Saturday, 27 April 2013

Ready for the water

HMAS Wollongong - the cause of the bother



Weather delays

Delayed again. There is a system coming across the Coral Sea which is due to cross the coast near here on Wednesday. It's unlikely to be a cyclone but it's not unknown at this time of year - however, ocean water temperatures are declining at a rapid rate and, as cyclones need warm water to develop, it's not expected to develop beyond a tropical low.
Still, it's probably going to bring some strong winds and rain and who needs that?!! Especially as when one leaves here all the anchorages are ho-hum at best and strictly shelter from the SE wind only. It's only when one arrives at Lizard Is. that the anchorage is more secure.
So, we'll wait until it blows over - probably Thursday or Friday - and then go and be wafted north on gentle southerly zephyrs - yeah right!!
Keep watching the blogsite for more fascinating news!!!!!
Cheers and love from us
Jim and Jean (Gina)
P.S. In case anyone was wondering, the reason we had to vacate the boatyard when X-Rays were being taken wasn't because of any military secrecy but rather that they belatedly decided we were inside the safe radiation radius. Mostly a case of covering their backsides.

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Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Tiare Taporo III back in the water and getting ready to go

Hi to all,
We hauled out at Norship Boatyard in Smiths Creek on 11/04 and resigned ourselves to a week out of the water.
The day before we left Bluewater and travelled about 13 miles up the Trinity Inlet to a mooring we had been offered by Jim and Liz of "Skybird 1".
When leaving the marina we encountered "Scorpio" ( Kevin and Melody). When Kevin saw us as we passed he exposed his upper body which is a magnificent example of North Queensland gastronomics! Jean entered into the spirit of the occasion and (wearing a halter top and teeshirt) she gave a wonderful broadside in the great Godzone tradition. Melody laughed but poor old Kevin couldn't cope and covered his eyes and rushed inside!!
We continued to the Trinity Inlet and moored to Jim and Liz's mooring. That night it really blew up and we had 29 knots at one stage. Neither of us got much sleep and we had to be off the Norship slipway in Smiths Creek by 0730 - so an early start which neither of us felt much like.
Anyway, the haulout was without incident and we were soon waterblasted and deposited in our home for the next 7 days. The weekend was spent scraping and sanding and the biggest job was getting rid of the boot top and prepping that to carry the new antifouling up to the new waterline. We bought some paint stripper and away we went. Apart from all that we had the engine serviced and had Cameron of Milton Shipwrighting install a bronze strainer over our engine water intake. We'd never had a strainer before but felt that going to Indonesia with all the plastic pollution there it would be prudent to install one rather than have plastic bags in our saltwater pump.
On the Sunday (14/04) we were approached by Norship and told that we would have to vacate the yard from 1800 to 0200 as HMAS Wollongong which was also in the yard was having its hull X-Rayed that night. At first they refused to provide any financial assistance so we said we would refuse to go. It wasn't long before they capitulated and guaranteed to meet our reasonable costs. The Wollongong is an Armidale Class patrol vessel and only 6 years old. Her and her sisters have all had issues with corrosion and unexpected leaks and Wollongong had in fact been launched a few days before when they discovered the new leak! So, there she was in the yard again and we were out on our ear.
Together with Ian and Janelle off a catamaran called "Even Bet" we got ourselves a taxi and booked into a local hotel/motel called Balaclava. It was very 2nd. rate and it took the cake when roused out of a very deep exhausted sleep at 2300 by a thunderous knocking on our door we beheld a young cop who announced that there had been a break in at the Dan Murphys liquor store next door and wanted to know whether we had "seen anything"!!!!! He had the eventual grace to apologise for disturbing us when we said we'd been asleep. What a nitwit!!!!! One is tempted to say: "typical bloody Aussie"!!!
After that we had a reasonable run and after 2 coats of new antifouling we were ready for re-launching. The only other matter we should comment on was the state of the showers and toilets in the yard. Frankly they were disgusting and the "ladies" was the only facility useable without getting Dogs Disease! Many scrubbings by us and Lynn from "Out of the Blue" with Jiff made it tolerable.
Another comment is the costs in this place. We thought Bundaberg had been expensive but this place is eyewatering. Australia is a high cost economy and unless something is done, they will eventually suffer because commercial vessels in particular will head for Asia for maintenance. Even the Navy may do so if they've any sense. We have been delayed a year and have certainly suffered from the local high living and maintenance costs. We reckon that conservatively estimated our enforced extra 12 month stay in OZ has easily cost us a further $30,000 than if we'd been able to continue to SE Asia last year.
Having said all that we must also say that Bluewater Marina has been marvellous and costs reasonable. Very friendly and the use of the courtesy marina car has been a godsend. We can't recommend this place highly enough. Totally unlike our earlier unfortunate encounter with Yorkeys Knob Marina!!
We re-launched on Thursday the 18th. and after testing various systems we proceeded to sea down the Trinity Inlet until it was deep enough for us to turn to port and head north back to Bluewater. We couldn't enter the marina because the tide was out so we stopped the engine and had a very peaceful sail to Double Island in light winds where we anchored for the night.
We then weighed anchor at 0430 the next morning and arrived off the leads for Yorkeys Knob and Bluewater at daylight and then proceeded up the river and berthed quite thankfully in our old berth.
We are now busy finishing off the provisioning and stocking of same. It is a quite difficult logistical exercise because we need to provision for at least 8 weeks as there is virtually no chance of obtaining anything much between here and Darwin. That and the lack of space means Jean mainly has an unenviable task. And almost no chance of going ashore further north due to the large scaly things with big teeth and tails! It will be a challenge and no doubt a fascinating experience.
We will miss the many friends and acquaintances we have made here. As we've said in the past this is the only downside of this cruising life.
For the future, we expect to finally leave here on the 29th. or 30th. on our journey north. We will be posting brief accounts of our progress to our website ( so if you wish to know how we are getting on you will be able to look at the website. Of course you can send us a message to this address if you wish and we will do our best to respond. However, please remember that it is a slow radio link and cannot accept any attachments. Also please do not hit the reply button - always send a "fresh" email.
With lots of love from us and looking forward to being in touch again from Darwin - 1400 miles on.
Jim and Jean (Gina) xoxoxoxo

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Thursday, 11 April 2013

Hauled out

Well, at last this morning at 0930 we were lifted out at Norship Marine, Cairns. The weather is atrocious right now with rain and 50 knot winds forecast! Last night we were moored on a friend's mooring in the Trinity Inlet just above the Coconut Slipway and the highest winds we noticed were around midnight when it hit 29 knots. We were then on deck removing our foredeck awning before it got shredded but then as the night went on the wind eased a bit - down to an average of 15 knots. However, we didn't get a lot of sleep and then it was up early to get ready for hauling out. We had around 2 miles to go to the slipway and after the catamaran "Sails on Blue" was launched we motored into the slip where we were picked up most professionally by the travelift, the bottom was waterblasted and we were then transported to our home for the next 7 days.
It doesn't feel right when you feel the lifting straps taking hold of the hull and removing the normal freedom of floating in the marine environment. Still, it's all in a good cause - normal annual maintenance as well as getting a strainer fitted over our engine water intake to guard against plastic bags in Indonesia and engine maintenance.
Lots to do over the next 7 days - scraping loose layers of antifouling, then priming bare areas and finally applying 3 coats of new antifouling by roller and brush. The old girl looks good - no obvious damage after our encounter with the sandbar down near Bowen on our way north. Noel's sacrificial wormshoe has held up well.
Before we hauled out we were very lucky to have the use of our friends' 4WD to use while they were home in Perth. Jim and Liz were very generous and it was their mooring we were on last night too. One day we went to Kuranda again and then south to Atherton before returning to Cairns via Gordonvale. So, at last we can claim to have seen the Atherton Tablelands which is a major fruit and vege growing area. Reminded us very much of a tropical version of Pukekohe and we even saw a small version of the Pukekohe Hill. Apart from that we went into Cairns a few times and shopped at the local Smithfield Mall for enough provisions, not only to cover our time on the hard, but also our 2 month sojourn north to Darwin coming up real soon. So. thank you once again, Jim and Liz.
The weather forecast is looking good for Saturday on so we should get everything done before we are re-launched. The system that has been hammering us over the last 24 hours looks like heading NZ's way so hopefully will give much needed respite from the drought. Strange how we don't want the rain and yet the same system has given us plenty (and wind) and then should be a blessing further south - as long as it doesn't become too much of a storm which some long range weather forecasts are indicating is possible around Wednesday next week.
We'll regale you with all the gory details of our sojourn out of the water before we leave later this month for Darwin.
Lotsaluv from us...............
Jim and Gina (Jean) xoxoxoxoxox

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