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Back to the Marina

We had another lazy morning in before readying to depart the anchorage just before midday. The Jacksters did stop by as we had a bit more dive gear for them so another round of goodbyes were had.

The wind was in the high teens to low 20s and ahead of us so we were on a close haul all the way back. We put two reefs in the main and headsail as we knew we would be close to and indeed the apparent wind was occasionally as high as 30 knots though mainly in the low 20s. Again we were against the current as we left earlier than before and low tide was now nearly 3 hours later than before. Despite this we easily averaged over 7 knots over ground (over 8 through the water) and later were doing 8-9 knots over ground around low tide.

We passed west of Mud Island and then had to tack 12 times to sail into port. I loved it. Helen did too, sort of. After a while she wanted to motor in rather than keep tacking so she could clean the boat. I did not give in to this as this could well be our last sail and I was where I wanted to be.

In the end we made it back with time to spare. At the dock we were met by Niel from Attitude, Jan from Anthem, Cornelia from A Cappella and Don from Freezing rain who all stood by to help with lines. With 20 knot winds squeezing into the dock next to Attitude was a little challenging. I aborted early the first attempt and nailed it the second time. Piece of cake.


View 2012-12-12 Moreton Bay in a larger map

In the evening Sam came over. We went out for a buffet curry in Manly and were later joined by Rob from Bristol Rose who happened by by chance. We ended the evening walking with Sam to the railway station then returning to the boat when his train arrived.

Now we’re back in the marina and back connected is back to our admin. We have one or two viewings coming up this weekend so want to be ready for those.

For your entertainment here is a video taken by one of the brokers and some pics of our time in the bay.

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Mid-morning the Jacksters picked us up in their dinghy and we all went ashore. The four of us made an easy job of hauling the dinghy up the beach. We walked along the beach to the nearby Tangalooma Resort. I came over all needful for a plate of chips so we hung around for half an hour for the cafe to open. When we finally got them my taste buds didn’t appreciate the chips as much as my imagination had. Oh well.

A short while after returning to the boat, David and Jacquie returned to take us out snorkeling on the wrecks. The visibility wasn’t good but we saw plenty of fish of all sizes. It was nice being back in the water as in some ways, all the cares in the world were forgotten. I didn’t wear my normal weight belt so found myself incredibly buoyant which took any nerves away of perhaps running into trouble. David stayed in the dinghy acting as surface watch but went back to their boat when the heavens opened We were all right in the water though and kept on exploring the wrecks.

Back on the boat we showered and rested feeling quite well exercised. We performed a couple of small maintenance tasks on the boat. Nothing special, just usual boat stuff. I decided to do another data test on the SSB, this time sending an image. It should have gone on the blog but I’ve been unable to test as yet. The test was yet another surprise. The Pactor modem reached the baud rate of 3600. If it’s ever gone this high before I’ve never noticed. The highest I recall is 3200. Not only that, it was hitting almost every packet without failure towards the end. I think I mentioned this once before but the whole setup seems to be running better since we left the yard in New Zealand. The best hypothesis I can come up with is we perhaps used to have some passive interference from the electric system.

Later in the afternoon the Jacksters came back one final time to pick up the dive gear we no longer have any use for. It can’t be easily (or hardly) sold here so it has no value for us. This is better and if they run into someone who wants to give a buck or two for some of it, all the better. In the meantime, it has a good home.

Once alone for the rest of the evening Helen and I had dinner and listened to music. The skies were clear and the evening pleasant. We sat in the back listening to music we’d played during our cruise looking out into the universe. Jupiter and Sirius sat either side of Orion as the turning Earth brought them above the land to our East. The Magellanic Clouds were up too. It soon turned into raw emotion. We both cried a lot. We were taken back to some of the magical moments on crossings when over a thousand miles from the nearest spec of land, one’s sense of position in the universe becomes such a profound experience.

For me everything past, present and future boiled down to the love I have for Helen. She’s been my soul companion through all our experiences and that is priceless beyond measure. We cried some more.

We’re heading back to Manly Harbour later today. Wind warnings of 25-30 knots are being announced so it could end up being a wild ride. We’ve been in worse many times and Dignity will handle it for sure. I’m a bit excited.

It just kept getting better

Monday turned to be a day full of nice surprises.

The weather started off pretty poor for sailing – overcast, dark clouds and little wind. We had always planned to leave late morning anyway as this was when the wind was expected to pick up so we had a lie in and enjoyed it. Later in the morning Helen went off for some essential provisioning while I sorted out a bit of extra fuel for the dinghy.

On our return to the boat we noticed Don on Freezing Rain who had arrived on Sunday. We called to him to say Hello and soon he and Marie were over to have a chat during which time the heavens opened. We had an accelerated catch up as we wanted to be out when the rain stopped.

As soon as it did, Don and Marie popped off to check to the office while Helen and I set about prepping the boat for departure. By the time we had removed all bar our last dock line Don and Marie returned and helped us cast off. Leaving the dock was a cinch and soon we were motoring out of the marina. We only had 2-3 knots wind for the first hour or so we we just carried on motoring. In the second hour the wind picked up so we raised the sails. Our next surprise was how easy this was with the new rig. The next surprise was how well the boat was performing in light winds, even better than when we had new sails put on in New Zealand.

The wind remained patchy however so we alternated between sailing, motor sailing and, at one point, pulling in the head sail but leaving the main up while motoring. Our last hour, though, was spent purely sailing in winds in the low teens with the boat doing easily half that through the water. Nice.

Along the way we cleaned and calibrated the speed log at slack tide. We tested and calibrated the radar and similar for the wind speed indicator. Towards the end the speed log/gps combined to suggest we had nearly 2 knots of counter current. I wasn’t sure if the speed log had been calibrated correctly. As calibrating the wind speed indicator required turning the boat around twice that enabled me to get a calibration independent read on the current. Turned out it was not too far off if at all. Will have another check inside the marina when we return.

Lowering the main was considerably easier than ever before. Everything ran smooth in fact. The only complication was the overlong lines which got in the way a tiny, tiny bit.

Overall, despite the mixed conditions, we really enjoyed our sail. Dignity is better than ever. We both felt, afterwards, a little jealous of the new owners, whoever they may be. But pleased for them too. Dignity is a fine boat now probably approaching the prime of her life. We feel like proud parents.

As we approached our destination the weather simply got better. Looking over our shoulder we could see continued grim weather back on the mainland. The air coming of the sea was forming clouds and rain over land. We were far enough off land to be away from it all. Internet based weather radar we’d checked earlier had suggested this may happen but it was thrilling to know we’d dodged the bad weather.

The anchorage we’d picked (the Wrecks at Tangalooma) is known to be very popular at the weekends but uncrowded during the week. There were only a few boats in the vicinity so despite being a tight area we had plenty of room. As we approached our desired spot we noticed a lady on the nearest boat seemingly standing with her ‘bitch wings’ out. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen this – mostly in the Caribbean. It’s a way of standing with hands on hips to say “Don’t anchor near me”. Then her husband came out and stood with her. Double bitch. Then we both clicked – it was the Jacksters – David and Jacquie. What a brilliant surprise!!! We knew they had been in the area but hadn’t managed to hook up and we assumed they’d moved on.

As soon as we dropped the hook we were on the VHF with them and arranged an evening meet up. We weren’t set up to entertain food wise so we all ate early. Helen cooked sausage sandwiches (I told you it just kept getting better) which we had with a glass of red wine (better and better). I tested out the email over the SSB and it worked first time. Bang on.

Shortly after 6 Jacquie and Dave were over for a long evening chat and catch up (best). Drinking G&Ts with them brought back so many memories. They’re one of the boats we’ve been connected with all the way back to the Caribbean so it was particularly special.

We’ve both had a great night sleep. Despite being a little rolly it has been wonderful being back on a slightly rocking boat. I wonder if you can buy beds that have a boat simulator built in because this is simply the best way to sleep. We are so happy we made the decision to get out even though it meant missing a get together on land being organised for this evening. Despite all this we both feel a sense of closure. We realize we have now moved beyond the cruising life and are ready for the next phase of our lives. There has been so much excitement over the last few years and there is so much to look forward to. We’re still in transition, enjoying some of the old life, battling to survive 2012 and looking forward with so much hope and resolve to the future.

Back to now. Our vodafone internet dongle barely works here so we’re almost cut off from the outside world. I can squeeze a few packets in and out every now and then so we’re just going to have to enjoy ourselves. Slack tide is around 1:45pm today so we plan on snorkeling the wrecks around that time. We’re also having the Jacksters over to give them as much of our dive stuff as they want to take. We can’t use it and regulations here make most of it valueless. Of all the people to give it to, the Jacksters would make the best use of it. Apart from that, a lazy day is in order I think.

Last day in Savusavu

In the morning we went ashore to clear out and buy some fresh veg. On the way back to the boat we stopped off at a few friends to say goodbye. Amongst those we met were Gary from Inspiration Lady, George and Claudia from Dreamtime, David & Jackie from Jackster, Petr from Endless, Bruce & Alane from Migration, Paul & Maurine from Callypso and Ed & Cornelia from A Cappella. It’s amazing how many folks we know here in the creek at Savusavu. Everyone asked how I’m feeling which is a little better than before. Some progress.

Helen and I stayed on the boat for the rest of the day. Sam went ashore a couple of times to hang out with some of the folks he’s met. He returned the second time around 10:30pm. His arrival woke me up so I went upstairs and chatted with him for a while.

Today we head west on our first leg to Lautoka. I have 5 legs plotted which we’ll more or less follow.

Night out with friends

It rained all morning. I rested while Helen cleaned the outside of the boat with the rain water.

In the afternoon Helen dropped off Sam so he could hang out with the kids from the nearby village. Later, we went ashore to meet up with the Jacksters, Inspiration Ladys and A Capallas who are all here. We had a couple of beers before heading off for a chinese in town.

Sam manage to grab a ride and appeared on the boat around 10:30pm.

The winds are currently southerly which means we’re not going anywhere just yet. Looks like Saturday is the day to head south.