Notice the spikes on these bike helmets. We have seen this often and asked this friendly couple why. They are to detour the Magpies (birds) that swoop down on bicyclists who unknowingly get too close to nests and mating areas. Apparently these Magpies attack intruders by landing on their heads and pecking.
November 4, 2011 Friday
After researching the internet and making a few calls, we found a synthetic grass tennis court just a ½ mile from the marina near the Manly train station. It is in someone's backyard and he charges $10 per use, the money to be left in a mailbox. After 1 ¾ hours we exhausted ourselves and walked through the neighborhood back to the marina. We noticed lots of "tank in use" signs on fences in front of people's homes. We stopped to ask someone who explained the whole water shortage situation in Australia. A few years ago, there was a drought and the government encouraged installations of water tanks by heavily subsidizing them. The "tank in use" signs were put up to notify officials and neighbors that they were using tank water to irrigate their lawn and not city water which was prohibited. Last year in January, the drought turned to massive flooding. Now, the tanks are used to save having to pay for city water. We have found the Australian people to be very friendly and talkative. Steve stooped to pet a dog (Steve just can't let a dog pass by without touching it!) the other day and we had an interesting 15 minute conversation with the owners about their travels to the United States. The bicyclists with spikes on their helmets were very informative about the Magpie and Ibis birds, plus they had also traveled to the US. Often when Steve takes a load of garbage to the marina trash bins he returns 30 minutes later because he got to talking with some local.
These beautiful large birds are called ibises. However, the locals find them highly annoying because they come into the restaurants and picnic areas to scrounge food including jumping up on tables and getting too close to diners.
November 3, 2011 Thursday
We relaxed most of the day until the afternoon when the first set of interested buyers came by to look at the boat. We went for a walk until the broker called us to return to talk with the possible buyers who were favorably impressed with the boat but are also looking at other catamarans on the market. Dream Caper looks terrific but it is difficult living in a showroom which we have to always keep neat and clean just in case someone wants to take a tour. We've taken to "having a tub" Australian slang for taking a shower on shore so we don't have to keep cleaning our shower on board. We congratulated ourselves for enduring the first set of possible buyers and had a nice dinner at a local Thai restaurant.
Looking down on Dream Caper from the top of the mast. Notice Steve down below.
Portia in the boson chair with tool in hand ready to go up the mast.
November 2, 2011 Wednesday
Early in the morning before the winds kicked in, Portia went up the mast which is 60 feet high to cut the broken radio antenna wire attached to the top of the mast. Steve usually would perform this chore but because the repair (simply cutting the wire) was easy, Portia had the honors. Actually going up the mast is more strenuous for the person left below who has to hand crank the winch to lift the weight of the other person. However, it is a thrilling experience going up the mast not only because of the fear of crashing 60 feet to the deck below but because the view from above is unobstructed and expansive. In the afternoon, someone in a catamaran on the dock came by and bought our old spinnaker which did not fit Dream Caper although we used it a few times. It was from Steve's previous boat, a Catalina 42. We have a list of items for sale on the bulletin board in the marina's laundry facility. In the evening we barbecued steaks at the marina's barbecue area.
Steve, Brian & Cheryl under a Jacaranda tree in downtown Manly, Queensland, Australia
October 29-November 1, 2011
Saturday: Brian and Cheryl took the train to Manly where we had a delicious lunch at the MBTBC restaurant overlooking the marina. The city of Manly put on a Halloween celebration, Australian style, in the park next to the marina and the closed off main street, where they had kiddie rides and food stands, vendors and performance stages. After relaxing on Dream Caper for a few hours, we walked over to the evening parade which featured lots of vintage cars with draculas, witches and frankensteins waving, marching bands, and various groups of costumed people to the delight of bystanders 2-3 people deep along the parade route. Okay, so the parade was only 5 blocks long. Two bandstands featured local musical talent. After a good time was had by all, Brian and Cheryl hopped into a taxi to take themselves and our 50 pound rolling duffel bag to the train station back to Brisbane. They will leave for Sydney tomorrow to catch their flight to LAX. We have lots of items that we have accumulated in our 8 years of cruising and with the limited one checked bag rule we know we will exceed our allowance when we return to SFO in a few weeks. Brian and Cheryl had an extra bag allowance so we were extremely happy that they were willing to cart our filled duffel with them.
Sunday, Monday & Tuesday: We sorted through all of the stuff on Dream Caper. It was a chore. Lots went in the garbage or was set alongside the marina garbage cans (the boat cushions and rubber boots were taken by somebody before the garbage was picked up). Arnie and Jan, two local cruisers, allowed us to load their car with charity items which they will take to the drop off bins for us. We emptied and scrubbed all of the closets, cabinets and drawers and put back those items that will stay with the boat. We packed out of sight items that we will be taking back to the States with us and then we scrubbed and cleaned, scrubbed and cleaned, seemingly forever until the interior sparkled. With the woodwork and cabinets polished, the salon carpet washed and dried, and the countertops gleaming, the two yacht brokers toured Dream Caper on Monday and pronounced her in impressive shape for her age (12 years old). Clyde a diesel mechanic came by to arrange for making some minor repairs on the engines. On Tuesday, we scrubbed and cleaned the exterior of Dream Caper, polished all of the stainless steel, replaced the bilge pump in the port engine, and took more trash off the boat. Now Dream Caper is ready to show. She looks terrific. We are hopeful for a quick sale, but one never knows when that one person will come along. We hope it is soon.
October 27-28, 2011
Thursday: After we arrived at the quarantine dock at Rivergate Marina, Brisbane, the official was at our boat 45 minutes later. He was very friendly and simply asked for any fresh meats and fresh produce. We had 2 apples, some garlic and ginger root, and a bit of cabbage to put into his quarantine bag. We had no fresh beef or chicken as we had cooked them up for the crossing and just about consumed all of it on the way. He did not take the leftover meatloaf because he said anything cooked was okay. He didn't take our two boiled eggs. It was an easy process; however, he collected $330 (AUS) as the quarantine fee, by far the most expensive quarantine fee thus far. In Fiji, we paid $90. Next came the Immigration and Customs people. They took our purse size pepper spray that we have never used in 8 years because pepper spray is not allowed in Australia. They said they would keep it and give it back to us when we check out of the country with the boat. After 45 minutes of paperwork and answering questions, we were cleared and free to go on shore. We chatted with the officials for 15 minutes until SV Beach House arrived at the dock and then helped take their docklines. We went to the Rivergate Marina office to see if berths were available for us and SV Beach House as we wanted to secure the boats and go to dinner. As we were checking out the berths, we saw SV Dalwinnie, the boat that had done a hit-and-run on Dream Caper while she was unmanned at anchor in the Marquesas in June 2010, which destroyed our satellite phone antenna and damaged our davit at a cost of over $5,000. Australia has numerous marinas. It was a fluke seeing SV Dalwinnie tucked away in a obscure berth. SV Tyee arrived some 4 hours after us so the three of us had successfully made the crossing from New Caledonia. Along with Scott and his temporary crew, Kay, from Australia, we took a taxi to nearby Bulimba for an early dinner. We enjoyed Mexican food which was a way from being authentic, but was definitely tasty. We celebrated our arrival in Australia!
Friday: We bought time on the wireless service at the marina and caught up on messages and banking. We wrote a letter to SV Dalwinnie to which we attached a copy of Rule 18, International Rules of Boating, which states that it is the responsibility of the boat under power to avoid an unmanned boat. In our case, we were on shore when SV Dalwinnie crashed into our stern destroying our dome satellite antenna. They admitted to that when we contacted them via radio, but claimed it was our fault because our boat went up on a wave as they were pulling their anchor and hit their boat. We left this correspondence for them at the marina office with little expectation of a response, but felt we should do something. We left the berth at noon and motored 15 miles down the river, into the bay, and to our berth at Moreton Bay Trailer Boat Club (MBTBC) Marina. There are 4 marinas in Moreton Bay with a total of 1500 berths. Our berth is a short walk to the marina office and from there only a block to the center of the town of Manly where there are lots of restaurants and a good grocery store. Using the internet and Skype, we called Steve's brother Brian and his wife Cheryl who have been in Australia on business for the past two weeks. They flew up to Brisbane tonight from Sydney. We walked the half mile to the Manley Train Station, caught the train and met them in Brisbane 30 minutes later. The train was on time, clean, modern, well maintained and easy to understand. We walked Brisbane's beautiful waterfront (river) walkway which has delightful water art displays, benches, table areas, a public swimming pool, trees and landscaping. We found a lovely Japanese restaurant where we enjoyed good food and great conversation. After indulging at an nearby ice cream shop, we strolled the walkway back to the train. So far we have found Australia to be modern, clean, well maintained and friendly. The USA definitely looks shabby by comparison.