It is SO nice to arrive
08 August 2014 | Brisbane, AU
We had forgotten what a thrill arriving at a new destination is. As we approached the weather improved. The seas eased. The sun came out. We were attacked by swarms of really large flying fish and one small squid! And a whale splashed us.
The autopilot continued to work but the loads decreased because we were under power (what little we could summon from the sick engine). So our confidence rose. It had sunk pretty low so there was a lot of rising to do! In the last post I reported about this event, but didn't really explain its true emotional difficulty. Doing the fix was very difficult. It looks in the picture like I just inserted a screwdriver into the bolt hole. That's true enough but what you need to know is that before you can insert the screwdriver, first you have to dissemble the steering mechanism to discover and realign the mechanism. This was accomplished at the end of my watch so I'm really wanting to go to bed. And nothing is stationary. We have to wedge ourselves into place or learn to fly as we transit the boat. Before I can fix the rudder attach point, I needed to SUCCESSFULLY reattach the hydraulic cylinder to the boat. The key thing here is the imperative that I succeed. I'm scared to death that if I don't succeed, I'll have no choice but to go outside and steer. Waves are breaking over the boat. It is windy and cold (due mostly to the high wind). We clip our harness to the hard points in the cockpit but still HAVE to hold on with both hands. Also, it's daylight at the time but there is a whole lot of very dark night between us and Brisbane. Karen is thinking I will have to do the steering. Guys, this isn't like being asked to do the dishes! And then there is the issue that I have to find the missing hardware. All of it. Missing a nut is a failure. Access to the attach point is behind the scuba compressor. I'm thinking I may have to remove the compressor from its mount. Terrible thought. Instead I choose to sacrifice parts of my too large body. How much skin can you lose before it is serious? This all takes hours with the constant fear of failure. My mouth is so dry I can hardly swallow. I'm head down and sideways looking only out of my right eye (because I cannot turn my head) and working two wrenches with only my right hand. My finger tips are extended to reach, and I keep dropping things. Each time I drop things, I get to start over. And I'm seasick. I'm really worried that I'm too tired to continue trying.
So fast forward to our arrival. The sun is out as we approach an extended passage throu the shoals, but dark will arrive before we do. Ohhhh man, I pray, please don't let the engine, gps map, or the autopilot fail tonight. But of course they have all recently failed. My confidence is low and all around us in the dark are boat threatening shallows. They AREN'T distant. Of course we still have an anchor and it is shallow enough to use it, but while the weather is improving, it isn't smooth water. Our heading varies a lot due to wave action. I don't want to anchor here and hope that the anchor will hold. But that is what we will be doing if just about anything fails. And did I mention that we are NOT ALLOWED to anchor before clearing customs? Aussies are very nice only so long as you don't break their rules. And they will judge you while in daylight, well rested, at the dock should you find a way to recover and actually arrive. That arrival seems only a distant possibility at this point. First there is an all night passage to manage.
So when we actually do arrive, it feels pretty good!
We are at their dock now and they are looking for bugs. Yes, this country with the most life threatening critters EVERYWHERE is worried about what might live aboard my boat. There is good reason for this I am sure, and they are quite nice while they do their work. But they took all our fresh vegetables and meat and lots of other foods and there is no grocery store nearby and we cannot move the boat until this bug inspection is complete. Hopefully that happens Monday.
Still, we are quite happy to be here.