Anchored at Bum’s Bay at Surfer’s Paradise earlier in the week was pleasant enough. So named because it’s free; not like the more expensive Southport Yacht Club to the south. While at Bum’s Bay, Wayne decided to clean the speed-log transducer as it wasn’t working at all on the journey from Port Stephens. The speed-log is a through-hull device with a small paddle-wheel that spins in the water to determine boat speed. This information helps to identify the true wind speed versus apparent wind plus the strength of any ocean current. The ‘whirly-gig’ as I call it regularly blocks up with barnacles but usually frees up, either through heavy seas or otherwise we go under the boat to scrub it. This is the first time Wayne’s removed it from inside the hull and the process was quite straightforward, with only a small amount of water entering the bilge.
To give my legs a stretch I took a long walk for a couple of hours along Surfers Paradise beach towards the Gold Coast beach then back along the road under the shadow of hundreds of apartments and hotel units. In anticipation of locating a shower along the way, I’d taken my soap, shampoo and towel. The public toilets near the boat-ramp on the northern side of Seaworld has a cold shower on the way back from my walk I indulged in a five minute shower – although it was cold, flowing water is a luxury I appreciate more nowadays! Wayne paddled the dinghy across to the beach to collect my clean body plus a couple of yummy fish fillets I’d bought from Peter’s Fish Market on the way back from my walk.
The next day Wayne spent some time working on the Spectra 380c Watermaker located in our starboard locker. As usual, I was his trusty assistant passing spanners, buckets of water and cups of coffee as required. The unit hadn’t been run since we’ve owned the boat and we believe it was ‘pickled’ sometime before that. Pickling requires the injection of a substance to prevent biological growth in the unit while in a state of storage.
We followed the plumbing diagram to make sure we knew how it all worked, switched it on and the unit sprang to life, ultimately spewing out a very pleasing average of 45 fresh litres of water per hour. There are two feed pumps that feed sea-water into and drive the main (Clark) pump, which in turn pumps into the reverse-osmosis membrane where the desalination takes place. The only apparent problem with the entire system was a leak from a crack in the main pump which will require new parts, plus the feed pressure gauge is glued up and will need replacing. After contacting the local Australian dealer, we were disappointed with the huge mark-up on parts, resulting in us once again going directly to the USA to purchase the necessary spare parts. Even with courier costs and in the unlikely event we are slugged GST, we are still better off buying directly from the States. It’s a shame as we’d like to buy from Australian businesses, but we feel we get ripped off from Australian dealers all the time. For example, the pressure gauge costs US$68 or to buy from Australia costs AUD$177 – that’s a ridiculous 250% markup!
With the watermaker problems identified, and after a few days at Bum’s Bay we’d raised the anchor and began motoring north through the narrow channels of the Broadwater area on our way towards Moreton Bay and Manly. We motored along the flood tide, in particular to ensure we reached the very shallow shoaly area of Jacobs Well by high-tide, some 10nm up from the Gold Coast Seaway.
Wayne helmed for the afternoon identifying every channel marker along the way, while I studied the route I’d prepared on the chart plotter to make sure we stayed on the correct courses plotted earlier. At one point our depth sounder dropped quickly – 0.9, 0.7, 0.5, 0.2, 0.0 – then we slewed sideways as our keel struck the sand below. We weren’t travelling too fast and in less than a minute Wayne had managed to get Blue Heeler off the shallow shoal. This part of the channel was slightly off our route and the chart plotter showed it was much deeper than it actually was. I imagine the floods earlier this year may have had some impact in this area; plus the fact sands are known for shifting so we have to be alert at all times in this type of waterway.
Further through the myriad of channels an overhead cable loomed in the distance. The information on hand suggested the clearance was 20.3m – at least 2m above the highest point on our mast. Nonetheless, it’s spooky going under overhead power cables as they look like they are much lower than they are.
Once under the overhead cables and with 3nm to go, I popped down to prepare dinner and have it simmering so we’d arrive at our anchorage at Brown’s Bay with a nice pot of chilli beans and beef for dinner. In no rush to reach Manly, we had a leisurely cruise up the channels the following day, anchoring for the night in Redland Bay before completing the journey to arrive at Manly on Friday 13th.
Manly is a lovely area and will be nice to spend some time there. Wayne’s putting the feelers out to try and get some work over in the West. We’re waiting on parts to arrive for our watermaker so if he gets some work, I’ll look at ordering some other things from overseas, such as the parts to make a sea-drogue – one with multiple cones rather than one large bucket. I can order the pre-cut cones from Sailrite and make it up myself. There’s always plenty to do on the boat. The sewing machine is very handy almost paying for itself by now. Blue Heeler has a wooden lift-out teak floor in our cockpit and over time the dowels connecting the side panels to the cross-check has deteriorated. Yesterday Wayne took the floor apart to drill new holes before I filled each new hole with glue and new pieces of dowel. The side panels were aligned then butted against the new dowels in the flooring, giving us a couple more years of use.
This morning the marina was quiet as I stepped up the companionway and squinted my eyes over Blue Heeler’s stern towards the warm morning sun. Today was forecast to be sunny and after assembling our bikes yesterday, I was keen to go for a ride around Manly and surrounding area. After a typical Sunday morning of coffee, searching the web and reading the latest news, we grabbed our bike gear and headed out of the marina. As we were wheeling the bikes along the jetty, a couple ahead of us (let’s refer to them as the ‘sheila’ and ‘bloke’) were having a heated quarrel. The sheila shrieked a few descriptive adjectives at the shirtless bloke, at which point the bloke stopped in his tracks then firmly pushed the sheila off the jetty into the water! He continued walking while she gasped and struggled to get out the water onto the jetty. Dripping wet she continued her torrent of cussing at the bloke. I wheeled my bike passed the two of them with my head down and eyes averted, keeping the bike between me and the shrieking banshee. Wayne and I stopped up at the marina office to put our helmets on and had a chuckle about the performance we’d just witnessed. Lo and behold bloke and sheila walked by us seemingly speaking civil to each other, although her dripping wet attire was testament to a previous dunking! Crazy little thing called love…
After this morning’s entertainment we were on our bikes and slowly rode along the bikepath into Manly where the Sunday Markets were in full swing. The Manly Market has a nice feel to it with plenty of dogs being walked, toddlers being chastised and prams being pushed along the foreshore as a musical duo entertains the people.
Further down the Manly foreshore are plenty of parks for the kids to play – first-rate play equipment too; not the antiquated swing, see-saw and slide of yesteryear! I wish there were play-parks for adults. Oh that’s right they do; they’re called gyms and cost $1000 a year to join!
We continued along the foreshore until the bike path ended then rode around the quiet streets of Wynnum before doing a big loop and returning to Manly to eat some sandwiches I’d taken with us. We chomped on our sandwiches as we watched big guys with little remote-controlled yachts sail them around a short course. One guy had a remote-controlled destroyer and I giggled in anticipation of him blowing one of the yachts clear out of the water. Now that would be entertaining!