Thursday, November 23, 2006

 

Queenscliff to Hastings

Arriving late afternoon we tied up at the Queencliff Cruising Yacht Club jetty and settled in for the night. Not long after sunset we heard the patter of many feet on the deck. I got up and looked out the hatch to a large shape, thinking it was a large water rat I quickly closed the hatches and side potholes. Getting the torch I shone it out they were in fact two large possums enjoying themselves swinging on the rigging and ropes on the boat.

Getting up late the next morning we took the dingy across to the townsite and wandered around this delightful townsite, having a coffee and reading the newspaper in the local library before heading back to the yacht to prepare for our exit out the heads and around to Hastings. Again we had the pleasure of possums in our rigging over night. Queenscliff was getting ready for the Queenscliff Music Festival which was being held this weekend, shame we will miss it.

We will prepare to head off at 6am tomorrow morning through the heads off to Hastings. It will be slack tide and beautiful weather.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

 

Geelong to Queenscliff Victoria

We spent only spent 4 days in Geelong enjoying the big city of Geelong as it was so close to the Royal Geelong Yacht Club that we could stroll into the city centre. Victoria has just implemented stage four water restricitons which mean that one cannot wash thier cars, or boats, only windows and mirrors with a hose, a bucket is acceptable. We collected mail and shopped for food, reprovisioning for the journey ahead. We were lucky to get our stay for free.

Getting up early this morning after a blustry night of 40+ knot winds we had showers, breakfast, refllied the water tanks and got ready to drop ropes to sail to Queenscliff. Interesting the wind had dropped to 20 knots but was side on meaning that we could not get out of our pen easily. We did contemplate not going but clever Paul rigged up a rope from a nearby boat pulling us off the rear pylon and I had to let it go at a strategic time as well as toss two other ropes off (oposite sides of course) in split second timing. All went according to plan and we headed out with our genoa up in 25-30 knots winds. We sailed (with no motor) getting an average of 6 knots. It was an absolutely brilliant and very invigorating sail. However, arriving near Queenscliff the wind shifted to a southerly which meant that it was on the nose, so we pulled the genoa in and motored the last 30min into Queenscliff. The entry into Queenscliff is near the heads and with the heads right in front of us it we did consider the option of keeping on going to Hastings but decided against it deciding to check the weather and tides more thoroughly before committing ourselves.

Mooring outside the Queenscliff Yacht Club we put the kettle on and had lunch. The trip took 5 an half hours. We are expecting a windy night tonight. Will explore the township tomorrow unless the weather and tides are ideal and then we will head off into Bass Strait and around to Hastings.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

 

News from Geelong-November 2006

I am very conscious that I keep a sea blog and not a land blog. It is my promise to do a land blog when we next stop over as there are many who actually read our blogs and wonder where we are and if we are still afloat. I am very flattered to think there are people out there who are interested in our travels.

Meanwhile life had been getting very comfortable moored in Melbourne close to all the conveniences and the cafes close by. I have settled well into Melbourne life and am not certain about heading off into the big wide world again. We have spent a lovely time in Melbourne , meeting lovely people, many of whom have become friends and catching up with relatives. We also got to be on the TV show "Deal or No Deal". Well we didn't win any money but learnt about the superficiality of TV land and some even saw us on the TV all the way over there in WA.

We took a sail with Grant, Elizabeth, Mark to Mornington where we anchored and had a BBQ on board. Sleeping overnight with a big breakfast on shore before heading back to Melbourne the next day. It was a good shakedown cruise as only two things found its way onto the floor. Mark from Bendigo did well and was happy to be back on shore.

While I was working Paul worked hard on the boat and supervising others such as carpentry (new cupboards), repainting and grinding rust spots, polishing, welding, fixing the hole in the keel, antifouling the hull, putting struts on the rudder, changing the head (toilet) from a hand pump to a macerator system and much more plus cooking, cleaning and doing the housework.

We put Cockatoo II on the market through Webster Marine with the idea, that if she sold we would go over to the USA for two years. We had an interested buyer and wondered then if we could part with our beloved Cockatoo II. The buyer had to sell his house and currently we have not heard from him so are continuing our journey in our beloved Cockatoo II. The car was sold at the end of October leaving us unencumbered for the next leg of our journey. One month after our initial proposed departure date we tossed the mooring lines and headed across Port Phillip Bay to Williamstown Yacht Club where we stayed during my last week of work.

On the 3rd November I said farewell to all at Yarra Plenty Library Service and those I had worked with and made friends with at Thomastown during my five months service. I enjoyed working there and would have loved to stay but we had made a lifestyle choice and it was time to head on. I certainly will not miss the travel by train each day. It has taken nearly two weeks to catchup on my sleep and get into the cruising mode again. Thankyou to Christine, Gayle and Ian for having given me the opportunity to work at a management level again. All our work gear has been put into vacuum bags and stored away until we work again.

We happily spent Melbourne Cup day at the Williamstown Yacht Club, laying bets and drinking but again no luck with any winners. I bought a ticket in 20kg block of chocolate which I did not win-all the money to go towards the youth development sailing club- Paul was very happy about my loss.

Setting sail for Geelong the low front came in very early with the wind changing from a northerly 10-15 knots to a southerly 25-35 knots. Deciding that we we beating into the weather made the decision to go with the weather and sail into Docklands were we tied up to a public jetty (with a two hour limit) and spent two nights. There is a lovely marina there where one could stay for free during the day but cost $30 per night. We were waiting for a low pressure front to pass over, our stay was very cold, wet and it even hailed, very strage weather for November, but it was very warm inside as we tested our new generator.

After being moved out of Docklands (for overstaying our two hour limit) we headed back to the public jetty at Williamstown where we stayed overnight. Heading off to Geelong early the next morning we had clear skied and sunshine. We motor sailed most of the way as the wind was still predominantly southerly. Paul had installed an AIS showing shipping passing close by. This worked well as it showed all the big ships up to 25Nm (40km) away and this will helpe heaps, It will work realy well when we are in the seaways as if we miss seeing a ship it will set off a alarm, we can set the alarm to any distance that we want, currently we have set this to 4Nm (10Km)

We have pulled into a pen at the Royal Geelong Yacht Club where we will reprovision before heading off to Queenscliff and then out the heads. We are enjoying this delightful city with Paul spending hours and hours in the Ford Discovery Centre (one hour was enough for me).

I have become used to land life and am having difficulty remembering which switches to pull or which way the valves go, so Paul is being very patient at the moment. He is extremely competent but boy it is good to be back on the water again.

Oh the latest is we now have a new addition on board, a little lilac Burmese kitten called "Coco". She is a little gem and good company. She had just gotten used to climbing stairs and sleeps when we are underway. She is settling in well.

The conversation about getting a cat went something like this
Paul" Tracy, would you like a cat?"
Tracy " Yes I would but it would make life hard, firstly we would have issues with a cat in a national park, secondly, it would restrict our international travel with quarantine coming back into Australia and thirdly the inconvenience of kitty litter, etc. So I do not think it is worth while having a cat on board."

So the next day I returned from work and there was little Coco waiting for a cuddle. It is nice to know Paul listens to me. Really she is absolutely gorgeous.

So after Geelong we are off to Queenscliffe ready to head out of the Heads to Hastings. Then I think I will feel we are on our way to Sydney, time is indeed traveling fast especially if we want to be in Sydney for Christmas/New Year.

This kids are all great,
Danielle and Chris have moved into their new house and the photos look amazing. I am so proud of them both.
Samantha has finished her degree and is off to Brisbane Queensland to do a course in Occupational Therapy at Queensland University. She leaves Perth on December 10th.
Tamara has a permanent part time position at Bank West and will be doing one unit at University next year. She is looking to move into a house with friends when Sam leaves for QLD.