Sailing vessel Dances With Dragons' Ship's Log

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28 Jan 2015- I don't know why this thing wouldn't let me keep adding text after that last picture. Had to open a "NEW PAGE". This website stuff is komplicated.

Sailed to Deanbila anchorage off North Stradbroke Island Saturday and on the way we had all the sails up and were tacking back and forth in a fairly narrow area when the bottom of the extrusion for the in the mast roller furling snapped in two right @ the shaft that comes out of the hydraulic motor or gearbox that is.  Anyway, it was "tick for tack" for a little while as we were running out of water fast and were about to tack before this catastrophe occurred.  Started the engine, took all the sails down and then pulled the main down on to the deck as fast as we could. Tacked just before we got in to the shallows.  Didn't let that stop the show as we motored on to Deanbila determined to have a great "Australia Day weekend". Which we did. We went ashore in the dink and caught a bus to "Look out Point" on North Stradbroke. Will try to add a picture or two now......

 How about that?  Krackt it on the first try.  When Paul N Joyce arrive this is one of the first destinations. There is a dive shop there and Joyce can get some diving in. Will try another  picture transfer.  OOPS, tried and it didn't come. One moment..

 Uno mas.  Heck, something went wrong, will try again

 This picture is showing the broken extrusion.  It lasted 30 years but had they not put the three screws in line with each other around the shaft it would not have snapped.  (they should have consulted with me.) Can't manage to center the pictures up. Need a computer tech. This was taken by a friend just before the extrusion for the in mast furler snapped in two.

 

 

Going to sail up the Brisbane River and anchor off by the Botanical Gardens. May wait till tomorrow to go though as they are calling for severe thunderstorms  today. Not in it for the pain and can wait till tomorrow. (Just learning this tactic, "Live to fight another Day".)...Must be getting old and losing my Swashbuckler rating. I suppose it happens. I am a  has been. Getting to where if I am in the same   room with kryptonite I start feeling woozie. Will send pictures of downtown Brisbane and the big bridge.  Soon.

 29 Jan 2015-Made it up the river to Brisbane. Right across from the botanical gardens. Used to have a crew member that Loved that kind of stuff and could name all the plants. Don't know how she remembered all that.  Just pretty plants to me.

 Well heck, couldn't get the thing centered up properly.  

Ferry boat Captain stopped by last evening and informed me I may be of a "navigational hazzard" to the ferries coming in and out of the terminal and I should up anchor and move. I like where I am real well but if I am making them nervous I suppose I should try to find another parking place.   Trouble is there isn't any place. Nearest place is about 3 miles down river.

10 Feb 2015-My friends Joyce N Paul got here on the 6th. It was great to see them. We provisioned, fueled up and sailed to Deanbila anchorage off North Stradbroke Island. NOTHING BROKE!!! It was a good sail.  Took them to Look out Point and walked around to see the sights.  Joyce went diving yesterday with the dive shop folks and had a good time trying out her new underwater camera and equipment.

Joyce has a www and since she is a better writer than I am and she can put a lot of pictures in and videos as well as we cruise up the East Coast of Australia over the next three months you might want to visit her www.  Will continue to add my idle banter and the occasional picture in this www but you might enjoy hers more than mine.  It is--www.voyageoftheladyh.blogspot.com    

Will probably get the main back in the mast today. It is all over the deck covered up with tarps. The problem with the roller furling shaft is all resolved.  We will hang here for a couple days and then head back to Manly to see my Aussie friends Terry N Elaine and Matt and Natalie and hopefully Allan N Ronnie again before heading up the coast to Bundaberg and then on to Lady Musgrave Island.

 Miss Joyce took this picture @ the beach.  The Aussies that came by said the poor guy was in the wrong kind of tree as they like the eucalyptus trees to eat.  He looks like he, or she, is doing real well on what he is eating.

As we were standing around looking up @ the koala bear a Family walked up from the beach and we showed  them. There were two little Girls and a little Boy about 9 years old. After they were all looking up @ the bear and ooohing and aahing over it I asked,  "Say, can ya'll tell us how you would cook something like that?".  The Momma said, "Oh no, we don't eat the koala bears in Australia".   The little Boy put his hands on his hips, looked @ me with a stern face and said, "How bout if we just cooked YOU!! ". It was so funny. He felt like he had to defend the koala bears. As he walked on with his Family he kept looking over his shoulder @ me and I could tell he was NOT happy with me. 

 Have to get that sail up off the deck and then work on the stupid outboard motor for the dink.  The darn thing krapt out on us yesterday as I was bringing Joyce back from her diving adventure and had to row about a mile straight in to a 15-20 kt wind and sea.  Not fun, I am not in this for the work. Done with that!!  I thought....

16 Feb 2015-0008 hrs and I am awake like a tree full of owls. Coffee is perking and I am checking the weather/sea forecast for the run to Mooloolaba later this morning. Crew is sound asleep, wish I was. This coffee is great though and I suppose I can get a nap during the 36 mile passage if I get sleepy.  "Writing my own story" so I have realized I don't HAVE to try to lie here in my rack and MAKE myself sleep.  A cup of coffee, or two or three, @ midnite up on deck is nice too. Don't have to climb up in a greasy, stinkin derrick when the sun comes up anymore or hang iron downtown  so why not. Thank you Juan Valdez!, great coffee!

We sailed, no, really, we actually sailed from Manly to Tangalooma anchorage off Moreton Island yesterday.  It was great, had all the sail up and we were flying! Even put the mule sail up. It pulls real well and it looks cool. Looks different than other boats, kinda like riding a Harley, not the most advanced scooter technology wize but it just looks and soundz cool AND it is "mostly" American made. So that is why we ride em.

Joyce will go and do some diving out of Mooloolaba and will get some more good underwater pictures for her www.  I read some of my cruising friend's sail blogs and find them interesting but some, reluctant to say, I find are boring as they feel like they need to explain each and every simple action they take on the boat. (Mine is probably boring to people as well but never mind.) Joyce's text and pictures make hers a worthwhile read. My opinion.

Hope you all had a nice Valentine's Day.  I walked up to Celtic Corner Irish Pub and had a nice cold XXXX Gold beer for Valentine's Day. BY MYSELF!  It was Lovely.  Happy Valentine's Day.

20 Feb 2015- We are in Mooloolaba harbor anchored off bracing for  cyclone Marcia.  It is coming ashore way north of us in Rockhampton as a cat 5 but when it gets here they expect it to be about a cat 1.  Heck, "WE AIN'T SCAID O NO STINKIN CYCLONE!!"  (I am considering however putting out a second anchor.)

Will be sailing up through the Great Sandy Straights when this storm moves through bound for Bundaberg. Will rent a car and go see my friends Matt and Natalie and their two little boyz. May not ever sail this way again and need to get by there to see em.  Well, have to go "BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES MATIES, THERE IS COMIN A BLOW! AARRGGHH!" 

28 Feb 2015-Cyclone Marcia turned out to be a non event for us in Mooloolaba harbor anchorage.  25 knts of wind max and a lot of rain but no damage to any of the boats in the anchorage or any of the homes in Mooloo.  

Up anchored @ 2100 hrs Thurs nite and sailed up the coast the 60 miles to the entrance to the Great Sandy Straights. As we approached the dangerous bar we called the Tin Can Bay Volunteer Marine Rescue group for some local knowledge of the bar. Mainly to find out if cyclone Marcia had moved the bar since I came over it in November 2014.  She had moved it and we were provided with the new lat and long for the crossing.  Turned out we had to wait around for three hours to allow the tide to roll in enough to give us plenty of water to get over it safely.  The conversation went like this on the VHF radio..."VMR Tin Can Bay can you give us the lat and long for the crossing of the bar? He replies,,"Certainly can Mate and Guhday to ya".   After he gives us the lat and long he asked me how long is the boat and what does she weigh.  I told him and he says,,,"Alright Mate, I "think" a boat that size will have no worries getting across safely today, time your crossing for 1235 hrs and call us if you will just prior to making your run and just after you get over the bar please"........Well,,after listening to his words I wanna know,  would any of you be just a LITTLE bit concerned about making this crossing?

We were doing just fine until we got close to the bar. A big wave picked the bum end of the boat waaay up and there I was, white knuckle grip on the wheel bracing myself and looking DOWN @ the pointy end of the boat!! We were riding a 58 foot, 70,000 pound surf board straight in to the disturbed water on the bar! Oh heck!  (That is when the water came over the deck and flooded the house.)  HEY STUPID!!! 

 Always close your hatches and port holes when crossing a bar, even if you think it is a piece of cake.  The port side has all the mattresses and linen out to dry as well. We rinsed the salt water off it all and put it in the wind and sun.  All good now. There is a video of the event and I don't look exactly "cool under fire" @ the wheel but we managed to keep our giant surfboard straight enough so as to not get knocked over. THAT would have ruined my day. (I reckon another day in the sun and wind and the mattresses will be thoroughly dry.)

Today we will go ashore on Frazier Island and look for Dingo Dogs and Brown snakes and maybe see some roos and koala bears. 

3 Mar 15-Didn't see any koala bears or brown snakes on Fraser Island. We just hiked a bit and came back to the boat. Stupid Tohatsu motor starting real well now.  Me, mechanico!

We sailed from Garry's anchorage up to Kingfisher anchorage and spent one nite, good spot, good holding.  Then we sailed the 55 miles +- yesterday up to the Burnett River next to the Bundaberg Port Marina. Spent a rolly nite anchored off and will park the boat in a slip this morning.  Will spend a week here and then sail the 50 miles out to Lady Musgrave Island to do some diving and just hang out.

14 Mar 15-In Gladstone Harbor Marina now. Only spent a couple nites in Bundaberg Marina to provision and see friends. Then we sailed about 58 miles north to Lady Musgrave Island. It was a good sail although it was dead downwind all the way. As I said this boat doesn't like dead down sailing. Caught the tide just right to get through the cut and anchored about a half a mile from the Island.   

 

 

 Those of you that have sailed around the Caribbean and the South Pacific are wondering "What is wrong with this picture"??   It has no palm trees.  Have yet to see a palm tree, coco nut tree on any of Australia's islands.  Maybe further north, seems I saw some in Darwin back in my working years.

Joyce was able to go join the Spirit of 1770, a big boat that brings tourists out from the town of 1770, a history lesson is in there somewhere,,,google it if you please, to go diving and she was able to show off her new underwater camera. The camera and all it's fixtures takes two good men to carry on land but has buoyancy in the water and she can manage it easily under water. Takes great pictures as well. We spent a week there, walked around the island, did a trash pick up the second day and I found only one plastic bottle cap the size of a silver dollar!  Could not believe how clean the beach and walking trails are.

After a week in paradise we got an unacceptable weather report, cyclones were threatening to get too close, up anchored @ midnite and sailed to Gladstone. Left @ midnight so we could catch the incoming tide to Gladstone Harbor.  Cruising the East coast of Australia one HAS to pay attention to the tides or you can find yourself sitting on a bar as you make your approach, running against a 5 kt current, or running aground @ different locations once you get inside.  (Me I prefer the  1 to 1.5' tidal change we have in TEXAS.)  Not complaining, just making note of it..

Diesel lift pump for the 15 KW generator krapt out and it wouldn't start. Happened @ a good time though as we were about 3 hours from the shore power here @ Gladstone Harbor Marina. Changed the pump out and it works great again.  Memories of throwing about $500 US over the boards 8 hours out of Hiva Oa, Marquesas came to mind and we have about that in the freezer currently.  AND I imagined having to drink HOT beer and that was an uncomfortable feeling.

Will look @ the latest weather report this morning and decide if we want to sai to Keppel Island or not. Will check on the cyclone's forecast tragectory.

 TEXAS is well represented in the South Pacific.  Did you know that there are more TEXAS flags flown in the cruising community than any other State Flag?  True fact.  The saying, "TEXAS PRIDE" comes to mind.  (How come it is other States don't have that? They all have loads to be proud of I reckon.)

17 Mar 2015-Got word from home on Sunday that my Mother wasn't well and flew home. She is in a Seniors Assisted Living facility  and Hospice is keeping her comfortable.  Sad time for my Family.

My Mother was a Rosie the Riveter during World War Two, part of the "Great Generation". She served our Country as a Rosie the Riveter repairing fighter planes that were shipped back to the States to be repaired and put back to duty in the war in Europe and the Pacific. We are very proud of her Service.

That mentality the Great Generation had is what broke her hip a month ago. She is still so independent that in the middle of the nite she would not ring the bell to have the staff @ the facility come help her to the bathroom.  She can do it herself !! Well, she fell and broke her hip again.

Today when I walked through the door @ the facility the staff was scolding her for trying to get up without calling them.  Thing is,,,you just can't keep that generation down. Thank God, otherwise we would be speaking Japanese or German today and would not be FREE.

Have a flt booked to go back to the boat 16 April but not sure if I will be on it.  Will have to wait and see how Mother progresses.

In the meantime the boat is in good hands, Paul, Joyce and JoAnne have it on the hip. 

25 Mar 2015-Mother had a very good day last Saturday. She was alert and knew everyone that came by to visit her. All the Grandkids, my Son Jeremy, his Wife Rachel, my Daughter Beth and her Husband Adam and my seven Grandkids were all there and the kids kept her in hugs and kisses.  Great day for me too. We are very thankful for days like that.

My two Grand Daughters have soccer games this evening and I will be the guy shouting the loudest in the stands. My Grandson Steel will be playing tomorrow nite. My Grand Son Levi will be playing a football game Saturday. I miss these things a lot while out sailing around the Planet. 

2 Apr 2015-Mother is sleeping through my visits. Sadly, as I sit with her holding her hands while she sleeps and re Live my childhood I realize I am saying goodbye to her. She always Lived for my two Sisters, my Brother and I.  It was never "about her". What a wonderful childhood she provided us with. 

9 Apr 2015-Hospice nurse told me "Your Mother isn't going anywhere for a good while". Will be on that flt back to the boat 14 Apr. Will cruise up through the Great Barrier Reef and on to Darwin then sail to Phuket, Thailand, put the boat in a boat yard to get the teak deck totally re caulked and probably fly home to see about my Mother.  Will all depend on Mother.

21 days left "officially" of cyclone season for the South Pacific. So far so good. Satellite shows all is well for now. Gladstone Harbour Marina is tucked away in a small bay that is further protected by  barrier islands and the marina has floating docks.

17 Apr 2015-Made it back to the boat in Gladstone yesterday.  Looong way to TEXAS. Was up @ 0001 hrs to shut the hatches as it started raining and couldn't go back to sleep. Started coffee @ 0300. Good to be back on the boat,but I miss my Family already.

Will spend today provisioning and readying the boat to get started up the coast. "Slowly" as cyclone season isn't over officially til 1 May.  Will always be however near enough to the mainland to pick up a signal so will have internet to get weather and will know of any approaching storms way in advance.  Can sail up a river or creek and tie off to the mangroves and put all the anchors down. Nay bother Mate! 

 On 4 April my Grandson Brody turned 5.  CAPTAIN AMERICA showed up @ his party unannounced.  He was so excited and he and all his friends had a great time. CAPTAIN AMERICA may have had the best time of his Life!  I went for a walk and while I was gone Captain America showed up and partied heartily with Brody and his friends. When I came back Brody ran up to me and told me all about it.  A really fun time was had by all. Captain America is Brody's favorite Super Hero. 

20 April 2015-

Just installed this dolphin cold water faucet. I am bad about not drinking enough water during the day and after I installed one of these on the old boat I started drinking more. Turn the valve, the dolphin spits cold water in to your glass, cool huh?

All provisioned up and will get away from the dock this afternoon.

Battery bank is good to go thanx to Paul. The bank was self destructing with one of the eight batteries going bad and damaging the other seven.  Bought a new one in Mooloolaba, equalized the bank a couple times over the last two months and as of yesterday they are all measuring 6.3 volts.  

Looking forward to sailing up through the Great Barrier Reef. This is a part of the adventure I think I  was most enthused about over the years as I researched the idea of circumnavigating Planet Earth.

23 April 2015-Anchored in Cape Capricorn. Good anchorage in good conditions. Working on the hydraulic sails, jib, staysail and main. Got the main working yesterday, in and out, but the jib only rolls up and the staysail only rolls out.  Rats!!  Will stay @ this anchorage till all the sails are working or I run outa beer!

The weather is great! Would be perfect to sail on further north but I am obsessed with fixing the sails.  Some time during the nite I may have come up with the fix.  If it is working before noon we will up anchor and sail on north about 18 miles.  I get nervous being in one spot too long, I Love the water in between more than the destinations.

I just Love my Family and Friends, have received several emails warning me about the big storm that spankt Sydney. Sydney is a looong way south of here.  Nice to know people care about me though. 

2 May 2015-Anchored in the east finger inlet @ the south end of Hook Island in the Whitsundays.  Very nice anchorage.  It was a motor boat ride all the way from Shaw Island this morning, about 26 miles I reckon.  But there were lots of pretty sights to see so it wasn't so bad.  From here we are about 108 miles from Townsville which is where Joyce will come back aboard after her land/diving adventures and where she will take the train to Brisbane and Paul will fly to Brisbane on the 12th.

Will not be pleased to see them go.  Will be sailing solo again.  There is the possibility of a young Lady coming aboard but not sure yet. Would be nice to have some company and she claims she can cook. 

We have seven days to do 108 miles and there are several nice anchorages between here and Townsville to explore. Weather forecast is for more NO WIND conditions though so that isn't good. 

Nothing broke on the boat so we can just relax and enjoy like other sailors do instead of working like a madman @ each anchorage to get things fixt so we can carry on the next day.  Heck, I could get used to this.  

Would recommend the East coast of Australia to all sailors. It is wonderful. 

3 May 2015-Have a 55 mile run to Mont Luce  so I am up earlier than usual to get an early start.  No wind is forecast so I want to get an early start.  Don't like rammin and crammin the engine to get me there before dark to anchor.

8 May 2015-Been @ anchor in Horse Shoe Bay on the north coast of Magnetic Island. It is 12 miles from Breakwater Marina in Townsville which is where we are bound for Monday morning. Joyce will leave by train in the afternoon and Paul will leave by air on Tuesday.

The extrusion in the mast snapped again on the way from Mont Luce anchorage so I will be working on that when Paul and Joyce leave.  No darn rest for the weary!!

Did fix the speakers in the cockpit this morning so I feel like I kicked a goal. Tomorrow Joyce and I will take a bus ride to an old Fort here on the island. Too much walking for my friend Paul as he has problems with his knees, back, neck, brain,,,you name it, he is just old and wore out.   But he is a good fellah.  Ha! And he is an excellent cook and can fix stuff on the boat.

14 May 2015-In Breakwater marina in Townsvillle now. Took Joyce to the train station Monday and then took Paul to the airport Tuesday. They have made it back to the USA and except for their luggage not making it on the plane in Honolulu they had a good run home.  Bags arrived this morning they say. It was nice having them aboard over the last three months. Paul, with his bad knees, bad back, bad neck was not able to get up and down from the boat so he didn't. He says the trip was worth it to him as he enjoyed cooking, working on the boat and just relaxing on the water.  

Joyce on the other hand was all over the place. When I flew home for a month to see about my Mother Joyce took train rides, went diving in several places along the East Coast, stayed in Youth Hostels and just thoroughly enjoyed herself.

Got the 20" aluminum round stock to splice the in mast sail extrusion for the main no worries, but finding a 36" piece of extrusion is turning in to a bucket of mess. Australia has a really big sailing community. It amazes me that I can't find a small piece of extrusion.

17 May 2015-Sunday morning @ the slip in Townsville. Will fill the water tanks, do laundry, maybe get time to walk around town some and mingle with the natives. All ready to get back to the adventure tomorrow morning. Weather forecast offers it will be winds out of the ESE @ 18 and 19 mph.  SUPER!! That will be perfect for a 2 or 3 hour sail to Horse Shoe Bay.  Intend to be @ anchor there for a few days, do some exploring on the island and then start island hopping slowly north.  Can't use the main sail.  Nay bother, will hopefully come across the extrusion piece in Cairns or Darwin. If not then Phuket. In the meantime,,no other sails can fail..

I do make a great cup of coffee!  I think sun up with a hot cup of my coffee is the best part of my day @ sea.  

Opened up this www this morning to add a little banter to it and found that none of my pictures are in it now.  What the heck happened to them?  No sense in contacting the website people. They seem to speak a different language than I do.  I don't quite understand computer talk.  I need a computer geek on board to teach me a few things. Looking forward to getting away from the dock. Although this marina and it's staff, from the manager down are very hospitable and genuinely eager to help.  Like I have written many times in this thing, it is the "water in between" that is the draw for me.

28 May [email protected] anchor in Cairns now. Still trying to get my hands on a piece of extrusion so I can fix the in mast furling main.  Have had several riggers tell me there is no such item in Australia.   Don't care to cross the Indian without the main.

Good holding here in the harbor. Current runs pretty fast but the rocna anchor is the best made, best design, and I sleep well @ nite knowing she will keep me grounded.

Have plenty to read. Hopefully some rigger in the States can get his hands on the right piece for me and I can get started again.  In the meantime other than reading I intend to get out amongst the natives here in Cairns and see the sights. 

6 June 2015- The section of extrusion for the in mast furler is coming from Holland and will be here on the 11th.  That is the good news....The bad news is day before yesterday morning I pressed the starter button on the genset and got nothing but a "klunk" sound. Cleaned all the ground wire contacts, all the positive contacts and tried again. Nothing but a "klunk" sound.  Figured it HAD to be the starter motor or the solenoid so I called the marina and reserved a slip. Up anchored and motored across the channel to get in the slip and get connected to shore power so I could run the freezer and battery charger. Everything in the freezer is still rock hard and the beer is still cold. Thank GOD!!

Turned the starter motor over to a very competent fellah @ FNQ starter and alternator shop. He function tested it and as I expected the starter and solenoid functioned properly. He is "tuning it up" for me so it will last longer.  The problem has to do with the bendix not engaging with the teeth in the engine flywheel, thus the "klunk" sound when the starter button is pressed.  I have purchased a high speed dremel tool so I can recondition the 1,000 teeth in the flywheel.  The technician/owner of the starter shop will adjust the range of the bendix to engage better.  

I just Love boating! 

14 June 2015-The fellah @ FNQ starter/alternator shop did a bloody marvelous job! The genset starts better than ever.  Moved back out across the river from the marina after being slipped there for 8 days. Nice marina, very nice folks working there, very accommodating.  Marlin Marina is the name and I highly recommend it to cruisers.

@ anchor working on the extrusion. Well heck,,in between rain showers that is. I get up to the top of the mast and here it comes!  Would like to get it done before my new crew gets here. Didn't mention my new crew.   Yes, she is from England and has a lot of boating experience. Hopefully she can teach me a thing or two. (Says she can cook too). Wouldn't be the end of the world if I didn't get it done as she could be a lot of help to me working the deck for me when I am up @ the top of the mast.  I am getting in Olympic level shape but I am wasting too much time with the up and down. (well,,,"better" shape we will say.)

Excited about  getting someone aboard soon. She arrives the 22nd.

16 June 2015-Sadly my new friend from England isn't coming. Something has come up and she had to cancel her flights and deal with it.  She won't be reimbursed for the ticket. Hope she can get it resolved soon. We intend to stay in touch and hopefully she can catch up with me in the near future.

Am scheduled to fuel up in the morning @ around 1000 hrs and will start sailing north. Got the extrusion installed and  the wind got up so bad I chose not to deal with raising the main.  First morning the wind is calm enough I will roll it up in the mast. Going north from here the main wouldn't do me any good anyway. When I turn left @ Thursday Island and head to South Africa crossing the Indian I will need it..

20 June 2015-In Cook Town now. Don't know how Captain Cook got his ship up inside the little Bay @ the place he named after himself.  I draft 6' 8", it was about 7' from being "mean low tide" and I was bumping bottom.  Had to pull up alongside the only dock because out away from it there was no place for me to anchor. 

Cook town is a neat little "outback" Australian town and worth sailing in to and getting to explore it.  Like everywhere in Australia, the people are very friendly and helpful to visitors. For example,,,after I got the boat secured I got my empty gas bottle, lpg gas for cooking, and started walking up to inquire about having it filled.  Ducked in to the laundry room to see about what sort of coins or tokens I would need to do laundry and a fellah said, "Guh Day Mate, are you needing to have that bottle filled"?.  I said "Guh Day Mate and yes Sir I need to know where I can take it to have it filled".   He said, "My clothes will be dry in five minutes and I will take you there and bring you back in my truck" . I said, "hey that would be great, I will be right back, have to go back to the boat for something".   Walked back to the boat and on my way back another fellah said, "Guh Day Mate, are you needing to have that gas bottle refilled"?  I said "Yes Sir", and before I could explain that I had a ride to the station he handed me the keys to his truck and said, "She is parked over there, take her to the gas station down that road and it is about 4 kilometers on the left, can't miss it. And If you need to go to the supermarket and the "bottle shop" they are right near the gas station, can't miss it."

("Bottle Shop" is where you buy the beer in Australia.)  You can drive right thru it.

So,  just a story to let you know how friendly our Australian cousins are. I remember Billy Joe saying years ago when we came here to work for the first time,,,"Harris, these Australians talk funny but they are a lot like TEXANS".   And they certainly are, but we learned the first nite in the pubs with them NOT to try to drink beer for beer with them. (They had to lead and/or carry us back to the hotel.)  True story. Alcohol apparently doesn't affect them.

 Will spend today dealing with some maintenance on the boat while i wait out the howling winds that are forecast for today then will sail to Lizard Island tomorrow. Winds are expected to be 20 knots on the strbd hip and I will FLY there!  She LOVES that point of sail!. It is about a 60 mile run, should have the anchor on the ground @ about 1700 hrs. 

21 June 2015- Well heck, last evening when I pushed the start button on the genset the solenoid clicked once and that was that. Did not excite the starter motor.  Did all the trouble shooting and the switch is good, getting 24 Vs to the solenoid and all so the solenoid has to be bad. So, didn't leave this morning and the owner/operator of this wharf put together enough electrical lead to get me the 240 Vs needed to run the freezer/fridges and charge the house bank of batteries. Thomas will take me to the starter/alternator shop here in Cook Town to see if they can replace and/or overhaul the solenoid.  No bad press for Mr. Theo in Cairns @ FNQ, the poor old thang is just old and wore out, like me and Theo, just chose a bad time to krap out.  No good time I don't reckon.  Actually it was probably best that it failed here @ the dock. From Cook Town to Thursday Island there is no place that can help with mechanical issues. It is over 400 miles to Thursday.  And too, Thursday may not have a facility that can deal with it either. 

The winds offshore have been horrendous and the seas have been very rough all day. My Germanic friends on Flomaida II had a rough ride to Lizard Island today I am afraid. They were not in any danger, Flomaida II is a 54' Amel. Great offshore boat and fast but still it could not have been all that nice of a ride.  Looks like some good winds, tolerable seas on Wednesday so if the starter motor is back in play by then i shall depart for Lizard. 

7 July 2015-Lot of sea miles have passed under the keel since I last wrote in this log. Got the genset running thanx to a small Mom N Pop shop there in Cook Town. Nice folks and very good with starters. In Gove now on the west side of the Gulf of Carpentaria. It is the eastern most end of the Northern Territory. Came here instead to sailing on west to Darwin because one of the housebank batteries is showing very low voltage which will end up destroying the whole bank if it is not changed out soon. Wrong decision! There are no such batteries here and my supplier down in Brisbane says he can't find a way to ship a batt to Gove. Gove is a typical Australian Outback town.  "Outback" translates to "out of touch with the world".  Which is just fine with me til I desperately need something! Like this battery I am going on about.

Worrying still  with whether I should sail to Phuket, Thailand or just fast track it on home. I keep thinking about that dreaded rocking chair on a porch in TEXAS my Children will force me in to someday and the "regret" I will have to sit there and rock back and forth with.  Have plenty of regrets already to deal with and not going to Phuket, sailing around all her islands, doing some land exploring there will be one more regret for me to deal with. When dreaming and scheming about this whole adventure, Thailand was one of the biggest draws for me. My Family wants me home, I want to be home, I want to see Thailand.  Does everyone have as much trouble making these kind of decisions? Maybe I do in fact have ADD Maximilius.

Just afraid of that rocking chair  and the feeling of regret.

15 July 2015-The sail from Gove to Darwin, 487 miles with the wind was on the hip @ 15 to 20 kts all the way, was great.  Only used the drive engine for maybe 20 minutes to up anchor and get out of the anchorage in Gove then for a few minutes to get the anchor set in Darwin.  Almost NO carbon footprint did we make!

 The 15 KW genset is toast! Went to start it to recharge the batts and the freezer day before yesterday and it won't turn over. There has been a major internal malfunction in the engine side of the generator.  Done throwing good $$ after bad to the  beast. Getting a quote here in Darwin for a new one.  The old Tayana didn't HAVE to have a genset, this boat does. Let this be a lesson to anyone who is boat shopping for a round the Planet cruise,,,,bigger ain't always better.

This is by far the more comfortable ride though. "Trade off" like they say, Haven't been seasick on the boat where in some of the same sea conditions I have experienced on this boat so far would have had me feeding Nemo for sure.  She rides like a ship it seems. The old Tayana rode like a hobby horse on steroids.

Moving this morning to the Tipperary Waters Marina on the other side of Darwin. My Germanic friends Chris and Dagmar are over there and I like getting to visit with them. They are circumnavigating on a 56'?? Amel. Beautiful boat, and fast.

17 July 2015-Got quotes for a new genset.  Waay out of the budget. (I should have kept working for a few more years.)  Would suggest to anyone who is dreaming of an adventure like this to work long enough to afford a boat that is new enough that with proper maintenance on the engines etc she will take you all the way around without having to shell out a lot of dough to stay on the go. (I am a poet as well as a Swashbuckler.)  That or keep working long enough to afford to throw a lot of money @ the boat as you sail around the Planet.

Took the oil pan off the engine yesterday and the crankshaft didn't spin in the main bearing so there is a wee small bit of hope this thing can be put back on the road with a minor rebuild. New push rod or something easy like that.....Will know after I take the head off today and get a look @ the damage.

Stuck in Darwin for don't know how long. May very well be here for another season if I have to put a new genset in. 

18 July 2015-Got the head off and there is a bent pushrod. Motor turns over, cylinder walls aren't scarred, all is good.  Ordered a new head gasket, oil pan gasket, one new pushrod last nite so whenever those parts come in I can get to putting her all back together.

Would be a happy sailor if it weren't for getting the news of the islamic terrorist murdering our four Marines in Chattanooga, TN.  I feel like someone is trying to push a Georgia peach seed through my heart.....yeah,,terrific, lets lift the sanctions on Iran, give them 50 billion US tax dollars giving them the bomb, heck, we paid them 12 billion to go to Austria to beat us up on a nuke deal that they won't honor.  All while they are in the streets of Iran lead by their Mullah and President chanting "Death to America" and sending people to our Country to kill us!  VOTE RESPONSIBLY PEOPLE!!! 

Would ask that you all honor those four Marines by reading about them, what their jobs were in the Corps, what they did to try to protect us, about their Families. Honor them by getting to know them some and appreciating them.  Pray for them and their Families.

I am sick to my heart.  A lot of it is because I feel restrained from doing anything about this tragic event in Chattanooga. Very hard to just stand idly by. I feel guilt.  God help our Country.

I need to get home. I need to teach my seven Grandkids how to shoot a gun, how to recognize these people the muslims are sending to destroy us.   Sound radical to you? If it does then you are in lah lah land with pelosi, reid, obama, maxine waters, barbara streisand, jane fonda  and the rest of them because they aren't the least bit concerned about those four Marines. If you can't understand the threat we are under you are part of the group that is making us vulnerable.  

19 July 2015-Not any better this morning, won't get any better for me til we have won this war with islam and my Country is safe again. We need a President that will allow our Marines and our Soldiers to win and win swiftly making a statement to the rest of the world in the process. The rest of the world is laughing @ us while islam is destroying us.

Got the head, the block washed out with kerosene yesterday. All the water and oil sludge is out of it now and when the parts come in I can start with the re assembly.  The fumes from the kerosene in the engine room had my head spinning.  All done now, just waiting on parts. They will have to come from the States I am afraid so it may take a while. It will give me a chance to go see some crocodiles, kangaroos, koala bears and see some of the sights around Darwin.

May not  be leaving Australia this season on account of  this delay caused by the genset failure.  When i can leave I want to go through Indonesia en route to Thailand where I will get the deck re caulked and some other work done on the boat. Well,,,that is the plan this morning. My Family and Friends want me to rename the boat "CHANGE OF PLANS" because  I have been known to change plans some.  Keep thinking I will regret not going to see all the places in Indonesia and Thailand during this once in a Lifetime adventure. Have already sailed by a lot of places that were on the list and already regret it.

21 July 2015-Ordering the parts today so it will be maybe 10 days before I have the parts for the genset. Probably take a couple days to have her running after the parts arrive.

Losing my chef in a week or so. She has met an Aussie down the dock that is sailing to the Kimberlies and will go with him for that adventure.  I will have to go back to eating my cooking.  She is from the waay far left but she cooks so good that I have managed to tolerate her.  Actually we agreed the first day she arrived that we would not discuss politics, we haven't and it is working out ok.  Other than being totally misguided in a political sense she is competant crew. Felt safe with her @ the helm doing her watch in the middle of the nite while I slept.

26 July 2015-Battery should be here Tuesday and the parts for the genset should be here by the end of the week.  IF all goes well.  More than ready to get out and about. Will have to sail around the Darwin area for about a month waiting on the visa for Indonesia but that can be fun so "no worries". May look in to sailing to the Kimberlies and do that to fill in the gap.  Have heard a lot about that area and am told it is great cruising grounds and you can see lots of crocodiles and other critters. 

July 29 2015-Have good news! My left leaning crew member is gone. Have a new crew member, Belinda Jane. A very nice Australian Girl that comes from a good Family no doubt. You can always tell.  She is a great cook, always up and positive, always a nice smile for everyone. She is excited about the adventure. (She made Thai Chicken Curry last evening. It was wonderful!)  Also have another crew member coming aboard soon. She is from Yorkshire, England, very nice Girl as well, not much sailing experience like Belinda but it doesn't matter, she can learn and indicates she wants to.

Getting pictures of the Grandkids smothering my Mother with hugs and kisses and she always has a beautiful smile on her face.   She will be 91 tomorrow. I am sure the Family has something special planned for her.

5 Aug 2015-Unfortunately there  has been another change in plans. I have to forego the Indonesian adventure as I need to get on home.

Will clear out probably tomorrow, it depends on when the Customs and Border Control Groups can fit me in. The generator works real well. Glad to have that project done. 

Will sail to Cocos Keeling, an Australian Island 2,009 miles from Darwin. After a couple days rest will sail on to Richard's Bay or make a short stop in Mauritius to rest and see the sights.

 Old Forest was right about Life bein like a box of chocolates....

7 Aug 2015-The strong Low off SW Australia is impacting the seas on the road to Cocos Keeling. Not in it for the pain so will wait and see about clearing out Monday or Tuesday. My Dutch friends on S/V MyLady should be arriving in Cocos today.  If I can leave Tuesday I may catch them before they leave Cocos bound for Mauritius.  If not will catch them before we get to  Mauritius. Passage Weather.com is showing the Low weakening and moving East by Tuesday so hopefully it will and i can get started.

10 Aug 2015-Boat is ready to run. All systems GO. (Had to go back to town to replenish supply of Oreos, too many of them disappeared here @ the dock.) 

Have Johnny Cash on the CD player and taking care of just little issues that could actually be done under way but I just want to relax when I pull away from Darwin. Probably won't put a CD in the player til I make landfall.  I have before and before long I am turning it off as I feel like I am polluting Mother Ocean by tuning out the sounds of the waves lapping the hull and the wind whistling through the rigging. Have heard stereos blasting on motor yachts as they cruised by and all I can think of to justify that is their need to tune out the God awful noise coming off those engines.  They all look happy as larks though so I am cool with it. They happy, me happy.

Will probably be two months before I insert any more idle banter in this blog on account of having to be connected to wifi.  Won't have it til Rodriguez, Mauritius or Richard's Bay, S. A.. Could easily be two months depending on the wind and seas.

Forecast calls for a motorboat ride for the first 500 miles.

No crew, the Ladies decided the Indian Ocean was a little too intimidating for them. No worries, would rather do it alone.  If the bad guys show up I don't want to have to worry about anyone else's Life but my own.  Hard to function when you are in fear of someone you are responsible for is in danger. Fear has a paralyzing effect on us, makes you feel like you are in slow motion.      Not good.  When you need to summon up Jack Reacher he HAS to be functioning @100%.

(Don't fancy myself to be anything like Jack,,,I bathe everyday and I use toothpaste when I am brushing my teeth which is after every meal. Like him though the bad guys seem to always find me.)

14 Aug 2015-Finally sailing away from Hotel California!! Been in Australia almost 11 months now, time to move on.  Have enjoyed sailing here and the people a lot.

Will be up anchoring after this cup of coffee and getting started to Cocos.  Excited like a little boy on Christmas morning. 

2 Oct [email protected] Tuzi Gazi Marina in Richard's Bay South Africa now. Been here since 28 Sep 15.  The sail from Darwin to Cocos Keeling was uneventful, nothing broke, of the 2,009 miles 1,400 of that was  very light winds.

Put the anchor on the ground in Cocos and a couple of cruisers in the anchorage came out in their dink and handed me a copy of a sail mail that S/V MyLady had received from my Family in TEXAS. It offered that my Mother was gravely ill and that I needed to get home as quick as possible. @ about the time I had read the letter for the third time the Police came alongside and came aboard to clear me in. After I was cleared in I began to quiz them about my options and long story short the only option I had was to sail the 3,780 miles on to Richards Bay. (For non sailors, no, sailing back east the 2,009 miles to Darwin in to the wind and waves was not an option.)

As the last officer was stepping off the boat the anchor was coming up off the ground. Time in Cocos was about 3 hours.

After the first two weeks out of Cocos I had blown out the jib, the main driving rag on the boat, and the main from trying to push her too hard. After that I was down to just the storm sail, the mizzen sail and the mule sail, or "Fisherman" sail if you are English.  With so far to go and knowing I couldn't motor the rest of the way I started reefing @ nite like I should have been doing all along. (Bad things happen @ night.)

Last 24 hours of the passage was the worst winds, current/seas I have experienced since I have been sailing. (Which is not that long really, only 15 years). Was convinced this old boat was sea worthy before but now I don't think a hurricane could put her on the bottom. She is indestructible.. Bullet proof like me.   Maybe... 

Am cleared out now and waiting for the winds to clock around a bit so I can sail the 80 miles to Durban. Will put the two blown out sails in a sail loft to be repaired and then board a plane bound for TEXAS to be with my Family for about a month. When I return I will make my way slowly on around the Cape to Cape Town. Have to leave S.A. by 29 Dec and will sail across the Atlantic to Brasil. Will see my Brasilian friends and their Families and bump along the Brasilian coast northward towards the Caribbean. Sail plan gets a little fuzzy that far in to the future. 

7 Oct 2015-The overnite sail to Durban was good. Light winds but a good current brought me on down with a smooth ride.  SAW SOME WHALES I DID!  Always an awesome event. Not that they come up and show themselves that often but when they do it is pretty cool. They are huge!

Got the sails turned in to a sail loft, wrestled the heat exchanger and exhaust manifold off the genset and sent them off to a competent shop yesterday. Should all be sorted when I get back from TEXAS 29 Nov.  Will leave for home 12 Oct.  Looking forward to being with my Family.

When I get back I will get hauled out, clean her bottom real well, add a coat of anti fouling paint and check out the rudder. Seems to be too much slack in the steering and I believe the auto helm is having to work too hard burning up waay too many amps and running the batts down too fast.  When it goes to correct the course it slams the rudder to the stops real hard to take up that slack I presume and it could beat itself to death if not fixed soon.  Sometimes I wish I had worked another 45 years and saved up enough $$ to buy a brand new boat so I wouldn't be having to work so much to keep her going.   

11 Oct 2015-Boat is all secure, cleaned up, tied up to the dock real well and I feel confident she will be ok here alone. Good security I am told and the maintenance man for the marina will be by to look @ the battery condition every couple weeks.  Just needs to make sure the shore power doesn't click off @ the  switch on the dock.  Only thing running will be the battery bank charger keeping the batts @ "float" level.

Worked with a very nice South African Lady cleaning the outside of the boat first then the inside.  She has never looked this good!!  The Lady, Jennifer, is a member of the Zulu tribe. She says everyone from this part of South Africa are Zulus.

Didn't want to leave everything in the freezer and fridge and leave the boat for 50 days and  more than likely come back to a big thawed out stinking mess so I asked Jennifer if she would like to have it all.  She was so happy I thought she would cry.  These people are very poor sadly but they have all got a big nice smile on their faces for you and I hear the cutting up and laughing with each other a lot. Seem like happy people.

Has made me think that if Obama is successful with his "TAKE FROM DAH RICH AND GIVE TO DAH POE" agenda  thereby makin EVAHBODY BE POE maybe we will somehow find a way to be happy and smile and laugh as we all Live in squalor.  Yeah, well, we should go visit those folks Living in Zimbavwe under Mugabe's rule and Venezuela Living under the Dead Dictator Chavez's rule.  Take from the rich, give to the poor.........  Merciful Heavens.

No, being away from news casts for 46 days has not mellowed me out.  When I made landfall and logged on I found  he has pounded several more nails into our coffin. 

We need a leader. It is going to be hard for anyone to pull us up out of this hole.  We need a genius.  Or probably a magician. 

Looking forward to that proper English breakfast @ Heathrow  on the way home. AND I am more looking forward to getting my arms around my Son Jeremy, my Daughter Beth and the seven wonderful Grandkids they have provided me with!!

27 Oct 2015-Been very busy with my Family since  arrival.  Couldn't give in to jet lag as I was busy with them from the time I I got here. Just spent four days enjoying Family and some Friends. We didn't let the rain stop the show.  And believe me it DID  rain in South TEXAS!!

Getting the parts for the genset in  a day or two.  Will be good to have it back on line.  This boat HAS to have a functioning generator to maintain the batts, use the water maker and keep the beer cold.  The old Tayana got by with solar panels and a wind generator.  Electrical demand wasn't anything near what it is on this boat.  Starting to understand why the "average cruising boat" is 42' long.   You may go "bigger" for more comfort but you certainly pay huge for the difference.  (Have learned I should have kept working for another 40 years.!) 

Needed this time with my Family.  Enjoy the adventure but like they say,,"There is no place like Home". 

6 Nov 2015-Have all the boat parts now. Will be able to get the gen set back on line. Just got back from South TEXAS. Got to visit with Cousin Ron and Wife Joan.  When I die I wanna come back as one of Joan's pets.  She always makes me feel so welcome. (Works waay to hard with the cooking etc though.  Ron too.)

Went by to see my friend Ann and her staff @ the Chamber of Commerce in Port Aransas, my home port.  They offered I would do well with sail boat chartering if I decided to start it up again once I arrived back in Port Aransas.  Seriously thinking about doing it as I remember getting to meet a lot of fine people and had a lot of fun with it. Was good to see them again.

The two days in Port A made me a little homesick for my home port.

Have til the 29th to get in all the ball games, hugs, lunches with the Grand kids, Bud Light etc I can get. I miss them when I am away.    

18 Nov 2015-Been very busy with Family since I last added to this.  11 more days @ home before returning to the boat. Still have time to enjoy my time @ home and already looking forward to getting on the boat, getting the two sails back in place, hauling out for bottom paint, modifying the bow so as to eliminate the drag caused by the bow thruster canal and getting the gen set back on line.  .......The beer HAS to be cold !!!

Have communicated with the office manager of the marina in Durban and she allows the boat is still floating in the slip. Says she keeps pulling @ the dock lines and I told her that that is normal for that boat, she LOVES the water in between and gets nervous when she is tied up too long. Wants back out on the wild open ocean she does.

All this coverage of the fight against isis on Fox News has got me in an ugly state. Can't join my old unit and go do something about it so I need to get back to the adventure away from news casts before I unravel.   ok, i should quit now..... 

5 Dec 2015-Back in Durban working on the genset. Should be able to function test this afternoon. Sails aren't back yet. Going across the harbor to be hauled out Monday afternoon.  Will get a bulb with an eyebrow to channel the water away from the bow thruster tunnel. The bulb will give her some buoyancy to negate the weight of the 55 kilo Rocna and the 425' of chain.  She seems to bury the bow more than normal and this should help. And in increase the speed by maybe 1.5 kts. We will soon find out.

Won't have email for the 1 to 2 weeks in the yard. Pretty primitive over there from what I am told.  Looking forward to sailing on around the Cape to Cape Town. 

30 Dec 2015-Where did 2015 go?  Almost 2016!!  Leaving Durban, Hotel California, today. The spinnaker poles were out for paint and will be back aboard and secured by noon. Will depart then for Cape Town.  Window allows for me to make it as far as Port Elizabeth but may pull in to East London instead.  My Dutch friends sent me a letter explaining that the iron ore dust collects on the boat so fast in the anchorage that it is not worth stopping there.  It would mean getting a day closer to Cape Town though.  Will make that decision as I near East London.   (This way I can't be accused of "changing plans").

Would recommend Durban to any cruiser that wanted to get work done on your boat. Hauling out here, unless your boat is less than 35' is out of the question.  Cape Town is the best choice for that.  That I know of that is.

So looking forward to getting back on the road.  Best to all and Happy New Year. Hope 2016 is even better for you all than was 2015. 

11Jan 2016-Spent two days in the Buffalo River in East London. Didn't go ashore, just stayed on the boat fixing stuff or trying to. For one I spent most of the time trying to sort out the problem with the stern light. For the run from Durban to East London I used two of those emergency candles. You know the one, it is a clear plastic cylindrical tube that is filled some some kinda solution glows in the dark an irritating shade of green. You have to snap it then shake it and it will glow for 12 hours.  Wonder what other ships made of it??

In Mossel Bay now, very nice little coastal town. Best place I have visited in S A so far. Will be leaving later this morning for Cape Town unless the weather/sea forecast makes a complete turnaround which happens along the S A coast. Treacherous body of water it is.

Stern light is working. Not real proud of the way I had to do it though. Somewhere inside the fiberglass and wood that makes up this boat is a bad place in the stern light wire that comes from the 24 Volt panel @ the nav station.  No way to get to it, I tore the boat up just short of taking a chain saw to her to find it.  So I finally had to just grab 24 Volts back in the aft lazerette to make it work. Bad part is to turn it on or off I have to go back there, lift the lazerette lid and flip the switch.  Well, better than the green emergency candles.

 Changed the fuel filters on the drive engine yesterday and polished the fuel in the three tanks but other than that it was  a coasting day. Went for a walk on the beach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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