Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Mourilyan Harbour

Saturday - 08/09/2012

(Yesterdays sunrise)
After breakfast and having got photos ready for the blog scribbles I got out to do some work before the heat of the day hit. I had to fix the batons in the sail cradle as the port one keeps sliding out under sail and the starboard one is in two sections and have come adrift both ending up in the middle of the bag and is going to be difficult to extract. It was slightly overcast when I started but as Murphy's Law would happen the sun came out in full force as soon as I started the job. Fortunately it went quite easier than I thought it would be. The hardest part was keeping the sweat out of my eyes.

As I was finishing and packing things away Jonathan of 'Peggy Jane' a monohull anchored next to us called out but with my deafness I could hardly hear him so he said he would come over.
('Peggy Jane' anchored nearby, this is at sunrise but looking to the west with the clouds lit up by the sunrise)
Jonathan and wife Joey (short for Josephine), had tried to call Coastguard and another yacht before entering Mourilyan just ahead of us yesterday and did not get an answer, so I called them and just let them know that they were getting out because when you call a boat just ahead of you like they did without answer sometimes you wonder if you have a problem with your own radio. They thanked me and said that they had engine failure and would have to sail into the harbour, I said I was just behind them and would watch out for them.

After that as we were now slowed with the wind dropping close to land I started the engines and dropped the sails on the run rather than the norm of turning into the wind, I did this by speeding up to better the speed of the wind from behind and then dropped the mainsail. By the time we got to the harbour they were inside safe and anchoring.

Jonathon came over and asked if I knew anything about diesel engines and then he told me about his situation. I told him that it sounds like he has air in his fuel system. The problem with his system is that it is a Westerbeke engine and it does not have a manual fuel lift pump or anywhere on the engine where you bleed the air on the engine as the electric feed pump is designed to force the fuel through the system making itself bleed. Jonathon thought it may be a problem with the electric fuel pump, he said he had a spare so I suggested he change it and that would prove if the pump is faulty. I said I would go over and help him but I think he felt that he would be imposing. He went and did this and then return with his electrical drawings which are all drawn by hand. I followed the drawings and worked out the circuit for the fuel system as the new pump still did not fix the problem. I asked if he had previously checked voltage at the pump and he had not. I pointed out areas he should test and he came back over and said that he had voltage. We discuss more options and I said to him that I feel he still has an air lock in the system. I suggested a few places where he could eliminate air from the fuel system on the engine. A while later he came over all smiles he had bled the engine of air and the engine had been running for 30 minutes, which was good because his fridge/freezer is from a compressor driven by the engine. We invited he and Joey over for sundowners. They came over and we had a very pleasant evening.
(Twilight in Mourilyan Harbour)

Sunday - 09/09/2012

Jonathon called over this morning and invited us over for coffee so we went over and I was armed with a bit of gear to help them.

Jonathon has been sailing nearly all his life, he has run a charter yacht in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, he also ran the sailing school in the BVI's. He is American born but Australian by choice and has been here since the early 90's, Joey is an Australian. Jonathan navigates with a GPS and paper charts and said he must update to a chart plotter soon. So we went over for coffee and I assisted him by setting up his computer with charts and have loaned him a GPS antenna that he can mail back to me when he returns home to Airlie. I thought it best for him to know where his yacht is if he is going around the reefs and Lizard Island, naturally electronic charts are only a system for assisting navigation it should not replace paper charts and normal human observations.

We sat and had a good chat aboard his yacht which is over 27 years old and he has sailed it many places around the world.

When we were leaving to return to our yacht Jonathon and Joey insisted to tow our dinghy with theirs instead of me rowing because our outboard has a problem at the moment. We thanked them and went back aboard Alana Rose and had a quiet evening.

Monday - 10/09/2012

After breakfast and a tidy up we went ashore to stretch the legs and have a look around and do a rubbish run. One good thing about the new boat ramps is that they have four rubbish bins there for the boaties. When Premier Bligh took over a few years ago they doubled our boat registration fees to improve facilities and they have been putting in these boat ramps which are no good to vessels our size so I guess they can't complain about us using their rubbish bins.

At the side of the car park there is an 18 metre catamaran hauled out on the land, 'Rainbows End' looks like a Crowther design. I wondered what it was doing there and when I inspected it I found out why. The starboard hull is holed badly in many places. I asked a local what had happened and he told me it broke away from its anchorage in high winds and smashed against the rock wall by the boat ramps.  I looked it up on the net and found the story in a Cairns newspaper clip. The catamaran had been anchored here for 3 months as the owner had just finished repairs from cyclone Yasi. On the day it broke its anchorage there were winds of around 50 knots which caused it to break free. According to the story there were naval vessels anchored nearby but said they could not assist as they required permission from head office Canberra, good old red tape and litigation was the cause of lack of assistance. The damage could have been less if the boat had been pulled away from the rocks straight away but because no one could help it was left to smash against the rocks with the waves caused by the high winds. The coastguard here could not be raised on the radio because of the lack of volunteers they only operate on weekends. Talking to a good friend if the owner had called a 'Mayday' on the radio which indicates a ship in danger the Navy would have had to help him.
("Rainbows End' the catamaran that smashed against rock wall the picture show some of the damage)

One of the major problems Australia is facing is the loss of volunteers and I can fully understand after working 20 years in a volunteer organisations, again the red tape and bureaucratic regulations are the cause along with employers  over the years have had to down size staff and they are not that willing to let volunteers leave work during working hours to attend incidents. This situation also breeds a different type of volunteer, earlier days the volunteer would just go help where required and return to his/her work and not look for any thanks it is just what you did, a little different today. I understand why some changes had to be made but some of the requirements of today turns the old volunteer away.

Well we had our little walk around not that much to see, the fenced yard is full of cut logs and stacked wood chip. These trees that are going as wood chips are the trees from the forests that were damaged during the cyclone. Apparently it is at a stop at the moment because of the sugar season, they use the same conveyor belts to load sugar and wood chip, so the wood chip is on hold as I suppose they have to thoroughly clean the belts from wood chip to load sugar so whilst sugar is in season wood chips take a break.
(View of Mourilyan Harbour from the rock wall near the new boat ramp and dock on the right)
(Stacked timber waiting to be chipped and shipped)
(Wood chip ready for shipping)

At the moment there is no sign of any large ships coming here as I looked on the internet this morning, however, I have heard that there may be one arriving Wednesday, there is a continuous line of trucks arriving day and night with sugar or molasses.

After our little exercise we returned to the dinghy and started rowing back to our boat, it was a little choppy as the wind was against us but all was well, Jonathon on 'Peggy Mae' saw us and came and towed us back, I told him it was alright I can do with the exercise, he said you don't need that much.

He rang us a little later to tell us the mechanic that was working on a trawler had offered him the use of his car to go into Mourilyan to get some supplies and asked if we needed anything so he picked up some bread and fruit for us. Some people are very kind, can you imagine someone in the cities doing that.

Tuesday - 11/09/2012


Up early or should I say earlier than normal, the wind hit around 0330 hours this morning along with some rain that woke me so I got up to have a look around and make sure all was well then went back to bed but I was wide awake, I lay there for nearly an hour and decided to get up and make a cup of tea.

The winds are in for a couple of days so we may sail Thursday for Fitzroy Island.



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