03/02/2012, Strahan Tasmania
We have been sitting here in Risby Bay right across from the bustling metropolis of Strahan waiting for the weather to calm down so we can get down to the other end of the harbour without it being all bouncy and wet. If that last sentence makes me sound like a wimp it's because I am. We have dealt with a lot more threatening weather than 30 kts on the nose in an enclosed harbor but we dont do it if we have a choice.
Actually the weather has been better that was forecasted. for the past couple of days the computer model GRIB forecasts have been much more accurate than the human mediated forecasts from the Bureau of Meteorology. I think the BOM forecasts tend to go for the worst case scenario so they forecasters dont get in touble whereas the computer models dont care.
today we did get off our butts and took the dingy ashore to get nice free hot showers at the head in the car park near the visitor center. Then Shawn hiked up the hill to the grocery store to get us a few more items for the week or so we plan to spend in the wilderness of Macquarie harbour before we return to Strahan to provision for our trip to the real wilderness of Port Davey that is about 100 miiles to the south.
Port Davey is so isolated that the only two ways to get there are on a boat or by hiking 10-12 days overland through the Tasmanian rain forest with all its critters that can cause you an agonizing death.
We will wait until the tourist boats leave the dock in the morning and then duck over there to fill the water tank before taking off down the harbor.
02/29/2012, Strahan, Macquarie Harbour, Tasmania
Today was laundry day here in Tasmania, the place that some mainland Aussies jokingly refer to as " the home of the six-fingered handshake," but I must report that I found no evidence of genetic abnormalities in the local populace. Much like us Yanks, Aussies love to tell jokes about Aussies from other states.
While at the laundromat, I met a retired American couple who were spending a few weeks touring Australia. They also happened to be the former owners of a Tayana 37 named Soul Survivor. Like John, they had ordered a new boat from Tayana through Neil Weinberg of Pacific Yacht Imports, so naturally they had many stories to share that highlighted Neil's dishonesty and lack of professionalism.
I am embarrassed to admit that I did not get the names of the American couple, but they were extremely generous. They gave me a ride to the supermarket, and when I was done with the laundry they drove me back to the waterfront near our boat.
After dropping off the laundry at the boat, John and I headed in to explore Strahan. Our first stop was the Visitors Center where there is an exhibit called West Coast Reflections that came highly recommended by Dave and Marcie on Nine of Cups. The admission fee was only $2, and it was well worth it, as we learned a great deal about the long history of Western Tasmania. A few interesting facts from the exhibit:
Recent archaeological evidence suggests that aborigines have been living in western Tasmania for 35,000 years, which contradicts the first European settlers' depictions of western Tasmania as an uninhabited wilderness.
The conditions at the penal colony at Sarah Island in Macquarie Harbour were so bad that convicts were known to murder other convicts just so they could enjoy a boat ride back to the gallows in Hobart.
Punishment at Sarah Island was notoriously harsh. The cat-o-nine tails used to flog the prisoners at Sarah Island was heavier and larger than the standard cat-o-nine tails. The flogger, often another convict, was made to wait a minute or two between lashes to increase the physical and psychological pain inflicted on the convict being punished. Flogged prisoners were made to return immediately to their labors and usually would not receive any treatment for their wounds for several hours. It was common for flogged prisoners to be flogged again the following day when their work productivity decreased because of their injuries.
In its later years, the Sarah Island penal colony became the shipbuilding capital of Australia, due in large part to the Huon pine (also called Macquarie Pine) found in western Tasmania.
Huon pines are some of the slowest-growing and longest-living trees on earth. They can grow to an age of 3,000 years. Because they contain an oil that retards fungi growth, Huon pines were considered an ideal shipbuilding material.
Australia's modern environmentalist movement began in response to the Hydro Electric Commission of Tasmania's plan to dam Lake Pedder in southwestern Tasmania. Despite nationwide protests , the dam was constructed and Lake Pedder was flooded. During the fight to save Lake Pedder, the United Tasmania Group was formed, which is widely recognized as the world's first "green" party. The leaders of the United Tasmania Group went on to form the Tasmania Greens, and, at the national level, the Australian Greens. Bob Brown, a former physician and the current leader of the Australian Greens, was one of the founding members of United Tasmania Group and has been serving in the Australian parliament since 1996.
With our minds saturated from the West Coast reflections exhibit, John and I decided to wander around the town. The town is not very big, so we were soon back at the supermarket where we found cheap chicken wings ($2/kilo). Then, it was on to the bottle shop to buy some of John's favorite Aussie beer, the Tasmania-brewed James Boag.
For once, John got to enjoy a dinner that covered all of his three major food groups--buffalo wings, coleslaw and cold beer.
02/27/2012, Strahan Tasmania
We had grand ambitions for what we planning to accomplish the day after we arrived at Strahan but, like a lot of good intentions, most fell by the wayside.
Our list included a trip to the laundry, a trip to the grocery store, working on the faulty watermaker pump, and various minor chores that we face following a passage.
Well, the dingy is still on the deck. It was windy and cold yesterday no neither of these intrepid adventurers was the least bit interested in a cold, wet dingy ride to shore. Besides the cold weather has us digging into the warm clothes we had in storage so laundry is not such an emergency as it was when the weather was warm and we were running out of shorts and tee shirts.
Shawn worked on his blog entry on Deal Island which got posted yesterday. I worked on organizing some photos and uploading them to the blog. Then I added some annotations. That album was about Deal Island, too.
I did take the watermaker pump motor apart and got it working again. Im not sure what I did that made the difference. I disassembled the motor and tested the resistance of the windings as outlined in Nigel Calders book. Everything checked out so I reassembled it and when I did the damn thing started working.
I still have to drill out one screw for the cover over the belt between the motor and the high pressure pump. I cant align the motor correctly without the cover off.
The manufacturer used stainless steel screws into an aluminum base plate without any grease or other material to prevent electrolysis between the stainless steel and the aluminum so the screws seize up and refuse to back out. I have to drill them out and extract them with an eazy out screw extractor.
The most annoying repair jobs I have had to deal with since leaving California have all involved stainless steel screws or bolts into aluminum. I have broken lots of drill bits dealing with those problems. If we were leaving again I would try to find every stainless screw that is threaded into aluminum and back them out and coat them with teff gel or just lanacote to prevent , or at least minimize seizing. The time spent doing that would be paid back on the very first screw that was not seized in place when it needed to be removed.
We watched "The Kids are OK" last night. It was a pretty good movie.
Shawn made a recipe called Hillbilly garlic bread sticks that turned out really good. Ill get the link to the recipe and include it in a blog post later this week.