Friday morning passed with washing, showers, breakfast and Pete packing stuff he has decided is superfluous. By 10.30 we were ready to pick up the hire car and head to the airport. However, it wasn’t a car – it was a ute! Fab, I so love a ute and as I was the driver, even better. After dropping Pete at the airport, I headed off to Sugarland, the big shopping mall, but my stupid apple maps kept sending me past the car park entrance and round in circles, so in the end I just ignored it! It was fun to be in a shopping mall again and I did a great deal of window shopping, but did find an OPSM, so ordered some contact lenses. I also bought a couple of books to top up my supply and enable further book exchanges at a later date! I wasn’t in need of provisions, but did check out what was there for my return before we leave to head north, as I will need to do a big fresh food top up.
Leaving the mall, I decided to head to the coast at Bargara, and maybe have a swim. On the way I passed Bargara Berries, so popped in a bought a half kilo of freshly picked strawberries, and they were utterly delish. At the beach, the southeasterly was onshore and the tide was as far out as it ever gets, so a swim wasn’t attractive, so I had a paddle and a walk on the beach and admired the lava flow rocks. Funny to see these here, when the last time I saw similar was on Moana Kea in Hawaii.
Returning the marina around 3 pm, I got back to chores, and hosed down the decks to get rid of the salt build up. When I was done, I noticed a gorgeous big black moggie pacing the dock alongside the large ketch moored outside us. He belonged to the ketch and the family aboard told me he was called Nero, and is a Maine Coon. Apparently he had visited Wine-Dark Sea while I was out, and is familiar with quite a few of the boats on this arm!
At sunset, there was a Cruisers get together for sundowners at Cruisers Cove, so I went to meet some of the other Cruisers. It was a smaller gathering than usual, but everyone was friendly and it was interesting to talk to people on different journeys with different experiences. A huge benefit of this type of get together is sharing information and ideas, and there was no shortage of this. Ono, who had organised the evening, also did a fantastic BBQ of lamb skewers, which everyone could share with a contribution of side dishes. Whilst I didn’t bring a side dish, I was able to offer a couple of Spanish mackerel fillets to add to the haul! These were appreciated and I asked everyone to feel free to take one from the fridge if they wanted more!
When I got back to the boat I chatted briefly with Pete, Fran and Choppa, then headed to bed to read one of my new books. I picked The Little Paris Bookshop, and settled into it straight away. It’s lovely to be reading books again and to have the time to enjoy them.
Waking with the sun, I redid my to do list on the whiteboard to make the most of my day. Started with stripping the beds and getting our bed linen in the wash, then slowly worked my way through the boat, cleaning all of the downstairs from the bilge to the head lining. I also sorted out a bunch of stuff for vacuum bagging to gain more room for the stuff we are using. I am not sure if the bagged stuff will stay on board or be sent home at a later date, but it’s something I can think on as the trip progresses. By 4 I was ready to take a break, have a shower and then watch the sunset with a little “diamond” sundowner of salted caramel liquor over ice! Unfortunately, I forgot about the voracious wildlife and didn’t cover up with aeroguard, resulting in a multitude of itchy lumps on arms, shoulders, neck and ankles.
Dinner was of course Spanish mackerel and this time I marinaded it in olive oil, lemon juice, paprika, cumin and coriander, and baked it on a bed of onion and red capsicum. Whilst it was marinating, I had a FaceTime chat with mum and dad to catch up with springtime in the uk, then I cooked, ate and headed to bed.
The big ketch and Nero departed at 5 am, dragging me out of a light sleep, but I soon drifted back off and slept heavily until 8. First task of the morning was to change the gas bottle which had expired when I boiled the kettle to wash up last night! I got it filled straight away, so for the first time in ages we had two full gas bottles! Chosen task for this gorgeous Sunday was not lying on deck with a good a good book (probably should have been!), but changing the window seal in the aft head. We had done one seal previously, a small window, and it had taken the two of us the best part of a day to achieve that one. I fervently hoped this would be a better experience….but it wasn’t:
Remove the old seal – quick job, under 2 minutes – tick!
Remove the sealant – lengthy and awkward job, given the shape of the area from which the sealant needed to be scraped.
Instal new seal – fail.
Reinstall old seal – temporary fix.
The above process took around six hours. The groove that holds the seal is very narrow, curving and overhead. I started with a tiny screwdriver which seemed to work well, but on first attempt at installing the new seal it would not go in the groove, so I needed to clear more sealant. Another go at removal, another attempt to install, still no good and even worse, the seal itself came apart at the join. Find a new seal. Try new tools for sealant removal – a variety of sized wooden skewers – seemed to get even more sealant off than I thought was there. Further attempt to install seal, again no good.
Break for lunch (Spanish mackerel of course, though in fish tacos this time) and scan through some on line forums about replacing these seals. The forums didn’t really offer me any encouragement. Everyone seemed to have similar issues and often resorted to replacing the whole port, or adding sealant to other areas instead. Notwithstanding, I returned to the task, thinking I needed a more specialist piece of equipment to get into the narrow grove to remove the old sealant. Got into Petes tools and started pulling stuff out to see what might work. Eventually found some split rings, and opened one out to be a sort of hook, and this worked well. Trouble was, it was small and awkward to hold, and my hands kept on cramping around it. Howevers, I persevered and got rid of even more old sealant, until I thought the area was clear. By the time of my final attempt to push the new seal into place, I had barely any strength left in my fingers, arms and shoulders. Having to apply pressure for both parts of the task, with my arms just above shoulder height, for the greater part of the day was taking its toll, and I just could not physically push the seal with enough pressure to lock it in. I was utterly in despair by now, and decided that I would use what little strength remained in trying to put the old seal back, at least so I could close the window overnight and consider my next step. This at least worked, and was relatively easy, so I closed the window and tidied up the mess, and sent myself off for a shower.
As the sun was starting to set when I returned, I decided to cheer myself up with a “diamonds” over ice for a sundowner, before thinking about dinner. This time I covered up and lit a mozzie coil as well as covering myself with aeroguard – I don’t need more itches than I already have! Retiring below on darkness, I decided I would have pizza for dinner, but pulling the cheese out of the freezer, the bag opened and I had a snowstorm of pizza cheese through my freezer, which then had to be extracted strand by strand, as there was no way I was grating cheese after the day I had had!
Tomorrow Pete gets back, and he will probably be able to install the seal with ease, wondering why I was so grumpy about it!