Tied to a dock in Coomera…

Friday morning it was cloudy and windy with rain in the air. During the morning showers we took the chance to sort out down below so that finally all manner of things were tidied away. With two headsails; the liferaft; grab bag; and other miscellaneous items relocated to the aft cabin (our ‘garage’) the saloon looked much better. Sadly we no longer have rugs on the floor though as the backing deteriorated on the old ones so we dumped them before we left Morphie in December. The intention was to purchase new ones for the saloon but guess they are not ‘essential supplies’ right now. Having cleared the space so that we could actually see the floor we then did a bit of a spring clean.

In the afternoon we ‘spot’ cleaned the topsides to eliminate some dirty and rusty marks and then thoroughly scrubbed the topsides with boatwash and Morphie looked much better.

We finished this just before the afternoon showers and, of course, once the rain had cleared the annoying biting midges came out to play. So we retreated down below for a quiet evening in front of a great box set.

Saturday morning neither of us felt very motivated by our list of boat jobs so we decided to have a lazy weekend. We sat in the cockpit and watched the traffic – rocking side to side or nodding vigorously as every vessel passed us and watched the mayhem that is an Australian leisure weekend up the river LOL. Jetskis were going around at top speed so they were pretty annoying like bees constantly buzzing and seemed to particularly love doing 360s in front of the piers. Then there were two motorboats that came in under tow – one had sunk (OMG!!) whilst the other had engine problems. And then there were the fishermen trolling and the small tinny boats taking families out for a day in the sun with some big boys from the marina going out to play too. Was absolutely mad although we enjoyed our leisure activity of people watching. After sundowners in the cockpit we headed down below for some peace and quiet which was just as well as the heavens opened and there was heavy rain throughout the night. Here’s the view from our stern…

Sunday morning we had another lazy day ahead of us. Here’s the view from our bow…

Richard decided to treat me to breakfast so headed to the Galley for a take-away. I caught him on camera on his return as he was modelling one of our newly-designed rash shirts and very smart he looked too. Thank you Laura (customsailingshirts.com).

We felt guilty taking another day off so actually did do a few bits and pieces and cleaned up the stainless on the topsides. The stanchions and outer rails will wait for another day – they are definitely on the long list of jobs we have compiled. The recreational madness continued and was quite fun to watch so long as you hung on tightly as you rocked and rolled LOL. Clearly the Queenslanders do not consider social distancing measures need to be adhered to when it comes down to leisure and boating activities at the weekends. There were even boats having BBQs plus a few social get togethers ashore.

Monday morning we had another courtesy car so quickly headed to the nearest Coles for some fresh produce. Social distancing measures had strengthened over the weekend and we were relieved that we managed to do a fresh fruit and vegetable run with very little interaction. The staff even disinfected the trolley before we used it and were disinfecting self-service tills after each customer. Many shops in the mall had now ‘temporarily closed’ so it was clear that the economic impact of the virus was just starting to bite – and, like many other countries, the Australian government had taken measures to secure employment by offering payments to employers to enable them to maintain their workforce whilst we are living in this strange new world.

Back on board we scrubbed all the non-skid areas on the topsides and washed them off. Then we applied Woody Wax and, once it had air dried, we washed off the residue. This process brings these areas back nicely and doesn’t leave them slippery so pretty happy with this product.

In the evening we just lazed around, read books and caught up online. What made sad reading are the numbers of UK nationals who are stuck here in Australia with little or no practical official help. Our Government have sent rescue flights to people that are in some remote areas, eg Peru. However limited commercial flights are continuing to fly home to the UK so the official advice is just to book one of these. But the prices are absolutely ridiculous – from £1500 for a single economy ticket and we have seen some more than double that. Most travellers have lost their original flights (nor have received any refunds yet) and, with additional living costs, many of them are up against it financially. I recognise that people, especially in stressful situations, have very high (and to be fair often unrealistic) expectations of what governments can achieve but all the UK really need to do is to subsidise the costs of the commercial flights through an arrangement direct with the airlines so that people could actually afford them and get home. It’s really not rocket science. Rant over! Just very grateful that we are not in that situation.

Tuesday we started on the topsides with restorer wax which removed blemishes and deoxidisation and she came up really well.

Took us a while with all the fiddly bits on the coachroof and it was the first time we had used the new polisher but we were pretty happy with the result. But, of course, the process leaves dust everywhere so we had to finish off our day with rinsing down and drying off by hand. Phew was a pretty hard day particularly in the heat and fierce sun.So we ended up with another early night and consequently slept very well. The nights here are quite cool so it’s quite pleasant with just a sheet covering us.

Wednesday morning we were working on the bits that we couldn’t do with the polisher and cut and polished those by hand. At this point Jody and Steve turned up on Enavigo. They anchored in the river and came ashore – they had some spares they wanted to get plus their outboard needed attention. We maintained social distancing and chatted to them from our cockpit whilst they were on the dock. It felt very strange and was sad that we couldn’t catch up properly over a glass of wine. Oh well, never mind….. Anyway, it was nice to see them for a while.

During the day the Queensland Covid-19 restrictions tightened. National parks and areas of natural beauty (including their shorelines) were closed and no recreational boating was allowed. The exceptions were fishing for food and for exercise reasons like stand-up paddleboarding. And it was apparent to us that this meant no sailing from anchorage to anchorage. Various liveaboards online were saying they should be treated differently and that this didn’t make any sense for them but, to us, it was very clear. A liveaboard means your boat is your home – the message is ‘stay home’ – and only go out for essential supplies / medical appointments etc and exercise social distancing whilst out and about. The arguments continue but have little merit. Our view is that they should find a safe anchorage (or pay to go into a marina) and stay there other than for essential reasons. Some people could come unstuck as large fines are being threatened by the water police.

This morning, Thursday, and we got up early and waxed and polished the topsides. We managed to get it finished by noon before the heat of the day. Morphie is definitely enjoying this love and attention. Doesn’t she look pretty! So we are just relaxing now and tomorrow will be another day of boat jobs in isolation.

We would like to remind all our family and friends to take care of themselves. We love you, miss you, so please stay safe. Bye for now