Our last few days at the marina were busy. While Pete was learning how to dive, Fran, Choppa and I got ready for departure. This involved dog sitting Chewy, while Pilgrim was out sailing, going sailing with Pilgrim while Pete was diving, and visiting the bottle shop for supplies! We had some lovely evenings with Paul and Clare, Jess and Jet the cats, and of course Chewy the staffy. Our last evening was a seafood extravaganza to go with our Scarborough Yellow Label vertical tasting, starting at 2007 and going to 2013. We also managed to fit in lunch with Jo and Rob from Double Trouble, drinks with Deb and Brian from Black Friday and drinks with Douggie from Shazam! As time to leave drew closer, we were starting to feel like locals, and it was pretty difficult to even think about throwing the lines and leaving the dock.
Probably the most difficult part was saying goodbye to Clare and Paul. Usually our farewells are temporary as we know that we will see them in a month or two, as they head back to Sydney. This time our next rendezvous was uncertain – we are not heading south and we don’t know where or when we will next see them and Pilgrim. We have had such a great few weeks with them, going down to Hamilton Island, racing at Maggie, relaxing after the regattas, doing sunset cruises with them and then doing the lunchtime cruise to Radical Bay. We also had some great dinners together, as well as a fab farewell breakfast at Scallywags. We know we will stay in touch, but it’s still hard to say goodbye.
With Pete’s diving course completed, the vertical tasting done, Wine-Dark Sea prepared for sea. With the provisioning complete, and the last minute purchase of a reef anchor almost as an after thought, we left Maggie Marina at about 1130 on Tuesday 19 September. It was raining a light drizzle and really quite a cold and miserable day for the start of Fran and Choppa’s cruise. After being in dock for so long, we were a little slack on some of our routines, and left with the awning rigged and one or two other items not quite ship shape. As we departed the channel, the engine was running a bit hot and we had to shut it down quickly and get sailing. Pete was concerned we had got something like plastic in the water intake, but had to wait until it had cooled down enough to check.
We sailed the massive distance around to Horseshoe Bay, where we dropped anchor, then retired out of the rain to spend a lazy afternoon doing what people do on rainy days. We discovered that Pete had left his Turkish towel at the dive shop, so called up Paul and Clare for help. Paul picked up the towel and Pete would catch the bus over to Nelly Bay in the morning to collect it. Later in the afternoon, after an engine check, we headed over to see Rob and Jo in Double Trouble, as Pete was keen to talk diving with them. We all decided to head into the pub for a drink, so we could chat about diving, Cairns, and Rob and Jo’s next planned adventure.
We had a lovely evening with them, and ended up having dinner at the pub, as unfortunately the fish and chip shop was shut. This was a grievous problem for Choppa as he felt that they are the best fish and chips in the world, and leaving tomorrow, he wouldn’t be able to have them again! Luckily, the pub special was flathead and chips, and whilst not quite as good as the fish and chip shop, it was an acceptable alternative. Returning to WDS after dinner, we were happy to see the new anchor light working effectively, and the rain had eased enough for us to have tea and chocolate on deck.
Neither Pete nor I slept particularly well, as we rolled a bit and there were some creaks and groans coming from WDS that we had not heard before. I think Pete was also worried about whether we had an engine issue, and we were both a bit apprehensive to be starting a new adventure. Every mile ahead was to be new ocean for us, so we were heading out of our comfort zone into new territory.
Wednesday dawned with the clear blue sky back again, and we dried out in the morning sun as we breakfasted on deck. Choppa volunteered to make the trip for the towel to Nelly Bay, while Pete dived under the boat to check for any obvious engine problems. With the towel returned, the engine apparently running ok and everyone keen to go, we prepared to raise the anchor and set sail for a new destination. However, as we were heading out of Horseshoe Bay, and Pete was preparing to fish, he realised he had left all his lures on Pilgrim! Catastrophe! Paul was once again called, and very graciously agreed to bring the lures out of the marina in Budgie, but we did need to retrace our course of yesterday, back to Nelly Bay! As we rounded the point at Geoffrey Bay, we could see Budgie coming towards us, and the lures were duly exchanged for two cold Coronas as a thank you! We said our final goodbyes and thank you’s to Paul and Chewy (who had come along for the ride with Paul), and then set sail for the Palm Isles.