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!

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