Monday, March 19, 2012

Manly Harbour, Brisbane 18/03/2012

We are at the stages of preparation for the voyage and there is a lot to do also there is a costs involved which is the norm for sailing or boating. The last couple of weeks have been a little busy in getting us and the boat right. We use this time of year to get all the medical issues out of the road and I may have mentioned before my heart specialist is happy with me and said that he does not need to see me until at least the middle of next year. So I have taken that as a leave pass for two years to do this trip, if it takes longer so be it. We have dentist visits to get any of those issues out of the way.
Nancy has to have an operation on her wrist on Tuesday as she has done damage to a tendon and the easiest way is to get the knife, she would not let me do it so we have a specialist doing the operation.
I have serviced the engines fully and replaced the port gearbox that was giving a little trouble, it is cheaper to replace than purchase the parts to fix it. Minard Diesels at Mayfield West near Newcastle have been very good to us and as far as Yanmar dealership they are excellent.
It is fortunate that I can do all the work myself, I think if we had to pay mechanics and electricians we could not afford this life we have, many think because we own a boat they think we are rich and we are far from that. The hourly charges in Australia for so called professionals and many are not is anything from $80 to $110 per hour, you probably would not mind if they did hard labour for this but they seem to take their own good time. I must say this is not the case with all of them there are some really good tradesmen out there that do the right thing but you need to ask around the boats in marinas to find out whom and where they are and because they are good they are usually busy and you have to wait.
We will still haul out on the way north to clean and paint the hulls and I have to change the anodes and a couple of through hull fittings and valves. I damaged a frozen valve the other day when trying to close the sea suction, the valve spindle broke, I have had to jury rig it so it does not come apart and leak water until we haul out.
The last couple of days I have been going through the paper charts and updating them obtaining the updates from the hyrographic website, printing the blocks and cutting them out and sticking them on the charts, it’s a very lengthy process when they have not been done for some time and you have a lot of charts and we have quite a few.
(Checking the charts and updating)
We have recently purchased more charts that cover Cape York through to Port Headland and we purchased these through America, yes I know we should buy Australian and we do where we can but we have to look at our budget and the charts through Bellingham in the states are basic black and white at a price of $5.95 per chart and cheaper if you buy a batch which covers the area I mentioned. Australian charts although coloured cost $35.00 each, so I ask you which ones would you buy? We will still need to purchase more later to cover the areas of Port Headland through to Eden in NSW for when we head out of Darwin next year.
The other items to be checked before we leave is safety equipment, electrics making sure all joints and fuses are clear of corrosion and check the radios especially the HF radio that we have not used operationally since we got back to Oz after the Pacific crossing other than the occasional testing. There will be places that we will not have normal communications such as our Wifi internet and mobile phones and VHF radio, the HF radio will be our only source of communication.
I have been studying other sailors blog sites that have already done the voyage or are part way through it, these sites have very good information regarding anchorages and things to look out for, Craig, Kerry and family have nearly completed their circumnavigation of Australia in 12 months and they have a great deal of information on their blog ‘Scarlett”.
Change of tide times will be very important as the tides differences in northern Australia can be 8 metres difference this drop or rise in tide makes for a very fast tide flow so we want to run with it not against it especially in crucial places like the ‘Hole in the Wall’.
So for those that see sailing as what you see in the sales brochures of sitting back with a glass of wine with the blue calm seas sun shining, white clean sails and a couple of bikini clad girls on the bows, its only in the brochures. Not saying this does not happen, it may but there is a lot to prepare before you set sail and it is not always blue calm seas and sun shining it could be pouring rain and as far as those gorgeous bikinis clad girls Nancy won’t let me get any.

(Yes that is green beer St Patricks Day celebrations, it was pouring rain so we had the function on board Alana Rose in the cockpit)
To be totally honest the preparation is also enjoyable sometimes hard work but still enjoyable. We may have a whinge and grumble but we would not have it any other way.

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