Manly + Pictures

Mike and Liz Downing
Thu 22 Nov 2012 13:29
Containing 4 separate marinas, all big, Manly Boat Harbour really is a boat watchers paradise. With fine weather up until last week end, it was a very pleasant place to be. Just across the road from the marina we were in, was a well stocked chandlery, and a small, but charming seaside village with a small shopping mall containing a good supermarket, a baker, butcher, newsagent, post office - it was all there, together with restaurants/cafes, and a heated outdoor swimming pool just behind the marina buildings - it couldn't have been better. So why leave? It did make us think a bit, but the last weekend did remind us that the Brisbane area can be hot and humid for a couple of months after Christmas, and it can rain, and rain a lot. In recent years they've had terrible flooding. So what happened last weekend - one of the most spectacular thunderstorms we have ever seen. We have never seen forked lightning so big and menacing. It lasted on and off over the whole weekend. So we're still hoping to get down to the Sydney area, another 400 or so miles south, in December. However, the weather windows for going south have been few and far between and when they do come, they're only lasting a day at the most. So unless this changes it's going to be quite a challenge to get down there.
One of the aims of going to Manly was to get the engine looked at by a Volvo dealer and within a few days we had an expert on board looking at all the possible reasons why we're using a lot of oil. The good news is that the turbo looks okay - we had thought that it could be the oil seals and a major failure of these might result in a catastrophic failure of the engine! If it's warn piston rings then we may end up putting in more oil, but it shouldn't result in the engine stopping, and a bit more oil is a lot cheaper than rebuilding the engine! What we did find was that the exhaust elbow was caked in carbon and one of the water pipes leading up to it was partially blocked. So we had a new exhaust elbow and new connector fitted (£540 just for the 2 parts!). We subsequently discovered that the crankcase breather valve had been blocked and we cleaned that out and it seems to be working, but to be on the safe side we've ordered a replacement from the UK. There are none in Australia and it will take several weeks to get one, whereas the Volvo agent we deal with in the UK should be able to get it to us within a week or so. We've also changed the oil, going from a 15/40 to a thicker monograde 40 oil. Finally we're going to try running the engine a lot faster - all the experts say that lightly loading the engine results in it running cold, the piston rings don't expand enough so it burns oil and glazes the bores, resulting in even more oil being burnt. When you're in the Pacific Islands hundreds of miles away from a source of spare parts you tend not to want to push anything too hard! In Australia there seems to be loads of Volvo dealers (all at £70 an hour!), so we can take the risk and run the engine a lot harder. So we'll see if all these small changes make any difference on our way down to Sydney.   
While in Manly we saw a partial eclipse of the Sun. Some folk went up to Cairns where it was a full eclipse, but that's a 2 day car ride away, so we were content with the 84% coverage we got, looking at it through official European standard eclipse glasses that we bought in French Polynesia for the partial eclipse we saw in Tahiti in 2010. The best pictures were taken using our camcorder with the eclipse glasses over the lens. We'll try and split these out one day to get individual photos.
Typical houses in the Manly area. They go in for this type of style. Unlike the houses in
New Zealand which were all very similar in shape and size, the houses here vary a lot.
Some look very grand, in an old fashioned, sort of New England style.
Along the main road into Brisbane! To our surprise, lots of the roads have Koala Bear
signs up. We didn't realise there were so many in the wild in this area. 
There's always an Ibis close by!
Car hire in Australia is good value at £22 a day for a single day hire. It's even cheaper if its for a longer
period. Having hired a car for the day to go into Brisbane, we took it back and decided to walk the
3 miles or so back to the boat along the sea front. We think this was an old navigation light, but it shows
the mix of palm trees, eucalyptus trees and others that are here. The sea front path is a joggers highway
and we had to be careful not to get run down!