Friday, October 31, 2014

Airlie Again

So this is definitely a sign of how far behind I am with posting but... Happy Halloween! I did briefly contemplate how we could dress Batty up for the occasion but it all seemed too hard! I did come up with the coolest idea after the fact, so look forward to next year! So no costumes, instead we will be celebrating with pumpkin pancakes and pumpkin soup!

From Cid Harbour, we headed back to Airlie Beach. It's getting to the point in the season where we needed to start heading to our safe harbor to hide from the cyclones. When we left several months ago, it had been our intention to take Batty back down to Brisbane for the summer and get some work done on her there. But certain people (our friends!) turned out to be very persuasive and we decided to keep the boat at the marina on Magnetic Island, a small island off the coast of Townsville. If a cyclone does strike in the area, there is still a risk that we may suffer damage but the marina has a good track record of surviving such blows and we will be with Batty to help her through it for most of the time. Fingers crossed for a relaxed cyclone season. I HATE dislike, very strongly (with a passion) backtracking, so was particularly thrilled with this decision. We still have some travel planned to various parts of the country over the time period we will be in the marina but hopefully we will still be able to get everything we need to done as we prep to *drum-roll* actually leave Australia next year.

So we hung out in Airlie Beach for a bit. At the suggestion of another cruiser, we tried out a new-to-us anchoring spot. It was right next to the channel into the marina so we were subject to some pretty phenomenal wake as powerboats came flying out, so after one night of that we moved. We were waiting for the wind to change to something more favorable for getting us north but we were also waiting for a friend to arrive so that we could give him a ride out to his boat and save him the swim. It was a bit traumatic when Bryce dropped him to his boat and they found that it was covered in prolific amounts of birdpoo. After a lot of cleaning, their boat looks great!

Aquabat had been moving a bit slow so we had someone dive on the hull to clean it. It's so amazing what a difference this made. Batty now cuts through the water like a knife! This will be a job that we need to do semi-regularly ourselves but we haven't quite yet figured out a system for doing it. It's on the to-do list.

The steering system had been making noises and since steering is pretty important so we wanted to figure out what the noises were ASAP. We also had a problem with an actuator cable that disables the hydraulic steering (the wheel) so we can hand steer with our emergency tiller (stick that attaches directly to the top of the rudder post). To investigate these problems we had to go "down in the hole." "The Hole" aka our lazarette, is the home of our rudder post, the hydraulic steering and our lines, fenders and hoses. I have to go down there semi-regularly to grease the rudder. Due to his size and lack of flexibility, Bryce is an infrequent visitor. Unfortunately for him when there is something I am unable to do or don't have any clue how to do, he has to head down there. The actuator cable had seized in place holding the hydraulic bypass valve partially open. Bryce disconnected the actuator and manually closed the valve and most of the noise went away. So we will keep the actuator closed in its proper position and if we need to disengage the hydraulic steering, we will need to head down there and open it. Our emergency tiller, which also lives down there, will need to be brought up and put into service in this instance.

So that's what we are up to. We will probably continue our journey north in the next few days.

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