Monday, 29 April 2013

Meeting up with Tintin

After doing a last minute trip to Woolies for provisions, we left Keppel Bay marina and made our way to Keppel Island. Kittani went well - everything seems to be ok once again.
Amongst quite a few boats moored safely on the northern side of the island was Tintin, so good to see her again. After anchoring next to them, Jacky and Kevin arrived over to give us the run down on the island, time of sundowners and to let us know of a bar-b-q on the beach that evening around a campfire and a feed of Spanish Mackeral donated by another boat. How quickly and easily one fits into 'island life' around  here. So 5.00pm saw about 8 tenders descend on the beach armed with cooly bags and a salad to share. On arrival to the campfire, we were handed a green coconut which Denis had machetied open  and we drank the juice - welcome to Keppel Island. Pop went the champagne cork and we toasted being back together with friends again. Then sun was starting its descent and gave us a magical setting for our first night back on the seas. A delicious meal of fish and salads, with potato and sweet potato cooked in the coals - what a feed.
 Lovely to sit and chat with other sailors, hearing of places they had been and ones we are still to get to. Such an interesting group of people. With 3 guitars playing in the background, it made it a wonderful evening to remember and a zillion stars out on such a clear night. A mass exit of tenders back to their boats around 8.30pm and off to bed.
 The bay lived up to its reputation of being notoriously rolly but the locals say you get used to it after a while. We will see. Looking forward to some fresh coconut meat for breakfast.

                                               This is what it is all about ............

Learning to weave a "gwashoppa!"

Peter fishing for mangrove jack and Kevin fishing for mangroves!!
A perfect setting for a bar..unfortunately...closed!
Most of the infrastructure on the island is still closed from the cyclone earlier in the year.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Keppel update

The sump is back on, after some minor difficulties with the connection, we were able to slowly lower the beast back into place and it is so good not to see that engine dangling on chains. With an extra pair of hands, all the parts are being reconnected and Kittani is starting to look like herself again. It is a race against time as we are getting Chris back on a plane this evening. We just could not have managed the job without him, it would have taken us weeks, not days. We owe him big time. The inside of the boat looks like a bomb site but I am sure after a day of sorting and cleaning, we will be back to normal.
We had booked the marina for a week expecting the job to take that long - parts from Germany, getting trades people etc - so will enjoy a few days of rest.....yeah right..still more jobs to do.
Jacqui and Kevin arrived at Keppel Island yesterday so we will meet up with them on Monday

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Keppel Bay marina

Well, who would have thought this sailing bit could be so difficult. After out stopover in Bundaberg, we were back on the high seas and a lovely sail up to Pancake Creek. Anchored fairly close to the mouth of the creek as those sand bars we could see made us very nervous and didn't want to get any closer than necessary. A pleasant evening followed by a good night's rest could almost make you forget the prop shaft issues. A leisurely day spent relaxing and decided to head off for a night sail up to Great Keppel Island. The stars and moon were out with a gentle breeze, it looked good. That was until the lightning started up in the distance to the north. A quick check of the BOM showed a large storm cell ahead, but we hoped it would pass out to sea before we got there. We made our way along the line of container ships anchored off Gladstone, some giving off more light than the moon itself and headed closer to the storm. A lot of sheet lightning around us then a couple of massive streaks that turned night into day, followed by almighty crashes of thunder. Some squalls of rain and it was all over - thank goodness.
Daylight saw us approaching the islands off  Yeppoon and Great Keppel came into view. We finally anchored at Long Beach on the southern side of the island with the place to ourselves. Ashore for a walk along the beach and a swim in lovely clear water. Gentle breeze from the north made it a lovely sheltered spot. We opted to stay put for the night and would go across to the other side of the island when the expected southerly arrived. That happened around 3.00am so we up anchored and started to make our way around. After about 15mins, we realised our oil pressure was dropping so cut the engine, hoisted the sail and went to investigate. Level was low so we topped up and continued to motor, keeping a careful eye on the gauge. 45mins later just as we were arriving at the north side of the island, the pressure dropped again. This time as Pete was pouring oil in the top, it was gushing out the bottom. This is not good. Thankfully it was now daylight and we raised sails again and we quickly anchored to investigate further. After bending and twisting to get a hand under the sump, Pete could feel a hole. This meant there was no oil in the engine and no engine to motor anywhere. Our plans then had to change, to get to a marina ASAP and get it fixed. After sailing across to Keppel Bay marina (about 7 NMR), we met the Coast Guard who kindly towed up in through the leads and onto
a safe mooring.
The next step was to get the sump repaired/replaced but firstly off from the bottom of a 650kg engine for a good look. That was a feat in itself. There were lots of phone calls and asking of advise from various friends and family of what to do, and how to go about it. 
Next day saw our son arrive from Brisbane with blocks and chain, slings, shackles, support beams, all that was necessary to get the job done. I had to leave the boat and do some grocery shopping - I couldn't bear to watch as Pete and Chris hoisted the 650kgs to a level high enough (about 18 inches in the air) All safely lifted, the sump taken off and who would have thought a hole so small (in my female opinion) could cause so much trouble. New gasket ordered and on its way from Brisbane. Sump being sandblasted, welded, painted and promised back to us as good as new with 48 hours. Things suddenly don't seem so bad.
Next instalment due shortly.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Boobie patrol !!!!

Somewhere off Fraser Island Pete was on Boobie Patrol. With 2 women on board, I know what you are thinking. Wrong, Brown Boobies - I am speaking of the feathered type. Just on dusk a pair of boobies thought they would nest in our sail bags. So Pete was in a full time job trying to fend them off. Then they thought the radar looked like a good nesting area. Back to the sail bags for another try. Then the solar panels at the back of the boat. Foiled again - they really are persistent. After about 10 minutes of trying, the pair finally got the message and took off. Or so we thought, The next thing about 12 boobies appeared circling the boat. You have to be joking. It was only a final showing that they had been defeated - Pete had triumphed - no nesting on his boat. But what went on once the sun had gone down was anyone's guess. Into Bundaberg this morning to drop off our crew member and get some expert advice about a prop shaft issue. May be a few days while we get this sorted.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

On the road again!

Well..maybe on the sea again
Departed Brisbane yesterday (Saturday) at 0800. Currently just abeam of Sandy Cape on Fraser Island.'s Sunday 13.40 so still a long way to go to Lady Musgrave Island.