Monday, 31 October 2016

A Little South

Marine Stadium anchorage
The name of this place - Southport - belies the fact that we have hardly moved south at all.  Having traveled only three hours from Horizon Shores through tortuous, crowded and very shallow channels, we have arrived at the marine stadium anchorage.  We are in the middle of a busy resort area and only two miles from the exit of these inner waters out to the open ocean.

The anchorage is well protected from weather from all directions and a short dinghy ride allows access to shops, cinemas and even a theme park.  The more general area of which Southport is part - the Gold Coast - is a popular vacation area for Australians and New Zealanders.  For us, it is an excellent place to wait for good offshore weather for the two-night sail down to Port Stevens, our next stop south along the coast.

As is often the case when we want to sail somewhere, the wind is contrary; and so we wait. We want two to three days of fair weather so as to complete our passage non-stop. We do not feel we have the time to add many stopping places and the ports along the coast all have shallow river bars which complicate the timing and complexity of their access.  A suitable period is forecast to begin in a day or two.  It will be followed by a southerly gale so our timing must be precise.

The time spent waiting is not objectionable in the least.  The scene is endlessly entertaining with the human activity of beach-goers on the surrounding shore and the natural activity of the local creatures.  Large pelicans aviate ponderously across the shallows while mother ducks tour among the boats proudly showing off their brood.

Last night was Halloween. The accompanying photo shows how trick-or-treating is done on the water.  Pirate costumes are of course in order!  The social life includes visits to and being visited by nearby foreign boats - each of us advertising our origin with a prominent national ensign flown from the stern.  So far we have met two New Zealand crews and the family of a French boat from New Caledonia.

Zazie from New Caledonia
Zazie's crew
Of course, just so it doesn't appear to be all fun and play, I again mention the topic of boat maintenance:  Just completed projects have included the planned treating and repainting the bottom of a large locker to eliminate a small area of corrosion.

As well, two days ago the incredibly loud and always unexpected bilge alarm announced that water was rising inside our boat.  Tasting the bilge water (not salty) told us that we were in no danger of sinking. A hurried search around all the fresh water plumbing soon yielded up the leaky fitting. A half-hour of fiddling then replaced the faulty item with a new one from our spares kit to put things right.   The work (and the fun) continue!

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Our new dodger

Our new dodger by East Coast Trimmers
We're so pleased with the new dodger - made within two days by East Coast Trimmers it is a truly marvellous aquisition! As mentioned in our previous posting, the last dodger shepherded us through at least 80,000 nautical miles. 'She' was knocked down (along with us!) on her very first long trip away from Australia and suffered damage which I repaired. We thought we could never get another GOOD SAILOR as she had proved to be, but we were wrong (alas - we often find ourselves in this position!).

The new dodger is a miracle of measuring, artistry and technology. She has miraculous new windows which are UV resistant as are the threads used in her construction. I had to re-stitch the old one numerous times. Her reinforcing is of grey chafe-resistant suede and the beige Sunbrella (the ONLY fabric that's used in hard-wearing marine environments) zips onto and matches the sunshade we had made 10 years ago.

The only trouble is that I need to varnish some woodwrok under the dodger ... and Larry and I don't want to remove it ... ever!

Our dodger will move when needed (like the last one - which was damaged in the knockdown!) It's less scary to know that the dodger (which is relatively high up in the boat) can move around, It seems better to lose the dodger than to have such a rigid structure that it takes some essential part of the boat with it (like the companionway hatch). A lot of people have more permanent dodgers made and installed on their boats - usually out of fibreglass - but although we fully expect never to be in the position again of having a knockdown, we like our dodgers to be able to move.

Our thanks to Rod Watts (owner of East Coast Trimmers) and to Jason Chancellor for the wonderful and timely work. You surpassed our expectations!
Jason Chancellor & Rodney Watts

Rod Watts

Monday, 24 October 2016

Horizon Shores Marina

We're in the middle of a convoluted waterway near Brisbane but far from any public transport or train station so we can only leave by foot or by taking a $35 taxi trip to the nearest train station.

Our boat has a 2.2m draft - yikes!
The convoluted waterway
tied to the fuel dock
Why did we choose this marina? This is where the sailmaker we selected to make our sprayhood (dodger) has his business. It's 7a.m. and Rod and his assistant Jason are currently outside measuring and taking notes on the job. The dodger (sprayhood in England) is the covering over the steps which lead down into the boat from the cockpit. It plays a vital role in keeping the watch-person comfortable (and dry) offshore. If it's well-made, you don't need to wear outer raingear or warm clothes to stand out there and keep watch.

waterfront home
When we got to Australia 10 years ago, our first dodger (constructed in Victoria in 2001) had failed. We had one made here - and it did the job brilliantly for about 80,000 nautical miles. We hope Rod and Jason can make one just as good. They're using real leather and Sunbrella - the colours may not 'match' perfectly, but we hope for a 'GOOD SAILOR'.

Horizon Shores restraurant
puzzle of Vernazza, Italy
People start work early here. Businesses don't officially open until 8:30 or 9, but trades-people and people who have to be out in the sun (like Rod) tend to start as early as 5a.m. There are not many liveaboards here - the marina restaurant closes at 3p.m. and there are few people around our dock. Yesterday I only saw 3 people walk down the ramp to our section of docks, and none of them came anywhere near.

Casey with 'goody bag'
Natalie and Casey
I include a photo of the 1,000 piece jigsaw we spent a whole day obsessing over. It passed the time quickly during the one day we anchored out. I'm sure neighbours around us wondered if we'd murdered each other!

I'm including a few photos of Horizon Shores. We had a lovely welcome at the office where we met Natalie and Casey.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

The Shag Islet Cruising Yacht Club

Before we leave Raby Bay, I wanted to say a few words about a sailing association with the rather relaxed name of The Shag Islet Cruising Yacht Club (BTW -  a Shag is a type of common cormorant Down Under, and there's an actual Shag Islet somewhere further north). We joined the club when we were here six years ago - stayed in touch with friend Ken (who started the club about 7 years ago) for several years and renewed our interest when we reached Townsville and spent time with Club officer Michael Johnson on SV 'Pleasure'.

ANYONE can join who has an interest in the marine environment. When we joined, it was simply a social club and we had wandered into the Shag's Breath Cafe across from our dock here at Raby Bay. Ken and wife Rhonda Thackeray started it after he was refused entrance to a more traditional Yacht Club because he was not an officer of a reciprocating club. Now everyone in the club is an officer - I'm Vice-Commodore in Tuwanek Point, BC and Larry is the V.C. of Pirate's Cove, BC.

Joining the SICYC (2010)  with Rhonda and Ken
Since starting the club, they branched out and now have members world-wide. However, the most fantastic effort they have made has been to start donating all funds to help research into Prostate Cancer. So far this year, they have raised the astounding amount of $105,000!

Over several weeks on Wednesday nights, we've joined the fun ... we  just wanted to thank the club for their hospitality and to commend them for their good works!

The Hog's Breath Cafe in Raby Bay

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Fun at Raby Bay Marina

The Marina office
We've been tied up here for a month ... it's a lovely spot with restaurants, grocery stores and excellent walks around the area. During this time, I went back to Ontario Canada for 15 days to visit family and friends. Meanwhile, Larry had to go in to have surgery and correct a 'man's problem'. He's gradually recovering but isn't allowed to carry anything heavy. So our new friends (and former Canadian compatriots) here are helping us out ... so far we've been driven around to Costco for supplies and invited for dinner to the lovely home of  Charlotte and Dave (SV Walkabout).

View of restaurants and businesses from Trav III

We met the 'Walkabouts' at the Wednesday night get-together of the Shag Islet Cruising Yacht Club here at the Hog's Breath Cafe just steps from where we're docked. We joined this club and got the T-shirt six years ago when we accidentally wandered into the Wednesday Club night. We'll be writing more about the club in succeeding blogs. Also in our photos with us are Tony and Marianne - she's a Canadian from Sudbury.. She and Tony have a lovely set-up nearby - actually within view of Traversay. Their condo overlooks the canal on which their boat is tied up.

I've started to do some 'serious' writing about our trip ... so far I've sent an article about the Rules/Regs for entering OZ to 'Currents' - the on-line magazine for the Bluewater Cruising Association.

'Shaggers' Wednesday night event
Charlotte's garden
Last weekend we went to see the excellent Tom Hanks movie 'Sully' about the airline Captain who landed his airplane on the Hudson River (with zero fatalities). We happened to meet up with Susan and Rick Carroll and as he's a retired Air Traffic Controller the conversation veered  towards the movie and the actuial event. The conversation became very protracted - we met the Carroll's son-in-law Matt and we'll be meeting the extended family on Sunday. Matt has extensive links to the sailing community. We're hoping to borrow this family's muscles on Sunday to help move the old chain off our boat and to move the new chain on as Larry won't be able to lift anything heavy for some time yet.

Susan and Rick Carroll

Charlotte in her garden

Fish pond