Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Shiriri Saga # 66. Hard at work on the hard.

Heather leaps to my side of the saloon seat.

"Are we safe?" gasps Heather as she leaps over to my side of the saloon seat. A massive explosion! The instant flash lights our cabin which teeters high in the air. We are in the midst of the worst Southerly Buster yet with fifty knot winds and a powerful thunderstorm. It is comforting not to be back at anchor in Bum`s Bay in this, but distinctly nerve wracking to be balanced precariously on our keel on a large concrete slab with our masts pointing up into the crackling storm.

We were lifted out over a week ago at the Gold Coast City Marina and have been hard at work in 35 C. temperatures repairing and repainting the hull. The bottom now has two coats of a powerful antifouling paint and Shiriri`s topsides are a spotless white. Edith too, sparkles in a new coat of dory buff. After the storm rumbles on to the north we will launch and tie up alongside the docks here to complete any work on deck.

The Carrick Roadies, have been busy beside us repainting their concrete yacht and had the same saloon experience as us in the thunderstorm. We also talk to them about an idea we have been playing with. Those day trips we have made into the highlands have whetted our appetite for a voyage into the interior. The map of Australia shows the headwaters of a number of rivers not too far away, could we somehow haul Edith over the mountains and row and camp down river across the central plains? When we mentioned the idea to Keith he had laughed and said no, not enough water in the ‘rivers’, too hot, too many nasty snakes etc. So Rob and Michelle, what do you think? Yes, they say, it is possible on the biggest river of them all; the Murray. Rob says that his dad lives on the Murray river and will send us a cruising guide. So it is possible, sort of, and that is good enough for us to begin to plan. We really need a plan, we still itch to keep moving west, we need a replacement challenge.

The newly painted hull.

Once launched again we tie up to the docks and the next morning hear two yard workmen making a list of the boats at the dock. One spells out Shiriri`s name for the other to write down. "Es,haich,oi,arr,oi arr,oi." We smile, we are getting to enjoy a Queensland accent. Then it starts to rain in earnest; 13inches of it in 48 hours. We have plenty of discussion time as the rain drums on the cabin roof.

Anne now has a little car and is off visiting friends much of the time .She has applied for a teaching job in Mildura on the Murray River. We have found that we can stay in Australia for quite a while if we leave and come back every six months. We need to put Shiriri in a marina if we wish to travel around the country. What are our long term plans? Will we sail on around the world or sail home across the Pacific against the prevailing winds and currents? A big determiner is Heather`s health. We have set a three year limit on our voyaging and that would mean we would spend all of that time mostly at sea if we kept sailing west. The voyage here has been pretty stressful and not good for Heather`s heart. Lets take a long break and explore this big continent by land and then..... OK this is it, what are our long tem plans for Shiriri? We know that we will have to sell her sometime at the end of the voyage when we move back home so why not sell in Australia and avoid that killer trip back across the Pacific if possible? One thing Heather and I do well is plan and so by the time the rain stops we have charted out our life for the next year or so.

By the time we sail back down the Coomera river we have located a marina back north in Morton Bay at Manley Boat Harbour just south of Brisbane and, plus plus, we get a reduced price on the moorage if we have our boat listed for sale there. The Gods are smiling on us!

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