July 25, 2011
Charon’s Queensland Adventure
25th July, 2011
Cruising for us – but not for Charon!
Charon, captain and first mate gathered for the start of the 2011 cruising season a little late. Richard had returned to Newport Marina by car late March while Wendy stayed on in Tassie to spend some extra time with family and friends. Charon was in good condition given the cyclones to the North and the Floods to both North and South. The Brisbane River had been in the biggest flood in almost 40 years and Cyclone Yasi had devastated both waterfont, farms and houses around Hinchinbrook Island and Cardwell. The choice of summer storage was wise in reflection. Our neighbour Dave was still sitting on his converted fishing boat sucking on a XXXX and when asked about the appalling weather seemed oblivious to the last four months.
I was able to get in a good three weeks work on installing new house batteries, servicing the fuel injectors and replacing the nozzles, checking and realigning the engine mounts and imported a new raw water pump from the UK after much messing around locally. Three-day delivery! Charon had a new iPod connection and we can now enjoy music from daughter Hannah’s loaned iPod.
Needless to say that much of the work remained invisible, including relocating the shower sump, replumbing the bilge pump and nice new emergency steering that was being fabricated at the local stainless place. Fridges were serviced, pressure pumps rebuilt and serviced and the AIS finally programmed by the agents in Sydney.
I also took retirement and stated that I never intended again to go back to full-time work.
Wendy arrived on the 18th April and we continued to enjoy the company of like-minded souls at the Marina Wednesday night BBQ’s. We also caught up with friends Di and Alec on the Gold Coast and I was able to fit in Advanced Cardiac Life Support course with mate Darren to allow for some part time work offshore. I had a great birthday bash that coincided with the Wednesday night BBQ at the Marina.
Wendy came up with the idea of a side trip to Singapore for her brother Johnny’s birthday – and I added Vietnam – so before we departed cruising, we managed a three week sojourn in South East Asia – fitting in the Singapore Boat Show, good times with Wendy’s brothers Johnny, Greg and Graeme, partners and friends. Vietnam was a very enjoyable place to spend a few weeks – but the complete absence of any sort of yacht, cruiser of pleasure boat on the Mekong was striking. The thought of cruising was foreign to the hard working boat people from the Mekong River Delta.
The day after I received my first retirement payment, my mate Darren called and offered me a 6-week swing working offshore Broome on a survey boat. So much for retirement! We had the opportunity for two nights at Tangalooma late April – now we would be another two months before we get to leave Redcliffe. From Darwin on the way back to Charon, we spent three days tidying her up and again went our separate ways – Wendy to Hobart and Richard to Brisbane for a medical, Perth and then Broome for a one day induction and then straight to mobilization.
The Broome time gave us opportunity to experience a tease of the beauty of the Kimberleys, the mild weather and good people there. In fact a week break in the swing allowed Wendy the opportunity to fly up rather than Richard fly south, so we enjoyed Matso’s boutique beer, great Broome hospitality and side trip to Derby to witness the famous tides.
I flew back to Brisbane mid July and Wendy rendezvoused a week later. More little jobs, finally fitting the emergency steering, installing a TV aerial and afterdeck flood-light – but the benefit of my 6 weeks work was the purchase of a new Sovereign Marine BBQ. It is a wonderful piece of culinary equipment that allows the cook to make smoke and mess away from the confines of the galley. Many thanks to the chandlery at Scarborough for supplying this, and all the fittings.
We dropped the car off at a long-term storage depot in the city, checked out of the marina and motored to Mooloolaba on Tuesday 26th July. A little later than planned - but better late than never!