25 August 2015 | South Stradbroke Island
I’m feeling a bit reflective this afternoon. It was our being left ‘anniversary’ last week – can you believe it has been six months now since that awful day when I was informed that our marriage was over by text message, when that cyclone and powerful East Coast Low was upon us and we had to just deal with whatever came our way by ourselves.
It feels like it all happened years ago now – I struggle to believe it was just six months.
This week we have come from the Coomera River and anchored near Currigee campsite on South Stradbroke Island. We dropped anchor last Monday afternoon after saying our many goodbyes at The Boatworks – it seemed like we were leaving old friends and I must say it was a very nice feeling!
We got so much done while we were there – both during our time on the hardstand, while the repairs were carried out, and afterwards while we were at the marina. We attended to things that were in my ‘too hard’ basket and had some awesome help – I continue to be amazed at the kindness and consideration of so many people we have stumbled across in those past six months.
The boat is now such better shape.
We are in such better shape.
When we were left at Macleay Island we were long overdue to haul Argos out. That’s why Peter had been on the island working – to allow us to get this essential task done and especially to repair the damage the rudder had sustained when the wind vane steering snapped off in the Bight over 3 years earlier. We had not antifouled in all that time either and had no idea what shape any of the underside was in or if there were any issues to address.
Since then I can’t believe what the kids and I have achieved.
I really can’t believe it – and I would have to say that not only have we done an amazing job with the boat but we have overcome a great deal of personal pain at the same time. I am impressed with my little crew – every day!
Since leaving Macleay……
We have had major engine issues repaired – issues with the gearbox sorted out, the raw water intake and fresh water pumps replaced. We have learned how the fuel system works and ironed out some niggling issues with the fuel tanks.
We have hauled out, antifouled and had the rudder repaired.
We have completely overhauled the electrical system, attended to significant and dangerous wiring issues and installed a powerful new solar panel.
We have assessed every through hull fitting in the boat and replaced one with the potential to cause significant problems.
We have attended to the issues caused by the trawler incident.
We have painted the hull - twice now, but the second time much better than the first!
We have repainted all the deck woodwork.
We have repaired hand holds and hand rails throughout and assessed safety lines.
We have repaired stanchions that were damaged when we moored at San Remo 3 ½ years ago and hit the jetty.
We’ve had the running boards restored and repaired, and then I painted and sealed them.
We bought a new RIB dinghy and sold the previous two dinghis we had been left with.
That’s quite a lot of stuff, but something has happened to us along the way though that I don’t fully understand. In the past six months we have tackled bigger and bigger things ourselves. We have learned to ask questions and get input from some of the people we have been so lucky to have had around us. It’s funny really – and this is the thing I have been reflecting about the most – we have been so NOT alone since being abandoned. We have had so much support and assistance and really, more than anything else, I would have to say that the only thing I hated about our sailing up until February, is no longer the case for me at all – we are not one little unit alone on the water – we are surrounded by people and help and ideas and learning opportunities and I can’t say how incredible that is to me.
This week we had a problem with our outboard motor – the pull cord just pulled right through without any resistance and of course the motor wouldn’t start. If this had happened in February we would have slumped. Felt lost. And been stranded. But not now. Everything has changed and what happened next really highlights for me the ways we have changed in this past 6 months.
First of all there was complete calmness. No drama, no stress. We were home which of course was fantastic, but regardless, there was just a complete lack of anxiety about the situation.
Then we began talking about what to do. We already had ideas. Liam began taking the motor apart! He was looking at why it was a problem. I posted on the women who sail forum for some thoughts. We googled and got a YouTube video. We could see straight away that it was the recoil spring – not that we knew its name at that stage! Liam had a good look and thought perhaps he could see what needed doing. Then we concluded that it would likely need to go somewhere to be repaired – and so we thought about options about making that happen. We rang a good friend who had previously mentioned having a spare outboard motor and he immediately agreed to lend it to us while we got ours sorted. We ran another friend for suggestions of where we could take the motor and he offered to come and get it for us. He then suggested that we might try and start the motor manually using the emergency starter which we didn’t even know we had or how to use – Liam then worked that out and got the motor going. It’s not all sorted yet but it’s a hiccup not a drama and that’s the thing that strikes me – how much we can take in our stride these days. Compared to when we were first on our own when everything felt like a struggle and a challenge, now these sorts of issues are just jobs to do – and our capacity to face them, deal with them and work through them is so much greater.
And in addition, over the course of the last few months we have made SO many friends – we have been so blessed with kind people around us who think we are doing a great thing and have so many people to ask for advice and suggestions – people who believe in us – and people who want to see us do well. The thing is, I am a people person and before, I really struggled with isolation – I had a lot of connections with people on line but in terms of actual face-to-face friendship, I felt quite alone a lot of the time – but since February this has changed so much – I have been so happy to have made some wonderful friends in the past few months - from Robin and Sue who are just the BEST, to John, Murray and Peter Leonard and his lovely family, from Blake, Daniel Rouget, Tino and Reece and so many lovely people from the women who sail forum, not to mention the friends we made at the Boatworks – Charmaine, Alanna and Amy, Marie, Niki, Brad and Tanya, Shane, Micah and Scott, Iain, Rosie, Greg and Brad, John and Reggie from the shop and Jeff from Choice Stainless – I can’t believe we have had so many lovely people cross our path and desire to remain a part of our lives.
Our life since February has become not poorer but so much richer!
Erina and Liam have flourished – there has been so much positive encouragement to them about sailing and their special skill areas – Erina’s cooking and Liam’s amazing rope work – I am just so grateful for the events that led to us exploring life more on our own terms.
And I have completed the manuscript for the book I was offered a publishing contract for back in February too!
We have come a long way in the past 6 months – we have needed time to heal and time to process and time to take ownership of not just the boat but our life on it and I think we have done that – not that there isn’t always more growing to do but I think I would say we are much readier now than we were when we first set off from Macleay Island to do this sailing thing again.