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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.

I’m Excited

To a certain extent the weekend has been more of the same but we are slowing down a bit.

On Saturday Bert and Ingi popped by to say Hello / Goodbye. Just like when we’re out cruising we often say goodbye to people many times and sometimes never get to say goodbye. The former is always better. But as the French say, it’s always Au Revoir as we really hope to see our friends again in some future time and place.

We had another viewing in the afternoon. Seemed to go pretty well but there are so many factors for each party to consider we will have to let this play itself out as far as it goes, if indeed, it goes any further. One thing both Helen and I agreed on was the professionalism of our new broker was orders of magnitude better than the last.

In the evening we had drinks, nibbles and conversations with Jack & Jan from Anthem and Don and Marie from Freezing Rain. A lot of very interesting discussions were had including some about the devastating news unfolding surrounding the tragedy in Connecticut.

Sam visited us on Sunday. It was great to spend most of the day with him, chewing the cud, giving parental advice (hard to avoid), etc. With his work with Greenpeace getting more and more interesting and involved (he is now coaching the next batch of workers) and our random movements between here and Melbourne, we always wonder if each visit we have together may be our last in Australia. We had a nice walk together along the Esplanade to Wynnum and back treating ourselves to ice cream in the park on the way back. I have to be honest, I still find the 30c ice creams at MacDonalds the best.

This was a really good weekend. And there is still some excitement to share. Ben let me know that he has received notification that the Nexus 4 I ordered has been delivered to his office. Assuming he confirms physical delivery I can cancel my order here in Australia. Then all I have to do is wait two and a half months (argggghhhhh) until we meet up with Ben and his partner, Amy, in South Africa i. But getting to see Ben and Amy and giving them big hugs is what I’m really excited about.

Healthwise I still feel like I’m on an upward bounce from the last chemo. I have had a few bouts of extreme tiredness over the last few days. I think the sail we went on knocked a bit more out of me than I imagined but I look at this only in a positive light. Today we’re heading back to Melbourne where tomorrow we have an appointment with Michael MacManus at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. Lot’s to talk about and hopefully we can take a few more steps towards building a bridge to the UK health services.

Catching Up

Phew. A lot has happened over the last few days. Unfortunately it all coincided with the peak of my side effects from RT which has left me feeling pretty wiped out a lot of the time. So a combination of lack of time and lack of energy has delayed me blogging. Good news is I am feeling on the upswing and on a roll.

So a quick recap of what’s happened since last time.

Every day on the boat was filled with more work. Minor fixes, cleaning the boat/cupboards/surfaces/anything, head in bilges cleaning pump valves (to prevent water backfilling bilges), packing the last of our stuff to take to the UK, etc. Helen did far more than I as the Queensland heat and RT side effects would knock me out and I’d have to rest for a while. While not active I was often still busy setting up new brokers and the endless follow up on all the stuff going on in our lives right now. One of the things now behind us is the sale of the NJ rental property that all started just before we set sail in 2008. The whole thing has been a bit of a disaster financially but we’ve had some astounding help. If anyone is looking for a first class property manager in the Cranford area, contact us.

We did have some fun times too.

On Saturday we met up with Steve and Vickie from True Companions and Bert and Ingi from Boree. Steve and Vickie were interested in our lessons learned selling a boat here in Australia. Bert and Ingi have graciously agreed to keep an eye on Dignity while we’re out of Brisbane as they’re staying in the bay for some time. We all ended up going out for a Chinese meal together in the evening.

On Sunday Sam came over to pick up some of his stuff. We took him to his digs in Brisbane and then went out to watch the latest Bond movie. Afterwards we ate dinner together then sat chatting in the park by the South Bank. It all seemed familiar in a way to us and we wondered if it was the site of Expo ’88 which we visited when we were last in Australia nearly 25 years ago. Later research showed it was.

Monday was a bit frantic as we mistook our flight departure time for our leave the boat time. We realized this when waking up but had to cram a lot into the morning with 2-3 hours less than we’d planned for. In amongst all this we had the gas inspector round to certify our appliances. We are now fully certified – Yay.

Jack and Jan came over from Anthem to say goodbye. We were all quite sweaty as we were all working in the heat but it didn’t stop the hugs goodbye.

We returned our hire car and made it to the airport in good time arriving in Melbourne without delay. With good traffic we were back around 7pm local time in time to celebrate Russ’s birthday with their first BBQ of the summer.

Dignity, in a lot of ways, is now no longer our home. We still have a couple of options to return to her and take her out for a final sail. We haven’t done so, so far, due to lack of time mostly, but it would be nice to take the old girl out for a final spin sometime. We’ll see.

Back here in Melbourne life goes on. Yesterday I had a blood test to make sure I’m ok for the next chemo beating which starts midday today. The next two (and final two) sessions should be chemo lite. I imagine the treatment as rubbing down the gelcoat. We’re now on the final fine grained sandpaper hopefully leaving a nice smooth finish. Final MRI is now booked as our our final meetings with consultants from Monash and Peter Mac. The end, no sorry, the beginning of the rest of our lives is in sight.


After a gentle morning rise we had a light breakfast, last chats with Ella and a last, for now, conjunction with Bao. The drive back down to Brisbane was fairly easy but we took turns as we were both quite tired.

Back on the boat we both got back to work. Helen focused on replacing all shower hoses/heads/supports and cleaning up the boat while I got back to admin. There are a few minor things to do with the new rigging which I followed up on. We inspected the work the gas man had done. It looks pretty good except for the fact it looks like some gas oil was spilled onto the teak. It all came out with soap but it would have been better if he hadn’t caused the spills in the first place. I have now booked the gas inspector to come on Monday to certify the appliances.

Sadly our relationship with the broker who recently nearly sold Dignity has broken up. She had been truly helpful to us in the early phases to the point we had recommended her to friends of ours. She had given both Helen and I assurances that during the pre-sale sea trial Dignity would be handled professionally and would be covered for any damage. When we returned to Dignity last week we found evidence of dock collision and poor tying to the dock resulting in further minor damage to the boat. In the scheme of things this is trivial. Expecting her to step up to her prior assurances we have since experienced total denial of responsibility and ridiculous assertions of blame elsewhere. We have patiently given her a few opportunities to step up but she’s chosen to leave her reputation in the dirt. This was not about the money, it was about professionalism and trust. We have totally lost trust in her and requested the relationship be terminated.

More admin around chasing quotes for the boat sides to be cleaned / buffed and getting on board with another broker.

We’re building a list of minor things to fix. It’s all kind of business as usual for a boat but it will all help when we get another buyer in the door.

The day ended in style with a visit from Bert and Inge from Boree. We chewed the cud on the back deck with the usual lubricants before heading over to the clubhouse to eat dinner. I left the memory card out of the camera again!!! so we have no pics. We’ll just have to see them again before we go.

The day ended with another beautiful conjunction – the Moon passing by Jupiter.

Lavena Coastal Walk

15 cruisers (including us) got together yesterday to take the bus down to Lavena and walk the coastal walk. We had mixed information about the bus departure time which ranged from 9am to 10am. The most specific advice was that it was due at 9:15 but we could have to wait until 10am. We were all ashore by 9:30 and caught the bus at 10:30. It’s called Fiji time by the locals.

The bus was the typical open window (ie, no window) kind which offered a cool breeze and fantastic views of the coast and the villages we passed through. After an hour or so we reached the village of Lavena where we paid to enter the Bouma National Heritage Park and for a couple of guides to take us on the trail.

The trail took about hour and a half to reach the waterfalls at the end. The pace was slow to allow chances to listen to the guide tell us about a few of the things we could see and to take photos. The final section of the path took us up to a shaded spot on a river where we stopped for a swim and to eat lunch. From this spot we could see one of two waterfalls a little way up the river. We swam up to the bowl beneath this waterfall where we were able to see a second waterfall pouring into the same bowl which was not previously visible. Of our group I was the only one to climb the slippery rocks behind our guide and slide down the slick chute created by the second waterfall.

After our swim we rested and had a bite to eat before following the trail back to the starting point. Our return was a quite a bit quicker as we had no need to stop so often. By now school was out and we were greeted by happy, smiling children. It’s wonderful to see the innocence of small kids not having had to be scared off by the boogeyman of strangers.

We headed back to Matei in two minivans and decided to eat at one of the local restaurants. The food turned out to be delicious. Helen and I ended up on Kilkea after the meal where we were plied with beverages that are still working their way out of my head.

On the maintenance front we progress slowly. Permissions have been sought and now fully granted to have the Lagoon techs perform the work in the Norsand yard. We’re close to knowing if/when/where the replacement charger will be sent and we should soon have the details of the sex-change worked out.

Having made the decision to slow down and spend the whole season here in Fiji there is no stress involved in staying put for a while in one place. We’re really enjoying the beauty and tranquility of Taveuni as well as this breezy anchorage. Sharing time with our friends here makes the experience priceless. So all is good.

Even better, we’ve received confirmation from our good friends, Anne and John, that they will be with us early August. Much to look forward to.