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LeuCat Adventures
Join us in sharing our adventures as we sail around the world. NEW!!************************************************************************* GET A COPY OF OUR TECHNO-TIPS DOCUMENTS--JUST CLICK ON THEM UNDER THE "FAVORITES" HEADING ON THE RIGHT
Year 5 Day 66 S/V Spirit
Dave/Mostly Sunny
04/06/2012, Bundaberg Port Marina

After working on more boat projects today, Mary Margaret and I went over to S/V Spirit to have sundowners with Jerald and Anz, our Dutch friends. We first met them in Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador in 2009. Since then, we have bumped into them in the Marquesas and Tahiti in 2010 and last year in Port Villa, Vanuatu. They have just returned their boat to the water after keeping it on the hard here during their trip back to Holland.

It was great catching up again. They speak very good English and we enjoyed their company very much. Mary Margaret had made a guacamole dip and Anz made a salty and crunchy Dutch taco like chip that was delicious. The last time we had such a chance to get together was in Ecuador since each of the other times we bumped into each other, either we were just leaving or they were. Such is the life of a cruiser.

They too will be sailing to Darwin and then Indonesia; however, they probably will not join up with the rally. They plan to end the cruising year in Thailand and may end up staying there the next year also. Like everyone else, they wish to continue on to the Mediterranean but are not yet sure how to get there. The pirate situation around the Red Sea and Indian Ocean has everyone evaluating various options.

Tomorrow, Jerald will be coming over to Leu Cat to help me service our Yamaha 2 stroke 15hp Enduro outboard. Except for minor maintenance I have never worked on it and he will show me a few tricks that he has learned.

Year 5 Day 65 A Day For Provisioning
Dave/Mostly Sunny
04/05/2012, Bundaberg {Port Marina

I am afraid today was not a very exciting day. We had rented a car from the marina and drove the 20 or so kilometers into Bundaberg. Once there, we spent the better part of the day going from place to place, collecting things that were on our "We Need" list. Since today was the day before Good Friday, the town was packed with people. Everyone was doing the same thing we were since most stores and banks would be closed from tomorrow through Monday for the Easter holiday.

I needed to go to one of the banks to deposit our Sail Indonesia Rally fee. Yep, we are biting the bullet and will be sailing in our first real rally this year. Not a pretty thought since we are not really rally people. We have sailed in two other "Rallies" before, but both were rallies in name only. You really sailed by yourself and the rally was really just a name for all of the parties you got to attend at the end of the cruising season destination you were sailing to. These two rallies went from Tonga to NZ and from Vanuatu to Bundaberg.

However, the Sail Indonesia Rally is a multi-stop rally with planned festivities at each destination. Thus, boats tend to leave each port at the same time. We have heard many nice things about this rally and since the rally people handle the majority of the paperwork we need to have to sail through Indonesia, we thought we would give it a try. One of the really bright points of this trip is that our former cruising friends, Portia and Steve (formerly of S/V Dream Caper), will be joining us in Bali for a couple of weeks. We can hardly wait to see them again!

We ended the afternoon at Coles, a large supermarket, where we loaded up with a number of goodies. We will go shopping for provisions one more time before we leave Bundaberg in the next week or two.

To conclude the day, we returned to Bundaberg for dinner at the Brother Sports Club. Thursday night is their roast night and it is only $4.95 per person. We had been told that it is very good and were anxious to give it a try. While the meal was good, we had visions of thick roast beef dancing in our heads. Alas, the meat was thinly cut and was in bits and pieces. It had been slow cooked at low temperatures so it was very tender but not as flavorful as our imaginations had envisioned. Nevertheless, at $4.95 for a complete dinner, it was a pretty good deal.

Since everything is closed tomorrow, we are projecting that it was be a restful day interspersed with work on the never ending list of minor boat projects...

Year 5 Day 64 Getting Old Is Not For Sissies
Dave/Sunny And Some WInd
04/04/2012, Bundaberg Port Marina

Today all of the hard work that we have been doing on the sail, out in the intense sun, caught up with me. Coupled that with the "heavy on the fresh veggies and fruits and light on the carbohydrates and fats" diets that we are on, I feel exhausted. OK, maybe an itty, bitty, tiny fraction of the exhaustion is also old age creeping in. Naw, that can't be it. We are as old as we think, not as old as we feel and I only think positive thoughts. I am still only 20 years old in my mind, even though my body is constantly disputing that thought!

Anyway, I worked only at about 30% of my usually level today and did not accomplish very much. If I had been smart, I would have just stayed inside and rested all day. I actually believe that I am just feeling the effects of too much sun since I did not use any sunscreen yesterday and did not wear a hat. How stupid is that!

Tomorrow, we are renting a car and going back into town. We need to start our serious provisioning for this upcoming cruising season. Since we are going to be in Indonesia and Malaysia, there are certain things that are best bought here in Australia. We could wait until we get to Darwin but we understand that things are so much more expensive up there and there will be lots of other cruisers stocking up there. Thus, for the longer term provisions and basics, we are going to load up here.

Year 5 Days 62 and 63 Opportunity Lost And Then Regained
Dave/Sunny and CALM
04/03/2012, Bundaberg Port Marina, AU

Yesterday was spent dong an assorted group of small boat projects. None of them very critical but a number of them addressed various nagging issues that crop up on a boat after a while. An example is replacing a head pump plunger that was squealing and leaking each time when used. It did not matter how much silicon grease I would add to silence it. The fact of the matter was, it had just plum wore out and needed to be replaced.

We have been hoping for a day of calm winds so we could put up the mainsail and insert the battens. Calm days are a rarity here since we either get the southeasterly winds which are starting to dominate this region now, or we get the land and sea breezes. However, last evening, right at dinner time, the winds stopped. Thus, as soon as dinner was over, we threw on the outside deck light and pulled up the main, confident that we would be inserting the battens.

Alas, it was not to be so... As Mary Margaret hoisted the main, I discovered that I had failed to reattach one of the batten cars to the sail track that holds the sail to the mast. Damn!!!! I was so pissed that I had missed it. This meant that I would have to remove the small section of track that we had repaired right before our trip around Australia and reinsert the batten car after I loaded the batten car with new bearings.

This is not a quickie thing to do so I told Mary Margaret to drop the sail and I would work on this the next morning. We went to bed with smoke coming out of my ears. I was concerned that I had missed my rare opportunity of no winds.

This morning I woke up at 0500 with dawn just starting to break. The air was still calm so I went on deck to immediately start working on inserting the batten car. I went on deck so quickly that I by-passed shaving, brushing my teeth and my morning coffee. Fortunately, I had remembered to put my swimming suit on...

Within an hour I had the batten car re-installed and hoisted up the sail since the wind was still nonexistent. 5 hours later, still with no wind, I had installed the 3 bottom and longest of the battens. It is a real chore doing this by one's self. It would have gone much faster if I had a tall helper but since my loving wife is just 5 feet two inches, she would not have been able to help push the battens in while I shook out the sail to remove the various creases that prevent the battens going in smoothly.

Thus, I had to do all of this by myself, a foot at a time. By 1100 I was exhausted and overheated. However, three of the five battens were in.

At 1500 I was rested enough to continue but I really needed help. The fourth batten was just not cooperating so I did ask Mary Margaret to come up and help out. She immediately saw the problem and being the brains of the family came up with an ingenious solution. She suggested that I use our wire fish. This is a long, flat wire that I use to "fish" electrical wires through tortuous routes. Following her suggestion, I climbed the mast steps, snaked the wire fish through the batten pocket until it came out the other end and then taped the batten to the wire fish. With Mary Margaret holding the batten, I pulled on the wire fish and in no time, the batten was in place. Hooray!!!! And all thanks to my life mate!! She may not be big in stature but she sure is big in brains!!!!

Now all I have left is the top, short batten and I can do this even if the wind is blowing since only a little bit of sail needs to be pulled up to install it. This I will tackle tomorrow.

Techno-Tip Of The Week: Installing Battens

As you read above, Mary Margaret came up with a great little trick to help smooth out the winkles in a sail as you try to push the battens through the batten pockets. This problem is manageable without her trick if you have two tall people who can work at each end of the sail and pull the sail taunt while you push the batten into the batten pocket. However, on our boat, the boom is up high and to reach the working part of the sail you need to be at least 5 ½ feet tall.

If you don't have two tall people or if you are working by yourself, this trick works great. What you need to do and use your fish wire and thread it through the batten pocket. You will still need to work the sail a bit to ease the wire through the creases in the sail but it is a lot easier than pushing a thick batten through the batten pocket. Make sure the end of the wire is bent back and then taped so that there is not a sharp end to cut through the sail.

Once the wire is through, then just tape the batten to about a foot of the wire and pull the wire back through the batten pocket until the batten comes through. Now just guide the end of the batten into the batten car. Once that is done, you can install the plastic batten end to the leach side of the batten and tie it down or do whatever you need to do to close your batten end. Prettcy neat, Uh?

Year 5 Day 61 Junk Mail
04/01/2012, Bundaberg Port Marina, AU

You know we have been in a place too long when we start receiving junk mail addressed specifically to us at the marina. Yesterday, I checked the mailbox at the marina and found a piece of junk mail that was sent to us. Yep, it is time to move on! While Mary Margaret and I have only been here maybe a total of 6 weeks, the boat has been here since the end of October. That's 5 months tied up at a dock and that is just too long!! But alas, we will be here at least another two weeks as we sit out the end of cyclone season (it's official end is May 1st but we hope to get an early jump on it). Although there was a cyclone in Northern Australia just two weeks ago we are hoping that it will be the last one of the season for our area. However, a deep tropical depression is building near Fiji that is expected to develop into a cyclone so we will just wait and see how things develop along the eastern coast of Australia between now and the end of the month.

Today was Farmer's Market day. Thus, armed with lots of shopping bags, we spent the morning at the market getting various fresh fruits and vegetables. While I spent the rest of the day cleaning the outside of the boat, Mary Margaret spent her time making chutney and gazpacho from what she picked up at the market today. Both were delicious and they are the reason I don't mind trudging along with Mary Margaret to the market. I am always rewarded for schlepping the groceries around at the market with a lot of tasty treats to eat when we get back.

Year 5 Day 60 Australian Swimwear
Dave/Partly Cloudy
03/31/2012, Bundaberg Port Marina, AU

From the title I would think that visions of buff men with six-pack stomach muscles sporting bulging Speedo suits or ravishing women with boobs spilling out of their skimpy tops, hour glass waists barely holding up string type bottoms would come to mind. After all, this is the Gold Coast of Australia, famous for its beaches, babes, and beauty.

However, the truth is far from this vision. This is the land of the Box jellyfish and the Irukandji jellyfish. These both are highly venomous types of jellyfish that are known to cause either serious injury or death to swimmers here. The Box jellyfish are born in the rivers of middle and northern Queensland and are flushed out to the ocean. They can be prolific between the months of October and May. What makes them even more dangerous is that, unlike most other types of jellyfish, they hunt their prey and can swim up to 4 knots. That is faster than most people can swim.

Fortunately, we have read that they tend to stay near the coast so if you are out along the further portions of the Great Barrier Reef, you should not see them. However, the outer reefs are known to have the Irukandji jellyfish, which is thought to be the deadliest jellyfish known to mankind.

Thus, getting back to the topic of Australian swimwear, when one goes swimming in middle to northern Queensland, one should not be dressed like the buff men and the sexy women I described above. Instead, one wears what are called Stinger Suits. Stinger Suits are full body suits made of spandex that you slip into before diving into the water. The picture that I posted to this blog shows a buff young man modeling one. Oh, wait. That's me... I guess I should say that the picture I posted to this blog shows a buff, mature man modeling one... What, you are still not buying that? OK, OK, how about a salty old fart modeling one. That, I know you will believe!

Year 5 Day 59 Return To Leu Cat
03/30/2012, Bundaberg

After our transcontinental trip that took us along the east coast of Australia and then over to Perth, we have returned to good ol' Leu Cat. As with any long vacation, it is so nice to be back home. Our train ride from Brisbane to Bundaberg was non-eventful and we even arrived almost on time (only 10 minutes late). This time both John and Cheryl were waiting for us and it was so nice to see the both of them again.

They drove us back to the marina and after we quickly unpacked and did a quick survey of Leu Cat, the four of us returned to Bundaberg. We have the rental car for 24 hours so we wanted to go out for dinner and do major grocery shopping to restock our refrigerators and freezer.

We went to the Brother's Sport Club for dinner. This is one of the dining clubs that Phil and Heather, our new friends in Sydney, told us about. Before we met them, we were not aware that just about each town in Australia has dining clubs in which visitors, such as ourselves, can go and have a great dinner for a very reasonable cost, without being a member.

As it turns out, John and Cheryl, who have been befriended by some locals, have gone here a few times since we left. On Thursday and Sunday night, this dinning club offers a complete roast dinner for only $4.95. What a deal!!!

After our great meals, we next drove over to Woolworths where we spent more than an hour filling our shopping carts with goodies. Mary Margaret decided to hold off on some veggies since the Farmer's Market that is held each Sunday is only two days away and she will stock up with those at that time.

Tomorrow I will start on a few boat projects that need to be worked on to get Leu Cat ready for the cruising season. We would like to start cruising again in a couple of weeks, if the weather looks good and we can get everything ready.

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Who: Mary Margaret and Dave Leu
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