Newcastle update

Friday 27th November 2015

 

The rally welcome week activities finished on Monday with the ‘Done and dusted’ party at the Albion Pub, across the road from the yacht club, and gradually the rally boats have been heading out of the marina to their chosen destinations.  We have been winding down the social side of life and winding up the boat maintenance side.  The two headsails had gone off to the sailmaker for repair soon after we arrived, but are not back yet.  Steve had to chase the rigger  up several times to get him to come to check the tension of the standing rigging.  He eventually came and the tension was fine, no adjustment needed.  The second sail is still being worked on. 

 

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The Albion pub – heavily into solar power!                                                           Cheese!

 

The best news, though, is that the bowthruster has been sorted.  We have been without it for several months, after it just stopped working one day for no apparent reason.  Well, the motor worked, but it didn’t turn the propeller.  So on Tuesday we had the boat lifted out of the water to check if the problem was the shear pin.  It became clear very quickly that the shear pin was still in place, and so the next suspect was the gear box.  As the bowthruster is as old as the boat, we decided against replacing the gearbox, opting instead to replace the whole unit.  Before we went any further, though, Brad had his guys look at the unit from inside the boat and they identified the problem. It turned out that the drive gear on the gear box shaft had dropped down on the keyway.  This meant that all it needed to get it working again was for the drive gear to be lifted again and the two Allen screws that held it in place tightened.  Result!  We were so pleased to have it sorted we ignored the fact that we needn’t have hauled the boat at all!  Within an hour we were back in the water and on our way back to our berth, which we re-entered with the aid of a working bowthruster.

 

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S-F in the hoist.   One of the guys held the wind genny still while it passed under the crossbar.

 

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They backed her into the small boatyard.                                                             Steve discusses the problem with Brad, the yard manager.

 

With the major jobs and several smaller ones complete, we hired a car for a few days to explore the area around Newcastle.  Today we joined Gloria, the yacht club captain’s wife, and Sherry and Dennis from ‘Trillium’ in a trip to Blackbutt Reserve, a few miles out of Newcastle.  There we saw koalas, wallabies, a wombat and emus, as well as a variety of native birds.

 

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Koalas seem to sleep an awful lot.                                           This baby was a bit restless.

 

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A wallaby family.                                                                                                             These emus were not happy to see us!

 

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At first the wombat was feeding from this drum.                                              Then he came out for some dessert of grass.

 

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Noisy pitta.                                                                                                        

 

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Barking owl.                                                                                                       Major Mitchell Cockatoo                             

 

We plan to drive further south over the weekend and have a look at Lake Macquarrie, a place we might visit by boat.  We want to check out the entrance which has a bar and can be tricky.  And we may have a look at Pittwater, another possible stop.  We hope to leave Newcastle with the first good weather window next week, after being joined by Nick who last visited us in Turkey, about five years ago.  Clearly he’s now had enough time to recover from the experience...