October – November 2020
It seemed like there was a constant flow of boats arriving and leaving Gove, but we were still there waiting. ‘Stars End II’ (who had done that long trip back from India to Darwin) were taking their boat home. It was lovely to catch up with Nikki and Frank. They were travelling with ‘Tera I Moana’ and ‘Sauvage’ and we had a lively evening at the club listening to their stories.
When we got back from the club that night, we found a porthole flyscreen on the floor with a hole in it. Then we turned on the light and worked out what had happened.
This Spanish Mackerel came through the kitchen window and died messily across my carpet (after bouncing off the freezer and wall and ceiling). Neon was just sitting at the door waiting for us to get home to fillet it for him (he apparently doesn’t do whole food). A poor fisherman in Darwin harbour recently died after a bigger version of these fish jumped out of the water and hit him in the chest, the force of the impact stopped his heart (another thing to add to the list of things that can kill you in Australia). We see these fish jumping around the bay, but you don’t expect one to attempt a break and enter of your boat.
‘Opal Lady’ has her sun covers on to help keep the boat cool. The front one also allows us to keep the hatches open when it is raining. We are going to get a custom-made cover for the top deck to replace the bright blue tarp (and the kilometres of twine).
I am sewing and knitting and Peter is passing the time fishing.
Sometimes in the mangroves…
And sometimes around the rocks in the harbour. I am miffed that the squid in the harbour are totally disinterested in taking my lures – I’ve never not-caught squid. There is so much life in the waters here; small fry, Trevally using the boat for cover, squadrons of Squid and iridescent blue Garfish (I think), jumping Tuna and Mackerel. Where there is cover there are fish. A pod of Dolphin even cruised past the boat and one did marine park leaps from the water near the boat for about 40 minutes.
We volunteered to crew on ‘Combyu’ for the monthly yacht race at the beginning of November. We really had no idea what we were doing, but Blue was very good at giving instructions. It was easy enough as long as we only had a single winch thing to deal with each. I did manage to make a real mess at one point, getting a rope looped over a handle that looked like it could get flung into the back of Deb’s head, I’m hoping she was concentrating on steering and didn’t notice.
In between periods of frenetic rope work, it was really a relaxing way to spend the day. Paul (he does more than just fix mufflers) won the race on his large but spartan catamaran, single handed, blaring very cool music, while handling the ropes and steering with a tinnie in hand – we all agreed it was a bit ‘legendy’.
It’s now mid November and it has started raining – yay – except that it is our shopping day, and we are on our way back from town, and the boat is open, and my washing is on the line. Oh well the boat will be clean.
The tide went out a bit further than we were expecting (or I think that Peter had a few more drinkies with Paul and Blue than we expected). That is our dinghy at the front, how inconvenient. The mud down there is deep and gooey – I’ll leave you to guess how I know that (Peter was apparently busy on croc watch).
Late November and the ‘glass slipper’ of mufflers arrives – it fits! [Read more about this in Peter’s Tech Talk 4]
Paul and Peter set to work installing it and then the insulation was ‘sewn’ into place with stainless steel wire. And we could finally make plans to leave for the east coast.
We finally lifted the chain for the first time in eight weeks (we were taking her over to the commercial wharf to refuel). The chain needed a bit of a clean. Peter had thought about this and booked us in to refuel on the day before we planned to leave, so that we could spend time cleaning the chain and snubber without the stress of a time constraint. We had brushes and the high pressure cleaner ready, and when we re-anchored (after refueling), Peter put out a further 10m of chain so that the stuff hanging on would get rubbed off on the bottom of the harbour – clever thinking that man (it worked a treat and the chain was clean as a whistle when we left two days later).
The refuelling dock is in the commercial area of the harbour and you have to book an appointment. We found them to very efficient and easy to work with. The bumpers have recently been upgraded with nice smooth rubber D bumpers, but I would recommend some serious fender setup before pulling over (with a couple of fenders ready to be easily repositioned) as the bumpers are setup for big, big boats (and we are not).
This view of the refuelling wharf was taken a few months ago from ‘Natsumi’, and shows the wharf at low tide, prior to the installation of the D bumpers – I don’t think you can over fender.
The last job on the list for getting ready to leave, was to beach the dinghy and clean the bottom. After 8 weeks in the water, there was a lesson in marine biology on that hull. Cleaning, cleaning, all the while looking out for the croc that lives in the harbour (he has a habit of sneaking up on boaties doing just this).
Much as we enjoyed our enforced stay in Gove, we are now running behind time to be safely down the east coast before the cyclone season starts, so we won’t have time now to go to Groote Eylandt (and after I’d gone through the process of getting our passes sorted too – actually, dealing with the Anindilyakwa Land Council was quite easy and efficient – but don’t let Peter know).
November 22nd and we are leaving Gove for a direct crossing of the Gulf of Carpentaria to Seisia. I have completed our Queensland Covid passes, have a batch of chilli con carne ready-made for meals-on-the-go and Peter has promised that the wind will be calming down by tomorrow.
Bring on Queensland.
Neon Notes (The Witness Statement):
It was around 10am on Dad’s haircut day in mid November. Mum left Dad alone with the clippers for 1 little minute and came back to this!
If ever there was proof actual that I am big furred here it is. I will grant that it something of an acquired look, but it is very cooling and dare I say quite slimming.
Mum is worried I might develop some emotional problems, but honestly, I think I have the elan to carry to it off and it feels gooood.
Fitted new muffler – Yay (soo much more about this in Tech Talk 4)
Replaced leaking fuel tank for dinghy (the new one has a gauge and more reliable hose clamping system)
Replace overheating electronics battery (a lesson in paying attention to new smells)
Cleaned barnacles and garden growing around waterline
Defosted fridges again (an ongoing issue in this humid climate). The heat gun is invaluable.
Refuelled – 1200l diesel and 500ml diesel preservative