27 October 2012
It is now 2 months since I pulled into Cairns aboard Yarramundi. It has been a bit of a saga trying to get the engine fixed and find a safe place to keep her over the North Queensland cyclone season. Marlin Marina here requires all boats move up river if a cyclone warning is issued. Yorkey's Knob Marina close by does not, but does require special insurance which proved very difficult to obtain. That is done now and there is where she will lay during the cyclone season.
Long overdue on this blog is a thank you page. There are so many people without whose help, Yarramundi may never have made it to Australia. So in somewhat chronological order here goes;
Aaron Eddington & George Leaning helped with regular weather updates for the first part of the trip. Aaron also helped arrange supplies to be delivered to Chichijima and Saipan. George crewed part of the first leg to Hachijojima and also sought passing yachts and other people's advice when it came to repairs. He found the person with the cofferdam idea. George also crewed on many of Yarramundi's shakedown practice trips including our first over-nighter.
Hirose San hand delivered a part provided by Aaron to Chichijima and also helped us prime the engine the first time it became necessary.
Nicky helped with the delivery of spares to Saipan, secured a berth at Smiley Cove, did lots and lots of washing, helped as crew, tolerated me while I was a crazy man trying to fix the boat, made sure we always had freshwater and probably most importantly had the most amazing connections which he worked which meant we could overcome many logistical problems from one most remote island.
Nurse Thomas and the islanders of Faraulep gave us food and water and then went on to chop down trees from their own forest and build the semi-dry dock or cradle. The design which worked perfectly was one they developed independently. It was remarkably similar to the dry dock stand used in Shimoda for the preparation work. It held Yarramundi securely through 8 tides and 3 nights and some bad weather.
Steve Pixley via his client organised credit for us on Yap and introduced his associate Willie Banua (on Yap) who then bought for us the absolutely essential parts required to repair Yarramundi. He then hand delivered them to Captain Dominic Tafiileicheng of Hapilmohol 1 (H1) the outer island cargo ship. Captain Dominic ensured those essential parts got to us on Faraulep - and free of charge.
Warren Fraser and members of TSPS for their assistance in seeking passing yachts and other help.
Andrew & Peter Le Lievre had no end of ideas, never tired searching for engine manuals or providing instructions. Andrew also crewed from Shimoda to Saipan and after that continued to provide weather reports.
Wayne Baumunk of Coral Reef Center Guam came up with ideas similar to the Le Lievre brothers for repairing the boat and between them all we were able to work on refining the ideas that eventually proved successful in that we got to Yap without anymore leaks of the rudder falling off! Wayne also assisted with the 'go - no go' decision, introduced me to Arthur Tretnoff, provided daily weather forecasts and also introduced us to the Commander of Guam Coast Guard.
Mr Pong of Yap Fisheries and several of the staff there allowed me to use their train/carriage to pull Yarramundi out of the water and then allowed us use of the facilities at the dock. The train required some major adjustments to fit a boat with a keel. Some of those adjustments were made real-time by the staff with a wrench while diving under a moving boat in murky water.
Arthur Trentcoff did for a most reasonable fee the nasty, dirty and hot fibreglass repair of the skeg making it now stronger than ever before. Fibreglass repair was something he gave up long ago so I am very much appreciative that he was prepared to dong on the face mask and gloves and grind and paint once more in the very hot and narrow confines of the boat.
Rod Pearce of Rabaul for initially helping out with PNG Quarantine, then providing a tow back into the port when our engine failed. He then spent countless hours on the back of his boat to successfully fix our fuel injector pump. He was sometimes up at 5am working away and was an inspiration as he just never gave up.
Kent of KG Mechanical in Cairns forwarded Rod and I critical workshop diagrams to help us repair the full injector pump. Without them we would not have been able to have put the pump back together properly and get the injection timing right.
Bruce Murray for all his advice on fuel, fuel systems and for taking home the fuel tank and cleaning it to get rid of the biobug.
Mick Peart of SV Star Path who arrived in Rabaul with a couple of Yanmar Engine spare parts and was prepared to part with them to allow Rod and I to complete the repair of the engine.
Ito San and all the staff at Shimoda Boat Service for their help in preparing Yarramundi and myself for the trip.
Colin Fulton for taking on my job to look after the shop while I took off to sea for 5 months. He continued to urge me on to complete the journey long after I went over my anticipated return date.
Anne for all her support in preparing and then during the trip. Too many things to list here to thank you for.
Doctor Gabriel Symonds for preparing medical kits and advice - both prior to the trip and during.
Finally and sadly to the late Nozaki san (Captain Tom) who passed away on October 8 2012 on Hachijojima in a boating accident. Nozaki San provided advice, support and kept the Japanese sailing community in Shimoda up to date with my travels.
22 August 2012 | Trinity Inlet, Cairns
Yarramundi is now safely moored in Trinity Inlet Cairns. It is nice and close to Cairn Marina with all its services. This is all after picking up the anchor, and motoring in on Saturday morning. I was greeted by both Anne and Holly, lots of laughter, waving, welcome to Cairns signs. Inspection by quarantine and then an interview and clearance by customs was painless. It helps to have a printer on board to print out all the forms and all the details to make it easier for their job. The Cairns festival helped in getting back to civilization with music from all walks of life, cold beer, wine and interesting people. After getting the boat cleaned up we took a short trip to Sydney to catch-up with family there.
I had thought that at the end of a 5 month ocean crossing I'd be talking about nature and the elements. Instead I find myself humbled by the generosity and kindness I received from so many wonderful people who made it possible to get both the boat and myself safely to Cairns. I'll be posting more on this later.
As for Yarramundi, she has taken a battering and will take some work to make shipshape again. Once so I look forward to exploring the Great Barrier Reef.
17 August 2012 | Cairns Harbour
A crowded but peaceful little anchorage.
190 miles to Marlin Marina and no wind
16 August 2012 | 14 56.8653'S:148 11.3993'E, The Coral Sea
I have to clear customs at Marlin Marina where the big QuickSilver cats leave from to take tourists to the outer-reef and Green Island. Arrival was looking like 11pm but the wind has died so who knows now. I only have about 40 litres of fuel and need to make sure I keep some of that for getting up the long channel to Cairns.
Ask the Le Lievre Brothers
15 August 2012 | 14 14.19156'S:149 5465'E, The Coral Sea
If you watched TV in the '70s in Australia you would know there is a jingle to match that title.
Yesterday while trying to troubleshoot an electrical problem I turned off the boats main electric power supply while the plotter (navigation system) and radar were on. Now know not to do that! They are separate devices but one requires the other to work and they did not like being shut down while working obviously. The plotter would notpower back on no matter what I tried. I pulled out of its pod in the cockpit and dried it with a hair dryer thinking perhaps there was some water in. Did not work. Tried rewiring the power supply and changing other wiring combination etc. I have paper charts and also a laptop with an electronic chart of the great barrier reef and Cairns so navigation was not going to be an issue. But I absolutely need the radar to look out for ships while I sleep. I therefore spent the night napping in the cockpit checking around me most frequently.
Upon checking email this morning Peter Le Lievre had found the solution and it is working again. A simple factory reset can be made by holding down a specific key during startup. That is all that was needed. Phew!
No we can all get some sleep.
Wind has dropped
14 August 2012 | 13 12.0330'S:150 26.6810'E, Still in PNG Waters, Coral Sea
The wind is now down to 12 knots. It is from a favourable angle so still making reasonable progress.
Courtesy of Warren Fraser the bird in the above photo was identified as a Frigate Bird and I forgot to mention I saw one hunting yesterday at the Jomard Entrance. It was hoving about 100 metres above a other smaller birds which were dive bombing on a school of fish. The Frigate bird would swoop down on one of them occasionally. I am told, though I was too far away to see all the gory detail, that they scare the other birds into vomiting and then eat what comes up.
This one was a pet on Woleai, was not tied to its perch and would occassionally go off for a while.
My SPOT beacon's batteries are dead so the real reason behind this blog was to post our location on the map.