Friday, May 28, 2010

"When travelling, expect the unexpected!"

This morning we awoke to some men in uniforms who asked us questions designed to give them the answers they wanted to be able to tell us to move on. They threatened to fine us  $200 for each day we stay here living on board. The boat can stay - but we can't. The rules are that boats who are genuinely travelling the coast can anchor here for up to 10 consecutive days only if they are either sheltering from adverse weather or doing urgent repairs. The strong wind warning just happened to be cancelled this morning - right before these men "happened" to do their rounds. But with 3.5m swells, rain/poor visibility and unfavourable bar crossing winds we're still waiting for the safer weather window on Monday - ironic that these are officers from "Maritime Safety QLD". We were contemplating staying in the expensive marina for a couple nights but then Cerae's rellies came to the rescue! 
Her amazing Uncle Ron and Aunt Margaret from Coolum offered that we can stay at their place!! Synchronicity at its best - She'd arranged to meet with them anyway for a catch-up this morning - they rang just as we were deciding what to do so we're very very grateful for their generosity.
Lessons to be learnt - when dealing with officials, don't just answer their questions, make sure you find out why they're asking the questions in the first place. Get your information straight before you answer their questions - whatever they hear you say the first time is very important - it will be "your story" and even if you come back with better information (eg from your log book), they won't want to hear it - they'll just consider you suspicious because you're "changing your story".  

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Enjoying a slower life in Mooloolaba

We're anchored just off Minyama Island in Mooloolaba. It's tranquil and quiet here - last night I could see the reflections of the night sky in the water. I've been getting into the groove of cruising: cooking, preserving food (I pickled beetroots!), reading, writing, taking photos, doing boat maintenance, sleeping, walking and exploring. Rene is taking the opportunity to finish off some work (programming on his laptop) that is a bit overdue. Today we're at the local library - taking advantage of their power to charge our laptops. I'm dreaming up lots of recipes to try out to use up the mountains of food that we bought before leaving! Looking forward to a beach walk later on and maybe a coffee somewhere... 

We intend on staying here until early next week - when we will attempt the infamous Wide Bay Bar to enter in behind Fraser Island!! In the mean time.... I'm into relaxing here at the place that bred Jessica Watson and Steve Irwin! 

Monday, May 24, 2010

At The Mercy of the Wind Gods

Our dreams of resting at a tranquil Tangalooma anchorage were dashed when we saw the weather predictions. As Rene's Dad so aptly put it, ' No rest when it's [the wind] west at Tangalooma wrecks'. So we left early this morning from the place famous for its "wild" dolphin resort and headed North out into the sea for the first time....

So today really pushed me. I have my doubts about whether this is the life for me. I've been assured that it gets easier... I really hope so! Don't worry though, I'm not about to give up!!

We spent the whole day sailing pretty much North. The waves were big (by my standards) and they pushed us about like we really were a little cork on the water. I was quite frightened and really struggled. 
Rene was amazing. He pretty much sailed us here to Mooloolaba - he got the self-steering working right before a small pod of dolphins came by to visit. 

It's really calm here at Mooloolabar. Ren has already gone to bed (before 7pm!) he barely slept last night - kept getting up to prepare things for today. I'm hoping that we can rest here a few days before embarking upon the next leg which looks to be even scarier than what we encountered today! 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

We have really left this time!

Exactly one week after our farewell party, we have left Brisbane. Early this morning, we slipped quietly away in the clear, brisk winter's morning down the river and out into Moreton Bay. Had a lovely sail over to Moreton Island with the wind behind us, pushing us along. As we approached Tangalooma, a squall came over - pushing our speed up to 8 knots (the fastest we've ever been!). 
Anhinga is now safely anchored near the wrecks here at Tangalooma. It's a bit rolly, wet and windy but I'm feeling the most relaxed I have since starting leave 8 or so weeks ago. We're finally on our way!!! Yeah!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Power Problems

We're loving it so far - the only real issue has been one of power. Our two solar panels aren't making enough energy for our needs! The 12 Volt fridge is using more power than we'd feared and the batteries are discharging way faster than we'd expected! Yesterday we had to run the engine a few times to charge up. Today is sunny, but so far it isn't charging. We've had the fridge turned off since yesterday afternoon and the only power we've used is the anchor light last night. I'm running off batteries now on my laptop. I'd been worried that our power use would be bigger than what the boat can create... I'm hoping we'll work out a system soon so that we don't have to be freaking out about the batteries constantly. 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Leaving Land

Today was massive!!! We have left the conveniences of being attached to land. 
We left Helen's gorgeous jetty in Norman Park after a wonderful farewell party. 

Helen gave us a very thoughtful gift which we love!

The Powerhouse (across the river) was celebrating too! It's 10th anniversary. 

Some of our wonderful well-wishers....
Minutes after we've set off! Buzzing with excitement!!

Enjoying some bubbly at our first anchorage..... :D

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Life Raft

We've been crazy busy getting things prepared for our departure on Sunday. I'm not sure how we'll be ready in time but I guess we will figure it out somehow! We have to!!

Today we tried inflating our life raft in Rene's parents' driveway. It was exciting to see it fill with carbon dioxide and nitrogen and explode out of the case. We discovered that it's impossible to buy or refill the gas canister ourselves and so had to take the life raft into Marine Safe to be professionally tested and re-stocked. There's actually a lot stored inside the raft that I wasn't aware of!  We learnt that it's not good to inflate the raft like we did because the dry ice crystals actually damage the rubber. When we took it into Marine Safe and they inflated it again (with moisture-free air) they discovered some small holes that the ice crystals must have made when we inflated it! aaargh! They are going to repair it so it will still be safe but our attempt to reduce expense has backfired somewhat! 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

We're still leaving this Sunday, May 16th

Rene and I are super dooper busy getting all the last-minute things organised. We've decided to still leave this Sunday - despite there still being many things we wanted to get done first. Today is all about culling our things - the boat looks like a storm has gone through it (sooo messy inside) and I'm hoping that will be different by tonight. Starting to get excited now!  

Sunday, May 9, 2010

BIG Thank-you's For Slipway Helpers

So many people helped us during our intensive stay at the slipway. We're so so so grateful and I wanted to publicly thank everyone here (in no particular order):
* Max & Gloria - for building Anhinga so well originally & Max for coming along to see her out of the water 27 years later and helping with the rudder.
* Nick Hall - for lending us his angle-grinder & 18mm spanner. Also for his advice & encouragement. 
* Carmel - for saying hello and making me realise that sometimes owning a boat is very hard work that you just have to get in and do it!
* Jan and Roger - for lending us countless tools, speaking to us every day about our progress and running errands. For giving us jars, rags, snacks, dinner and advice. For helping us angle-grind off our mistake! For letting me use their washing machine and for also doing some loads for us! For letting me fill up their annexe with the jib, letting us use their computer, buying us some things from Bunnings and probably countless other things! 
* Renee Bijl - for her wonderful words of wisdom.
* Anton for his advice, help and those Corona's! 
* Nick W - for welding some extra anode bolts to the rudder, painting really fast with small rollers, lending us his angle grinder, paint rollers, fetching tools, helping diagnose the steering problems and offering loads of advice.
* Jan W - for endless reassurance that this is all worthwhile, for washing up, painting and sharing advice from her years of experience. 
* Maryanne & Keith - for reassurance, plenty of positive thoughts and for giving us the amazing gift of hour-long massages!
* Aran & Sam - for being angle-grinding demons and helping us paint.
* David Biggs - for being an acetone assasin, lending us rags, helping us paint the first coat and giving us some oranges and Gatorade. 
* Heloisa & Craig - for lending us their lights and being great neighbours.
* Ben - for angle-grinding and helping us paint.
* Chihiro - for baking us some delicious ANZAC biscuits & brownies :D

We feel so supported thanks to you all! xoxoxo

Anhinga Comes Alive Again

Two weeks and one day after we pulled Anhinga out of the water, she went back in; freshly painted in 5 layers of 2-part epoxy paints and 4 layers of anti-fouling. As she was being lifted into the crane, one of the Rivergate staff commented on the heart that we had painted on the keel. He said we should have painted fish! Apparently the really competitive game fishing boats paint fish on their hull to attract them. So, we used the last of our paint to quickly draw some little fishies. Maybe we'll have schools' of fish surrounding us now!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Anti-fouling Fun!

We've been pretty much painting solidly for the last few days. My head is a little dizzy from all the fumes! We did 3 coats of anti-fouling today. I had some creative fun with the different layers of colour - yellow, red, black, red. To explain to people who don't have much contact with teenagers (I learnt this as a teacher), red and black are typical "emo" colours and that is why I wrote it - as a joke! 

EMO lol!
We've only got one more layer of paint to go!!!! We go back in the water at 3pm tomorrow!!!! Yay!!!!!!!!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Halfway there! (sort of)

We have now done 4 coats of paint. Hazzzzzah! Very very happy and relieved and so thankful to all the people who've helped out! Thanks to Nick we've discovered that the steering problem is related to a slight bend in the rudder shaft. 
                                  Thanks to Anton for the idea of cutting the flange to remove the shaft. 

Biggsy the acetone assassin. Fantastic with Jotamastic!

Rene applies the first --- correct --- layer of Jotamastic.

Jan W has all the tips!     Rene mixes carefully!

Rene: "I'm not sure if we should be
bashing the thread without a nut on it"                                   THANKS SO MUCH EVERYONE!
Anton + Nick: "She'll be right mate!"
Rene: "hmm..."
Jan W: "Too many cooks..."
Cerae: "No, too many cocks!!!!"

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Fixing The Mistake & Moving On

We got back on the horse and have been getting on with the task of grinding off all of the paint that we'd incorrectly applied. Rene's parents dropped by to help (on their wedding anniversary!) which we're so grateful for. In fact, we've had so much help from friends and family that we feel supported and blessed. Thank you! 
Rene and I get started with the angle-grinding. 
Rene's Dad helps out despite a sore shoulder and it being his wedding anniversary! Wow!
I get into the grinding. 
There's still about 30% of the hull left to grind. Rene is outside doing it now while I eat breakfast and write this. We need to apply the correct paint once all the wrong paint is removed. Our concern now is that the weather isn't looking so friendly! Rain is forecast :0