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Final sign offs occurred in the last hour (plus the time it took to write this).  Dignity is effectively sold.  Settlement is still to occur so there remains a small risk this won’t complete but we feel this is unlikely.

There is much I want to say about the whole selling process in Australia and much I shouldn’t.  I need to think carefully.  I will compose myself and say more at later date.

But for now I want to thank, publicly, those that helped us get to this point.

First, middle and last has to be for Sarah and Russ who looked after us through the dark days, weeks and months last year.  It’s hard, even now, to think back to those days.  They were truly difficult and you guys were so good to us.

Big thanks have to go to Trish and Peter Cronk for all the support they gave to Helen, working out what to do with the boat when it was stuck in Fiji and Peter for your support during the sale.

Huge thanks and admiration to Peter (and supporting wife Christina) for getting Dignity and especially our son Sam to Australia despite the dis-masting along the way.

Thanks again to Brian and Janine for all your help and friendship.

And thanks to all our cruising friends who helped look after Dignity and get her to sale.  Special thanks go to Bert and Ingi (Boree) and March and Pam on Passages.

There’s a saying that the two happiest days of a boat owners life are the day they buy their boat and the day they sell it.  There may be a big relief today but the phrase is not true.  Our happiest days were all those we spent with our family and friends along the way.  The exotic places, the sundowners, all of that helped of course but when we look back, it was always the people that mattered the most and brought the greatest happiness.

This was the third and final pending announcement, if you hadn’t already figured it out.  Ben and Amy’s engagement has brought us by far the most joy.  My hair, it continues to grow along with my health, strength and optimism for our future.

Radiotherapy Begins and Dignity Undismasts

I have now had the first two out of twenty radiotherapy sessions. These first two sessions took extra long as a lot of further calibration was required. This was all expected. On the second session we took the camera and Helen took a lot of pictures.

The Peter Mac Center is very nicely laid out. In the main waiting room there’s a TV, fish tank and a couple of jigsaws to pass the time. It even has a screen showing how the timetable is keeping on each of the four radiotherapy machines and on the other ‘tools’ such as the CT scanner.

I now have a personalized tray where my gown for each of the sessions will be kept. This is in a second waiting room which we’re sent to when we’re nearly ready. On my first session I was in this room for barely a minute while the second time it was about half an hour. Fortunately Helen is allowed in there with me. I usually try to break the ice by chatting with the other folks and they all seem willing to talk.

In the machine room itself I lay face down with my head held by the plastic mask. It’s actually quite comfortable but so snug I can’t open my eyes. So I have to listen to everyone doing their jobs, very professionally, around me. Session 1 was nearly an hour long. Session 2 was about half this. I am told the time will come down further as time goes by,

In some of the pictures you’ll see green laser lights which are used to position me accurately. I’m all for this of course.

The machine emits high energy focused X-Rays to zap the tumours. If you’re interested the machine is definitely a Varian Clinac but I’m not yet sure which model number it is. Information on all the Clinac machines can be found here and how they work can be found here.

Here is the full set of pics.

Friday also saw the big event of Dignity’s new mast being stepped. John from Passages very kindly observed the process and took pictures of the work taking place. As he has a lot of experience in the boating industry it was good to hear him confirm the work appeared to have been done very well.

Family Get Together

We didn’t have to wait long until Penne, Ella and Bao arrived. It was really good to see the three generations of ladies again – the last time we saw them was back in February. Ella is son John’s partner. She was aboard Dignity with us in Costa Rica. Bao is her daughter and our granddaughter. Penne is Ella’s mum. We love them all.

Considering Ella and Bao had just travelled from the UK and neither had had much sleep, both were very well behaved. Bao was quite keen to show us her standing skills as can be seen in the pic to the right. Helen and I performed our grandparenting skills well. Helen gooed all over Bao while I fixed the car baby seat.

They were able to stay with us for a couple of hours before tiredness began to kick in. Penne then adroitly drove them back to their home up the sunshine coast north of Brisbane.

In the afternoon Pam and John from Passages popped by for our final, final goodbyes. Hugs and kisses all round. John is going to keep an eye on the work on Dignity this week and hopefully take some pictures of the work being carried out.

Around 4pm Trish came to give us a ride to the airport. It’s fantastic having all this support from our friends and we really appreciate this. We obviously chatted about our family reunion earlier in the day. We never had time to visit their new home but hope to do so during our next visit to Brisbane.

Watch out for another entry very soon. Had two rounds of radiotherapy so far. Plenty of pics to show.

Possibly the last time on the move

Our boxes were picked up slightly earlier than we planned so we were all done by 8:30. John from Passages came over at 9:30 to be on the boat to take her over to the maintenance yard. As it turned out, the wind kicked up a stink and we were unable to move the boat on Tuesday. As ever, this turned out to be good for us as it kept us close to town for the day. It also allowed Helen and I to pop over to Passages to say goodbye to Pam. There’s a chance we’ll see her today but we’d prefer to say goodbye twice rather than not at all. They are flying to Asia next week so it’s a full goodbye for us all.

Sam returned from his Greenpeace training yesterday (he has a job there) and we spent most of the afternoon and evening together having dinner aboard together. In the evening we also managed to sell our sea anchor which is only of interest to planners of long passages. We’re particular pleased as most of the folks here are coastal sailors and hence less likely to be interested in it.

At 6:15 this morning (Wednesday) Jason from the shipwrights dinghied over to help us come over to the yard. At that time of the morning the wind was light. John from Passages joined us for the very short (<1km) motor over to the yard. It was a very mixed experience for Helen and I as this was the first time we've been able to move the boat since we left it in Fiji back in June. All the feelings of being off on adventure came back but offset by the sad feeling that this could be our last trip on Dignity. We are now tied up to the yard dock and work will soon begin on Dignity. Measurements for the mast compression pole fix have been taken and I believe the new metal is now being made up. Ella, granddaughter Bau and Penne (Ella's mum) are hopefully on their way from the airport and we're looking forward to seeing them all soon. Rob and Trish popped by for Rob to say goodbye to us. We'll see Trish later as she's offered to take us to the airport.

Keeping on going

Ok, so I thought we were slowing down but we’ve since sped up a bit.

On Sunday morning we were visited by nephew Owen, his wife Cynthia and daughter Tabatha. They live in the area and it was good to be able to spend some time with them. We’ve not seen Owen for many years, the last time being in the UK back in the 90s. During their visit we managed to sell off another boat item and later in the day sold yet another.

On Sunday evening Pam on Passages cooked us dinner and we stayed chatting with her and John for some time. John offered to keep an eye on Dignity this week as a lot of the repairs are going to happen. This will be a great help as John is very knowledgable and it can only be positive if the trades folk know someone is overseeing them.

Monday started off with a nice long Skype chat with older son John and granddaughter Bau. It was John’s birthday so it was a good excuse. The day was incredibly busy. Helen more or less completed all the packing while I did the paperwork. Helen even did all the package moving to the office as I don’t yet have the strength for all this. In the afternoon we were visited by more prospective buyers for the boat. It seems we’re getting a lot of interest now. As Helen pointed out a couple of months ago, the demasting is turning out to be a good thing. With the hull unaffected the upshot is Dignity will have brand new and locally warranted rig and sails coupled with almost nearly new motors which are also still under warranty. This sets her apart from the competition.

Monday evening we were picked up by Trish and Rob from Bristol Rose and we all went out for a curry dinner. As ever it was really nice to see and spend some time with them. Afterwards it was time to Skype solicitors (lawyers) in the UK to follow up on things. We settled down to watch a show on the laptop but both of us fell asleep almost straight away.

It is now Tuesday morning. Our 10 boxes and 1 case will soon be picked up and begin their long journey to the UK. Whatever else we find will have to go in our luggage. Then we call the shipwrights who will come over and we’ll move the boat over to the Royal Queensland maintenance dock where the repaired s/s will be refitted, the mast compression pole rewelded and the few gelcoat spots of damage repaired. On Thursday the new mast will be stepped. I’m assuming that Dignity will be moved back to her current berth on Friday.

Unfortunately we won’t get to see the mast fitting as we have to return to Melbourne tomorrow evening for the start of my radiotherapy on Thursday. I have 20 sessions planned, each of which will include whole brain radiotherapy and radiotherapy on my spine. Hopefully my bone marrow won’t be too badly affected. If it is, my stem cells are standing by. The radiotherapy will take 4 weeks so we can’t have any long trips back to the boat at least until late October.