Back in the USA
We finished our five week “working” adventure in Australia and have returned to the chilly Northwest. We spent the first week getting Roxia set up then went on a three week shakedown cruise finishing with one more week in Sydney. Roxia is safe on the hard in Bundaberg Port Marina under the watchful eye of Brett Hensler and Donna Pressler. Roxia survived the first 100kph wind with no issues. All the boats on the hard are kept in steel cradles and then the boat is strapped down.
We did have a few issues that we had to repair on the fly. The worst of them was the hydraulic cooling pump connection failed and we didn’t have a spare. We were three days from nowhere and needed the pump to be able to use the stabilizers.
These pictures show the sheared off teeth of the connection between hydraulic motor and water pump as well as the three versions of my solution. First, using cut up pieces of hose, zip ties (V1), then hose clamps (V2) and finally hose with hose clamps and a zip tie to take up some of the torsional force (V3). V1 lasted 20 minutes, V2 lasted 3 hours and finally V3 lasted more than two weeks. I need to come up with a better long term solution. If I can build a bracket to keep the motor and pump aligned the old style may work. The other problem is the pump has slotted head screws instead of hex head. That is the worst invention ever. It is impossible to hold a screwdriver in 115 degree heat in rough seas to change the impeller. At least that is a simple solution.
All in all this was a great trip. We did some cruising of the Whitsundays and the Curtis Coast (down to Bundaberg). Lady Musgrave is a reef about 35 nm off the coast. There is an opening in the reef deep enough to drive through. We cruised there for our last night before Bundy and we are glad we did. After nervously motoring inside avoiding bommies, we anchored and took the dinghy to the tiny little island which is the part of the reef above water. We walked through mangroves with hundreds of nesting birds. The sound was amazing with all the songs and probably yelling at us to get out… Back on the beach we snorkeled in the reef. A tortoise swam with us and we watched a Blue Spotted Ray rest under a rock.
Here are some pictures from our cruising.
As we were cruising I was amazed at some of the patches of algae that we saw. I’m not sure if this is from the warm water or if it is normal for this area but the patches were vast. Here is a picture when we were many miles offshore.
Coal is a huge export from Australia. The controversy is starting to heat up regarding the use, mining and export of coal but these two pictures show the number of coal freighters we saw in both Mackay and Gladstone.
It was fun spending time in Sydney. The ferry service is awesome. With the Opal card you can take the public ferry, bus and train routes. There is a discount with the card and a 15.40 max per day use so once you hit that amount everything is free. On Sundays the max is under $2!
Now the question is: Do we ship Roxia home or drive her home? The big question is if she is ready to make the voyage or can we get her ready before the required (by ATO) April 20 departure date.