Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

Biding our Time

Monday, October 18th, 2021

it has been awhile. I guess I need to just stop apologizing and blog when ever I am thinking of something. I’ve been working long hours on the website. Thus I have two new larger picture galleries . One, of our travels though French Polynesia and the the other of our three visits to San Blas islands.

Trying to play catch up on web stuff is not easy. I now know a little of the web add ons. The styling part called CSS, and even less of some of the under the hood programming for the web, called JavaScript. But, like the turtle in the classic race with the hare, I will keep trudging on.

Then too is our time here in Australia dealing with Covid. While the Covid fight hasn’t effected us all that much, it is effecting other cruising friends. One, who I will not name, is going to ship his yacht back to the Caribbean at great expense. I asked him about it and he said; he’s not having any “fun” now. A sad point to be at in life. I understand.

Fortunately, both W/ and I are having fun. We enjoy the boat projects. We don’t want to work full time on them but improving the boat and keeping it looking; in our minds good, is important to us. We play tennis 3- 4 days per week and have met a great group of Australians. None of whom are yachties, but that is how we like it. We cruise not to to be water tourists but to experience life as others live. And luckily for us, Covid struck while we were in a place that is like what we had at home. Weather wise, traffic wise, supply wise and tennis wise.

Oh there are differences. Australians drive on the side of the road that feels odd. I’ve gotten in the wrong side of the car looking for the steering wheel a couple of times. People drive the wrong way around- Round Abouts. Round abouts, those circles at intersections where there are no lights. Some words have similar meanings and others like “Fanny” are verboten. Luckily when I used it once, a nurse I knew came up to me and whispered what in the local culture fanny refers

Epoxy Varnish Removed

Signature Finishes Epoxy Varnish removed

to. To help one understand, it is the slang for a little kitten – part of the female anatomy.

Needs to be cleaned up and Powder Coated

So we plod on. I’ve ordered some new parts for the rigging. They’re at the shippers for posting them to Aus. We’ve taken the Sailomat wind vane apart and those parts are at the sandblasters and powder coaters. We’re having a new memory foam pad made for our new aft bedding. We plan on three new foam cushions made for our sea berth in the main salon and then I get to make new sets of crew covers. We work a bit each week on the teak. The idea is to have the exterior teak Varnish completed when we leave here.

If all goes well, if the governments around the world get their act together, if Covid is under control, we will be heading North and back to the tropics; next winter in Australia. Remember now, cruisers plans are written in the sand at low tide.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

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Awnings…

Saturday, August 21st, 2021

Time Does Fly

I’ve wanted to blog once per week but already see I’m past two! 🙁 We’ve been working like crazy on the awning and epoxy /varnish teak cover. Well, let me clarify that statement. We’ve been working cruiser crazy. As cruisers we try to put in 20 hours / week of boat work. For us, we’ve found 20 hours works to keep the boat functioning and our life aboard comfortable. We’ve actually been doing a bit more lately. All this while maintaining some social connections and exercise (playing tennis).

Playing tennis does tire us out – a bit. The Aussie social tennis style is to play without the normal 90 sec break every two games. And the groups like to play straight through the morning; somewhere between 3 to 5 sets. As I said; with few breaks. Thus many afternoons as we return to the boat there is no desire to start new or continue a project. Some of those days slide by.

Other times are full on. We get out the sewing machine, a beefy Sailrite zig zag and begin work on modifying the awning. The awning was brand new 5 years ago and we never used it. I was waiting for our old awning to blow out. After 13 years it never did. I had some chafe and it was getting brittle in places. Yet it still held together. We did try to take it down if the winds exceeded 25 kts. On a cruising boat we like to extend the life of a product to the fullest. Sometimes even more, finding a new purpose for it or to use parts elsewhere. Anyway…. the new awning sat for 5 years. The old awning was getting to be a PITA because we had changed our mainsail storage system. That and the fabric was getting too brittle. We added a Stack Pack with Lazy Jacks in Fiji. To use the old awning we needed to release the lazy jacks and drag them to the end of the boom. (Lazy Jacks help to store the sail as the sail is lowered.) . The old awning sat over the boom. The new awning had been sewn like the old one; before we made the switch to a Stack Pack and Lazy Jacks. That switch was forced because in NZ we had a new sail made with full battens.

To change the new awning we needed to split it down the middle. Each side would attach to the top of the Stack Pad with a Keder Track. New shorter poles would rest in the boom and hold the awning taut. If all works well we will again have shade while anchored in the tropics. And I have checked out temps before. There is a 20º F difference on the deck under the awning vs outside the shade of the awning.

Modified Main Awning

Attaching the track to the awning sounds simple. Not quite. Moving pieces of the awning the length of the boom around in the boat makes Twister look easy. All the forward attachment points on the awning would change. The after piece would be different because the boom is now centered on the boat with the awning up. Sewing / moving / rotating 10 meters of Regatta fabric in the boat was NOT a bucket of joy. One day we hauled the awning up to the community room/lounge. There we spent all day remaking attachment points and adding a new end.

So far, it is looking good. Good enough that we can get back to the epoxy / varnish job at hand.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

ps  I hope to have the new website up and functioning with in the week. I’ve been cleaning up all the links and fixing pages. From there I will then begin to add more content. Of course… for the nitty gritty on the cruising life… this blog is it.

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Maintenance in Paradise

Tuesday, July 20th, 2021

While we were replacing the cooling system on the trusty diesel, we also researched refrigeration systems. In the end, Engel was what we settled with; three Engels. Their reputation was excellent. Evaporators are the achilles heal. Avoiding puncturing the evaporator the system might last 40 years. Well, that is, some Engels have worked for 40 years in the Australian Woop Woop (the Australian Outback). While not quite equal to the marine environment; it is harsh still.

Once the Perkins Bowman box arrived our boat (home) was knee deep with…stuff. Parts removed from the engine and parts to go on were everywhere. W/ tried to contain all of them under the dining table. The first order of business was to inventory and understand what each part was. Trans Atlantic Diesel has excellent support. With the kit they provided a video of the parts inventory and how to install. Tis always nice to have directions. They were around to answer any question by email. Luckily they only skipped one answer. Remember; this project is in the middle of Covid. Covid is not as bad in Australia as the US. Covid hit the US hard. And I did figure the answer out … eventually . TAD is forgiven. In the end; the words of my cruising brother flash florescent in my head: RTFM. Read the F——, Manual. 🙂

Before actual parts removal was an unwelcome task. And one that I really, really hate – draining the cooling system. We do have an engine sump but still, it is a wet, messy job. I will want to do something about upon rebuild. We drained the coolant, disposed of it at the marina’s waste disposal area and began removing parts.

As in most boat work projects ; when one project begins another one or two show their ugly head. Removing the parts, holding a new part in place to check it out, screamed out to us… PAINT THE ENGINE. Seriously! And the second project was that it is time to replace all the old hoses. Now that we can get to them much easier.

The parts removal went fine. We covered up areas that did not require any paint and took the parts to the recycling business. After all, it is good steel and some copper. There we picked up a few bucks dedicated to a cold one. Every part removed that would be reused, was cleaned and set aside. The engine was much, much smaller now.

We began to clean the engine. First was to hand wash with a degreaser. After which we cleaned with Alcohol and Acetone. Then we applied a primer. The engine changed from mottled Blue, to Grey, and to shinny Blue again. This job was HUGE! Once we painted an area we couldn’t keep working in the engine room. We needed to wait for the primer to dry, then clean another area and paint another part. I wasn’t spraying the beast. I didn’t want overspray getting into the living quarters nor covering any other area of the engine compartment.

At this time we checked the weather to ensure good weather while we were replacing the deck drain hose. One set of hoses had exceeded its working life. It was the cockpit drain. I now have easier access to it. We replaced it at break neck speed. . The next couple of weeks called for cleaning and painting the engine. The majority before putting – re-installing any parts.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long

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4 Wheelin on Fraser Island

Saturday, November 23rd, 2019
Yep, there is a speed limit on this beach

Beach Speed Limit

We took a tour; unlike Gilligan it was longer than 3 hours. And unlike Gilligan; we eventually returned to our destination. The day prior Laura, W/ , and I found the 4 Wheel Drive (4wd) auto rental place. We signed up. To drive one of the rentals on Fraser you need a drivers license and to watch an hour video on “Driving on Fraser”. Honestly, it was quite good and informative. We watched it, paid our deposit, informed that Dick, who would be the main driver needed to watch it too. Otherwise we would be leaving later then we wanted to…. in the am.

It didn’t matter that much. We were there promptly at 8 am and the agent was quite busy. Between 8:30 and 9 am we were on the road. Dick had watched the video and the agent cleared the car. The “road” is a lie. Yes, It was asphalt as we left Kingfisher Bay. As we reached the top of the rise the road changed to sand ruts. And ruts is putting it mildly. Dick switched on the 4 WD and we crawled, bumped, shaked and shimmied across Fraser. The ride made any of Disney’s adventures seem sane by comparison. Forty-five minutes later we had crossed the 15 km wide island. No bruises but quite tenderized bums. There the ride eased. We switch into high gear and flew along this Australian Highway. Yep, the beach is a highway with an 80 kph speed limit. Our rental company told us our limit was 60 kph. Anyway, it would be crazy to go 80 kph. That is unless you are a plane flying low. Yep. The beach too is airport worthy. We passed three landing areas.
Driving at high speeds on the beach was fun. For us, 60 kph on a beach is high speed. We traversed several washes. Places where water was running out of the sand mountains or those in the Western US would say hills. We stopped first at Eli Creek. A pure fresh water creek that was said to be drinkable. Drinkable at least above the area that people are playing in it. 🙂 Neither W/ or I availed ourselves of ingesting the cool liquid. We walked in the creek and enjoyed the party like atmosphere around the mouth. John and Leanne on Songlines told us in the past they would camp there for a week or so. That was before it became a popular mecca for locals.
Cooled off and refreshed we again headed N on the beach highway to the wreck of the Maheno. A luxury liner that was headed to the scrap yard years ago. A cyclone struck it and the towing vessel offshore and the tow line blew apart. The Maheno ended up on Fraser and has laid there ever since. The story has a few people losing their lives trying to recover it. Since, it slowly is working its way deeper and deeper into the sand. Currently I hear three floors of it lie below the beach.
The Pinnicals were quite pretty but no climbing. Climbing will break the sand and destroy their effect. We took some photos and reached the Northern terminus of our trip; the Cathedral. There we had a light lunch and rested our backsides. I asked one of the employee’s at the Eco resort we had lunch at, about it. He said that they called it the Cathedral because from afar the cliffs look like one. But, he indicated he never could see the resemblance. Neither could we.
Back down the beach we went, dodging a few airplanes, climbing through creek washes. Dick; our designated driver drove through a dozen or so washes. We passed also passed the spot where we crossed from the. Our southern terminus was one of the few towns on the island. About 50 people live there! 🙂 Again another snack, restrooms, and a break. After which we cut back across the island towards Lake McKenzie.
Lake McKenzie is one gorgeous lake. Crystal clear water, white sand beaches and no trash. Food and drink are not allowed at the lake. Only people. And people, still bring problems. They put on sun screen as well as perfumes and skin oils that are contaminating the lake. There are no fish in the lake, a few turtles, and frogs. It was a wonderful stop. We had melon (100 m up from the shore) in an enclosed wire compound. That compound keeps the Dingo’s out. Trash either taken with you or placed in Dingo proof containers in fenced in eating areas. Lake McKenzie is one of the most idyllic areas we’ve ever been to. After a swim and some sustinence we continued our trek back across Fraser to Kingfisher bay. There we will fill up with diesel and return the vehicle.
Diesel for the day ran a bit over $75 Aus. We turned the car in and had it checked over. Our attendant was happy we didn’t have any damage. Three out of the six vehicles out that day came back with damage! I tell you; the sand track was rough. Luckily Dick was adept at driving in sand. He had experience biking off road in Utah and much of that experience transferred. Our agent indicated the tracks were beat up due to people bringing all wheel drive cars. Those vehicles create ruts and the washboard effect. In case we wish to do this again, she indicated that after the rains start the track will smooth out and be packed, much like the beach. For now, one day of bouncing up, down and sideways is really enough for me.
Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long
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