Cyclone season rest period
18 February 2013 | Tin Can Bay Marina
Nick / Wet - again!
29 October onwards
We recommence our story in Bundaberg Port marina where we had arrived on 20 October and were enjoying resting, relaxing and meeting many of the cruisers arriving from overseas on the Port Vila to Port Bundaberg rally. The locals try to entertain the visitors with events like the Beerfest (we did not go), the Lighthouse Festival (we did go) and the Melbourne Cup lunch (we did go) held at the nearby Burnett Heads Boat Club. The Cup lunch was a disappointment particularly after the great event we attended in Grafton last year. There was also a “Pirate”get together for all the cruisers, having found a Spotlight, we bought the appropriate accessories and I won the prize for the best dressed male, mainly due to the yellow crested cockatoo pinned to my shoulder.
We departed the marina on 8 November and headed to the Great Sandy Straits Marina at Urangan where we stayed for a week. During our stay another Catalina Morgan 440 arrived and tied up to the same dock. We had met the owners of “Kachina” (hull number 58 built in 2008, we are number 5 in February 2012 when we were visiting Sydney. They keep their boat at Middle Harbour Yacht Club near the Spit Bridge. We knew they were near us on the Queensland coast, as I had spent a few hours with them when I went to Mackay to sail on “Shamali”. The locals were a bit confused seeing two of us and as far as we know, the only two in Australia.
After saying goodbye, we cruised south through the Sandy Straits and stayed at Garry’s Anchorage in strong northerlies. Unfortunately, as the weather warms up so do the bugs and after three days we could not stand it no longer and headed south to Inskip Point where we had a few days of good weather. I even went for a swim, the main purpose was to have a look at the condition of the hull and propeller as we had been in the water for just over a year since we last antifouled the bottom. All went well until I was bumped by one of the numerous blobber jelly fish which I thought did not sting, I was wrong! Ouch, a big red welt on my side which stung and then itched, we tried vinegar without success and then ice which Susie found on the internet as the correct treatment. It took a week to subside and really did not improve until I scrubbed at in a hot shower. Susie has now bought me a full body suit complete with mitts, feet and helmet so if I ever need to go back in when there are jelly fish around I should be safe ….. at least from stings!
We arrived at Tin Can Bay Marina on 2 December and booked in for a month. We soon settled in to marina life and regular visits to other boats such as “Reliance” (Chris and Trish who we had met in Port Macquarie).
For Susie’s birthday we hired a car and took our liferaft to Mooloolaba which is 144 kms away for it’s 3 year service together with our lifejackets for testing. When we were at Inskip Point I had also noticed we were getting water in the dinghy and found the joint between the floor and the tube on the starboard side had opened up a 60 mm long gap, so we sought the liftraft service guys’ advice and left with a jam jar containing a 2 part contact adhesive already mixed which had to be used in 24 hours. The repair went well until the re launch when we found water again coming in but this time around the drain. After removing and applying silicone goo this ceased leaking but then I found another leak on the port side.
During our visit to Mooloolaba we had a look at some new bikes. The shop owner said he had some second hand ones at home which we could see next time we were in town. The old blue Dahon bikes havded 16 inch wheels and limited gears, we wanted 20 inch wheels to make riding a lot more comfortable.
All in all December was a busy month. We had guests on board before Christmas, John & Sue Hall came armed with photographs of their new boat and a new pump for our A/C which they picked up in Brisbane for us. It was a year ago that they visited us in Pittwater and we had a lot to catch up.
We had planned to spend Christmas with Chris & Trish but some locals, Len and Pam invited us to their house along with 14 other people. They also extended their invitation to Chris and Trish as well, which was very generous. Our hosts had sailed their boat “Kapalua II” from the UK several years ago and also knew many of the people we have met. Our contribution to Christmas lunch was a chook which Susie stuffed (was supposed to be a turkey – never mind – it was very good) Susie had also cooked a Christmas Pudding in November which we took along together with the brandy cream. Len’s home brew was well sampled and a great time was had by all.
After Christmas, we had a visit from David and Lesley Caruana, who also brought our mail. They took us by road to Inskip Point, where we watched 4 wheel drives getting bogged in the soft stuff. They saw the dolphins being fed at Norman Point and stayed with us for New Year’s Eve. After dinner at the Black Cockatoo Restaurant we went to the 10pm fireworks in the park were very good for a small town.
During December Max had not been well, he had blood in his urine. We took him to the Vet in Gympie in a ute loaned by someone in the marina. He did not enjoy the ride as it was 37 degrees and no A/C. A course of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicine (which made him vomit) did provide some relief but not for long as a couple of weeks later there was even more blood was in his urine. He did not enjoy walking anymore and seemed to be in pain. Non-invasive investigations were inconclusive, the Vet suspected either cancer of the kidneys or kidney stones and with a grade 4 heart murmur, his age nearly at almost 14yrs, he had had a good innings. It soon became apparent that his time was up. Our son, Alex and his girlfriend drove from the Gold Coast to see Max, which was good for him. It was a sad day in the middle of January when we took him to the vet for the last time. We both miss him terribly.
As part of our post Max therapy we hired a car and drove to the Gold Coast to undertake a job on the garage door at home where the furniture is stored. We stayed with the Kershaw’s and caught up with as many of our friends we could during our limited stay. As usual a long list of bits kept us busy, including anti fouling paint and new flares. On the return trip it had begun to rain and we managed not only picked up the liferaft, some more dinghy glue but also 2 second-hand bikes for the price of 1 new one.
By now the rain was becoming heavier, fortunately I had stored the dinghy on deck under the awning so with the help of a lantern I did some serious glue sniffing and hopefully have fixed the leak in the dingy. We had to take the hire car back to Gympie on the Friday morning and then wait for the only bus back to Tin Can Bay. It was still raining and beginning to get even heavier and with more wind. Once back from Gympie awnings were removed, lines doubled up and checked for wear regularly.
Australia Day brought more rain and by now the wind was averaging 40-45kts in the marina, with gusts well over. By Sunday, the wind was fierce with gusts up to 122 km/h at Double Island Point which is our nearest BOM weather station. We survived with no damage, but some of the older marina pontoons were damaged and a few boats broke their lines, and a dozen or more broke their moorings in the creek and hit the shallow sand banks. The power went off and then Telstra, so no phones or internet and only SBS as most of the TV stations went down. We were lucky, should we had chosen to spend the cyclone season at Maryborough or Bundaberg we would have been in serious trouble.
“Water Music” is scheduled to come out of the water to be antifouled soon and we will get the boot topping line adjusted and repainted, we are sitting low in the stern and have a slight list to port despite our efforts to even the boat out, which was exacerbated by a mal-alignment of the original mark up of the boot top on the port side (by 2inches). We are back in the water and finally all cleaned up inside and out and it’s raining again with 100-200 mm forecasted.
The haul out was a mammoth task aggravated by a number of factors such as the rain (what do expect if you haul in February!) and the size of the travel lift. Tin Can Bay Marina is a great place but only has a 30 tonne crane, it’s not a weight issue, it’s the height of the crane. It’s also very narrow. We had to undo the backstay together with the HF antenna, remove the boom vang and lower the boom. After successfully lifting us out and placing us in a cradle the crane was unable to travel backwards because of all our antennas on the antlers. With help from Chris on “Reliance” we managed to lower the antlers astern of the boat by pivoting them on the base fitting. We worked three metres above the yard and no safety!
The local boat builder explained the process of marking a new water line, so we set about sanding and prepping, six hours of marking profile lines later we were able to start applying the masking tape for the first line. The next six days were spent sanding, painting, polishing and getting wet. The Marina manager let us have the use of one of their villas for the time we were out which was really great, especially as Susie has a phobia about ladders and heights.
While we were on the hard, we had the local upholsterer do some reinforcing and re-stuffing of the saloon seats. The foam had died and we were sitting on the frames. He also made us some big bags for the new bikes, so we are all set.
Friends, Len and Pam have taken us to Gympie a couple of times to see a movie and then to have a curry, We enjoyed “Les Miserables”, “Hitchcock” although good, had some overly long pauses but the curries were good. We also attended their combined birthday party (150yrs) which was fun, particularly as we had met most of the crowd at Christmas time or at the local sailing club. The crowd at Tin Can Bay have made us feel very welcomed.
In between our other social activities we have had dinner at the local RSL hall which while not haute cuisine it was still good, the Snack Shack near the marina has provided fish and chip dinners. While we were out of the water and we had pancakes on Shrove Tuesday thanks to Chris and Trish.
What next you may ask!
The cyclone season generally peters out in March although we were in Garry’s Anchorage in 2009 on “Next Chapter” for cyclone Hamish (March 7). We plan to leave Tin Can on 2 March and head up to Urangan so Susie can fly to Canberra on 5 March. After that, we will slowly head northwards, aiming to get to Townsville in early June to meet up with Ashley and Brenda before probably sailing in company with them to the Louisiades in PNG for a few months.