Donner und blitz noch einmal, und ein schmerz in meiner tasche

Fri 20 Nov 2009 10:36
Friday, 20th November
Location: East Coast Marina, Manly Boat Harbour, Moreton Bay. 27:27.5S 153:11.4E
Fear not, dear reader, that's all the German for today!!
Late Tueasday afternoon the wind dropped a bit, and the tide began to run north: time to get a bit further upchannel before dark, and I motored as far as Browns Bay, anchoring between sandbanks well away from the fairway. Good protection from the northerly winds, but at dusk a thunderstorm rolled in from the south. I suppose I am getting as bit blase about these things now, but they are fearsome things for a while, and in the flat countryside, and with no other boats in sight, there was an awesome 30 mins while the storm raged at its peak, and the strong winds, from the south of course, quickly whipped up a choppy sea. By 22.00 peace was restored, I slept very well, and in the morning we were greeted by a quite unexpected southerly wind. Up and aweigh to take advantage of this sailing opportunity, even though the tide was still against us. We made slow early morning progress, but as the tide turned things improved, and when we finally struck out into the open water of lower Moreton Bay, the wind came round to the north east giving an excellent close fetch all the way up to Manly Boat Harbour. This is close to the mouth of the Brisbane River, and home to some 1,500 of Brisbane's sailing craft, nearly all of which seemed to taking part in the Wednesday afternoon sailing races. This perhaps is a measure of the difference between Sydney and Brisbane: in Sydney they do a full days work before their midweek sailing!
I had a deadline, always good for my soul, as my liferaft needed a service, and Marinesafe, in Slacks Creek, South Brisbane, were prepared to do this, even though they had never heard of the manufacturer! The raft weighs a ton, and I had to rent an old banger to get it to them. $45 for a day, including full insurance seemed a good deal, I thought, and by 07.30 next morning I had done battle with the rush hour traffic on the motorways, and the raft was duely unpacked and inflated. This was interesting, as I had never seen it before: it normally lives in a vacuum sealed bag, in a glassfibre box. It was therefore good to discover that there really was a liferaft inside, that it doesn't leak, and that everything seemed to be in excellent condition. I needed a new release valve for the gas cylinder that inflates the raft in anger, plus new flares, batteries, and seasick pills: all of which are stowed inside the collapsed raft, and all of which were past their sell by dates. The raft would be a tight squeeze for four people, for which it is designed, but good for two of three, which is as many as we are likely to want to save at any one time! The bill for all this came to $425, even though I avoided the local VAT as we have a foreign flag, and repairs and maintainance for such craft are tax free. So the cost was not a great deal less than it cost the Chinese to manufacture the whole thing in the first place, and transport it to the UK! Forget training to be an engineer, an accountant or a doctor: liferaft servicing is where the money is!
I have been back to Brisbane, this time on the train. The jacarandas have all bloomed now, but instead there are trees with vibrant red blossom. Otherwise not much change: the anchorage is still full of the same liveaboards, but it was very hot, 32 degrees today. Indeed the whole of South Australia is now in the grip of a Spring heatwave, and there is a severe fire warning. I want to get on up to Mooloolaba, the next Port up, but of course the wind, tides, and current are all wrong; so I will have to be patient for a while, and just now we are well on schedule. Although I'm in a marina, the charges are only $150 per week, and Manly is a pleasant place, with good local shops, walks, coffee shops and fresh fish outlets.