Sunday 29th March 2015

33 to 35 degrees with 70-80% humidity seems to be the consistent daily pattern. We work in the early morning then veg out for the afternoon in the saloon with our now fully functioning again air conditioning. It only reduces the temp a few degrees but drops the humidity down to 30 % which makes a huge difference.

Flyovers from the Army Helicoptors was a regular occurrence.

We have been running every 2nd or third morning and have walked 4km to Parap Pool and back to swim. Annelise invited us to the Army base for a swim and then dinner. The facilities at the Robertson Barracks were fabulous. So we have been trying to maintain our fitness but it's not easy in this heat and cold beer is much more enticing.

This morning we wrestled the very heavy mainsail out of the Stbd cabin up onto the saloon roof. We fitted the boom cover, lazy jacks and both headsails but left the main for the next day as the sun and heat got too fierce.

Began to collate all the documents required for our entry to Sail Indonesia. Annelise was supposed to come for dinner but she begged off nursing a severe hangover from playing up the night before.

Monday 30 March 2015

Up and at the Main Sail by 7.30 am and had a shit of a time getting the battens in as all the pocket openings were upside down. In full sun and with no breakfast tempers were short. We broke for breakfast about 9.00 am with the Main ready to hoist and a light breeze came in to foil us. In the end we left it on deck all day and raised it that evening once the breeze died.

Watermaker was commissioned and proved to be leak free. Yeah!

Went forward in the Port hull to repack gear and found water leaking in from under furler turning block. So, in full sun we take off the block and reseal the deck plate and reassemble. What started as a 10 minute job turned into 2 1/2 hours of repair work. Still always better to find these things out in a marina rather than at sea. The re packing cleared little used stuff out of the rear cabin to free up space for provisions (read, more beer).

The Stbd bed mattress slowly recovered from being compressed for 6 months under all the sails. We moved into this cabin as the Aircon works better in there at night.

Poured 500ml of new oil into motors to wet the top ends and they both started first turn of the key and ran sweet.

Tuesday March 31

Time to tackle the popped rear port window. We started with the wire cutter but soon realised it wasn't going to be easy to get the window completely out as only the back corner had lifted. So we decided to attempt a more simple repair. We cleaned up the back corner as best we could then pumped in a couple of tubes of Fixteck, screwed the window down and hope for the best. Covered it all up in black plastic and won't disturb it again for a few weeks.

Much to Lea's delight I tidied up the spares box and toolkit.

After lunch we braved the heat to walk to Parap to return post my Keen sandles which were the wrong size. Then off to the pool for a quick 1.2 km swim.

Tried to watch a movie that night but had trouble with my devices. The way it works is this. The movie is on the Seagate Wireless storage drive. It generates its own WiFi network to talk to both my IPad and the Apple TV unit connected to the TV Screen. The iPad controls the playing of the movie from the Seagate to the Apple TV. Simple enough! Well it wouldn't work! I frigged around for ages. Couldn't get it to go. Finally, in frustration, I connected the Seagate to the laptop directly and loaded the movie onto a USB stick then stuck the stick directly into the TV and voila! Movie plays.

I later worked out the in the 6 months since I have last used this system Apple have updated the iPad operating system and created a little drag up menu, that I knew nothing about, that controls the AirPlay functionality between the iPad and the Apple TV. How thoughtful of them! I wonder sometimes if Apple product throwing should a national sport.

Wednesday April 1 2015

Stbd cabin a bit more comfortable. Up at 7.00 am and straight into polishing for a couple of hours before the sun gets too hot. Too bad, but 8.00am the sweat is just running off us and our clothing saturated. Quick breakfast then back at it to finish the polishing. All done by 10.00am and so were we.

 

Thursday April 2

Late out of bed but off for a run. Lea managed a PB 5.5 km at 5.18 min/km. I walked and sweated a lot.

Mid morning I got the Hookah set up and me suited up and into the water to give Gemini Lady a bum scrub. Very pleased with everything under water although noticed port saildrive anode while looking ok broke up deeply when prodded. Suspect some shore power issues at work here. Will check that out later. Props cleaned up pretty easily but the Propspeed is beginning to bubble. May be again due to the shore power issue. However, all should be ok for the Kimberley trip and we will careen her in Fannie Bay when we return.

Lea kept watch over me while I was in the water for over an hour and she copped a bit of sunburn. Went down to the office to pick up a parcel only to find it was our own parcel that we had sent to ourselves instead of back to Kathmandu. Had to walk back to Parap Post Office. The ladies there took pity on us as we were both drenched in sweat when we arrived. They readdressed the package correctly and resent it on to Melbourne where it should have gone in the first place. One of the ladies recommended where to go for fresh food provisioning and told us to ask for Marty. We then walked back, stopping in every Airconditioned shop we could along the way, even walking through the casino for a few minutes respite from the heat.

After a long cooling shower Annelise arrived to take us out for one of the best Indian restaurant meals we have ever had at the Saffron in Parap.

Big storm that night with torrential rain.

 

Good Friday 3rd April

Lea did a pantry inventory while I checked out Google Earth overlays on OpenCPN navigation software. Cool for once in the late afternoon so Lea was out on deck again polishing. Beautiful Full Moon balmy night.

Saturday 4th April.

Annelise arrived early to take us to the Parap Market. Lots of Asian Greens and vegies but not the stuff that would keep for long. Dropped into the local Parap butcher and gave him our meat order to cryovac and freeze. Another Bunnings visit then back to the boat for coffee.

Weather window opening for a Thursday depature. Hire car for provisioning booked.

I scrubbed the engine bays and tested the Genset while Lea finished the polishing of the bows.

Another beautiful evening so we walked over to the beach for sunset.

 

Sunday 5th April

Up early for a run but we both struggled this time. A couple of boats now anchored in Fannie Bay. SE in the forecast now as the wet comes to an end.

Annelise picked us up to take us to the Rapid Creek Market for breakfast. We stopped at the Casino on the way back for a coffee and lingered there in the cool for some time.

Back on the boat I set up reference electrode and began checking out the suspected shore power issue. Sure enough I found that when connected to shore power we lost over 100 mv of protection from the anodes. We were dropping from 1040mv of protection to 905 mv. 900mv is the minimum protection needed for alloy saildrive legs so we were just ok, hopefully. I further found that the earth of both shore power inputs was linked. When I left the boat with shore power 2 connected I had assumed that this was only connected to the Aircon units. Wrong! The earth lead was bonded to both shore power 1 and DC Ground. Time to install a Galvanic Isolator. Sweated heaps fiddling around in the back of the AC distribution panel to find, test and isolate the 2 shore power earths wires. Identified them both and planned the installation of the Galvanic Isolator which fortunately should be quite simple.

Researched Galvanic Isolators and ordered a high quality one. It won't be here before the Kimberley trip but that's ok. There are no marinas in the Kimberley.

Hung an extra anode over the side to give us a bit more protection and disconnected shore power as much as possible from now on.

Monday April 6th

Up early to finish off bow polishing. Then out for a test run. Lock passage went well but nerve racking as usual.

 

Motored around to Francis Bay, Stokes Wharf and the city then enjoyed a run back with ebb to anchor on Fannie Bay for the afternoon. A good NW breeze kept us cool while I set up the HF and checked that it was an open set capable of tuning to the Ham frequencies I am now licensed to access. Also reset the amplitude of the Pactor Modem settings with a SWR/ Power meter which increased my signal strength to nearly 100 Watts. Should make reaching the Sailmail stations a bit easier.

We stayed out until 6.30 pm as a constant stream of boats returned after the Easter Holiday. The poor lockmaster didn't get a break all afternoon. Finished the day with fish and chips watching the sunset.

Tuesday April 7

Welcome to Morgan Jay Mohr born today.

Morning run in much cooler weather. Walked into the city and picked up the car. First job was to pick up our reel of 14mm double braid for new sheets as required and a few other bits and pieces. Then of to buy chicken, pork, mince and deli goods. Back to Gemini Lady to get it all in the freezer and grab some lunch.

Then off to Coles and Woolworths at Causurina for the pantry and dry goods shop. Took us until 22.30 and left us well over $1000 dollars poorer. Back at the boat dinner was a hot cross bun with a cup of tea. Everything was finally stowed just after midnight.

 

I then realised I had a BAS to complete before we left so I was on the Laptop for 1 1/2 hours.

Wednesday April 8

Lea bought the washing up to date while I went off to do the fuel run. The boat tanks were full but we needed 80 litres of Reserve diesel and another 50 litres of ULP for the outboard.

Happy 50th to Leanne Pyle

Then off for the booze shop 6 cartons of beer, 12x2liter wine casks, 2 dozen bottles of wine. 2 x gin, 1 x Brandy, 1x Vodka, 1x Kahlua another $900.00 Hopefully we don't drink it all in the 10 weeks.

The most difficult part of provisioning is the fresh vegies. We went to see Marty at the Fresh Produce warehouse on Bagot road as recommended. He was great and helped us select the freshest stock and advised on what was likely to last well and how to store it.

We were just stowing all this when Murray, Christine and Bubbles arrived. They were in Darwin for a holiday and to help train a working dog. Annelise joined us for a drink and catch up then we enjoyed another great meal at the Saffron.

Weather window still not clear and my Sandals and some books on Kimberley geology have still not arrived. Only thing that is clear is that if we don't go tomorrow then will be stuck in Darwin for 7-10 days with Westerly winds.

Thursday April 9th

Weather window looks good. SE should hold but no stop at Fog Bay.

More washing then back to the supermarket to pick up as much Frozen vegies as will fit in the remaining freezer space.

After loading the freezer I drove the car back into town, dropped it off and walked back. Picked up the gas bottle and fixed account at the chandlery.

Geoff and Viv Ritter popped in, having just got to Darwin. We had a brief catch up then off to the office to finalise our account and pick up my Sandals. The books from the ABC shop still hadn't arrived after 2 weeks. Bugger!

We threw our lines at midday and dropped 1.5 metres in the lock and caught the last 3 hours of the ebb tide out of Port Darwin.

 

We made our final phone calls home and just before losing mobile service remembered we hadn't finalised our entry for the Sail Indo Rally. Mad scramble to quickly pay the entry fee, copy the receipt and forward all the documents via email.

All jobs complete we popped the kite and gently wafted along. The breeze held until Fish Reef. As we packed away the Spinnaker the breeze came in from the north so we hoisted the Main and bore away down the east side of Bonaparte Gulf. We had to motorsail a few hours before the ESE kicked in at a nice 15 knots.

The first night watch was very dark until the moon came out about 2200 at the start of my watch. The new MOB system worked well. although Lea found the radios bulk a little more of a problem than I did. By 0130 the wind was gusting to 18 kts so we reefed, still maintaining a comfortable 8-10 kts. A double reef was put in as the breeze gusted over 21kts. We were in no hurry as our ETA at the Berkeley River Bar was early morning Saturday to catch the rising tide in, allowing us about 45 hours for the 223NM. Besides we had never had Gemini Lady so heavily loaded so we were happy to slow her down.

Friday April 10

The SE breeze held all night and as it moderated during the day we shook out the reefs and later changed the Genoa for the Screecher. We had headed south of the rhumb line to allow us to bear away as the seas increased during the flood tides. The western side of Bonaparte Gulf is reknowned for horrid seas when a 20 kt plus SE' ly blows against the 3 knot flood tide. The course is beam on to the short steep, high waves which is the absolute pits for a catamaran. Fortunately, as we approached the west side the breeze lessened so we had pretty much smooth sailing all the way.

We sailed all day until the breeze dropped out as forecast about 1800hours. We were 200 AH down on the batteries(50%) so it worked out well to motorsail. The breeze completely died and we furled all the sails and quietly motored along on 1 motor for 5-6 hours watching the stars and the fires burning along the coast.

Arrived off Reverly Island just before midnight. 36 hours across the Gulf. Not game to risk the channel at night and as conditions were so calm we anchored off the east side of Reverly between waypoints 1 & 2 of the route in. All shipshape and showered we celebrated with a glass of wine under the moonlight.

 

 

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