Prolonged sojourn in Newcastle
Saturday 14th May 2016
Well, our planned stay of a week, possibly ten days, has turned into three weeks. The main reason has been that Newcastle CYC is so conveniently placed in a town big enough to have everything we might need fairly close at hand. We both needed to see a dentist, and for my first visit I was in so much pain that all he did was prescribe me a course of antibiotics and give me an appointment for the following week. It seems I had infected sinuses, and once that settled down it was possible to identify the troublesome tooth and deal with it. Then, less than a week after that was sorted, a crown fell off another tooth...
We also both needed routine health checks and a visit to a dermatologist for screening – we are not taking any chances with the severe sun in this part of the world. Steve had a spot on his forehead that he was advised would need to be removed at some time, and we decided to get it done while we had the time and opportunity. That meant a further week here while we waited for the stitches to come out and results to come back from the lab – all clear.
Steve tackled a boat job we have been talking about doing for ages but hadn’t been able to find the right piece of plumbing. Here we found just the thing in Bunnings: a shower mixer unit small enough to fit on the deck shower, giving us hot water on deck as well as cold. The fitting was fiddly but went without hitch, and works perfectly. Steve is very pleased with the job, but wasn’t so pleased with the neck pain that followed it. It seems he must have trapped a nerve in his neck, probably as a result of stretching up into the confined space he was working in. A couple of visits to a physiotherapist recommended by Judy and he is now pain-free and can actually turn his head further and more freely than for a long time. Every cloud etc etc...
The back of the mixer unit up in the ceiling space under the deck. The new mixer unit inside the cockpit pocket.
Now we can have a nice hot shower in the cockpit – once the weather warms up a bit!
We also crossed another job off our long-term list. Being in a marina once more, we were reminded of the need for a step to hang over the toe rail to make getting on and off the boat easier, and safer. It is often a long way down to the pontoon, and in the past we have used a crate or a plastic step to shorten the distance. The problem with this is that they are not fixed, and can slide if you don’t plant your foot exactly in the middle of them. In Whangarei we even screwed a step to the pontoon, but here they are concrete. So when we saw a suitable step on one of our visits to the chandlers, and at a very reasonable price, we bought it. With a bit of adaptation it fits and works perfectly.
The arms that hook over the toe rail needed adapting, and the bottom arms shortening, and now it is perfect. Job done.
In between jobs and appointments, we have been enjoying our time here. We met and made some new friends – Judy and Geoff, and dog Rosie, from Ka Mate. Originally from Brisbane, they have been living on their boat and cruising the east coast for the past eight years. Now they have decided to become land-based again, and are looking for a house in Newcastle. We enjoyed several evenings drinking, eating and swinging the lead with these typically friendly Aussies (actually Geoff is a typically friendly Kiwi), and they were kind enough to lend us their car on several occasions which made keeping appointments so much easier.
They had lots of local information to give us for our trip north up the coast, and in turn we were able to give them some about sailing in Europe. In a couple of weeks they will be flying to Holland to meet their son and help him sail his newly purchased yacht to Madeira ready for an Atlantic crossing later in the year. Their son is currently working in Grenada and plans to keep and sail the boat in the Caribbean. It seems such a long time ago that we were sailing there.
Judy and Geoff (and Rosie) on Ka Mate. Great company.
Judy introduced us to the Regal Cinema, which is an old-fashioned single screen cinema in a small wooden building in one of the suburbs. Owned and managed by a media lecturer at the University and his wife, it is only open at weekends, and tickets at $8 include drinks and treats. I went one Friday evening with Judy and a friend, to see Eye in the Sky, and we had a choice of Margaritas or wine, tea or coffee, and a whole spread of nibbles and cakes – all included. The only downside is that the seats are all on the same level and not necessarily positioned so that you can see between the heads of the people in front. So if a tall person sits in front of you, bad luck! When I told Steve about it, he wanted to see both the film and the cinema, so we both went to see Spotlight on the Sunday, and Steve went back to see Eye in the sky in the evening.
The Regal Cinema is in a small wooden building in the burbs.
The rest of our time here has been spent in ordinary day-to-day stuff – shopping, cleaning, fixing, relaxing. The biggest bonus of being in a marina is that you don’t have to worry about the weather all the time. But all good things have to come to an end, and now we have no reason to stay longer. We have been watching the weather for the last few days, and it looks like tomorrow will be good for the short passage to Port Stephens, some 30 nmiles north east along the coast. So with a bit of effort we shall unstick the lines from the dock around 0830 tomorrow and head past Nobby’s Head for one last time.
A Scottish Kirk in Hamilton, Newcastle.
The water Police doing exercises in the harbour.
A model yacht club came to sail their boats off our pontoon.
Steve had a go of course, might want to down-size one day!
Autumn in Newcastle. Time to head north!