Donald Begg
Wed 25 Jul 2018 00:00
I leave Bundaberg Port with some regret and some fond memories. It was exciting and convenient to arrive here from NZ seven months ago, Nicola and I spent some happy days here (despite the heat, much reduced now it’s winter), and Lydia has been looked after well.

I think of Bundaberg as a typical provincial Australian town, a bit far from anywhere meaningful, not much local cruising to be had (especially in cyclone season), surrounded by sugar-cane fields, but unerringly sunny (whatever the weather) and friendly.

Notes for the yachtsmen. The marina is part marina and part fishing harbour, and is owned by fishermen. This means on the one hand that you have to compete with the trawlers for technical support, on the other that the technicians are hugely experienced and competent. A bonus is that the fishmonger at the fishing port sells the best seafood that I have known this side of Galicia. When I went home for the European Spring, Lydia was looked after, and maintenance on her was supervised, by Ray Pettengell of R&B Marine. Ray is a marine surveyor and an ex Royal Marine who is a godsend to absentee owners, and I shall miss his sound advice and almost daily exchange of chirpy emails. Brett Hensler is the marina manager, and an excellent choice as OCC Port Officer. Dave Rampant of Rampant Marine Electronics expertly replaced my defunct autopilot and Martin Morison at Port Canvas serviced my sails. The absence of a rigger leaves a gap in cover. Colin Quinn is the right man, he replaced my two broken stays and gave an assessment of the cause of the breakage, but he has to come up from near Brisbane and will charge for his travel. Charges for all work, and for the marina, were not cheap, but they were fair.

I had an unexpected problem when paying Dave Rampant’s bill from the UK. I set up an international transfer, it was cleared by Natwest, but came to an abrupt halt when passed to the bank in Australia. The latter saw a payment of significant size coming through for “Rampant Marine from Lydia” and said no way, we don’t want to know. In the end I had to phone Dave and pay by credit card.

Time now to get the show on the road. Mackay (300 miles to the North), new crew, and the World ARC 2018/19 await.

Best wishes to all,