Monday, March 28, 2011

We have been having a great time with Trish and the kids. They arrived in MacLean and stayed onboard overnight and the next day we sailed back to Iluka. We went under the bridge again and anchored without incident in the Iluka harbour. Barry took Trish over to Yamba that afternoon and she took the bus back to MacLean and returned with the Land Rover. She brought all the bikes with her, so today we went on an expedition.

We actually found the rain forest path and biked 2.5 km through the rain forest to the beach. Trish pulled June in the bike cruiser and Quinn rode his pedal bike. He is not even four yet and can ride the bike almost independently, he just needs help getting started and then off he goes. I rode Trish's new bike and had a blast winding in and out of the vines in the rain forest. When we got to the beach there were lots of shells and there was a rocky landing with tide pools to explore. It was a grand expedition.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

We left Yamba almost a week ago when we left the mooring. It was just too shallow to anchor anywhere so we went across the river to Iluka, it is only about 600m, and there was a decent anchoring spot there. We finally got the alternator, regulator problem resolved, all we had to do was buy a new one of each and a new start battery to boot, plus pay a marine electrician to figure out what the problem was and install the new STUFF! Oh well it was only one boat unit!!!!

This place is for sale, you can see the sign if you look closely, a bargain perhaps, but did you hear about all the flooding that went on. I wonder how high the water got in this place.
Yesterday we set off up the river, hopefully we won’t be without a paddle, but since we have a working alternator/regulator our motor should just keep charging on. We went up the Clarence River. To proceed up more than about 8 nm you have to call the bridge guys 24 hours in advance and arrange for them to open the bridge. We have been through bridges that open in two ways, one of bridges opened in the middle and one side t swung up and you went under the open part. The other bridge, swiveled, the middle part of the bridge swung around so it was perpendicular to the stationary part and you motored through. We came up to this bridge and I puzzled away trying to figure out how it opened. I suppose you engineering types will take one look at this bridge and figure it out. I asked Barry how he thought it opened and he wasn’t sure. After about an hour I figured it out, have you??? Think about it. Here are those Aussies, fishing again.

We stopped and anchored across the river from a town called MacLean. MacLean is the home of a huge Scottish contingent living in Australia. The town is famous for its painted telephone poles. Each pole has a different tartan painted on it with the name of the tartan added near the top. I think this is a very unique idea and I was very impressed at the effort that has gone into the painting, some of the tartans are very intricate. MacLean, like a lot of other small towns in Australia has its roots in the 18th century. There was a sign on the school, established in 1886; I did not know that Australia was an older country than Canada and I am constantly astounded at the age of the buildings. A lot of the smaller towns have maintained their original main streets, so there often are very old, well kept buildings that continue to be in use today, I love the architecture.

By the way I am thoroughly enjoying the infusion of the Canadian goods that my relatives brought with them. At the top of the list is the Crest toothpaste, any of you that are going offshore and partial to Crest be advised outside of the U.S. Coolgate has a monopoly and Crest is nowhere to be found. Next would be the Maynard wine gums, that I only shared a few off, next the peanut butter, followed closely by the Back Eddies, a seasoning spice that makes the steaks taste like home. Then there is the maple syrup, most of which was used in the morning after the wedding breakfast that was rustled up by Barry and Bruce. My eyes are protected by the over the glasses, sunglasses my Mom brought and we are enjoying the Canadian tea. It was great to get these tastes of home.

Patricia and the kids may come and visit us for a few days and then we will be heading north. We filled in our application form for the Indonesian Rally today and have paid our money so I guess we are going. The rally leaves from Darwin on the 23rd of July, so we have over 2000 nm to sail before we get there. There is the Great Barrier Reef to explore on the way so time seems to be slipping away. Our insurance policy says we can’t be north of Bribane during the cyclone season, which ends in April. We will sail north check out Brisbane and watch the weather before proceeding any further north.

The bridge went up in the middle, I wonder if there are any other ways for a bridge to open. It is pretty obvious when you think about it but trying to figure out how it would swivel or which side would go up had me thinking on different tangents for awhile.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

We just got back from Inverell, the transformer and some car paint are safely delivered. We have know returned our rental car so we are back to life on board with only the dinghy for transportation. We got to see the cars Graeme and Trish brought over from Canada. They have sold the one snazzy red mustang to Graeme's father. The 50's looking Ute is an El Camino that needs some engine work and some rust repairs on the back panels and then it being one of only about 20 in Oz should garner a fairly decent price. I love the back panels, Trish was saying paint it a baby blue with a surf board on it and put some Beach Boys playing on a stereo and instant sale!!! The other mustang still needs a lot of work and Graeme is slaving away every day in order to make it ready for sale. We helped Trish unpack a few boxes from the container and admired her paint job on it. She figures they could live in it if it was necessary, knock a few holes for window, Graeme could wire it up, but an air conditioner in it and away they go. June was back to her sunny self, smiling and laughing and leading her Mom on a merry chase. Quinn was busy playing with his newly unpacked trains. He has room in his Popa's screened in porch to make a huge track and leave it there for days.

On the way to Inverell we stopped in Ulmarra, a lovely little spot on the Clarence River. We had coffee in the hotel and the old furniture in there reminded me of the hotel in Santa Rosalia, Mexico. There were a number of small shops that were only open on the weekends, but one had a little jug that I would have bought in an instant if it had been open. Barry is looking to buy some new chain and we still need to fix the alternator, apparently the regulator may need to be replaced.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

We have just made a big decision. We are not going to head back to Vanuatu but continue on our voyage around the globe by heading to Indonesia this July. A bunch of our friends are going to be in the rally, and it just seemed right to continue onwards.
We headed into Grafton with Heather and the kids the other day to go to the circus, one of us did not check out the dates good enough and the circus was there, but a week ago. We went for a drive and ended up on the river and there was a water ski competition going on. This was a peculiarly Australian water ski competition. In Canada it would have been about the skiiers, here it is about the boats and how fast they can go. In Canada there would have been a course and tricks and bare foot skiing, etc. Here the skiers just hang on and go as fast as t hey can, bizarre!!
Barry headed off to Brisbane yesterday to let of Heather, Cassidy and Elijah. He ended up picking up a transformer for Graeme in a truly weird operation. He sat at an emergency only stopping zone on the M1 highway and the mover (who had forgotten to offload the transformer), drove by in his'' 18 wheeler and honked (this is unbelievable). Barry followed the guy for 10 K down the highway until he came to the farmer's field (which had been converted to a container yard) where the transformer was. He got the transformer and headed back. We are heading to Inverell tomorrow after stopping to pick up some car paint in Grafton to deliver the transformer and have a few days of visiting.
Barry is back at the boat and life is not quite normal but I did get a chance to upload more wedding pics on Facebook and the blog. Jennifer had a horrible time on her flight back to Canada, I am waiting for to hear how Heather made out, Bruce and my Mom had good flights as well. Justify Full
Here are some more photos from the wedding, including before, during and after. I love some of the shots Bruce got on the rocks and by the ocean. I think they both look so happy.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Cat's-Paw IV future crew in their Tongan Dirt Shirts

The escape artist caught at last!!

I have been in my glory with all my family here, I hope you enjoy the pics. Only Heather, Cassidy and Elijah are still here. Trish and Graeme return today after 3 days of what was supposed to be honeymooning but turned into container business. The good news is that everything passed inspection and the container has been reloaded and will be transported to Inverell. We will stay here until Heather leaves and then decide what we want to do with out lives next.

Monday, March 07, 2011

We have a new son-in-law, Trish is now officially Patricia May Martin. It was a wonderful wedding. Trish was a gorgeous bride, the ceremony was very meaningful and it was wonderful that all Graeme's and Trish's immediate family were there. The reception was lots of fun and mostly it was family getting to know other families. I felt so lucky to have all my grandchildren around me as well as my Mom and my brother and his wife, how special is that!

Isn't she beautiful!! As she walked in she had every woman hand her a flower and she arranged them as they were handed to her, At the end she had a wonderful bouquet. The weather did not co-operate as it poured with rain in the morning and then the wind kicked up and it was blowing 30 knots as she walked into an old convent which had been converted to an art gallery. It was a lovely setting. The reception was held at the bowling club, which is like a tennis or yacht club in Canada, the bowling is LAWN bowling, Barry was hoping he could throw a few games of regular bowling while the reception was on. It was a great spot, covered but outdoors and there was a playground attached where the 13 kids under 6 could play.

Everything went off without a hitch, the bride and groom were happy and all it well with the world. At the moment the bride and the groom are off to Brisbane to deal with their container which if full of half restored cars as well as all the rest of their worldly possessions. It was not supposed to arrive until a few weeks from now so instead of a care free couple of days they are dealing with customs and quarantine. Barry and I are grandparenting and enjoying almost every minute. FOUR GENERATIONS OF WOMEN AT A WEDDING!!!

The wedding guest are quietly dispersing, Mom, Bob and Barb left yesterday to continue their Australian adventure, Jen and the kids leave today to take in the sights of Sydney, Heather and her kids will be around for another week so we will spend more time around the resort in the swimming pools, the games room and the huge bouncing pillow and hopefully at the beach. I have been off the boat for over a month now and it is a great break.