Friday, 19 April 2013

Dinghy drogue

I thought my upper body muscles must have gone to the pack over summer when I struggled to lift my end of the dinghy out of the water at Magnetic Island.
But it seemed strange that Royden was finding it harder than previously as well.
Alarm bells! There's a hole ....
Closer investigation revealed water running out from the the davit attachment points on the alumunium bottom.
The eroding metal meant that when we dropped the dinghy into the sea, the flotation tanks were immediately filling with water. No wonder it was so heavy.
While it wasn't likely to sink (in the short term) and we could keep using it out at Horseshoe Bay, it needs a long term fix or possibly/probably replacing. In it's present state, it would make a good drogue - until it sank.
We had a lovely trip back to Townsville around the western side of Maggie. The wind was too light for the mainsail but both the head sail and Code Zero got a run, which also meant we were able to furl them away a lot more neatly than when we put them back up a few weeks ago in the marina.
Unfortunately the mackerel weren't biting this trip.
Heading back to Townsville in superb conditions.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

What a drag!

We headed ashore this morning for a walk on the beach and paused to watch the Life Guards do their daily drag of the stinger net area for nasties and then drag the area either side of our dinghy.
Life guards complete their daily net drag of the area on either side of our dinghy. The stinger net swimming area is just to the left of shot.
The stinger net area yielded nothing but small fish but the drag from one side to the other of where our dinghy lay netted 16 box jellyfish of varying sizes.
We had given no thought to these on our bare legs as we anchored the dinghy fore and aft and yet part of our reason to go ashore was to have a swim - within the stinger net enclosure! Go figure.
A scary haul. The metre long tentacles on the bigger box jelly could kill a child and make an adult extremely sick.
Even a detached tentacle retains its sting power for two days!
The life guard's outfit is more like what we should have been wearing in an area of box jellyfish and other stinging creatures of the wet season..
We were hellishly carefully boarding and hauling in the anchors on the way back to the boat however.
It was a good wake-up call to our complacency.
We'll head back into shore this arvo - with stinger suits and reef boots on.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Break out

You can get snowed under by boat repairs and maintenance, and you can get marina-fied where, the longer you spend tied up safely, the less inclined and motivated you become to undo those ropes and head to sea.
Mind you, for four days of last week there was a gale warning in force so that's another reason (a very good one) to stay put.
With (fingers crossed) beautiful conditions forecast for the rest of the week, we managed to undo, unplug, un-shade, de-fender, dis-anode, and cast off from berth B13 and head for Magnetic Island this morning.
It was an uneventful trip out, apart from several horn-blasts and waves from our good friend Andi (Chimera) who was skippering the Nellie Bay (Magnetic Island) outgoing ferry. 
We dropped anchor in Horseshoe Bay on the northern side of the island at around 1.30pm.
Bye bye Townsville for a few days
The car ferry heading to Nellie Bay on Magnetic Island. Moments later the Nellie Bay outgoing ferry came through and there was our friend Andi waving from the skipper's deck (but by then I'd put the camera away).

Rounding the rocks after Florence Bay
No doubt the bay was full of people, boats and other leisure craft during this last fortnight of school holidays, but Queensland kids returned to school today and the island (or this part at least) is incredibly peaceful. We are one of only four boats at anchor.
We intend to stay out here for a few nights before a brief return to Vic (via plane) at the end of the week.
While we have been busy getting the boat ready for the season, we've also mixed it up with lots of socialising.
On Saturday night the marina held a jam session with everyone invited to bring any musical instrument along and have a go. It was a terrific turnout. Ted and Carolynne (Double Vision) set up a sound system and kicked off the night which started at 6pm and rocked on till nearly midnight.
Pete (Daze Off and sometimes caretaker of Sea Piper) was the hit of the night and was the mainstay in getting everyone dancing and singing till we figured the neighbours in the apartment block behind might complain.
Thank goodness the marina has recently fitted out a community room as it started to rain about 10pm and we were able to move inside.
No wonder it's a tough marina to leave!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Getting there ... but there's no rush

The Easter rush was on last week as dozens of boats (some we'd never seen people on before) left the marina to enjoy the beautiful weather opportunity.
We, however, continued to plod along putting the boat back together after its cyclone pack-up. Along with that, Royden refitted the repaired starboard manifold and then moved the sensor for the GPS to a better location, centre of the boat and with a largely uninterrupted view to the horizon. Previously it was on the rear starboard pushpit (or little seat at the back corner - your one, Leigh) AND attached to the radio aerial which was possibly/probably causing some interference.
Anyway, it looks good and its first switch-on yielded more and stronger satellite signals than we've ever seen before, so fingers crossed this ends the random NO FIX alarms, especially in the middle of the night!
The Easter weekend was really enjoyable with plenty happening in and around the marina, and in and around Sea Piper.
David and Vikki added to a fun Monday with lunch stretching through till evening.
Wish I'd realised how much room I actually had, instead of squashing Vikki.
The boat hulls also got a scrape and clean on a very hot Tuesday. It was lovely under the boat, cool and shady, though a stinger suit, socks and gloves were a must to protect against any nasties lurking in the warm waters.
The hulls came up a treat which means we won't need to anti-foul until later in the season - good news for our bodies and our finances!
This morning I was woken from a deep sleep to an urgent: ``Janty, you need to help me with the head sail''.
What? Where am I? Still in the marina? But the head sail is still folded up on the guest bed, or so I thought.
There wasn't a breath of wind at daybreak so Royden wasn't going to miss this opportunity to get at least one furling sail back on. It went up like a dream so the early morning call was a good one.
Now we need another for the Code Zero, but the weather forecast indicates it doesn't look likely for a week or so.
This afternoon is one of those times when you appreciate being snug and safe in a marina. The wind has found its fervour and is whistling past the hulls. Palm trees on the foreshore have their fronds whooshed to one side and the evening strollers are looking a little windswept.
Our bird-scaring owls (thank you Heather) are glittering in the late light and ringing their bells. They're doing a magnificent job of scaring birds and minimising the amount of poo to be cleaned off the deck. Since they went up we had only a few stray hits from high-fliers, can't do much about those.
The dazzling owls.