12 August 2015 | En Route Tomia
11 August 2015 | En Route Tomia
10 August 2015 | En Route Saparua
06 August 2015 | Banda Neira
02 August 2015 | Overnight to Banda
01 August 2015 | Pulau Walir
31 July 2015 | Pulau Walir
29 July 2015 | Debut, Indonesia
29 July 2015 | Debut, Indonesia
27 July 2015 | Debut, Indonesia
27 July 2015 | Debut, Indonesia
26 July 2015 | Debut, Indonesia
25 July 2015 | Debut, Indonesia
24 July 2015 | Day 5 to Debut
23 July 2015 | Day 4 to Debut
22 July 2015 | Day 3 to Debut
Done, Dotted And Dusted
31 October 2017 | Tipperary Waters Marina
Monday 16 October 2017
Just because aft aircon hadn't been cleaned in ten years and we're living in a mud pit seem hardly reasons it took a dozen flushings, two with hydrochloric acid, to remove vast quantities of mud and scale to make it operative. The fan still overheats and shuts down occasionally, but we nearly froze our cha chas off overnight... yes! Today, the saloon AC, which still cools much of the time, was to get the business, however various delaying tactics were employed to great success. If we return home in time tomorrow from weekly poisoning... I mean who knows, but crikey what's the panic, the thing is still working, right? Subsequent plan is to shut off clamorous window unit, but leave in place for emergencies. Hope is that as wet season finally establishes in November with clouds and rain, lower water temperatures will reduce strain on built-in guys making them, and consequently us, happier.
Having prodigality (a real word) issues with internet data this month have curtailed usage until tomorrow when new plan launches with twenty additional gig. At seventy it's the biggest plan available and if insufficient may occasion more patronage of Coffee Club with its cappuccinos, muffins and free web and less time on boat pretending to work. Sacrifices must be made.
We are now possessed with and of Game of Thrones season seven. Hoping mother of dragons and the dwarf kick some serious butt, especially the one attached to mother of psychos, Cersei. Jaime should ditch the bitch. May watch first episode tonight, but don't want to miss David Attenborough's "Planet Earth" at 1930ish - TV shows in Australia begin and end at odd, incorrectly published and unpredictable times. Besides the dismal quality of most content this is apparently to discourage any serendipitous entertainment. Perhaps it's a scheme by government sociologists to force more interpersonal interaction. Swarms of babies infesting every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse in the area bespeaks success.
- Some days later... OK, Halloween
In addition to the increasing, if minimal, boat work (regrettably all parts for Panda generator and Maxwell windlass have arrived, so excessive (some or any) exertions loom), anticipation of excursions away from our involuntary home for the past 10 months and endemic laying about to sop up discretionary time, there has been little recently that stimulates recording into this journal, so it will cease for awhile.
Before the indefinite, possibly short - depending on whether or not inspiration rears its ugly head, hiatus from further emanations of twaddle, herewith is an update on Jan's progress. She had the last chemo treatment today. Having done remarkably well this past six months she anticipates all symptoms excluding peripheral neuropathy to recede over the next several weeks. Typical nerve pain from Paclitaxel, since it began so late in treatment, will probably increase for a few months then slowly get better. After a CAT scan she was tattooed to accurately aim impending death rays. Hoping for bunnies or unicorns she had to settle for two dots. One more Herceptin on Tuesday and we're off to Tasmania for a week and a half. Taa.
14 October 2017 | Tipperary Waters Marina
Saturday 7 October 2017
As Jan's last chemo is on Halloween we contemplate going en costume (should be said with French accent). Since Lesley won't be here we can steal her idea and go as "Despicable Me" minions - goggles available online. Alternatively we could go as North Americans: we'd fake the accent, pronounce word-ending "R"s, have no tattoos or multiple piercings, not drive a Hilux 4WD with breather snorkel for bush-whacking and drink two glasses of wine instead of a case of beer, so that might work. Another idea is to go as a pitiful cancer patient and her amazingly supportive partner who would prefer to be anywhere but Darwin, but nobody would believe any of that. Maybe we'll just go as deadbeat cruisers in shorts, T-shirts and sandals - don't really want to frighten anyone and pretty sure we can pull that one off.
Have a confession, but wouldn't want this to get around. We�'re very lucky to be where we are. Australia is tops in the world for treatment of breast cancer and notwithstanding common wisdom in Darwin when someone has a medical problem �"if you�'re in pain, get on a plane�", recent establishment of the Alan Walker Cancer Center makes it an excellent location. Treatment is on par with best practice anywhere and it's immediate. As a rule public health systems, secure in the conviction that medicine is exempt from the laws of supply and demand, treat the inevitable imbalance with delays and waiting lists, shocked to have anyone compare this to rationing. That has yet to develop here and doctors, nurses and staff have been excellent.
The boat is equipped with two reverse cycle air conditioners (aircon in Oz - the last three syllables are in the too hard basket). Since these rely on thermal exchange with relatively cool water and the marina is now a spa (alternatively, a hot cesspool), effectiveness is less than optimal. On those occasions when the saloon unit doesn't overheat and shut down (aft cabin unit completely gave up a few days ago), interior temps range between 28 and 30 C (82 and 86 F). Borrowed 2.7 kH window unit in forward hatch runs about 10 minutes each hour making unnatural and vexatious noises to minimal effect. Currently considering options including: flushing and descaling units, adding second raw water pump, buying or renting better AC, chucking spare ice cubes over the side or all of the above. One or more of these may not help.
Plan for doing laps at the Casuarina public pool this morning instead of biking was thwarted due a special event that had it overrun with citizenry. This was met with little disappointment as swimming is boring and odious. Skipping exercise days, however, is regrettable because, at an age, one transforms into a blob of viscous goo at a shocking rate and rapidly ceases to be a stud muffin - an unacceptable eventuality. As this is now a wasted day and return to boat will lead to fumbling around with hydrochloric acid doing actual work, drove to local Coffee Club for free internet, an especially large breakfast including sweet muffin and as much delay as is conscionable.
06 October 2017 | Tipperary Waters Marina
Wednesday 4 October 2017
Observed a first for Darwin. Online purchase arrived on projected date. Of course it took 6 days after departing Auspost depot near Sydney to arrive Darwin and another 2 days for delivery, but they nailed it. Alert the media.
I have large, fat hands. While somewhat inconsequential to a broad cross-section of humanity it has made my fingering of chords on the 3/4 Yamaha C40 guitar (purchased in Auckland awhile ago) more fretful (a little guitar humor). Nut width (a little guitar lingo) is 48 mm while a full-size C40 measures 52. The big one was the above referenced acquisition. Unlike the presumably long departed and unlamented Chesterfield 101 cigarettes "a silly millimeter longer" a bit more in this case makes a real difference. Just to clarify, I do not actually play the instrument. With more than a bit of spare time (between contemplating and even, when avoidance is absolutely impossible, doing boat work) have begun taking lessons, improving from not at all to terrible. Hoping for improvement by next July to poor. Anybody with smaller fingers looking for a 3/4?
Not only does Australia make entering the country in a foreign yacht expensive and difficult (US friends just arrived in Bundaberg from SoPac had their boat torn apart over a week at great expense to them), but now they're jerking their own cruisers around as well. Flogging through the Byzantine rules and getting conflicting answers from Border Force (the name gives you a hint) agents when several people contacted her about their difficulties, Rosemary Jilderts from Oz-based Mysailing.com finally determined, maybe, that one must export his boat when going offshore, reimport upon return, pay for a pest inspection that can run to many hundreds of dollars if the boat is considered "high risk" and show proof that no work has been done to improve its value to avoid assessment of duty. This information and sundry forms are difficult or impossible to get from the website (or from officials). It was a long article and detailed much officious bureaucratic crap, but the bottom line is seemingly to discourage Aussies from cruising out of country. They're stuck, but foreigners coming across the Pacific might consider giving the the Australian nanny state a miss. If you have to see the place leave your boat in lovely New Zealand and fly over. Bring lots of cash.
A Conception Of Righteousness
30 September 2017 | Tipperary Waters Marina
Friday 29 September 2017
Friskier by the day Jan has biked to yoga twice this week plus into the CBD and looks forward to the last poisoning 31 October. Next hurdle will be end of radiation 15 December. Already showing signs of resurgence, hair will soon get serious about returning to former glory. May nevertheless take awhile. Since she has been wearing scarves her head hasn't UVed to red so never seemed appropriate to paint that "3" on top. Dang! Regrettably missed opportunity for great blog photo.
Can't figure the reason, but pregnancy around Darwin seems to be highly contagious. Never seen so many pregos waddling behind strollers with barely ambulatory toddlers maintaining formation. Can't go into a restaurant, cafe or pub without the incessant screeching of recently hatched progeny. Judging by parents ignoring the cacophony, they seem immune to it, but us non-breeders would rather have a more mellow environment. Please don't get the idea that we don't like children. It's not true. We just don't like being near them.
In related thought, it was slightly less annoying 20 or 30 years ago in the US for some hoping that all the little proto-workers would keep social security and Medicare afloat. Lots of folks actually believed politician's promises to take care of them. Oopsie! Now looks as if the new little blighters won't be vast enough or join the ranks soon enough to keep these schemes solvent. Glad we planned a fallback. Nevertheless, their parents, struggling to make ends meet, are no doubt delighted to forego 15.3% of their earnings to provide us with medical care (unused due out of country) and adjunct income for toys such as the newly purchased mammoth-screen TV (24") - much better than squandering it on the bairn. Thanks, guys. Your voluntary contributions are wonderfully altruistic and greatly appreciated.
Have decided to get serious about working on boat. With the barest glimmer of light at end of tunnel, want to make ready for expedition. Since it will soon begin to rain virtually every day and travel is contemplated from holidays onward, need to get cracking. Improved attitude has inspired that very thing for last three days. Fresh water leak found and repaired, slime from dampness cleaned up, dead secondary bilge pump replaced, entire system renovated and collapsing sole panel fixed. Generator next. Awaiting parts for windlass. Meantime cleanup of good parts and anchor locker in sight. Feeling terrifically virtuous.
Egad! Woke to rain on the roof - first in at least four months. This year wet season ended late and came early. Awning will go back up dirty. Had planned to wash first, but rain makes the effort moot or so we tell ourselves. Look forward to finding numerous leaks so near-favorite task of rebedding deck hardware may begin. Perhaps for now, however, a little lie-down to contemplate forthcoming virtuousitousness (not a real word).
Over The Hump; Skidding Downhill
27 September 2017 | Tipperary Waters Marina
Tuesday 26 September 2017
Let us harken back to that halcyon time, three weeks in June, when days were balmy, nights cool and humidity low. Air con was off and we basked in sybaritic bliss. A little too much gilding on that lily? OK, still Darwin, but the weather was nice. Fresh air wafted through the cabin and required a blanket at night. Alas, it was not to last. Temperature and humidity began to climb and September has become stifling. Absence of rain for awhile longer is a mixed blessing as there are as yet no clouds to block fierce, tropical sun. Upside is that Jan has only five more weeks of chemo and her shiny, albeit cute, bald head is beginning to grow fuzz despite the Taxol. After today there will only be 5 more weeks of poison (last one appropriately enough on Halloween) then nuking four times a week for a month. Herceptin after Taxol will likely be administered subcutaneously, so no more drips. If we find a deal (it's abusively expensive to fly out of Darwin to anywhere) may go to Tasmania early November. Already set for Brisbane and points immediately south during holidays using last of travel points.
As this is a sailing blog will now dispense boat news. Generator is running, but requires either second weldment of old exhaust outlet or new one, third rebuild of raw water pump and replacement of hose clamps and fuel filter. Although regrettably necessary because the thing didn't run, one must never open up a piece of gear for inspection. Like with Shrodinger's Cat, the act of looking is what kills it. This is scientific fact.
Anchor windlass motor/gearbox is fifteen odd kilo of corroded junk. Unable to service previously due stainless fasteners frozen to aluminum housing, cleverly waited until entire mount disintegrated and motor shorted out. Oddly enough new lower end is purported to fit and be available at almost reasonable cost for twenty two year old gear. Well... we'll just have to see about that. Hope runs amok.
Further troubleshooting (why does one shoot trouble? Shouldn't we do something more appropriate with it?) of mainsail furler beyond confirming operative switch box will require removing mainsail, easing weight of furling extrusion with halyard then unbolting motor. This will also allow replacement of fugitive telltales (little bits of twine on sail luff used to confirm that it is impossible to properly trim the thing).
Should also admit to replacement of 19" TV. Remote stopped working, but that seemed to be in the television not the remote itself. For awhile turning the TV off and back on fixed the problem, then didn't. Set top buttons also stopped working once, but subsequently worked fine. Figuring out how to achieve most of the functions with far fewer buttons than the remote possessed provided more entertainment than watching the same commercials over and over and over..., but no way to mute them - a fatal flaw. Bought 24" LED TV/DVD/PVR that will have to suffice as a wide screen substitute for coveted 88" curved screen Samsung that has been vetoed by partner merely because it cost a fortune and won't fit in the boat.
20 September 2017 | Tipperary Waters Marina
Friday 15 September 2017
Buddy Lesley flew in Sunday and we've been busy showing her the high points of Top End (by the way, a high percentage of local business names start with either: Top End, Darwin, Territory or NT). Tuesday of course was chemo day, but otherwise we've boated through Corroboree billabong (horseshoe lake), wandered around Fogg Dam (not really a dam, but a lowland aswarm with huge numbers of birds) and are currently in Katherine, site of Nitmiluk National Park (it was called Katherine Gorge until the aborigines recently took it over) having spent four hours this morning boating through the three largest gorges. Lots of birds and crocs and tens of thousands of flying foxes. Pretty cool.
En route to the gorge went through Humpty Doo and Wak Wak - not to be missed... unless you blink. Also notable, there are tractor rigs on the road with 3 and 4 trailers in train. Hate to see one of those babies go out of control. Many roads are narrow with ragged edges and no apron. Good condition, but it's a fine idea to pay close attention.
Just learned that saltwater crocs are not called that due location. Croclets are born and raised in fresh water and the largest concentrations in the world are found in NT's Mary river system. They are the most dangerous animals in Australia (and that's saying something), the largest reptiles anywhere and, with a significantly lower than average "cuddly quotient", make rather poor pets. Freshies, which coexist with salties, look similar, but are shy and will move away from you. Salties will stalk a person, rip him apart and swallow the bloody chunks. It pays to know the difference.
Much of the Outback south of Darwin is lumpy and festered with rocks and boulders. Bilious red dirt is visible where orange and pale yellow brush doesn't grow or has burned back. Sparse, stunted trees allow little shade. Two and three meter termite mounds erupt from the landscape. Dry season is arid and hideously hot. During wet season it's flooded, humid and even hotter. Pervasive flies attack for moisture. If earth got mange this is how it would look.
Previous description was a bit harsh, but still, hardly anyone lives out here including aboriginals now. How do you keep them down on the farm when they've seen Darwin? OK, bad example, but even so... There are interesting bits. The rock art at Ubirr having been laid down layer on layer for many thousands of years is amazing (at least in not having been eroded away). The view from the top of Burrunggui (previously Nourlangie Rock, a 600 meter sandstone formation) that overlooks Anbangbang (arn barng barng) billabong and the escarpment that runs 500 km through the park is very impressive. Glad we went; never need to go back.
Litchfield Park has a few waterfalls (even in dry) and rock pools without crocs in which one may swim. Fun, but a long way to go for a frolic. Amusement doesn't come easy around Top End.
Lesley's off today for a few days in Sydney where she is will climb over top of iconic Harbour Bridge, which tour costs an ugly amount of money, then fly back to San Francisco. She left the termite mounds undisturbed, but is carrying home several kilo of regular Outback rocks in luggage. Jan was over the moon with the visit and we love her, but she's certifiable.
Recognizable Regression And Prosaic Piety
07 September 2017 | Tipperary Waters Marina
Tuesday 5 September 2017
Eight months of Darwin should be enough for anyone, but this turns out not to be the case. Who knew? In a continuing quest to visit every restaurant and bar in the area - all of them - we have decided to stay for much of another year. There's also the cancer treatment thing, but that would hardly seem enough to keep us here. Anyway, Jan feels much better with the new round of treatment, has more energy and experiences almost no poopiness (rarely used, highly technical medical term derived from the Latin, marginalis poopii).
Having aborted an escape from marina two weekends ago due prematurely moribund battery (AGM 4D, two years old), which declined to start the engine, got sorted to go out this past one after buying an outrageously expensive group 31 Optima. Had a delightful time playing with new running backstay arrangement while sailing (that's where one eliminates the engine and gets pushed around by the wind using sails - ergo the name of said activity). Sails, by the way, are generally either square or triangular as all corners must attach to something, often ropes. More than four gets cumbersome and less than 3 tends to catch little wind. Other high points of the adventure included mutinous unresponsiveness of anchor windlass, mainsail furling motor and generator. Use 'em or lose 'em - extended period of disuse. First two required an excess of manual labor (defined as any) and, although unnecessary for such a short trip, third hampered battery charging. Peaks were consequently shaved off high points of exhilaration.
As previously mentioned, yoga, from personal observation, entails lying about on the floor. Although ostensibly like napping this is a misapprehension. After much research have discovered that if one is lying on a bed or sofa he is resting, but if reposing on a yoga mat... voila! Jan recently purchased just such an appliance to practice her "yoga" on the boat. Rest of crew, eschewing appearances, just goofs off.
Boat is upside down and sideways for repair of unproductive machinery and to make room in forward bunk (used customarily for storage) and forepeak head (workshop and tools) to accommodate visitor (see below). It's shocking and disheartening how much crap one accumulates while sitting and stagnating instead of cruising.
Buddy Lesley with whom we skied in Lake Tahoe this March will arrive Sunday for an eleven day visit. This will provide an excuse to see nearby Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) and Kakadu National Parks. Kakadu, the size of Slovenia and continuously inhabited by aboriginals for over 40,000 years, is very diverse having lowlands, highlands and rocklands and while beautiful doesn't appear to be a place you'd really want to live. The area reportedly has mammoth numbers of species of every type of fauna, pantloads of aboriginal rock art and uranium. Decision-making Australians don't believe in nuclear power (for clarification, they are fully aware that it exists, but don't want to use it), so sell the element to others for making electricity and bombs and such. This might remind one of Indian Hindus who don't eat cows because they're sacred, but have huge exports for other's consumption. Hey, as long as it makes them feel good about themselves, right?
Manipulating The Apparati
18 August 2017 | Tipperary Waters Marina
Friday 18 August 2017
Expectations have been met so Jan feels good after first Taxol and Herceptin infusions. Cool. For testing, probing, exsanguinating and infusing (not necessarily in that order) Jan was at the hospital every day this week but today. Next week is Monday (blood test), Tuesday (drip - every week now for eleven more) and Thursday for Sophia, the chemo doc. After that we're outta here. Plan to go aboating on a small excursion next weekend. Various boat bits need attention such as: Johnson outboard wants operational check, auto pilot computer wants calibration, running backstays want testing and crew wants to get the !@#$%%^&* off dock. All systems need exercise to prevent moribundity (not a real word). And speaking of which...
Anyone who actually reads this twaddle besides me (my contract requires it) may have noticed a certain churlish preachiness recently. This may be due not having much else to write about and ennui from being stuck in one spot for a year and a half. Although admittedly taking the notion of individual liberty quite seriously and being a bit annoyed to watch people willingly give it up for worthless figurative trinkets listening to Newspeak, don't take myself so and anyway, given rampant irony, any proselytizing is likely counter-productive, driving everyone into the deadening embrace of a Wesley Mouch. No worries. Although providing the odd reader with an occasional chuckle is pleasing, my primary purpose for engaging in this exercise is personal amusement and to keep the synapses firing in a semi-coherent manner... hey, I said semi! If you enjoy any of it great. Ignore the parts that suck.
PS The proper word is apparatuses, but that's unwieldy and sounds dopey.
Disaster Down Under
15 August 2017 | Tipperary Waters Marina
Tuesday 15 August 2017
The Australian government is currently engaged in paroxysms of both righteous indignation and despair. Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce's father was born in New Zealand. Oh, the humanity. Joyce is being called upon to resign. Seems New Zealand has an obscure 1948 law stating that one is a citizen "by descent" if a parent was a citizen. Because a change to the Trans-Tasman Agreement (which created very close ties between the two countries) is in the works the NZ PM had someone perform research that brought this to light. Dual citizenship is not allowed for Oz politcos. Shame and opprobrium descended upon the unwitting minister, the agreement is imperiled, the Oz government may fall. Cool. As an aside, Barnaby was roundly condemned in 2015 after Johnny Depp knowingly brought his dogs illegally into Australia, which currently has no rabies, by suggesting the actor "bugger off back to the United States". One mustn't apply normal rules to major celebs.
In the echo chamber of twenty-four hour news and power accreting politics there are, apparently, nit-picking nitwits who actually care about this sort of thing. On the positive side, this is wonderfully entertaining and, after all, magnifying inconsequential twaddle (along with temporizing) is much easier than dealing with real concerns. Since these people typically handle authentic public problems, which are often the artifacts of similar politicians from the past, by making them worse, we should all indeed rejoice and enjoy the show. By the way, how many of you out there relish having venal morons exercise increasing control over substantial aspects of your lives? Oh!? Huh. Wonder how they got elected then?
Live: Evil In A Mirror
13 August 2017 | Tipperary Waters Marina
Sunday 13 August 2107
Don't normally check blogsite, but discovered it's been blank for awhile (four or five weeks?) so queried support and learned visit counter, which has never displayed, had defective code that eventually begat mayhem. For those who've enjoyed the reprieve, your luck has run out. While mucking about, have instituted new theme as well. Additional overhaul could occur given current momentum. Pandemonium may persist.
To carry on a thought from yesterday, do-gooders (including the power hungry wingnuts and moonbats a majority of you elect to piss away money they have extracted upon threat of force primarily to prevent you from living your own peaceful life) who, while usually admitting they're not perfect without really believing it, force on you their views about how you should want to live your life, remaining blithely unconcerned that everyone might be an individual, not a cog in some tribal machine, and are convinced that chaos would rule without their benign intervention. Stretches the imagination, but most people are not like Moriarty, Batman's Joker or Snidely Whiplash. In fact, lots of folks might not even murder or steal or eat three quarts of ice cream at one sitting even if it weren't for strict nanny state control of their every desire. Oddly enough, it turns out to be advantageous and anomalously common to get along and deal fairly with one's fellow man. Word can get out if you don't and rational self-interest would lead many to avoid interacting with you. Of course those self-interested miscreants are selfish by definition and that's wrong, but despite every effort we seem regrettably unable to prevent human nature. Anyway, wouldn't want to restrict the power of the ruling classes to mess with us because then they couldn't get us stuff from everyone else. Don't worry, you're righteous and they won't mess with you.