2020 Aus Boxing Clever in Albany
Boxing Clever in Albany
There are many aspects of professional sailing that Mark Macrae is involved in; Skippering, sail training, yacht delivery, global racing, escorting visitors like us, advice and brokerage and the more time we spent with this congenial man the more we realised his local knowledge of sailing locations and onshore facilities in Western Australia is also extensive.
He is the chap with the 8 ton Beneteau ‘Panacea’ next to us when we were in the marina in Albany. He came aboard for a coffee with one of the ladies who crew for him regularly, Katrina. They both joined the lady skipper/owner of the classic little yacht ‘Freya’ on the Sydney Hobart Race last year. We didn’t see them because they were bringing in the back of the fleet with other smaller vessels on New Year’s Eve while we were with Bron and Ken watching the Sydney Fireworks. There were also fireworks in Hobart that evening which Katrina and Mark thought were for them as they approached the finishing line, until they remembered the date.
Back at the end of January I started making enquiries about where we could layup Zoonie. For some reason, I gather political from local information, the yard at the Fremantle Sailing Club never came back to us with prices and a place for our trusty boat, despite the sailing club side sending us details of the wet pen where we were welcome to moor Zoons from our arrival to departure if we so wished by return of email. So Mark suggested Emu Point Slip Services who have a yard just around the corner from Albany and is privately owned.
We had noted the prices in the local government owned marinas, which have recently been increased by increments of 10 – 20% over three years, were around a third more expensive than on the east coast. One entire pontoon of fingers with around twenty berths is now entirely occupied by non-paying visitors of the feathered variety with the added expense of the daily wash off of their prolific guano.
We went with Mark for a tour of the local area and he introduced us to Darren who runs the boatyard at Emu Point, and once sailed in the Portsmouth – Poole area. We agreed a price which was happily two thirds of the wet pen cost at Fremantle, “Is that inclusive of GST?” I asked, legally prices quoted should include it, and Darren confirmed he could include the tax at that price.
So plans changed from taking her around the corner to Fremantle at this tail end of the summer to moving on from here when we return in August/September, the tail end of the winter. Apparently the winds then will be predominantly South Westerly, so we gather from Cameron on the paddleboard with his two year old daughter Lucky, it’s good to wait for an offshore Northerly to get to Augusta Marina which is lovely he said, and then go on around when the wind backs to SW, “but you don’t want to do it in August, it’s horrible then, lots of hail.”
That’s a long way away as yet and we were keen, having firmed up on Zoonie’s spot, to book our flights home to Poole and accommodation in Perth for a look see. In the process we also booked the 10 day camping/hostel tour from Perth Youth Hostel to Broome starting on March 21st. If you Google Perth YHA 10 Day camping to Broome or something like that you will see the itinerary. I asked Emily if she could see her Ma abseiling down a rock face, having said recently in a blog it’s not my thing and her reply was “100% Ma”. No pressure!
So once in Broome it seems a pity not to see a little of the Kimberleys so we are taking a long day tour, 6.30am start to 10.30pm finish while there and then flying back to Perth for a couple of days before we fly home, nonstop care of Quantas on the 7th /8th April. That should be an experience in itself, 17 hours 15 minutes of close human company and no ventilation! But then only an hour or so longer than the day trip to the Kims.
The clever consultant in the travel agent found flights that are only £60 total more return than those with stop overs and in view of the current global health panic the fewer encounters with human strangers the better we thought.
Back to Zoonie. While we were in American River on Kangaroo Island Rob did an engine oil change and service and found the impeller in the raw cooling water pump had shed one of its flanges. Also the inside of the pump had an unhealthy looking residue on one side, like solid emulsified oil which meant the impeller was spinning against a rough uneven surface. The little black foreign body had disappeared, we assumed into the heat exchanger and we just hope it had made its way out. Naturally Rob replaced the impeller.
Again acting on Mark’s advice, Rob took the pump apart to see if he could find the lost fragment and very carefully, with a torch, had a look into the exchanger. There followed a delicate surgical removal of the foreign object that could so easily have blocked the water flow, causing the engine to overheat, and with those unforgiving rocky shores so nearby, we may have been no better off than the ill-fated sailing ships of the past on a lee shore.
But something else he found that was even more disturbing was that four of the flanges on the new impeller were torn in only 81 hours of engine use. That little baby, (the Pump) will be coming back to the UK with us where we already have a new pump on order at Golden Arrow in Poole.
So two days ago we gathered in our lines and motored out of the marina into Princess Royal Harbour, past the three ships loading woodchips and grain and back into King George Sound where we had entered on the 24th February, and changed course for Oyster Harbour where Mark had told us there were three courtesy moorings. Fingers crossed the impeller would remain intact for this 7 mile passage! More about our time in Albany in the next blogs.
Two of the moorings were occupied by friendly folk we would meet the next morning. I have just checked to see where MP anchored while she was in here nineteen years ago to the day and found her anchorage latitude was the same as ours on the buoy and her longitude was different by just a few feet, and that was pure co-incidence.
Zoonie has been busy voyaging for seven and a half months and has covered 6386 miles since the 19th June 2019. She deserves a rest.
As you can see in the photos the location, opposite Emu Point where the boat yard is located, is delightful and we had the cackling of Kookaburras and the squawking of Australian Ravens and the sight of white chested cormorants roosting like candles in the trees, plus the languid movement of two dolphins gliding past us in the still of the evening to enjoy. Also there was no water movement so we could sleep in our own bed without fear the waves would start slapping Zoonie during the night.
Yesterday morning dawned with a clear sky and muted pastel colours and soon, Maurice was busy on his Olympic Class Australian Etchel racing yacht, at least the hull is. Maurice cut the deck off another boat and put it on this one to create his tiny, comfy home. After a row ashore he started to prepare for what is a regular daily excursion; a race against his friend Ian in his classic sloop across King George Sound, back the way we had come, towards Albany boat harbour. As he came by he said “Oyster isn’t it” and smiled when he found he was right. The first of the two of them in to the boat harbour was to buy the coffees, but as the astute Billie, mum of Lucky on the big yacht, commented across the water to Ian and in view of the lack of wind, “Could be lunch!”