The Other Side

22nd November 2014
If you’re hoping for a Seamail about exotic places, azure blue waters and cultural experiences than you may as well stop reading now. This one’s more about the mundane and prosaic side of our lives aboard Sea Rover.
“Wake up darling it’s 5:30... time to rig the sail” Yup we’re back aboard and the early morning call? well that’s because the winds are nil to very light first thing, so ideal for rigging the sails that have been living rolled up in our forward heads for the last 10 months. And given everything we’ve both been through I can’t complain.
Getting back on board has been wonderful. Not because everyone at home hasn’t been great or that catching up with so many people hasn’t been a joy but because this means we’re back living the life we want to live and feel so lucky to be able to. Given the alternative what are a few boat chores by comparison?

So after a couple of weeks of said chores and with Kelly from Yacht Domain on the pontoon to wave us off (she and Rob had done a wonderful job of keeping an eye on Sea Rover whilst we were away) we finally slipped the mooring at Scarborough Marina – not as easy as it may sound due to a large barge, part of the marina extension works moored virtually behind us, so think reversing out of a parking space with an artic lorry parked just behind, but all went according to plan – so nice when that happens, maybe I shouldn’t sound so surprised but after so long off the water it was a major achievement that we could even remember how to switch on the engine!

The first evening at anchor (off North Stradbroke Island in Moreton Bay) was accompanied by a glass bubbles as the sun went down before we tucked into the oysters we’d bought before leaving Scarborough. As you can imagine there was a whole range of emotions given the ten months we’ve both been through and it was not lost on us that it was the 29th October and that 6 months ago to the day we were out in a restaurant having a meal before my op. How different things could have been.

The chores, however weren’t finished but first there were the challenges of the Canaipa Passage – overhead cables at 20.3 metres when our mast is very nearly that, shallows where at low water there is barely any water and certainly not the minimum of 2.2 metres that our keel requires and a channel that needs to be followed carefully as there certainly ain’t much water outside it - as the wildlife standing on the sandbanks demonstrated. Once through, we got hauled out at The Boatworks in the Coomera River. Again not as easy as it sounds as their travel lift, contrary to what we had thought couldn’t lift us safely without us taking the forestay down. For non yachties this bamboozling action probably sounds easy – it’s not. The back stay has to be untensioned, the emergency stay rigged etc. I could go on but I feel eyes glazing over. I’ll just leave it that Greg the rigger here is our new best friend.

Then followed a whole load of tasks – the old generator coming out, new generator going in and being plumbed and wired in and then of course the 34 other things on the ‘to do’ list like servicing the prop, cleaning the hull etc; but nothing so far that has surprised us given the last 10 months. The Boatworks has to be the best yard we’ve ever been in, it’s so well organised, clean and efficient. They even have a free courtesy car which we’ve made good use of running around to buy and collect spares and other bits and pieces etc. There’s also a real energy about the place and in much the same way as going to the gym spurs you on when you’re flagging, so it’s the same here. Everyone is working and so you keep going that bit longer. And work starts early, like 5:30 am. We’ve taken to early starts, not always 05:30 but certainly up and working by 6:00/6:30 as a) its cooler and b) with all the noise you’re not going to sleep so may as well join them.

Still it is weird climbing a 3m ladder up the back to get aboard and siting in the cockpit in the evening, not moving and feeling as if you were in the boat equivalent of a car par/industrial estate. Can also confirm that the cardiac rehab is complete as I’ve been polishing the hull – twice down both sides, by my calculation that’s 184’ of hull, been hanging upside down in the generator compartment cleaning it out, sanding the hull and various other tasks. So not much wrong there.

Mike has had more than his fair share of tasks, actually the lion’s share, mainly around getting the old generator out and the new one in. He’d decided he was going to fit the new one himself as after all he will have to look after it and may as well get to know how it all fits together from day one. A lot of this fitting has revolved around hoses and cables that need to go from A to B, usually round ridiculous corners and through inaccessible holes and of course many are different from our old generator! Think he must have lost pounds in sweat, not least because the temperature here is in the mid to high 30s with very little breeze and it’s hot. We’re making very good use of the shower facilities and drinking gallons of water.
One little extra was that the new generator, a Fischer Panda is smaller than the previous one, so a steel frame had to be constructed to rest it on. Here the excellent skills of Robbie from RM Fabrication came into their own. As the new generator dropped in through the companion way there was a ‘will it won’t it fit’ moment. We needn’t have worried, it slotted over its mounts perfectly – that’s what you get when use a real craftsman.

So after a very productive two weeks at The Boatworks we headed back down the river to Hope Harbour Marina where tomorrow Bob (the Fischer Panda agent) comes to gives Mike’s work the once over before we throw the switch on the generator for the first time.

Then a couple of days R&R in Southport – Gold Coast not Merseyside before looking for a weather window to head south to Sydney for Christmas, fireworks and seafood galore with our friend Rosie.

PS Bob came and gave all Mike’s handiwork a very positive thumbs up (so generator installer gets added to his CV!) and our new generator started first time to our delight and that of the kangaroos on the bank opposite our berth!

So, if we don’t do another Seamail before, we both hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a marvelous 2015.


Photo comment By Paul and Gillie: Very good to hear from you both and welcome back to the southern hemisphere! Over here you have missed nothing weatherwise. Looking forward to seeing you here next year!
Photo comment By Paul and Gillie: Very good to hear from you both and welcome back to the southern hemisphere! Over here you have missed nothing weatherwise. Looking forward to seeing you here next year!
Photo comment By Doug & Sandra: Hi Mike & Devala , welcome back!! we heard from a little bird in Tutakaka we may see you in NZ next year. We are back in the Town basin, warmest Regards Doug & Sandra
Photo comment By Alex: Great to hear you're back to full health, and can't wait for the next instalment! xxx

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