Sailing with Capt'n Willi Cinque

Vessel Name: Dreamagic
Vessel Make/Model: Bavaria 44
Hailing Port: RQYS/Cairns
Extra: The Difference between Ordeal and Adventure is Attitude!
05 August 2011 | Hamilton Island
05 August 2011
05 August 2011 | GKI
05 August 2011 | Whitsundays
07 July 2011 | Burnett Heads Harbour
04 July 2011 | Mooloolaba
Recent Blog Posts
05 August 2011 | Hamilton Island

Pirates of the Coral Sea

6th August 2011

05 August 2011

An Expensive Day Out

4th August 2011

05 August 2011 | GKI

Great Keppel Island (Or GKI)

18th July

05 August 2011 | Whitsundays

A Midnight Crossing

"Sailing on a Midnight Boat,

07 July 2011 | Burnett Heads Harbour

Why I wish I had paid more attention at Maths

Burnett Heads to Yepoon

04 July 2011 | Mooloolaba

Just Bloody Whales

What is so bloody special about Whales?

Pirates of the Coral Sea

05 August 2011 | Hamilton Island
capt'n Willi Cinque
6th August 2011
Hamilton Island
Whitsundays

Pirates of the Coral Sea

We crossed from Cid Harbour to Nara Inlet for the night. Nara has to be seen to be appreciated and I could not do it justice with words. Its like a Norwegian Fiord (Not that I have ever seen one) with wooded cliffs that drop straight into the sea. It’s long and narrow and very safe from wind and waves. Someone tod me after we had been swimming that it’s actually the breeding ground of the hammerhead shark. My personal view is that even if it is, they are probably too busy breeding to be worried about me. Now if it was the FEEDING ground I may have been more concerned.

We had rendezvoused with Time Lord here and had sundowners on board before retiring.
Friday dawned miserable. The wind was up, the rain was in and visibility was down to about 300 meters. However the oracle worked its magic and we felt our way across the bay to Hamilton Island. Islands loomed out of the mist, safely to our port or starboard and we drank coffee and hid under the dodger relying on the autopilot to actually do the work.

We arrived at “Hammo” at about 10.00 and by then the rain had given way to brilliant sunshine. We phoned the Marina Office and asked if the berth we had pre booked was available as we would like to come in. Very politely we were refused entry until 11 “because none of the guests from last night have left yet”. We picked up a mooring and waited until our room would be ready. Meanwhile, we might as well have a drink at the bar.

We called again just after 11 and a polite young man suggested that we put our fenders on the port side, that is the left side, attach our mooring lines front and aft and proceed to an orange buoy just inside the marina where we are to wait for the concierge to help us berth. We explained that we actually had picked up somewhere that the port side was the left side, that we were not a charter yacht, and that if they told us where the berth was we could probably park it ourselves. “Madam, we greet every boat” was the transmitted reply.

We entered an extremely crowded harbour and took up station as directed. One of the problems that non boat people possibly don’t appreciate is that unlike a car, one cannot just stop a boat. Like an affectionate puppy, you can tell it to stay, but if something catches its attention it will wander off. In our case anything large, shiny and expensive and Dreamagic is fascinated and drifts towards it. I whiled away the time practicing my seamanship skills trying to keep 44 feet and 12 tons of boat from hitting anything while Rona radioed the Marina Office to see if anyone was actually going to come out today.

The Marina Office was busy speaking with another yacht that wanted to “Just come into the fuel dock, but if we stay another hour is that OK? And do you have a supermarket? And what is the price of a can of tuna? And do you have a TV guide?” And…… can you get off the bloody radio!!! He was told the fuel wharf was full and to wait until he was called. Capt’n “I Own the Airwaves” wasn’t happy and wanted to be allocated a temporary berth at no charge until the fuel wharf became available.

Meanwhile the Hamilton Island ferry had given three short blasts and was reversing to leave the harbour. This was going to be tight with us doing laps at the entrance but it was doable. That was until Capt’n Airwaves, now Capt’n Foxtrot Oscar* decided that the Marina Office hadn’t a clue and could be spotted inthe leads entering the harbour. On entry, he realised that with a ferry bearing down on him he needed to move but his options were limited by a Bavaria 44 circling the entrance. He started to gesticulate to us in a sign language which roughly translated to “You are in my way. Can you sink because we need to be where you are”.

Now enter stage left as the drama unfolds is a stink boat whose sheer size means we have to peer up to our first spreaders to see the diminutive driver, naturally dressed in blue and white, and with an embroidered cap. This boat has every toy imaginable but has been tastefully boganned by the addition of a Pirate Flag flying from one of its six aerials. Driven by Capt’n “I didn’t get where I am today by asking permission” he is taking his guests out doing whatever stink boats do, and either he is late or the two million horsepower diesels cant go any slower. Whichever, there is no slowing down and like an All Black seeing a gap in the Australian defence he is charging through.

The ferry manages to leave, we were lucky enough to have been on the edges and could move over, but Capt’n Foxtrot Oscar hadn’t been so fortunate. He was visibly shaken by the whole experience and we stood by and watched him very tentatively coax his boat towards the fuel dock while we waited for the concierge. If this is what it’s like now, I can’t wait for the egos of race week to get here!

The concierge came alongside and politely told us he would show us to our berth. We obediently followed his dinghy to a berth that was surrounded by monster stink boats of the same dimensions as the one that had provided so much amusement so recently. Marcus, (the concierge) was on the dock to hand our lines and welcome us to Hamilton Island. He asked if we had been here before, gave us a map, and told us about the amenities. He complimented us on our boat. “It’s a 44 isn’t it?” Difficult to hide given Bavaria 44 is written on the side, we agreed. “That will be just $115, thank you”. We were booked for two nights. That was a tad expensive, usually we pay about $45 a night but hey! this is Hamilton Island and it will make collecting our guests, flying in tomorrow, that much easier. No, that’s $115 per night. Marcus produced a wireless EftPos and I am sure I saw the Centurian on the Amex card lift his shield over his head as he went through the reader.

And not a sign of Johnny Depp

*Foxtrot Oscar is phonetic alphabet for the letters F.O. When using the radio they have a significance that I am sure Google would reveal if you need more information.

And just a thought, but why is Phonetic not spelt with an F?






An Expensive Day Out

05 August 2011
4th August 2011

Nara Inlet

Whitsundays




An expensive day out




Where were we? Ah yes, we had fuelled and watered and left Mackay for the Whitsundays. The trip across to Thomas Island was beautiful, and uneventful. We anchored as the only boat off a sandy beach in the shelter of Thomas Island, one of my favourites.

All the islands here are stunning but Thomas holds a special place in my heart because I consider it to be the first of the Whitsunday Islands. One can see Lindeman from here, all the subsequent islands are less then 10 miles away, BUT Thomas is outside the area where Charter Boats can operate so it’s still a secluded anchorage. We set anchor, dropped our dinghy into the green/blue sea and went ashore for some beachcombing.

I know I have sung the praises of our plotter long and loud. I love it, and like love it just keeps surprising me. I have now found the Tide function which tells me when the high and low tide is at my location. Big deal, so would the Queensland Tide Tables but it tells me the secondary ports as well as the major ones without my needing to look them up. That’s no hardship either but the next bit is. It applies the rule of 12ths to where I am and at what time so that with my legendary skills at mathematics I don’t have to calculate how much water is under Dreamagic’s keel now, how far to go before low tide, what the amount of water would be between high and low given the time we are making this calculation, take one from the other, up anchor and move, or sit still knowing that we will float at low water. The Oracle just shows a little +0.9 and sure enough, 3.5 hours later we have 0.9 meters under our keel at the turn of the tide.

We had a great dinner, played backgammon, a game Rona could not play a week ago and now regularly thrashes me at, and an early night.




We elected for an early start on Wednesday and put to sea about 06.30. I elected not to put the dinghy in the davits because we were only going 20 miles to Cid Harbour to rendezvous with Time Lord. We also elected to not put the fenders away but leave them unsecured on the deck.

Dreamagic’s fenders now have natty woven covers on them to try to stop the rubber leaving black marks down our topsides when we berth. Unfortunately if they get wet they suck up water faster than a thirsty otter and ours had done just that whilst in Mackay. Rather than put them away when leaving harbour we had dried them on the deck and promptly forgot about them.




Just outside Thomas Island there is an overfall. This is best described as a waterfall at sea. There is plenty of water, in this case 30 metres but one current falls over a cross current producing a very confused sea for just a few hundred metres. The waves pick up, the boat bounces around alarmingly, and loose things, like fenders fall off the sides. Missing in Action: One fender, $120, one fender sock, $60. An expensive start to the day.




We settled down for our romp across the bay. Wind and waves behind us, 3 hour run, great. We should have had the sails up but we needed to charge the batteries anyway so we elected to motor.




A lot of boats have names for their dinghies and they take on a personality of their own. Good friends with the boat Footprints named the dinghy Thumbprints which I thought was clever. Dreamagic’s dinghy never had a name, until now. We towed that dinghy from Cairns to Brisbane in horrendous conditions including over a very dirty Wide Bay Bar with never a worry. We have also spent a squillion building davits so that we can hoist it out of the water, but because we only had a short way to go we didn’t put it in the davits, nor did we put the other preventer tow line on. 2 miles from Hamilton Island it decided to surf down a particularly inviting looking wave, and flip over. The engine is now in the water, the propeller is now pointing skywards and the shipwrights design to make it aqua dynamic on the surface is working to drive her to the bottom. Full of air she is resisting these loads by making an impression of a submarine attempting a crash dive and things are not looking good. Stopping Dreamagic was probably a good idea so we did that and the dinghy finally came to a halt, upside down at the end of her painter, looking like a large grey pregnant hippo. We retrieved the painter but even with the dinghy now nuzzling the transom, she was not going to be righted. It appears that she had somehow created suction and was firmly glued to the ocean surface. We finally managed to break her free and with all the strength the two of us could muster, together with a lot of luck she flipped back. Missing in Action: One dinghy seat, one dinghy anchor. Plus I will have to strip the motor, dry it out and get it to restart. An expensive morning tea too.




We motored into Cid Harbour and with judicious use of hammers, ratchets, screwdrivers and WD40 I got the engine to fire. I am no mechanic but I think the engine knows that and really I just need to get the tools out to frighten it into submission. “Start, or I’ll start taking bits off you” usually has the required effect. Actually you should never criticise inanimate objects. They hate it.




And the name of the dinghy? They call him Flipper!






Great Keppel Island (Or GKI)

05 August 2011 | GKI
Capt'n Willi Cinque
18th July

Great Keppel Island (Or GKI to us Cruisers)

I loathe acronyms, that's why I joined the AAA, which surprisingly for those who know me is the not Alcoholics Anonymous of Australia but the Australians Against Acronyms.

We are at GKI having left here in perfect weather and battling the worst the benign Coral Sea could throw at us, steamed into a bare foot skiing flat Keppel Bay. It's a secluded little anchorage, just us and the 30 other yachts all sailing north. K Mart car park on Christmas Eve has more room.

It is seriously beautiful here though and with the clear blue sky and flat sea, the thoughts of my now sulking Auto Pilot are behind me. I don't know what it is with Dreamagic instruments but they are like every BMW I have ever owned. If you can get 80% of it working at any one time you feel faintly smug with yourself. I know the instruments are all integrated because they take it in turns to play up. Just when I am about to throw the sounder over the side so that it actually knows where the bottom is, it behaves itself, says "Your it" and the autopilot takes us on a mystery tour of Keppel Island. Bloody Germans! It's a shame the Japanese haven't decided to build yachts. They would be boring, but they would work.

Of course the instrument vagaries could be connected with the Military Operation at Shoalwater Bay. Dreamagic's instruments are made by Raytheon, the company that gave us the Exocet missile and worlds largest supplier of things that go bang in the night. The boys over at Shoalwater have all the new toys and naturally want to play with them. Perhaps they have some sort of jamming device that makes instruments go weird. Just the thing if Australia is ever invaded by feral yachties trying to sneak up the coast in stealth mode at about 5 kts. I think it's time to wear the tin foil helmet under my sailing cap.

We lowered the dinghy off the new davits and settled down to some lunch. It took about 3 minutes. (The launch, not the lunch) I rather miss the old system of untying the dinghy from the foredeck, throwing it over he side where, like buttered bread it lands upside down, righting it and then dragging it to the stern of the mother ship. Tying it off, undoing the outboard perched precariously on the rail, handing it down to some poor fool sitting in the dinghy who tries to attach it to the transom without, as happened in PNG, dropping it so that it bounces on the rubber float once, then pierces it and falls over the side. Then again, if you put it like that. No, I don't.

At dusk we took off for sundowners on the beach which is our custom. We enjoyed blue cheese and biscuits and a cheeky Sauvignon Blanc while feeding the sand flies. We then wandered along the strand stopping only to admire the work of a group of yachties who had decorated a tree with all manner of baubles. The things you see when you haven't got a camera! Sorry. I do know the history of this actually and it was one Christmas when a group of yachties were celebrating Christmas here and set about making a Christmas tree. It is now resplendent with fishing floats, streamers and even a windsurfer.

Back on Dreamagic for a Rona speciality, Tequila Chicken with Salad. We listened to an album of songs from the Second World War era with a final port before an early retire. We have a big day tomorrow.

more at Dreamagic

A Midnight Crossing

05 August 2011 | Whitsundays
Capt'n Willi Cinque
"Sailing on a Midnight Boat,

There were no questions asked

The water's so green and the air is so clean,

He just stuck right to his task"

Havana Daydreaming

Jimmy Buffett




Courtesy of the war games we have to travel about 100 nms in one leg to The Percy Islands. (In one leg, not on one leg!)This stops us pulling into Port Clinton, Pearl Bay, Island Head, Thirsty Sound and all those traditional stops cruisers use to break up the quite hazardous prospect of trying to stay awake for a considerable amount of time. It would be foolhardy to enter an anchorage in the dark so it has to be an overnighter, timing ones arrival to be in daylight hours. Even then there are plenty of Islands and solitary rocks to avoid along the way. And we haven't included the Military Exclusion Zone which also has to be avoided. And which, by my calculations adds another 30 nms to the trip.




We planned to leave at 3.00pm. The radio waves were abuzz with conversations between yachties about leaving at midnight and sailing via New Zealand or something but we decided to run our own race. Conscious that our last overnighter was miscalculated so that we arrived at Keppel at 4.00am I checked the figures again, and then again. 3.00pm it is.




We left Keppel Bay at 07.30 in a beautiful southerly. We had decided that since we were going to spend the day waiting to leave, we should wait where there is internet coverage and that would be back at Rosslyn Bay Marina. We scudded across the bay in glorious sailing weather, secured a berth for a few hours and did whatever we now need to do and didn't need to do before internet.




Midday came and the wind was holding. This would be a fast trip! At 2.45 pm we motored into the bay and, well I'm sure if you are a regular reader you know what happens next. The forecast 15-20 knts South East dropped to less than 3 knts and we motored North on a glassy flat sea.




It was beautiful, and we chugged along as the light faded and we neared the Military Exclusion Zone. It was dark by the time we got there and I contemplated the 30 miles extra we would have to go to miss it. 30 miles doesn't sound much if you are driving a car, but it's 6 hours on a boat. Perhaps we could pretend we haven't heard the warning? The chart showed that this was a dangerous area during exercises and that live rounds were being used. What it didn't say was that their night practice target would carry the same light configurations as a sailing yacht, be white and curiously yacht shaped in the dark. Eventually I altered course and we made our way towards some curious lights out to sea.




It was difficult to find the edge of the Military Exclusion Zone. For a start, one bit of ocean looks much like another at the best of times. Secondly it was dark so if they had erected any signs we certainly didn't see them. The Oracle kept telling me that the ETA* of 18 hours I originally had to get to Middle Percy was now 27. That if I kept to this course it would be 35, carry on another hour and it's 62. When I got to a whopping 87 I thought "Stuff National Security" as I considered my own and realised that there was likely to be a crew mutiny if she saw the display again and that number hadn't fallen.




The mysterious lights were still to our starboard as we turned to sneak across the corner of the zone. Well, where is the harm? And besides, who would know? There is the combined forces of the American and Australian military, each playing "Mine is Bigger than Yours" but I'll bet they are too busy looking at the machines that go ping to actually wonder what that particular little ping in the South East corner was.




We slid quietly through the night. The lights we had seen kept changing sequence. Two white, one green. Then the green disappeared. Then it came back. Were they signalling someone? Would at any moment Lisa McClure, blonde hair cutely escaping from under her foraging cap, wearing the uniform that was issued one size to small, suddenly come racing out of the darkness in a Navy RIB and through her loud hailer demand "Australian Navy, Heave two, I am going to board you". However the pitch darkness offered us nothing.




I was peering towards shore looking for whales, which are presumably excluded from the exclusion zone exclusions, tell tale wakes from passing warships, or worse tell tale tracers from passing shells when Rona screamed "What is that!" I quickly looked to starboard to see an ominous red, fire like object lifting out of the ocean into the jet back night.




What have we unleashed? War of the Worlds? Will this thing rise up on tripod legs and turn its heat ray onto Dreamagic, piercing her deck and melting her valiant heart? Have I listened to Richard Burton narrate Thunderchild^ once to many times in my hazy youth?




I girded my loins. (I have always wanted an excuse to do that in public) and feeling a lot like Capt'n Jack Sparrow about to take on the Kraken one handed readied myself for business. (You remember, Pirates III, I think. Kraken turns up to swallow the ship. Elizabeth Swan snogs Jack and thinking he's on a winner he doesn't realise she has handcuffed him to the mast. She then says good luck and gets in the life boat. Bloody Women!)




Hold on! I have actually seen this before. Three times actually. Not the movie, (OK, as well as the movie), this scene. It's a tropical moon rise! We're saved! We watched this optical illusion as the moon, appearing to cling to the ocean like a parting lover, embraces the sea and lifts it up with her until finally she can't hold on, lets go and rises into the heavens. It is one of the most moving experiences I have ever witnessed.




We motored for a while longer and finally the wind filled enough to get some sail up. The mysterious lights vanished from our starboard only to appear two hours later to our port. Same sequence. Two white and one green, then the void between them was filled in with a Navy Warship which glided past. No Lisa, they obviously didn't think we were a threat. Or good looking enough.




The wind, having been absent without leave decided to make up for it and blew at 25 knots. However the sea had been so slight it didn't have time to pick up and we surfed down waves regularly clocking 10 knts on headsail only.




Percy Island turned up on cue at 06.00, the dawn put on a show until 07.00, and Middle Percy made an appearance at 07.45. Perfect!




*ETA. Estimated Time of Arrival for everyone who ran out and joined the AAA after my tirade yesterday.

^Thunderchild. From the album War of Worlds Jeff Wayne

More at dreamagic.com.au

Why I wish I had paid more attention at Maths

07 July 2011 | Burnett Heads Harbour
Burnett Heads to Yepoon


I was born and raised in Sarf London. Not South London, Sarf London. Amongst other life skills, kids learned very quickly how to be self reliant. My parents both worked full time jobs and so from aged 5 I walked to and from Ennersdale Road School on my own. Actually everyone did. A mother turning up at the school gate would have been very novel. Social Networking was talking with your friends on the way to school and back. A neighbour would look after me from 4pm until Mum came and collected me at 6pm. Lewisham, the suburb of Sarf London we lived in had at one time been quite up market, our house had 4 bedrooms, two reception rooms downstairs, a kitchen and a scullery. The original bell pushes ,used to summon the maid were still in the reception rooms. However, like many inner city suburbs, Lewisham had fallen on hard times. With the advent of the car, people had moved to the outer suburbs, away from the smog and congestion. The large houses had been converted to flats and were rented to a largely migrant population who had realised that if the British were generous enough to give British passports to all its Empirical subjects, sitting on the dole in London was preferable to sitting on a beach in Jamaica or Africa and starve. (Interestingly, while these people all wanted to live in England, the English, or at least the wealthy ones were holidaying in their home countries. I suppose the grass is always greener.)
Our school classes were more like a meeting of the United Nations and every nationality was represented in our teacher body. My French teacher for example was a beautiful African American woman who spoke English with a Southern American drawl. What I didn't consider was that her French may have been similarly affected. Without knowing that, and having studied studiously for three years thinking I would be very impressive should I ever meet the ten year old equivalent of Bridget Bardot, I was to be extremely humiliated on a school excursion to France in later life. I would have had more luck with Dolly Parton.
Our teacher of Mathematics was Indian. He certainly knew his subject but his delivery was also suspect. One would think that when learning a science, as compared to a language, little could go wrong and certainly I had no inkling of any problems as I graduated to long trousers and Senior School.
The British School system of the day was simple, if a little confusing to outsiders. Top of the pecking order were Public Schools. Contrary to the name these were not actually for the children of the public, well not my parent's public anyway. These had been founded by merchant bodies or groups of people who were wealthy, but not quite wealthy enough to be able to afford private tutors. Eton and Rugby are well known examples of Public Schools but there are many more, including Haberdasher Askes, founded so that England would never be without well educated haberdashers. You didn't need to be intelligent to attend, indeed that could be a drawback. You just needed to have been born to rule.
Next came Grammar Schools which is where the bright kids went having passed a single one day examination called the Eleven Plus in primary school. Then came Secondary Modern schools, which were huge establishments that had anything up to 250 children in one year ranging in intellectual ability from Not Quite Bright Enough to Get to Grammar, to By The Time He Graduates He Should be Able to Put his Pants on the Right Way Around.
Labour was the government in power, in the UK very thinly disguised as Communism. The Hammer and Sickle flew over the London County Council building and Political Correctness abounded in the New Order. (There was even a proposal to name every Council Refuse Vehicle or dustcarts as we called them after a prominent African leader until someone suggested that might be an insult). Public Schools were a bastion of class privilege and so the faceless labour powerbrokers set about dismantling them. Legislation was introduced to force Public Schools to take a certain number of ordinary kids and, because there would be no reason for me to write this unless I was one of them, I with 5 other unfortunates from my school missed out on Grammar, which would have been bad enough with my friends enrolled in Secondary Modern, and were given scholarships to Public School.
My first day in my new school proved interesting. We were about as popular as a fart in a phone box. Neither my classmates, the Seniors or the Masters wanted us there and it showed. My father was not a lawyer or a doctor and I was not from an Embassy Official that lived in some far flung part of the British Empire and sent his progeny to be educated at the Old School. My father was a lorry driver, my Mum worked in a Government office and I lived in Lewisham. Later I life I empathised with the black kids in Little Rock, Arkansas who in 1957 were forced into to a white school. In that instance it took 1000 US Paratroopers to quell the riot that subsequently ensued. The ideology is great, and I am sure the architects behind these great pieces of social engineering are pure of heart. I just think it is unfair to expect innocent little kids to be the builders of their vision.
As I recall, Sport was good. These upper class Hooray Henrys were no match for
London Street
kids. They cried when they got tackled and called for their Mummy. English was good, I had the presence of mind to say South with my tounge between my teeth rather than Sarf, but then I always was a quick learner. French, through my earlier studies was OK. But Maths, Oh, Mr Singh, what did you do to me? It's a Parabola (pa.ra.bo.la) , not a Para Bulla. One word, not two. The Master had drawn the shape on the board and asked the class what it was. I, foolishly thinking I might impress my classmates and win their friendship answered. As I uttered the words and heard the sniggering I realised that Maths was not going to be fun. The Master, a Mr Thorpe handled it very well by getting me to come to the front of the class so that he could belittle me and humiliate me in front of the class. Did I know any other useful phrases in Bengali? Learning by Public Humiliation I think it was called. Regardless I certainly learned a useful lesson that day.


Which is why we were up at 4.00am and trying to pick our way in pitch dark through a hole in the sea wall. We have decided to push for Rosslyn Bay in one hit. We were going to spend the night in Gladstone but the high tide over the Narrows, which we need to navigate is not until midday. We would therefore not get far before having to wait another day and get into Rosslyn Bay late Thursday. If we sail through the night, we will be in Rosslyn Bay midday Thursday which gives us time to get the boat cleaned and tidied before flying back to Brisbane on Friday. Good plan last night, not so tempting at 4.00am but go we did.
Having had a few scary moments we finally got out to deep water and I consulted the Oracle while Rona put the kettle on for some tea. I programmed in our waypoint as Rosslyn Bay and The Oracle gave me all the information I needed to get us there. Even the amount of time we will need, 21 hours. So our ETA is in 21 hours time. At 1.00 in the morning. We could have stayed in bed until 10.00am and been there at 7.00am tomorrow. Oh well. At least we are in the deep water channel. Now comes the tricky bit, I have to tell Rona she could have stayed in bed another 4 hours.

Just Bloody Whales

04 July 2011 | Mooloolaba
What is so bloody special about Whales?

Everyone wants to Save the Whales. The question is, Why? Why them? They are hardly cute and cuddly are they? They make crap pets. So they can spit out of the top of their heads. Is that it? Is that all they've got? A cool way to spit? Oh, and they have to travel to the other side of the world to find a mate. Well so did I. No one is feeling sorry for me. And they eat tons of plankton each day. Who worries about the plankton? No one, that's who.

Whales are the talk of the marina at the moment. Recent events have painted whales in a rather poor light. Firstly one got hit by a Coast Guard vessel, admittedly travelling at 30 knots. (The boat, not the whale). It took the front out of the boat which nearly sank. Then a couple fishing with their son off New South Wales got mashed by a whale tail and the kid broke his arm, (and wet his pants). Add TV news of a yachtsman who has fallen off his boat while his wife was asleep and is now lost (and I'll bet that was the bloody whales again) and suddenly everyone is concerned about hitting one of the 13000 or so coming up the coast.

Rona has admitted that she has some concerns about whales. In fact I also had a poor experience once when I was 19.

In England a friend of mine and I decided to drive there for a weekend in my MGB. Anyway a long story but to say the locals were not friendly was an understatement. Whether it was my accent, the car, or the fact that the local girls were impressed by anyone who could finish a sentence without the word boyo, I came home with a broken nose from huge Hugh, and a vote of thanks from his rather gorgeous and suddenly ex, Megan, who told me that while she was Welsh she did wish she had some English in her, or something like that. I also almost bought home a criminal conviction for breaking an entry into a public house until in one of the more lucid moments of that evening I realised what a new chum of ours was attempting as he disappeared through a recently opened window and beckond us inside. Oh, and I witnessed the same fellow set fire to his hands deliberately with cigarettes. (suprisingly, I used a be a bit of a tearaway. It was therefore a natural progression to Yachtie.) Anyway, no wonder we should be nervous of the Welsh.

So to be on the safe side we have upped the safety level of Dreamagic to Defcon Red, or should that be Green. Whatever, the following precautions are now in place.

One never uses the words YACHT and LEAK in the same sentence without incorporating the word DOESN"T. However I have hung leaks from the pulpit of Dreamagic. (And I thought bananas were bad luck? ) Leeks are the national vegetable of Whales so we should be alright.

I am wearing a daffodil. Well I would look stupid wearing a leak wouldn't i?

I have learned all the words to Men of Harlot. Harlem. Harlech.

Men of Harlech! In the Hollow,
Do ye hear like rushing billow
Wave on wave that surging follow
Battle's distant sound?

I have no idea what it means, (It's bloody Welsh, Boyo!) but it worked for Michael Cain against the Zulus at Rorke's Drift.

I have bought every Harry Secombe album I can find in Mooloolaba.

I have also bought a copy of Tom Jones' Greatest Hits.

It's not unusual.

So there you have it. Dreamagic is now ready for her midnight sortie with the leviathans. I am led to believe I just have to listen for the sound of them blowing their spouts, and not confuse it with any involuntary wind emissions of my own.

More at www.dreamagic.com.au
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