The Rumline to Bundy … yes I think a few rums were consumed by the guys on their return to Oz.
Our “tribe” have all arrived now … Aqualibrium, Supa Trooper, Zofia, Easy Tiger, Sans Souci, Skellum and finally Cruising Kitty. All with stories to tell!
I returned to The Bossa after my 10-day sojourn on land. How weird was that. While enjoying the last of the Aore Resort’s hospitality in Santo, the day before before my flight, I asked Neville how we accessed weather at home … I had a total blank! “Oh yes, Willy Weather.” “Of course.” “Ah, its on my phone? What does the App look like??” We very much live in two different worlds.
After The Bossa’s 5 ½ days at sea, finally making it to Bundy in torrential rain and strong winds off the Queensland coast, you would think the Gods had had their say. But no, there was more to come. I flew in to Bundy (without any delays, amazing) in strong winds and heavy rain. (Poor Greg left for home with flight delays, a missed connection flight and then to top it off, a broken down train with a bus trip substitute. A 15-hour trip home!) Our boat had been jerking and bouncing hard in our marina pen (somewhat like a bucking bull) since the guys had arrived. Wild Bill would have loved it.
After 1,000 miles at sea (probably close to 3,500 miles all up in the South Pacific), we arrived at Bundy with a sheared main halyard (happened with 50 miles to go), some fiberglass ‘crazing’ on the back beam where the mainsail does the hard work and some broken stitching on a trampoline corner. In the Bundy marina we ended up with fiberglass damage on the port hull transom and around a cleat that was trying to tame the bucking bull. We will think twice about sitting out bad weather in the Bundy Marina (which is really just a river) in the future.
All the Rally yachts are back in Australia now. Catching up will be tricky as everyone has arrived at different times, mostly to the port of Bundaberg. Aqualibrium sailed straight to Southport (now a designated Port) and Easy Tiger to Brisbane. Well, nearly. We had just anchored at the Kingfisher Resort off Fraser Island and were contemplating a visit ashore when we noticed the rain clouds in the distance. Fortunately, we decided to stay on board. We received a call from ET who were still out at sea, from their Sat Phone. They had just been hit by another severe rain squall. They had damaged their screecher sail one day out from Vanuatu, which was followed by a headsail issue and now both motors were causing problems. This is when you need your ‘Mr. Fixit’. Cap’n Steve managed to get both motors going again albeit at a reduced speed (an amazing effort), while managing his sea sickness and being pounded by waves breaking over ET’s transom and engine bays. Not fun!
After the relaying of messages between Mooloolaba VMR and the Water Police to ET, it was decided they should detour to Mooloolaba instead of the Brisbane Port. Border Force (don’t we hate that name) was very obliging. Mooloolaba is not a designated Port so permission had to be sought. So with a ‘disabled’ ET all authorities were on call and all were following ET’s very slow passage to the Mooloolaba entrance. They arrived at 4.30 am, with speeds as low as 1 .5 knots (they got hit with a 20+ knot headwind as they approached Mooloolaba … of course!). Can we believe a bottle of champagne was consumed before Border Force appeared … at 7 am.?? Yes … I certainly can … and it was a bottle of Verve too!!
Sailing offshore is not always easy. We all had an amazingly calm passage from the Gold Coast to New Caledonia. It was a perfect weather window and it proved to be correct. But weather can change and so quickly. Winds don’t always do what they are predicted to do. (Queensland’s Moreton Bay is a good example!) Squalls are local and they don’t come up on radars and forecasts. And you can’t see them at night. The passage home hasn’t been so kind for many our rally boats. Some have done it hard. Things can break and so can crew.
Amongst our Rally boats we had a lost rudder (Squander are waiting for a replacement in Vanuatu, 9 weeks), fridge problems (humidity makes the fridges work hard), generators and water-makers failing, anchor winches breaking, engine impellors failing, toilet blockages, a lost dinghy overboard at sea, halyards shredding, furling lines breaking, water-damaged switchboards (smoke with a potential fire), fuel fungus, sail tears, engine fan-belts shredding, auto helm failure (try hand-steering all those miles, no thanks), a screecher prodder overboard, rigging failures and the list goes on. We can prepare as much as we can. We all take spare parts but you can’t take every spare part. Access to parts and expertise in New Cal and particularly Vanuatu, was either difficult or non-existent. We all used visitors as spare part mules (and for chocolate)! We all rely on our guys to be Mr. Fixits (The Bossa has the best!) and we all help each other. The guys have to be an electrician, plumber, boat builder, engineer, IT tech … and the list goes on. If you haven’t got your own Mr. Fixit, there’s usually one on another boat. A big tick for joining a rally!
But, we have all made in back … and safely!
PS. So you are wondering why this post is titled “Goldendick”?? It’s a name Leanne has given me. She thinks things all fall my/our way. I’m not sure I agreed with her when I couldn’t sit properly for 6 weeks (after my fall from the dinghy in Ouvea) or when dealing with my UTI in Vanuatu. But … we did enjoy a fantastic run with our boat while away. The Bossa’s age (turned 4 yrs old today!), our prep’ and a bit of luck all helped make our trip to the South Pacific a very successful one!
Here’s a few of my favourite memories …
Paradise and the places we visited …
My underwater pics …
So many adventures, here’s only a few …