North Queensland coast (and breakdowns)
Thursday, 12th May 2011
My goodness, it doesn’t do invoke the wrath of the Gods; they don’t half get their own back.
2 days ago the Fischer-Panda generator refused to start. After 4.5 days of motoring North the alternator stopped charging the batteries and the sun went in. Our water towed generator produced 6 amps but was nowhere near enough on its own.
Our 5 day old engine has a helpful Health and Safety cover over the fan belt to stop me putting my fingers into a moving diesel engine; it also stops me inspecting the fan belt which, on removal of said H&S device, was completely bug***ed. Despite the assurances of the vendor, my 3 spare fan belts, were 3cm too big and useless. Fortunately Clare had found the only good anchorage along the North Queensland coast, so, whilst we had no means of charging the batteries and no power, we were at least safe as of 07:00. This coast has almost as many fishing boats as reefs and cargo vessels, so sailing at night without engine, chart plotter or radar did not appeal (I know Lt Cook did it, but he had 50-odd blokes to help him and to blame if it all went wrong).
The vendor was sympathetic but said we were in the middle of nowhere. Some divers after crayfish in a small dory came to help and said they couldn’t, but would ask when they got back to their mother ship. To our amazement they returned at 6pm with the correct belt! All for 4 beers, $100 and with a huge crayfish throw in; it wouldn’t even fit in our pressure cooker.
Back in business (but with no spare fan belt). Don’t anger the Gods.
Captain (then Lt) Cook actually went aground on the Endeavour Reef at night. I am not surprised as it would be a nightmare sailing round here even in daylight without charts as the Great Barrier Reef is so close to the mainland.
Morris Island where we stopped had a palm tree planted by the sailors of the British Admiralty in the 19C as part of a policy to sustain shipwrecked sailors till rescue arrived….the goats they also left had been eaten long ago.
Being stuck 200 miles from any settlement wasn’t much fun but the lads on the crawfish boat were fantastic. Otherwise we used the satphone and in 2 days time could have got a fan belt brought to a river 55nm North which would have been difficult to sail in daylight as the steady trade winds are not so steady and keep dying.
Before we left Cairns we had a great day out going in a poma cable car over the rainforest and back in a small train along the edge of a gorge. For 30 dollars we upgraded to Gold Class and had plush arm chairs and champagne.
Now on our way again with fingers crossed.