Monthly Archives: July 2017

Get me outta here! 

After a week of boatwork and watching big ships squeeze under the Gateway bridge and sail downriver we were eager to get back to cruising.

We’re happy — happy may be a poor choice of words — to pay good people to do their work, but boy do I resent having to pay a premium for a marina berth with very little to show for it. No bar, no restaurant, no friendly cruiser community. Nothing within walking distance. On the plus side the office staff are friendly, the dockmaster went out of his way to help us get our propane tanks exchanged and we got to do laundry and take hot showers but we were so ready to stop the meter running on the expensive berth and get EV back at anchor where we belong. 

Again the fast running tidal current dictated when we could safely leave the dock but at least now we have two working engines and we got off on our own without having to rely on dockhands to maneuver the tight turn. Slack tide came too late in the day to make it all the way down river and across the bay so we dropped the hook just upstream of the rainbow-lighted Gateway Bridge. It felt so good to be swinging again. 

The next day brought a cold rain and we decided to wait for better weather. By evening an unusually thick fog moved in putting us in an eerily self-contained Twilight Zone where even the bridge disappeared. 

Finally the fog lifted and we made our way back past the shipping port and across the bay to what has to be the rolliest anchorage we’ve ever experienced. I don’t know how we got any sleep, especially since a boat that was in front of us cranked in his chain in the middle of the night and moved behind us. We can only assume he was dragging — we certainly weren’t — and he ended up moving again before dawn. We were only too happy to move on the next day to Mooloolaba. 

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The view from the front porch

We had an unusual convection event here in Brisbane that was reported on the evening news. It caused the enormous bridge right beside us to completely disappear. 

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Spending what we have not got

Bruce the mechanic showed up early which was a nice surprise and the now familiar routine of apparently all diesel mechanics began. Start her up, shut her down, start her up, shut her down. Right off he found a problem with the incredibly expensive Volvo alternator which involved a worn exterior case mount but he said he had a used Volvo alternator and he might be able to put our guts into his case and Bob’s your uncle. Next he did a full compression check and we passed. He puzzled over why the engine is smoking and pulled the injectors to get them tested. 

Next up was Mr. Sea Hunt, Adam the diver, with a perfectly new, shiny and smooth three bladed Volvo folding prop, which is now easily the shiniest thing on the boat. I’m more than a little familiar with the eccentricities and quirks of the Volvo three bladed folding prop and between Bruce and me we kept Adam on the straight and narrow. 

First he brought up what was left of the old prop and the mystery of why we lost two blades was readily apparent. While the blades are held in with large heavy stainless pins passing through the hub and the base of the blades, the pins are kept from sliding out with a #8 allen head bolt screwed into the hub but standing proud of the hub. The head of one bolt had sheered off which allowed two pins to drop out, along with the blades. Ouch. No idea what caused the bolt to sheer but after one and a half times around the world I guess we can’t complain. We’re just glad it happened when and where it did instead of in a remote area or on a dangerous lee shore. It’s only money, right?

At the end of the week Bruce returned with our alternator and injectors. One injector was bad which could account for some of the problems we’re having but instead of having to buy three new injectors he found three nozzles at a fraction of the cost. All and all, for this motor, not too bad. Whether the problems are fixed we don’t know. 

Our last day was a comedy of errors having to do with U.S. propane fittings verses Aussie propane fittings on which I refuse to elaborate. 

We pulled away from the dock by ourselves, pirouetted and our incredibly expensive mini refit was brought to a close. We ran up to the anchorage just past the highway bridge dropped the hook, looked at each other and said, “I wonder how we’re going to pay for this?” We dug out the good rum.

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