June 05, 2011
Since returning from South Africa at the beginning of March it seems if it we have done nothing but boat work, boat work, boat work….. The expected four day hardstand turned into nearly four weeks….. However, on the positive side, we have achieved a lot and learnt a lot about Rebel. The first nasty discovery was that to repair the movement in the rudder, layers of fibre glass had to be stripped from the rudder to expose the gudgeons. Luckily with expert help from shipwright Stan, the rudder-side gudgeon was cut in half, so for next time (heaven forbid), it will not be necessary to demolish the rudder. With everything suggesting that our stay on the hard was going to be way longer than planned, we decided to maximize the cost and time by taking the old anti-foulings back to gelcoat – as we had been advised to do a year ago. After looking like a blacksmith for a few days, and with aching arm muscles, we decided to give the job to the yard, which slapped on three layers of epoxy and anti-fouling far more professionally than we could have. Naturally all work finished on the Thursday leading up to the Easter break, which meant paying a premium to get Rebel back into the water on Easter Saturday. However, this was more than compensated for by being back on the water, not having to climb the ladder to get ‘home’, nor constantly be hosing down the decks, shoes, etc to keep the dust and grime at bay.
Back in the water the work was by no means over……. To ensure all Ian’s hard varnish work of September- November did not go to rack and ruin, he applied a few more coats. Then the bolts on the back stay had to be replaced as they were showing signs of rust. To do this, we had to take off the paneling at the foot of our bed, grind out fiberglass, and in general make a helluva awful mess of our cabin, with the discomfort compounded by the smell of epoxy. Fortunately these memories fade….. as have memories of the numerous other little jobs that were ticked off the list.
Finally around the 20 May we were ready to leave Scarborough Marina, which had been home to Rebel for 11 months. The marina’s 30 or so ‘live aboards’ make for a lovely community, and it was even more special for us as Janet and part-owner, Jaun Paul Mira, used to sail Lasers together some 25-30 years ago at Sourthern Cross Sailing Club in Wemmerpan, Johannesburg. A small world indeed. The marina yard is manned by three guys all called Steve, and on demand ex- Zimbabwean Steve would lend us his bakkie/UTE to go shopping when the load was too heavy to lug on our bikes. Jaun Paul’s wife Mira also took time out to show us around the area. Finally on the 24th May, after giving our trusty bikes to the marina staff, we threw off the lines and pulled up the sails.
Day one took us to Mooloolaba, where we spent three nights anchored in the river in the midst of million dollar homes. Here the maritime ‘policeman’ told us the easy route to the shops – up river to the public pontoon just before the main road, tie up the dinghy and enjoy the short walk to the shops. The Mooloolaba – Wide Bay Bar leg was a most uncomfortable motorsail in light following winds. We arrived at the infamous Wide Bay Bar close to sunset and despite the glare from the setting sun, crossed the ‘mad mile’ in fairly calm conditions and anchored in Pelican Bay for the night. The next day we had to postpone our intended passage to Garrys as we did not want to head into the looming storm which would have made seeing the beacons virtually impossible – rater hair raising in the shallow water, especially when chart plotters often are not accurate in non-commercial areas, and can indicate you are on land even tho you know you have water underneath you ……
Garrys Anchorage got pretty festive and Janet got pretty restive after being attacked by sandflies and other biters when we went ashore for a walk. An early morning departure on Wednesday saw Rebel glide through Sheridan Flats and over the sand banks without touching once, tho on our approach to Kingfisher Resort the sudden shoaling nearly got us… With the forecast showing that the wind would be light for the next few days, we booked ourselves onto the Fraser Island one day ‘Beauty Spots’ tour. It was a great day and good to see that the island had more to it than sandflies and mangroves! An aquifier supplies the 100 or so fresh water lakes on the island with crystal clear water and estimates show that it would take some 30 years before Fraser ran out of water if it did not rain. Boggles the mind. We ended the day by taking full advantage of the shower at the pizza/café right next to the jetty.
The Kingfisher/Bundaberg leg was a motorsail in very light winds with a flat sea making it comfortable. We checked into the marina so as to be able to do laundry, get supplies, etc. Quite a few other boats are in the same position – short of wind for the passage north to warmer climes.
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