15 January 2018 | Telaga Harbour
Wednesday 10 January 2018
Sun just peaking over horizon as Air Asia flight 541 to Bali taxis away from gate. Crew appreciation, particularly of distaff members, for opportunity to view this event was muted as we began 13 hour expedition to Langkawi. Although patronizing Air Asia all the way, retrieval of checked bags will be required in Kuala Lumpur (KL) because Indonesian and Malaysian branches evidently don't communicate. Lack of electronic entertainment system was ameliorated by live musician - pretty good too. If ever given a choice between Air Asia and Jetstar, AA doesn't suck nearly as much.
Apparently Air Asia Indonesia doesn't even communicate with itself as bags went walkabout, probably in Bali. Located and sent on next day, but no delivery as we had to prove they were ours - separate PNRs. Always carry a kit and spare skivvies for just such eventuality.
Commendable abstinence has been defenestrated (is English a great language or what?) as sailing friends force us (force I say) to partake in typical cruiser debauchery and first-rate socializing. Great to see so many old (long-time) friends and find out what mischief they've gotten into and plan to.
Have been enlightened from person or persons, who shall remain nameless, that Comments section of Sailblogs is not properly operating, so have added dedicated email account to allow contact should anyone be so inclined: firstname.lastname@example.org. Have usually replied directly instead of using Comments anyway so you may not be aware that a dialog has taken place. If you, for some recondite reason, wish to have one of those, I will always reply. If nothing forthcoming I have messed up. Give it another shot.
Will use actual location, for this occasion because it's cruising, even though Anthem is still ensconced in the bosom of Darwin.
Cleared out of Malaysia yesterday and now anchored in Telaga Harbour after motoring over from Rebak Island Marina (just south of here if you're looking) to get fuel and make last minute wine run. Expect little wind going to Phuket and duty free Langkawi is the cheapest place to acquire adult beverage anywhere within 1000 kilometers. Plus Jonathan & Dot will continue on to Andamans where one would almost certainly become sober without onboard supply. This, of course, would be highly inappropriate and is just not done.
08 January 2018 | Tipperary Waters Marina
Sunday 7 January 2018
Despite an inveterate lazy streak, lollygagging does tend to get boring after a bit, so yesterday, much to everyone's surprise, Panda got cleaned and put back together. No antifreeze, so had to wait until today to finish.. maybe. Not there yet.
Should have biked yesterday morning as rain mostly held off until last night, continuing all today - hard. Would have gone to pool for laps, but that pervasive sloth thing was an insurmountable obstacle and anyway we might have gotten wet. Managed, however, to sortie for coolant, material for a quilt project and, of course, coffee. Will suspend writing at this point to fill and bleed cooling system. There's undoubtedly a logic in the preceding and a posse will be sent out to search in due course.
Generator is tanned, rested and ready. It is, however, suffering from an unwillingness to start. May have to bring in competent help. Probably needs servicing anyway - valve adjustment, compression check and such. Onboard knowledge of diesel engines is somewhat sketchy although if the thing is getting fuel, air and compression it should at least give the odd pop. Pandas are a bit notorious for being temperamental, bad sensors for example that could preempt application of fuel.
Exclusive barber, Jan, performed removal of three month's (or longer) growth. Avoiding trauma for a week or two after such events is attempted by not looking in a mirror so to avoid observing the gorgeous, dapper Adonis who stares back. This is a look anathema to any cruiser and can cause great psychic damage to a proper self-image. She's quite proud of her artistic prestidigitation and is appalled by comb-overs (OK on that score for now), pony tails (how can one be a proper sailor without one?) and general shagginess (she seldom gets the trifecta).
Horses are great. They're smart(ish), handsome and big. There are three locations along bike paths here where one may observe them. Spots are not close together, so two per ride is usually max. Best locale is a large park at East Point also frequented by gaggles of geese, cacophonies of cockatoos and welters of wallabies (animal associations should always alliterate with the possible exception of a waddle of penguins). While distaff crew practiced yoga, rest of complement, no doubt feeling guilt for previous and impending lethargy, made this a three horse day (may rethink any similar urges in future). No riding again until February as medical appointment is early tomorrow and then we're gone sailing. Hasta Luego.
Let The Fun Begin
05 January 2018 | Tipperary Waters Marina
Monday, New Year's Day 2018
Minds are strong and healthy due culling of sick and feeble in brain cell herd. Rapid reduction of cytochrome levels will occur as abstinence into the foreseeable future proceeds. Lissome physiques will soon materialize from beneath newly acquired BMI inflators. No new year's resolutions will be necessary as boat is equipped with mirrors. An unfond farewell was given the old year as eyes gazed with rheumy blear at $7 million dollars of taxpayer funded entertainment on telly in Sydney Harbour and into the promise of 2018 just prior to everyone collapsing into a conscientiously earned stupor.
After a light breakfast with Champagne Charlies we now proceed with five bottles of newly purchased wine, which will go into the cellar for extended aging, four and a half hours north to Coff's Harbour, midway between Hunter and Brisbane, for the night.
Almost back to Brisbane for short night and O dark hundred get-up for flight to Darwin. Crikey! The last two weeks went quickly. Too much fun, but always good to get back home. Goal is to get Anthem back in offshore condition by end of January, but we've been invited to crew from Langkawi to Phuket and Krabi with Bali Hais, which will soak up bulk of month. Disappointment at inability to get hot and sweaty with boat work will be assuaged by seeing mates in Southeast Asia and getting back on the ocean. The sacrifices one makes.
New entertainment: tweeting with Don and Kim. Mainstream and social media ricocheting off the ceiling in fear and loathing remind me of people who have no sense of humor thinking a joke is crude because they don't get it. Stop work on the bomb shelter, take a breath, buy a puppy.
Arising at 0600 to bike around Darwin revived suppressed memories of breathing stifling, saturated air while hazarding heat prostration. Didn't even stop for usual coffee to return quickly to boat with still operative air conditioning. Better than a puppy.
New exhaust manifold, having arrived in six days from UK, was held for retrieval. Oddly enough Border Force(Customs) didn't detain, DHL, following our request, didn't send back and it's the correct part - must be living right. Old corroded chunk has been removed, photos taken and new unit ready for installation once now accessible grime is cleaned off. This could happen at any moment.. or week.
Eschewing bike ride this morning due potential rain and pervasive sloth we slept in. As lying about slowly becomes boring we will drive to Parap (that, for some obscure reason, is the name of a suburb) Saturday market because some of crew enjoy markets and some enjoy local cafe where above referenced moment may be contemplated over a flat white (this is not a racial slur).
As cracked rib from rather less than graceful bike dismount a few weeks ago (second of three that day - would explain sequence, but you really needed to be there) gets better, Jan's treatment symptoms rapidly disappear and with almost a week into this year, all things considered and looking forward with hope and giddy anticipation, so far (circumspect enough for you?) 2018 doesn't suck. Yay!
15 December 2017 | Tipperary Waters Marina
Sunday 31 December 2017
When Australians, sensing from the accent that we're aliens and ask from where, Jan always answers Canada without divulging that only some of us are so sprung. I usually don't clarify as Canadians are universally liked and this allows Aussies to develop any potential antipathy to me without the help of a preconceived notion. This regrettably has the effect of besmirching Canada's reputation as few are aware that their citizens can be that loud and rude, but hey, that's not my problem.
Won't belabor the details, but this vacation has been a wonderful celebration of finishing the hard yakka of chemo and radiation. Two weeks to fit in Brisbane, Tweed Valley, Port Macquarie, Yamba, Port Stephens, the Hunter Valley and Coff's Harbour and seeing all our mates has been far too short. We'll continue to go places, see people and do things during breaks between shots and boat preparation while we count down to the end-of-the-tunnel July departure for Cocos Keeling and points west.
One aspect of the last two weeks should be noted in the massive ingestion of food and drink. Production of enzyme cytochrome P450 2E1 (CYP2E1), which multiplies to metabolize alcohol as consumption increases, is at an all-time high along with blubber. We will contemplate reclamation concepts as we waddle blearily through airports on our way back to Darwin. Remediation will, needless to say, not begin tonight as we ring in the new, and undoubtedly better, year with buddies Shayne & Lisa in the Hunter Valley wine region with the requisite immoderation.
Jan & I wish everyone a prosperous and paradisical new year.
Winding Down and Pumping Up
15 December 2017 | Tipperary Waters Marina
Saturday 16 December 2017
As this year grinds to a welcome conclusion let us pause for a moment to reflect on its primeness. We will not enjoy another prime number year until 2027. There were 6 ordinary ones since the last and we'll only have to wait 2 after the next. 2017 is both a Friedlander-Iwaniec and a Heath-Brown prime. If you understand what that means or scored a perfect 800 on your math SATs you're weird and should not be allowed in public. Otherwise ignore all above. On a completely practical level, however, if you are having a party for 2017 people you can cut the cake to serve each person exactly one piece with exactly 63 straight cuts.
After a few months of guitar lessons I am able to not play several of Jimmy Buffett's most popular songs. Heretofore this inability was merely an untested supposition. As lessons continue and music for additional tunes is acquired this number will no doubt increase apace. It would help to cover the miserable playing by singing along except that would entail multi-tasking (I'm a boy) and anyway few of Jimmy's better tunes are enhanced by the sound of a squawking cockatoo. Meantime Jan is getting excellent use from her noise-cancelling headset.
Except for Monday and Friday, when yoga girl has us going later for her 0900 group, and Sunday, which provides an excellent rationale for torpidity - that "day of rest" thing (as an aside, we also observe "fish Friday" just in case we decide to become Catholic, the church reinstates its meat prohibition and makes it retroactive.. this would be more meaningful if we didn't love fish), we drag our saggy butts out of bed each morning at 0600 to bike 20 to 35 km around Darwin. This is a remarkable concession by Jan who does not do sunrise. The theory is that if you can't see it during setting, you don't need it. Anyway, temps are marginally cooler then and until we can get back out on the ocean the exercise reduces entropy and keeps us from turning into the gelatinous blobs of goo to which our bodies so desperately aspire.
15 December 2017 | Tipperary Waters Marina
Friday 15 December 2017
One might suppose from the previous installment of this drivel that we don't like the time of year associated with Saturn, the nascent return of Sol (northern hemisphere) and the birth of that Jewish fellow some considerable time ago. Au contraire. The holidays are terrific - favorite time of year. Music is festive and overt jollity is wonderfully uplifting. People seem to be friendlier, drinking to excess is considered appropriate and, contrary to popular opinion, suicide is less prevalent (look it up). Oh sure, there's that little tiff with Santa ever since he forgot to bring us the Hylas 54 back in 2013 (can't believe how nice I was for literally days at a time), but have since acclimated to the 46. After all, it's plenty big enough, costs less to maintain and, using the sour grapes rationalization, the old scoundrel would probably have given us a junker painted orange that didn't included good cruising gear or spare parts.
Living in the great outdoors, particularly where UV is most vicious, engenders unusually high sun damage. Fortunately Imiquimod and Fluorouracil creams have been developed that murder abnormal cells allowing normal skin to regrow. Unfortunately, skin thus treated gains an appearance between a bad case of mange and a worse case of leprosy. Face feels like it's being attacked by a swarm of ravenous red ants. Even more unfortunately, after three or four weeks of use, effects get worse before getting better over the course of a couple of months. It has, however, dramatically ameliorated the nuisance of strangers coming over to chat me up. It's such a relief not to be pestered by gorgeous women who might, quite understandably, mistake me for Brad Pitt.
Jan, who perhaps hasn't sussed my true identity and continues to fraternize, received her last radiation treatment today. All that's left are third weekly, no symptom (except for the potential, closely monitored heart damage thing) Herceptin injections until July and inducing hair to grow faster. The Sinead O'Connor look actually works for her pretty well (what with her having a head shape far more pleasing than the lumpy spheroid, gratefully hidden by hair, atop rest of crew), but there are still the issues of sunburn, wind chill and sun reflection blinding so she's decided to reprise the original look. Shouldn't take more than a couple of years and for awhile the head scarf emotes a much coveted pirate look. All she needs now is an eye patch, a tricorne hat and, what should be the sine qua non of any good buccaneer, a parrot squawking words that put him on Santa's naughty list.
Ho Ho My Heinie
04 December 2017 | Tipperary Waters Marina
Monday 4 December 2017
Three weeks until Santa brings the loot. We all look forward to this, but it's not the unadulterated boon one might suppose. First, the old guy checks his list to see who's been naughty or nice. Depending upon which side of the ledger one falls determines whether he gets switches and a lump of coal or cool crap from Toys R Us or Brookstone. This isn't an issue for Jan of course, she's Canadian, but for many of the rest of us it's a source of some angst. Just how nice and for how long? Is cleaning up your act a week ahead OK? How about just after Thanksgiving? Surely an entire year isn't necessary. What about that chimney thing? What if you don't have one? Can the porky rascal use a dorade box if all the hatches are dogged? How about when reindeer poop on porous 20 year old gelcoat? You think Santa's going to send elves back to scrub those stains out or that they could even if he did? What if he forgets to bring the right toy or it breaks? He's well over a hundred, no doubt sclerotic, and elves are not known for their engineering expertise. Does the old fart have a return policy or offer warranties? We live on a boat and don't have room for useless clutter. Well, gosh darn (or spicier words to that effect) we're not getting sucked into that happy horse manure hype this year. This year we're erecting a sign on the mast that says, "Beat it grandpa. We don't need your moral judgments or your crappy junk. We'll buy the stuff we need at big discounts in after-Christmas sales on Amazon and be just as naughty as we please."
28 November 2017 | Tipperary Waters Marina
Wednesday 29 November 2017
After a wonderful eight days in the south we've been back in Darwin for a week and a half enjoying the swelter by biking every day regrettably early to avoid heat prostration. Jan has had seven of twenty nukings and so far none the worse for wear. Previous symptoms, particularly fatigue and even neuropathy, are improving nicely and her hair and a few toenails are in process of returning to their previous resplendence.
Tasmania is considered the Appalachia of Australia. This is not a reference to the beauty of the countryside, but to a putative subpar socio-economic status and that game the whole family can play. Neither were obvious to us and Tassie has become just about our favorite place in Oz. A wonderful break from the heat and humidity of Darwin, weather was delightful with clear skies and highs around 20C. The one day of eight with rain posed little inconvenience and we visited most of the touristy places. Among them were Mount Wellington for great views of Hobart (that guy really made out getting stuff named after him by whoopin' up on Napoleon), Port Arthur penal colony (it was the French's fault that criminals got sent there), Bicheno to watch fairy penguins marching back from a day fishing in the Southern Ocean (they're pretty nimble for such wee, pudgy, short-legged rascals) and lots more. The place is suggestive of New Zealand with less sheep or western British Columbia with more.
In Tasmania one can find excellent coffee, seafood and adult beverages at a plethora of cafes, restaurants and pubs that often have restrooms. Around the world cute names sometimes embellish toilet doors to differentiate which one is appropriate. For example, buoys and gulls, hombres and mujeres, chacos and chicas, kane and wahine, gentlemen and ladies (as if), not to mention the unobvious (e.g. "XX" and "XY" for the biologically literate) and occasionally some remarkably naughty symbols. One place in Hobart just had "M" and "F". Disaster was averted when, while passing menstruaters heading for flatulaters, an "XX" walked out of "M".
Three from the "feelin' the love" department: 1) While breakfasting in a cafe one morning a fellow sat down next to us. After awhile he asked if we were Canadian. Jan said she was. He explained that he knew we weren't American because we were too quiet. 2) The day before returning to Darwin we were having dinner with friends of friends at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania (we looked around for the Queen, but she must have left). Rosemary said we didn't seem like Americans. I made a comment about that and she took it back. 3) Jan, who is a frustratingly law observant and, one might suggest, occasionally twitchy passenger, made comment as we approached a 40 kph sign going significantly faster. I patiently pointed out that it was OK, I'm American and don't have to observe any silly-assed Australian rules. Oddly, she seemed unimpressed, but then she's Canadian. By the way, "It's OK, I'm American" works equally well after nearly any social or legal faux pas, but you actually have to be one. People often seem able to tell. We're obviously just misunderstood.
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.