilled out and relaxed – before welcoming Ernest on board for a Mrs Mac’s curry night. It was a fun evening and, of course, I forgot to take photos….sigh…..

Thursday we didn’t do much either, just relaxing after all those weeks of hard physical graft. I did a bit of shopping and then in the evening we welcomed Barb and Russell (SV Happy Hour) on board for sundowners. Was lovely to catch up with them again although didn’t realise Russell was quite so evil until he beat us all playing Uno Flip LOL. Was a lot of fun.

Friday was a laundry and cleaning day. In the evening we met Maryanne and Kyle (SV Begonia) and had a Thai dinner sitting on the rail overlooking the marina. Was great to finally catch up with them properly.

Saturday we had a lazy start and then we were picked up by Maryanne and Kyle and driven out to the Mount Nathan Winery – which is family owned and run. We had a lot of fun with the tastings and to my real surprise I really enjoyed their blueberry honey wine. It is really a liquor so we didn’t buy any of that, just a nice bottle of Sauvignon Blanc plus a bottle of bubbles to come away with.

After the tasting session, which was very entertaining, we headed out to sit on the outside deck quaffing wine and eating cheese whilst admiring the gorgeous views into the valley. We chatted, watched the birds, and just thoroughly chilled. It was a really really nice way to spend the afternoon and it was lovely of Maryanne and Kyle to ask us to join then – particularly as they were driving LOL.

After a late start on Sunday we met Sandra and Nigel at the Blue Water restaurant and enjoyed a really good meal – I had the amazing ribs, just can’t get enough of those! There was live music and the young woman had a good voice which was enthusiastically clapped and cheered on by supporters so was a bit loud at times but certainly plenty of good people watching opportunities and a great atmosphere. After a leisurely lunch we headed back to Morphie and enjoyed the rest of the evening together.

Monday was spent relaxing until we headed up the dock to have sundowners with Clive and Ann on SV Ishara. Ishara is a Little Harbour 50 – another American-built boat – which is absolutely beautiful. If we were in the market we would definitely be interested in her as she is up for sale. Have never seen one of these before and OMG just simply amazing! We enjoyed sitting in their cockpit as the sun went down before returning to Morphie for a quiet night in.

Tuesday we did some errands and some paperwork that needed looking at and, again, Ernest very kindly drove us around. On return we just chilled for the rest of the day before heading back to the Blue Water bar and grill for our dinner. The sunset was absolutely spectacular with really calm flat water in the marina. We didn’t realise it was “two for one night” on both food and drink so that was even better. As we finished our dinner a guy turns up and starts to introduce a musical bingo evening. Free to enter and fun to play – a bit like “name that tune” but having to mark them off on printed bingo cards. Luckily the music was based in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s so we had a chance to recognise most of them LOL. And, of course, we didn’t win anything….

Today, Wednesday, not much going on although we are meeting Ernest for dinner tonight so looking forward to that. Tomorrow the excitement is building as we plan to return to the Boatworks (by dinghy up the river) to pick up some pieces at the chandlery so will take the opportunity to see some friends and just generally swan around LOL.

Oh yes and because we have had some settled weather of late, today, we find that the damn Australian weather is about to bite us again. The East Coast has been warned of another extended rain bomb coming our way – just what people need after the devastation caused from the last floods! Fingers crossed that it isn’t as bad as predicted….

So that wraps up this blog. At the minute, at home, some friends are dealing with the most shocking and devastating situation, so please just look after yourselves and each other. We love you all and send lots of hugs. So on that somber note, it is time for your Australian cutie to make you smile – this one is a pufferfish and one of my favourites to see when diving. How can you not love this really cute little face?!?

Bye for now, Jan

Leaving The Boatworks for Hope Island Marina

Friday (4 March) we received an unexpected call from the office to say that a UTE was available, having put ourselves on the waiting list for a weekend courtesy vehicle previously. So at 4pm we went along to pick it up. We then headed out to the shops quickly before returning to the liveaboard BBQ area for the evening.

Saturday morning Richard headed out to the chandlery at the Gold Coast City Marina (next door to the Boatworks) as he wanted some boot tape for the mast and the on-site chandlery didn’t have it. He also did a run to Bunnings…. While he was out I headed to the new Hair Works Barber and Massage place adjacent to Garage 25 and had the most amazing massage – after all the physical hard work we had been doing this was a great boost to my back and neck!

Later on we taped up the mast boot – we had ordered a custom sunbrella one when we had the rigging done but this had failed to materialise – so we had told the guys not to bother. So we cleaned up the original boot, cleaned out the drain hole, and then taped it up. And it looked pretty good so we were happy with the result. Afterwards we did a general tidy up and then had a quiet movie night in.

Sunday morning we met up with Kyle and Maryanne (SV Begonia) who we had originally met crossing the Pacific in 2017 and had been bumping into them ever since (not literally!). But this season we had missed them by days / hours on numerous occasions so made the effort to catch up over breakfast at The Galley….and very nice it was too. Of course I completely forgot to take any photos of our reunion but did manage to get a picture of this beautiful Mercedes in the car park LOL.

We quickly returned to Morphie to get changed and waited for Lester and Helen (SV Joule) to pick us up to take us to The Southport Yacht Club for the inaugural Down Under Island Packet Yacht Owners’ mini-vous lunch.

Attendees from back to front: Keith and Robyn (SV Segwun), Lester and Helen (SV Joule), us then Lee (SV Nautilee) plus her esteemed guest Rob Mundle, OAM. Rob is a well-known sailor here in Australia and his media background as a television and newspaper journalist has led him being recognised as ‘the voice of sailing’ in Australia. He is also a well known author of sailing books – in fact, Richard is currently reading his narrative on the 54th Sydney to Hobart Race right now….

Oh yes, we even had a raffle with the prizes kindly donated by Hayden and Radeen in the USA….and we even won a t-shirt! Thanks to Lester and Helen for organising – was great fun.

Arriving back on Morphie the heavens opened and we had a huge thunderstorm so sat tight for a while. Then the skies cleared somewhat, we were treated to a lovely rainbow, and we quickly got ready and headed to the BBQ area to meet Russell and Barb (SV Happy Hour) as it was our last night at The Boatworks. We had a great evening together watching the spectacular lightning show as storms continued to come through the area.

Monday morning we cleared the dock, got the cans back onboard, and returned our keys to the office and said our farewells to The Boatworks. We then moved to Hope Island Marina – literally 20 minutes down the Coomera river – and pulled into F10 dock where Ernest was waiting to catch our lines. We got ourselves tied up and headed to the office to check in and pick up our pontoon access keys before heading out to the attached shopping centre to grab a coffee with Ernest. We then did some shopping and returned to Morphie having first checked out the rather basic bathroom / laundry facilities. Definitely going to miss the Boatworks ensuites! Richard then reinstated the cans on the rail and we spent the rest of the day relaxing.

Tuesday morning I did a final sand and varnish of the sole in the forepeak before locking the master cabin door so we couldn’t walk on the floor by mistake! Richard cleaned, waxed and polished the cockpit while I did some modifications to some of my peek-a-boo blinds as a couple of them had come adrift in the very hot and humid conditions. Fingers crossed this will work. Whilst Richard continue to work hard in the cockpit I took myself off shopping to Coles for today’s dinner. As the supermarket is literally on the doorstep here we don’t see the need to have the freezer running as we can purchase fresh meat, fruit, vegetables and bread on a daily basis. We had another quiet night on board and slept in the stern cabin again overnight to avoid the varnish fumes….

Wednesday was another hot and humid day and I was delighted to see that the floor repairs were good so removed the tape and job done! I then took myself off shopping again whilst Richard installed a new fresh water pump to the fresh water head conversion. The conversion kit from salt water to fresh water had worked with fresh water now coming into the toilet but the flow wasn’t really strong enough so Richard added this to assist. This actually worked – woo hoo – good job! I was also pleased that my peek-a-boo changes had also survived the hot and sticky night so I quickly went round and adjusted all the others to match. Always feels so good when problems get resolved…

Thursday morning we did a spring clean / changed the beds etc. Later on Lester and Helen, picked us up to take us to the Paradise Point Bowling Club which had a roast dinner offering that evening. Had never been to a Green Bowling Club before – and certainly not one of that size – so was quite an interesting place. The roast beef was absolutely delicious, included a Yorkshire pudding, and we even had desert and a coffee too. Was a lovely evening with friends.

Friday morning we met up with Ernest and his friend Joe, who was visiting from Sydney. We all headed – in the rain – to the Westfield Coomera where Ernest had a specsavers appointment and we needed to go to the Commonwealth Bank. Jobs done we met up again and headed back to Garage 25 where Ernest and Joe wandered around the car museum before joining us to have a coffee. We then returned to Morphie via the shops for some provisions and spent the rest of the day on board relaxing.

Saturday morning I headed out early to do the laundry while Richard did some varnish keepers on the rail. He then did some spot cleaning of the stainless steel whilst I got on with sorting out some paperwork. The heat had dropped, thankfully, during the day and so our movie night on board was much more comfortable down below.

This morning, Sunday, and the weather is threatening rain so I’m blogging down below while Richard is cleaning and servicing the stern swim ladder as it is quite rusty. And that will probably be it for the day.

We are definitely coming home this year but, at this moment in time, we are just not sure when that will be. We miss you all and send lots of love and hugs. So today’s interesting and colourful Australian critter is a blue ringed octopus that lives in shallow coral reefs and rock pools. Normally pale yellow the blue rings appear as a warning when it feels threatened. Although not aggressive it carries enough posoin in its body to kill 25 adults within minutes. So a beautiful sea creature that definitely comes with a look but don’t touch warning!


A wet and wild week in Coomera, Queensland

Thursday (24 February) it rained cats and dogs for most of the day so we just took shelter down below although, in a quick break, the riggers turned up to tension the new standing rigging and replace the steaming light. Apart from that bit of excitement, we had a pretty lazy day keeping dry. Later on Russell and Barb came over for sundowners which was fun although they got a big soggy on the walk back to their boat!

Friday and it was raining again….sigh…. Further north there was news of bad flooding and we started to receive serious weather alerts for our area. Hmmm…. We had booked a courtesy car for three hours in the afternoon so we braved the elements and headed out shopping to Bunnings (of course) plus a trip to Coles etc before returning to Morphie. In the evening we headed up to the liveaboard area and joined in with the rest of the cruisers enjoying the complimentary meat on the BBQ from the Boatworks. Was another fun evening.

Saturday morning and it was still raining, the weather system had moved closer to us and the local news was horrendous. Most of the day it was white-out conditions in the river. So we just stayed below for the day.

Sunday the boat was really damp down below – not from leaks but from condensation caused by the boat being shut down with no air circulating – so we got the heater out from its cubby hole and had it running on full blast. We didn’t need the additional heat but it certainly helped dry the boat out somewhat! Watching the footage from the Brisbane River was un-believeable and distressing especially as reports came in about loss of lives; the main south / north motorway had been breached in many places so remained closed stranding people all over the place; and many towns were completely inundated and cut off. Just absolutely shocking.

Monday morning we were laying in bed when we heard a knock on the hull – around 7.30 ish. We had listened to the rain on the coach roof and having checked that the pilings, which hold the floating docks in position, still had some height left (they did at around 2m) we didn’t feel inclined to get up early. But it was Russell who had kindly waded down to warn us that the river was flooding! OMG we quickly got up, locked the boat up, and climbed up onto the walkway and then proceeded down into the flood water to wade across to get into the car park. It felt quite dodgy because, at this stage, the water was still rising and there was no way of telling where the river ended and the footpath started. Once safely back on terra firma we walked around the Boatworks and checked out the flooding…and this was before high tide! We found out later that the only damage here had been a houseboat which had broken free and had hit one of the Boatworks docks – sinking the houseboat and damaging the dock as it was pinned beneath….

Now off the boat, we decided to have a leisurely breakfast at The Galley, keeping an eye on Morphie tied securely to her berth, whilst we waited for the water to subside. The river was moving really fast and there was lots and lots of detritus floating down the river…. Luckily we were tucked into a berth that was relatively protected from the worst of the flow. Later on, once we could see the edge of the river again, we waded back to Morphie and settled back on board. Funnily enough, by now, the sun had come out and the wind had dropped off significantly. So we took the opportunity to play with the main sail now that the new standing rigging had been expertly tuned. And, yay, it all worked smoothly. I pulled the main out and refurled it on my own – then Richard had a go. We were both very happy that this issue had been resolved. Phew!

Oh yes and during the afternoon a wedding party turned up – by now the tide had gone down, the paths were clear of water and had been hosed clean of all the river mud – just in time. Didn’t get a photo of the bride and groom but check out their fancy wedding car!

Richard had, by now, decided to attack the fresh water head conversion again – he was not completely happy with it and having now found a specialist marine plumbers who had supplied some superior fittings he had decided to take it all apart again. This meant that the whole boat will be in chaos again so I decided to take myself off to the cruisers lounge to do more laundry and caught up with the local TV news. Absolutely awful scenes and terrifying stories being reported….. Just very grateful and thankful that both Morphie and ourselves were unharmed in all this mayhem. Later on we headed to the BBQ area again and, as we left the boat, the heavens opened. Please, no more, we have had enough! But it didn’t stop us having a nice social evening despite getting soggy on the walk there and back LOL.

Tuesday morning I tackled the forepeak sole again as it needed further coats of varnish whilst Richard continued to work on the plumbing. At 1pm we had a courtesy car booked and noticed that they were all parked up around 12.30pm so cheekily picked ours up early. We had to go to Centrelink to get our Medicare cards renewed – not something that can be done online for tourists eligible under the reciprocal health arrangement. Well, this office in Southport is always mega busy and we just hoped we could get back within the three hour car slot! We parked up, walked in to find only one person in front of us in the queue – but lots of people sitting around waiting to be called for an interview. So we weren’t sure what would happen but, as it turned out, the completed form I submitted was correct (having done this in advance), the guy checked our visas and we were done in about 10 minutes! Unbelievable. Just have to wait the two or three weeks for the renewal to be processed now. As we are on a bridging visa with no end date right now not sure how long they will renew it for – so it is a bit of a guessing game.

So, having more spare time than we thought we would have, we headed back to Bunnings (sigh, not again….) and then to Oxenford to do some shopping. Back on board we had a quiet movie night down below and, finally, the rain stopped.

Wednesday morning we awoke to a hot and sunny day. Yay! The riggers came by and fixed the steaming light (again) that was being temperamental and so, finally, job finished we paid their bill. We then concentrated on the topsides and cleaned, waxed and polished them. Was physical hard work but pleased to get this finished – the “To Do” list is definitely declining now LOL. And doesn’t she look shiny?!?

During the night we had more rain and thunderstorms with severe thunderstorm warnings issued early in the morning. Here we go again! Welcome to sunny Australia LOL.

Thursday morning, the river was full of debris and, because the flood current had abated somewhat this was being carried into the marina berths with the flow of the incoming tide so poor Morphie was sitting in very nasty water surrounded by lots of flotsam and jetsam. Oh well, what can you do?!?

The water levels in the river started rising with all this new rainfall but, thankfully, did not flood again. Phew! In the afternoon I left Richard working on the non-skid areas of the coach roof whilst I popped out shopping for a few days supplies. We had tried to get a courtesy car for the weekend but ended up on a wait list so thought I should get food in just in case. In the evening we headed to the liveaboard area for a BBQ and had another social evening. Seems like the place to be after a day of boat jobs LOL.

This morning, Friday, and I’ve just put another coat of varnish on the forepeak sole whilst Richard has worked hard waxing and protecting the anti-skid on the topsides. Luckily we have another dry day but, you won’t believe this, just north of us they find themselves clearing up from the floods but are now struggling in a heatwave. The weather here is just plain crazy! Anyway, that’s about it for the day. Tonight we are heading to the BBQ area again for another social evening with fellow cruisers.

It has been quite a dramatic and challenging week but thankful we made it through OK. This ‘rain bomb’ was apparently a ‘once in a decade’ event and trust us to be here for it. Sending our love and hugs to everyone at home. So it’s time for more weird Australia critters – these are called Cotton Harlequin bugs and are a pest to both the cotton industry and to gardeners more widely. They exude a pungent defensive fluid when threatened which repels birds but is one Australian critter that actually isn’t a danger to humans LOL. Not sure what I would think about meeting them in the flesh, but think they are actually rather pretty with their metallic armour….


Week 3 on the hard at The Boatworks, Coomera

Wednesday (16 February) after the riggers had left, Lester and Helen came by for a coffee so that gave us a welcome break and it was nice to see them. Richard then rubbed down the antifoul – as it is ablative paint there was a constant stream of blue-tinged water running everywhere – so whilst he was busy I was armed with the fire hose to move all the excess water towards the drains as we didn’t want to leave a mess on the new concrete floor. Later on, when I had finished the blog and Richard had prepped the hull, we washed the mainsail so that it had the night to dry off.

Thursday morning we were both up really early and applied Sailcote to the main (which makes it slide easier inside the furling mechanism). The rigger came by (at 7 am) and helped us reinstate the sail – but the furling mechanism was very tight and stiff – not good at all! So we pulled the sail out and did it again and checked that all the vertical battens were going in straight into the mast and, yes they were. Puzzled by this, especially having just had the whole mast serviced whilst the rigging was being replaced (and having serviced the sail ourselves), we spoke to the rigger who said that when the boat was back floating and the final rigging tensions had been set properly (we have the specifications to hand) then he was confident it would be fine. We weren’t sure whether this was true but having done some further research on the worm drive furling mechanism, we have found that this could well be the case. So we’ll have to wait until we’ve splashed to get this sorted out. Sigh….

Richard then started applying primer to the most worn spots on the antifoul whilst I got on with sanding down and applying the first coat of varnish to some interior cupboards / drawers / external fuel jug boards that needed some attention.

After a break to let the primer dry Richard then continued to work hard and managed to apply the first coat of antifoul to the whole boat. Phew!

In the evening Ernest came over for dinner with us (in the liveaboard BBQ area), so was nice to catch up with him again. The cruisers had organised a movie night in this area so we started watching – the new James Bond – but none of us were that enamoured so we left and returned to Morphie so that we could chat. Was a really nice evening.

Friday morning I sanded down and applied the second coat of varnish to the cupboards and drawers while Richard applied the second coat of antifoul.

Once the varnish was dry I put the locks back on etc and reinstated these on Morphie. I then started on our cabin floor – there were three planks of wood where the varnish had been damaged by a bug spray – so I taped up, sanded them down and then gave them a coat of varnish. By the time I had finished Richard had almost completed the antifoul.

So we got ourselves cleaned up, collected our courtesy UTE at 4pm, and headed over to Hope Island to see Sandra and Nigel. At this point the thunderstorms were rolling in so we were grateful that Morphie was parked next to a huge catamaran on the hard LOL.

Sandra and Nigel had kindly offered to let us stay over at their apartment whilst we were doing the interior varnishing so we didn’t have to sleep down below with the varnish fumes. We got ourselves settled in, had a few glasses of wine on the balcony before then retiring indoors for our dinner escaping from the torrential rain. Was a really nice evening and we had great fun – in fact it turned into a bit of a late night, not turning in until the early hours of Saturday morning! Outrageous behaviour LOL.

Saturday morning we headed back to Morphie after a leisurely start. I sanded down the floor again along with some other interior surfaces and then applied the varnish. Whilst I was doing this Richard was working on the refrigeration and earth plates under the hull in preparation for splashing on Monday.

Job done we then packed up and headed back early to Hope Island – we had planned to spend some time in the pool. Sadly the rain continued sporadically throughout the day so that wasn’t such an attractive option but, never mind, we had another lovely dinner and evening. Although this time the physical hard work of the last few weeks kicked in so we ended up having quite an early night!

Sunday morning we had a leisurely breakfast and headed out to have a look around the beautiful grounds of this apartment complex which overlooks Hope Harbour Marina. We then headed to the pool for a few hours which was lovely and warm and I enjoyed bobbing in the shallows…. Had been a long time! Sadly we then had to bid Sandra and Nigel farewell and thanked them for their great hospitality and returned to Morphie.

We then headed to the Coomera Westfield mall for a bit of shopping and a visit to the doctors to get some repeat prescriptions. Job done we returned to The Boatworks and had a catch up with our fellow cruisers in the BBQ area before having an early night.

Monday morning we were up very early and returned the UTE to the office. We then had to get everything off the concrete and back onto the boat. And, of course, after a wet and rainy weekend it was a blisteringly hot day. Typical! We were in the middle of doing this when the electricians turned up to reconnect all the wiring through the mast so we were able to check things like the plotter / radar / VHF was working. We were due to splash at 12 noon and by around 10.30 am we were ready to go and admired our girl, she was looking absolutely beautiful, and certainly worth all the effort we had put into her. It made us so proud when so many people commented on her too!

At 11 the travel lift came for us and lifted Morphie into the strops and removed all the stands so Richard rushed around to get a couple of coats of antifoul onto the areas which had previously been inaccessible. At this juncture, Buddy turned up for a chat too!

Job done we did the funeral procession back to the dock and climbed back onboard.

We were then lowered and splashed into the water. Before releasing us from the slings, we checked for leaks (none) and got the engine running with no problems. We were then free to go so we reversed out of the slip and went down the river to our berth. We pulled in, got ourselves tied up, and breathed a huge sigh of relief. We got all the additional fuel cans off the topsides and placed them on the dock – these will be reinstated once the topsides have been cleaned, cut, waxed and polished. But we are putting this job off until the riggers have finished as they will continue to climb all over Morphie for the fine tuning of the rig. We got the fridge up and running so I collected our belongings from the liveaboard communal fridge and restocked. Had been quite a day and we decided to relax for the rest of the afternoon and once it got dark we were able to check out that all our mast lights etc worked. Actually we felt so weary we ended up in bed by around 7.30 pm. Was lovely to be floating again….

Tuesday morning it was very windy so we weren’t expecting the riggers to come by. I picked up a courtesy car and headed to the shops for some provisions now that I had a working fridge again. Whilst I was gone Richard cleaned, cut, compounded, waxed and polished the hull on the two areas on the starboard side where the posts had been in the way. He was able to do this from the dock. On my return, after a short break, we got dink down from the davits and I held the dinghy away from the hull on the port side whilst Richard completed those two areas too. Afterwards we pulled the dinghy alongside the dock where we scrubbed, cleaned and protected him before returning it to the davits on the stern. Richard then put the dinghy back together – in terms of canvas / locks etc – whilst I worked on our cabin floor. Everything else was good but I wasn’t happy with this so I did it again….. Afterwards I locked the cabin door and exited via the heads so that we couldn’t inadvertently step on the floor – it also kept the smell isolated. While I was doing that Richard started on the topsides as there were a few very dirty areas that he wanted to get on top of now and, finally, we called it a day. We had a quiet night on board watching a pretty useless movie before retiring to bed to sleep in our stern cabin.

Overnight it rained really hard and the forecast for Queensland is abysmal. Autumn officially starts here on the 1 March so I guess summer is over sigh…….

So, in the light of the forecast, we probably don’t expect to see the riggers before next week now so it’s a good job we are booked into this berth until 7 March. So today, Wednesday, I’m back in the cruisers lounge blogging (and multi-tasking doing the laundry) whilst Richard is doing a complete engine service including oil change / filters etc.

So that’s it for now folks. We have been watching the devastating footage of the succession of storms at home and hope that you all are safe and well and suffered no damage to yourselves or your properties. Thinking of you all and sending lots of love and hugs – please take care of each other. This week’s Australian critter is a male lyrebird who, as well as being extravagantly coloured and feathered, clears patches of forest floor to prepare themselves a stage on which they sing and dance their complex songs in order to attract a mate. Another beautiful cutie that made me smile….


Week 2 on the hard at The Boatworks, Coomera

Tuesday morning (8 February) we were up early and did our first coat of Awlgrip paint on the bootstripe. We found it relatively easy to apply and were pretty pleased with our efforts. Phew, that was a relief.

Then we headed over to visit our mast which was being dismantled in the shop. It certainly looked very different and, of course, much bigger because some of it is usually hidden inside the boat through into the hull. We discussed service items and agreed for some items to be installed – such as a new windvane and VHF aerial. We also asked them to reroute the radar cables into the conduits….that will get rid of the annoying slapping inside the mast when rocking and rolling at anchor.

Back on board, Richard started taping up under the capping rail in preparation for varnishing. While he was doing this I worked on the stainless steel fittings that had been exposed by the mast coming off in readiness for it being reinstalled.

Later on we headed to the chandlery for supplies and organised a scissor lift for the weekend so that we could start working on the hull. The evening was spent, yet again, in the BBQ area with other cruisers living here in the yard.

Wednesday we applied the second coat on the bootstripe.

Then Richard sanded down and started varnishing under the capping rail plus he also gave the stainless steel in this area some care and attention.

During a short break, he then removed the teak steps off the companionway and I scrubbed them down with a special two-part teak cleaner. Was very surprised how dirty they actually were….

Whilst the teak steps were drying I picked up a courtesy car and headed out for a haircut and some more supplies. I’m tending to shop every few days at the minute as I do not want to take up too much room in the shared fridge in the liveaboard facilities – as we have no refrigeration whilst on the hard. And, yes, you guessed it, we had another social evening in the BBQ area as we all recovered from the working day. One thing I particularly love about this new area is the access to washers and dryers so we never have to have dirty clothes on board after a days graft – we wash them directly after showering each evening.

Thursday we did the third and final coat on the bootstripe and Richard finished the varnishing and stainless steel cleaning before starting work cleaning the stern. I then started servicing all the ports and the peek-a-boo blinds down below. After another busy day we had a BBQ dinner in company before retiring for an early night.

Friday morning the scissor lift was delivered to us. So first task was to remove the masking tape from the bootstripe now that it had completely dried. Using the scissor lift we then started on cleaning and compounding the hull. It was hard work but we managed to get most of it done by the time we called it a day.

During the day Nikki from the Boatworks had grabbed us from our work to deliver a complimentary meat tray to the BBQ area for the liveaboards for that evening. So we cooked and tucked into that along with Barbara and Russell’s granddaughters who were really funny plus others of course. Oh yes, and my hair really isn’t that short, I had just got out of the shower LOL.

Saturday we had another really early start and finished cutting and cleaning the hull. Then we went round again and waxed and polished it too….. This is hard physical work so we took some time out to have a late lunch at The Galley – obviously in the ‘cafe’ side rather than the ‘restaurant’ whilst pretty scruffy in our working clothes.

On return I continued on the ground level waxing and polishing the new bootstripe whilst Richard continued on the hull alone. I had had enough but he pushed on and managed to finish the job. We were both delighted with the results of our hard work. Morphie looks absolutely beautiful! Antifouling is next…..

Whilst I was in the cockpit and Richard was still working on the stern we were treated to the arrival of some Yank Tanks for a Garage 25 car meet. Was great fun to see them all from our elevated position, although someone should tell the owner of the beautiful VW beetle that he didn’t quality for this event LOL.

That evening we headed over to the BBQ area for a few drinks before bed – the area was really busy and all the BBQs were full of food so just as well we had eaten earlier… On the way we stopped off to check on SV Hurtle Turtle’s repairs and it certainly looks good. Never realised that this type of catamaran was plywood based under the gelcoat.

Sunday, finally, was a day of rest. Yay! We had been working really hard all week and needed a break from the physical labour of it all. So we had a leisurely start and then headed out to meet Sandra and Nigel at The Galley for a delicious lunch before returning to the liveaboard area for more drinks along with others so a fun time was had by all.

At one point the sky turned orange and then a torrential rain storm came through – the noise as it hit the tops of the metal sheds in the yard was truly incredible. Will never get used to the extremes of the Australian climate LOL.

Monday, I finished servicing the ports and peek-a-boos whilst Richard serviced the winches on the mast in the shed. It is really looking very nice with all its new stainless wire and fittings.

Richard then reinstated the saloon steps before cleaning the mast area on deck in preparation for the stepping of the mast the following day. So I headed out for more provisions whilst Richard painted the additional thru holes on the stern. They originally matched the cream gel coat colour but have worn back to their original white over the years so he decided to make them match – and they look amazing! Great idea….

Again, dodging very heavy rain showers, we headed to the BBQ area for our dinner before retiring to bed. And here it comes again….

Tuesday morning the mast returned to sit alongside Morphie on the hard. We closed hatches; took down the canvas; made sure the deck was clear and uncluttered and waited for the crane to arrive.

It turned up right on schedule at 9am and the team started to get ready to lift and install the mast. It was tricky and fiddly in places to get the mast into position as they had to line it up through the hole in the deck down into the keel (through the heads) – but they finally got it in place and then reinserted the pin through the mast into the deck.

Where the mast goes in the heads…
…having passed through the coachroof first

As the crane was finally detached from the mast they smashed our mast-mounted steaming light but they will replace idc. Next Monday (21 February) we are due to ‘splash’ back into the marina and, right now, it looks like we are on target so fingers crossed for only a few more days up the stairs.

This morning, Wednesday, the riggers returned to do a few more bits and pieces, and they reinstated the genoa and the staysail so Morphie is starting to look like a sailboat once again!

Richard is currently underneath the hull preparing the antifoul for it’s spa treatment whilst I’m blogging in the saloon. My next job for the day is to clean the mainsail before it goes back on tomorrow, fingers crossed, if the wind behaves….

So that’s it for now – please take care and continue to look after each other. Sending lots of love and hugs home to you all. I decided against an Australian cutie this week because I thought it was time you met more of Australia’s weird and wonderful critters instead. So today’s offering is an Aye Aye, which is a long-fingered lemur with rodent-like teeth that perpetually grow and a special thin middle finger. Who knew that lemurs – even ugly scary looking ones – lived in Australia too? Definitely a face only a mother could love LOL.


Week 1 on the hard at The Boatworks, Coomera

Monday morning (31 January) we were up really early, filled up with water and disconnected from the shore power before returning the courtesy car (all by 7am). We were then invited over – a bit earlier than expected – but we were ready so we slipped our lines and slowly reversed out into the river before motoring forward into the slings of the travel lift. The guys who operate this monster machine are really careful by deftly wielding massive boat hooks to keep us centrally positioned. They then tightened the slings onto Morphie and we used our dock lines to tie the front slings back to our cockpit winches. This is just a precaution to stop them from slipping which could be possible due to our fine entry keel. Job done we were then lifted slowly up out of the river and, once we were suspended over the land, they put up the stairs for us to get off.

We climbed down and watched Morphie move to the wash down area. So we stopped off for a cooling milk shake before walking back and watched her being given a high-pressure wash. The guys were worried that by using strong pressure the paint on the boot stripe – which was very dirty from being in the river – might peel off. We said go ahead we’re replacing it anyway! Actually it did peel off quite badly in places but considering this boot stripe was painted in 2012 we had had our money’s worth!

Afterwards we followed the boat lift through the yard (which always feels like a funeral procession somehow) to the liveaboard working yard near to Garage 25. This is a brand new area with great facilities including washers / driers / en-suites / kitchen / microwave / air conditioning / BBQs and sitting area and, most importantly for those of us out of the water, the use of a shared fridge. We were quickly positioned and tied down into our cradle. So, phew, big sigh of relief all had gone well.

Checking the place out, we were a bit shocked to see SV Hurtle Turtle (who we had met earlier in the season) on the hard with a huge crack and damage along one of her hulls. We have since found out that they had anchored in the Brisbane River for New Year’s Eve and, at 3am the following morning, a large powerboat had reversed into them hard and then drove off. The owners contacted the water police – who were luckily already patrolling – and the perpetrators were caught. Assuming that alcohol was involved plus the fact that they had left the scene of an accident (without even checking if the poor people onboard were safe and well) they should have the book thrown at them. But that doesn’t help poor Hurtle Turtle whilst she languishes on the hard being cut open to be repaired…..sigh…… What a nightmare for the owners!

Later on we headed to the BBQ area and met for the first time, Russell & Barb (SV Happy Hour) and Alison & Randall (SV Tregoning) and had a nice social evening together. Here I am, freshly showered, cooking up a storm….

Tuesday morning we were up at 5.30 am as there was little wind and the rigging guys were due to remove our main sail. They turned up at 6am and when it was off the boat we flaked it and bagged it. The guys told us that the crane would be along at 9.30 am to remove the mast so we headed to Garage 25 – which we can see from the cockpit in our elevated position – and had breakfast.

We saw the crane arrive so walked back to Morphie and watched as the guys worked hard undoing all the fastenings that held our genoa furler, our staysail furler and our main mast in situ. They removed the whisker pole first, followed by the boom, then they climbed the mast to secure the crane’s hook and, finally, it was time to pull the mast out.

This was the first time we had seen this done to Morphie so I watched very anxiously but Richard was completely laid back about the whole situation as though he had done it a thousand times before LOL. Was very relieved when everything was secure and on the ground. Poor Morphie looked quite different naked!

This was completed by 10.15 am on a heatwave day with temperatures sitting at 35 degrees but feeling more like 40+ with the incredibly high humidity levels. Pretty horrible conditions to be honest and even the locals were struggling. So we took ourselves off to the Cruisers Lounge to do some admin-type work so that we could get some respite from the heat in the air-conditioned environment. On the way back we had to run for it to avoid getting soaked by the fast-approaching bad weather system.

Back to Morphie, with all fans at full blast, we did a bit of a spring clean and started to re-organise ourselves down below. We received a weather warning for severe, damaging, thunderstorms but luckily they circled us rather than coming too close. Phew!

Wednesday morning it remained hot and humid despite the overnight storms and heavy rain. So we had a lazy start and then breakfast at Garage 25. We turned our attention to the back cabin and did a bit of a spring clean there too. Then I turned my attention to the cockpit whilst Richard cleaned up the engine. And what a grand job he did too….. Morphie is looking absolutely marvellous after all this love and attention – here are a couple of interior shots to check out.

That evening we headed over to the BBQ area again….. We didn’t have any company but, as we were so exhausted from the day’s endeavours and the draining impact of the heat, we came back to the boat straight after dinner for an early night.

Thursday morning we headed down to the Galley for breakfast before a trip to the chandlery for some bits and pieces. Back on board, Richard started the toilet conversion job. We have been using fresh water for quite a while, utilising the shower hose, but now it was time to convert it properly. This was not as simple as it sounded as it required some floor cutting and some plumbing as part of the process. So I decided to leave him to it and got a courtesy car for a couple of hours so headed into town to top up on fresh food. Oh yes and, of course, this was all in the pouring rain! Looking like a drowned rat on return to the boat, I checked out progress and he was doing well although we needed to buy an in-line tap, so looked like a trip to Bunnings was in my near future. Oh joy…

Friday morning I concentrated on cleaning the toilet whilst it was off the boat, so I was able to use bleach-based products – which we don’t use onboard due to the risk of damaging the cream-coloured gelcoat. So I was in my element scrubbing away with a toothbrush. Richard then put it all together in preparation for the final installation which will happen once the mast has been dropped back in. So not in situ but looks pretty good!

In the afternoon we picked up a courtesy UTE for the weekend and headed out to get some pizza for tea – the cook was given a night off, yay! The traffic was awful virtually at a standstill and, as we crawled alongside the M1 on a parallel road, we saw numerous emergency vehicles and cloths strategically placed to shield the situation from rubber neckers. We quickly realised this was very serious and, sadly, we found out later than a motorcyclist had died at the scene. So a local family were about to receive some heart breaking news…really terrible. A bit subdued we returned to the BBQ area where we ate our pizza before retiring for the night.

Saturday morning it was so windy we could feel the boat rocking despite sitting in a secured heavy-duty cradle. That was definitely a first! We made sure everything was secured before carrying on clearing out and Richard persuaded me to throw a few things away. We had carried our old sails as spares half way around the world in the lazarette, just in case, and have never used them for anything. So I agreed to bin them along with some other stuff he had dug out. On a roll he then persuaded me to consolidate my shoe supply which I did. After that he had a manic gleam in his eye so I refused to play his ‘love it or launch it’ game anymore as he had obvious designs on my wardrobe! And that was about it for the day apart from dinner in the BBQ area followed by a quiet night onboard.

Sunday morning, around 7am, we were laying in bed considering getting up to hear lots of loud engine noises. And, of course, it was Garage 25 having a car meet. So we enjoyed breakfast in the cockpit checking all the cars from above – didn’t fancy going down to mingle with the crowds. Then I heard oriental music and realised that there were dancing dragons too – presumably to celebrate Chinese New Year – so that was quite fun to watch. Boy do the Australians love their cars or what?!?

Later on we washed the hull down and cleaned the bootstripe in preparation for the following day. Then we made the most of having transport by doing a bit of shopping for some fresh provisions and a trip to the local Bunnings, of course.

In the evening we headed over to the BBQ area but it was pretty busy with Tony (the owner of the whole site) and a crowd of people – assuming family and friends. Not wanting to disturb this social event we sat quietly in the kitchen chatting and having sundowners. We were invited to join the crowd outside to eat but we didn’t want to jellyfish into their private gathering – but they insisted we shared some of their food so brought us a plate in each to try which was very generous of them! Eventually we returned to Morphie in a break from incessant heavy rain and had a quiet night in.

Today, Monday, and the weather has changed. Yay! The temperature has dropped quite a bit and it is largely dry with just the occasional shower threatening. So Richard taped up the boot stripe whilst I cleaned all the stainless steel fittings on the mast that are not due to be being replaced. When we were both at a decent juncture we headed over to Garage 25 for breakfast.

Back to work I finished the stainless steel cleaning before climbing back up to the saloon to blog whilst Richard started sanding down the boot stripe.

Tomorrow, providing it is dry, we’ll try our hand at painting. Not something we’ve done before but the specialist paint guy in the chandlery has been very helpful in talking us through the process to follow and we’re hopeful we can achieve a good finish. Wish us luck!

So that’s it for our week here in The Boatworks. The introduction of a liveaboard area has made such a difference to us. Living up on the hard is always a bit of a trial not least because of the heat and the lack of shade but the facilities here are so great that, to be honest, this really isn’t that bad. But, obviously, peeing in a bucket is not my most favourite pastime during the night LOL. We expect to be up in the air for another couple of weeks yet but at least the list of jobs is reducing a bit each day….

Bye for now and sending lots of love and hugs to you all. My Australian cutie for today, to make you smile, is another of their amazing unique creatures. So I give you a beautifully-coloured Robin which is found in the state of Victoria. Who would have thought that our red-breasted friends would have had Aussie rellies looking like this?


Family fun in NSW (part 2) and our return to Queensland

Friday morning (21 January) we headed out to North Avoca beach but, of course, the minute we left the winds picked up and the rain started. So we ended up checking out the beach (again) but it was pretty inhospitable and remained officially closed…..so after some fooling around getting a bit chilly we got back in the cars and drove back home.

Early evening we all headed into Terrigal to go to the local Indian restaurant, The Grand Pavilion, where we had a reservation for dinner. We managed to get both cars parked up in the multi-storey and were all a bit surprised by how busy the town was.

Luckily the restaurant has an area which is open to the air on an outside balcony (although protected from the elements by a roof) so this was the position we preferred to sit to minimise the risk of covid infection – although, to be honest, the restaurant remained very very quiet all evening so people were definitely showing signs of being more cautious about indoor venues as the Omicron variant continued to spread swiftly through the region. We had a lovely evening – belatedly celebrating the two January birthdays for Jamie and me – and thoroughly enjoyed our curry. This is by far the best Indian restaurant we have found in Australia and we’ll definitely be back!

Saturday morning we headed out early to see Adam play cricket for his team. They all looked so professional in their outfits and clearly supported each other despite the very marked difference in their abilities – although have to say wasn’t impressed that their coach turned up late and seemingly didn’t even bother to keep the score leaving it up to the opposition. But Jamie stepped in to start with and they had some catching practice before the match started. During the match Adam played brilliantly, hit a few sixes although did look a bit worried when one of the balls was coming straight at us…we just yelled at him to keep running LOL. He even managed to bowl someone out with the last ball of the final over. A great team effort and they clearly deserved the win despite being short-handed at the end. So very proud of this sporty young man!

Jack had initially come with us to the ground but had left half way into the match as he had another birthday event to go to. He certainly has a lot of friends and gets lots of invites and it is lovely that he has made so many friends both at his new High School and others that he was in junior school with. He is turning into a fine young man! This event was a paintballing party and he was very excited about it, but was definitely a bit uncertain whether we were being serious or not when we warned him that it actually hurt to get shot by those things LOL.

After the cricket Richard and I headed to the large mall at Erina as we wanted to buy the new version of Uno called Uno Flip. We managed to hunt one down and then returned to the house where we then played a new word game called ‘Bananagrams’ with Hayley and Jamie – it was a very hard fought close run thing.

We then tried Uno Flip. OMG this version is just pure evil. At one point there was just us and Adam playing and Richard made me pick up 13 cards and then it was poor Adam’s turn who had to pick up more cards than he could physically handle! But we turned the tables and ganged up against Richard and made him pay. Was a lot of fun…..

Jack eventually returned from his party pretty bruised and tired but he had thoroughly enjoyed himself so that was really good. He was completely full of it when he got back but was way too tired to join in with the board games. After dinner we all settled down to watch the Australian Open tennis on the TV which was pretty good despite some rowdy crowd behaviour – encouraged by the antics of some of the players to be fair – it definitely wasn’t Wimbledon LOL.

Sunday morning, third time lucky, we tried North Avoca beach again. Yay, it was open and wasn’t too busy. The surf remained quite high but not too strong for me to give it a go this time…. So we left Jack at our beach camp (as he was still feeling a bit tired and sore from the day before) and we all played in the waves for a while. I couldn’t get to my feet in time when I got swept up the beach by the surf before the next wave hit but found that if I dived through the next pounding wave or two and swam out until I could touch the bottom I didn’t have to struggle trying to stand up against the surf. Was great fun and we were so pleased to finally enjoy this beautiful beach. After all that exertion we stayed on the beach catching a few rays. Had been a lovely last family trip out as this was our final day in New South Wales sadly – couldn’t believe how quickly the time had gone!

On return to the house Hayley and I took over the kitchen and we cooked a full English roast beef dinner with all the trimmings and we all thoroughly enjoyed the taste of home before relaxing for a quiet evening in.

Monday morning and we were up really early, said our sad farewells to the family, and were on the road by 7am on a cloudy but clear day, although we did get caught out by some biblical rain storms along the route. We made a couple of rest stops along the way and enjoyed the drive covering almost 492 miles in around eight hours arriving back onboard at 4pm. Could you imagine driving from London to Edinburgh in eight hours on UK roads?!? It just wouldn’t be possible….

There was little traffic about apart from the normal New South Wales bottlenecks at Newcastle and Coffs Harbour and the minute we arrived into Queensland, particularly on the Gold Coast, where the traffic is usually much busier anyway. Was strange to just drive across the interstate border with no restrictions whatsoever after such a long time – but a very welcome relief that there were no barriers this time. Back onboard Morphie we got ourselves unpacked quickly and had a quiet night in.

Tuesday morning Richard headed out in our hire car around 7am as we had heard that our original USA-made Worthington gas bottles had been recertified in our absence and were ready for collection. Very happy – we had failed to find someone to do this for us ever since they went out of date a few years ago – which is why we had to buy some NZ bottles to tide us over. But now we have the originals recertified to 2032 so really pleased as these can lay down in the locker as originally intended and can now be refilled as they have the appropriate Australian markings on them.

Whilst Richard was out I picked up our booked courtesy car and arranged to meet him back on board around 9am – by which time I had done some provisioning – and then we both drove to the car rental place to drop the car off. Back at the Boatworks, Richard dropped me off then took the courtesy car to Bunnings as he had thought of a few things that he desperately needed and couldn’t do without LOL. Actually, seriously, he wanted to upgrade our step-down transformer box by inserting a couple of vents to keep the transformer cool but also wanted to add an external weather-proof Australian power socket to the box so that 240V electrical equipment could be plugged in directly as Morphie is 110V when plugged into shore power. Great idea and he did an excellent job!

We then had another quiet night in as we were both a little jaded from the previous day’s road trip. In the afternoon we were lucky enough to have been able to secure another courtesy car as the boatyard still remains really quiet which meant we had one for the public holiday on Wednesday. Was expecting this place to be really busy by now so not quite sure why it is so quiet but certainly not complaining…..

Wednesday morning it was the official national day of Australia. This is observed annually on 26 January marking the 1788 landing of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove and the raising of the Union Flag. In present-day Australia, celebrations aim to reflect the diverse society and landscape of the nation and are marked by community and family events.

Sadly it was cloudy and drizzly so not a great day to be out and about. Around lunchtime we headed down to Sanctuary Cove as there was a live band advertised at the Tavern but, when we got there, it was really busy and we felt uncomfortable with the amount of people around so we didn’t stop. We then headed to Hope Island and had a drink on the balcony of the Tavern there but it started getting really busy so we quickly left.

We then tried out the new Blue Water Bar and Grill and had an excellent meal at reasonable prices – and we were even treated to live music at the same time – so a great time was finally had by all.

Thursday morning we had a leisurely start having already returned the courtesy car very early by 7 am. We spent the rest of a miserable wet and grey day in the cruisers lounge whilst we did all our laundry and some admin / Netflix downloads. Back on board we were visited by the trades to start preparing the boat for the mast to be removed next week when we are scheduled to be up on the hard – so genoa and staysail were removed, flaked and bagged. All of the rigging was prepped – pins removed, whisper pole removed, vang removed, lines returned to the mast etc – and we were ready. Just the main to do but we asked them not to do this too soon as, when the sail is removed, the foil inside the mast bangs when the boat rocks and rolls around. As we are on the river here and affected by a lot of boat traffic – particularly jetskis and tinny rats – we really didn’t fancy too many sleepless nights and annoying our neighbours! That evening we just had another quiet one on board.

Friday morning we were visited by the electrician at 7am who came and disconnected everything at the base of the mast in preparation for it to be pulled out of the boat next week. Of course, prior to everything being disconnected, we proved that all things were operational like lights / radar / VHF / SSB etc.

After the electrician had left we spent most of the day down below getting on with some admin stuff on the computer until 4pm when we picked up another courtesy car for the weekend. We then headed into the Westfield Mall at Coomera Town Centre for some bits and pieces and were surprised to see that the local chemist actually had supplies of Rapid Antigen Tests so we picked up a few more of those….talk about lucky timing or what?!?

Saturday morning we had a very early start and walked to the Superyacht area of the Boatworks and wandered around looking at the supercars – this was the starting point of the inaugural Sunset Supercar rally – so here are a few car photos for those petrol heads out there.

We enjoyed the event, despite getting rained on a few times, before returning to Morphie for breakfast. Oh yes and I wanted to give you an update on Budd. He remains a bit poorly having now had an allergic reaction to some of his medication but thankfully can confirm he is definitely improving although he still has a “sad” face and spends a lot of his time sleeping….. Sending love and hugs to you Buddy boy.

Later in the morning we headed over to visit Tim and Naoko at home in Upper Coomera as we hadn’t seen them since we left to go cruising the east coast last year. We had a great afternoon with them before returning to Morphie for a quiet night and, of course, completely forgot to take any photos. Doh!!

This morning, Sunday, we headed out again to do some more shopping and enjoyed driving through the assorted muscle cars at Garage 25 on the way out of the yard – and Richard made me laugh hysterically when he started making loud ‘vroom vroom’ noises as we drove our modest borrowed i20 amongst the huge supercharged noisy engines. This is the one we followed out….

Shopping done – just fresh fruit and vegetables needed – we then came back to Morphie and I’m down below blogging whilst Richard is spring cleaning our cabin. Have to say we are not looking forward to hauling out of the water tomorrow morning – always a bit stressful – and living up in the air for up to three weeks. But we have a lot to do – from repainting the boot stripe; antifoul; prop speed; complete engine service; converting the head to fresh water flush; complete wash, wax and polish of hull and topsides alike; greasing the through holes; some internal varnishing; and other general maintenance and checks. And that’s without other things that keep appearing on our ‘to do’ lists….. Plus of course the complete new standard rigging being done. So nothing exciting but, despite the hard work, it always feels good to give Morphie the love and attention she deserves having looked after us so well over the season.

So that’s it for now folks. Sending lots of love and hugs to you all, please stay safe and look after each other. And, to make you smile, my Australian cutie this week is a throwback to last year when we watched this nest of baby turtles hatch at Mon Repos and make their way to the sea. Doesn’t get much better than that!