In Like a Lion

Tue 11 Aug 2020 04:00

In Like A Lion

And the hunt for a Donkey Orchid

34:59.66S 117:56.56E

The weather has raged and blown, rocked and shoved, in our neck of the world since we came back onto Zoonie seven days ago. And we are glad because it has found three leaks on Zoonie that Rob has strived to fix which may not have become apparent in good weather. Unscrewing, drying with a hairdryer and squeezing on the marine adhesive/sealant with mixed results. Illusive are these leaks; they can creep in through a tiny gap and the water will run unimpeded, making it hard to find the source of the leak. So the search goes on.

For my part I teamed up with my good friend the Pfaff 6 hand sewing machine and together we sewed a new plastic window into the bimini mid-section and two leather strips on the top corners of the sprayhood where the bimini webbing straps were wearing the fabric, which would eventually result in the failure of the hood. The dan buoy has a fine new red and yellow diagonal flag and a cover to protect it and the life-ring which remains tied to the boat at the end of its line in a man-overboard situation has a new back to the bag Rob made a while ago from fabric that was more worn than we thought it was!

In between blasts from the heavens and much whirling of billions of water droplets we have managed a couple of walks, both of which had highlights you might like to hear about.

I have the permission of our talented on-board wildlife photographer to copy, by photographing directly from the screen of his phone, the shots he took at Seppings Lake and the sandy track behind the dunes of Middleton Beach.

Seppings Lake, unlike last time when we viewed the diminished lake beyond quite a few metres of mudflats, was overflowing with gusto and the path was under inches of water in places, necessitating my taking frequent piggy backs on the same broad back of our resident photographer. Holding on while he took the Ibis in the tree was fun, should have done a selfie! It was the Ibis in the tree, not us.

We had just returned to the main path from the bird hide, where the water lapped the underneath of the floor boards, when we came across the long-necked tortoise hatchling striding confidently towards us, all by himself. Was he lost? Was he the first to hatch and out scouting the area? As soon as our shadow went over him he bent his long neck around his head, whether to make himself look smaller, invisible or just because it was too long to retract into his shell I do not know. We walked on and turned to watch him eventually assume the danger had passed before he continued.

It is early springtime here, and as the season has started in ‘like a lion’ we hope it may go out ‘like a lamb’. In the meantime the signs are all there. In the shallows at Seppings and in the puddles in front of Zoonie the frogs are croaking relentlessly and have been busy mating; and tadpoles abound. We even spotted a bandicoot on the path and Rob was lucky to get the photos as they are very shy creatures, like a big rat with a short tail. There were numerous King Skinks soaking up the sun’s heat on branches beside the road as we made our way back to the car.

Yesterday we walked through the natural bush near Zoonie, allowing ourselves to be side-tracked along what were clearly old animal paths. On the sandy path with the roar of the surf in King George Sound in the distance, we met a man coming the other way with his yappy little, white fluffy dog. “Let me show this to the lady, she’ll appreciate it,” he pulled out his IPhone and showed us his picture of the Donkey Orchid, “isn’t that pretty, right in the middle of the path too, I wonder how long it will last before someone picks it.”

We agreed and followed his directions and found the rare little plant ourselves. I though afterwards, what a gift he gave us, sharing something rare and beautiful; what a kind man.

Another reason we are happy the weather is not conducive to a re-launch any time soon is that Darren has dismantled the hoist track, that goes out over the water and along which the suspended Zoonie will pass before she is lowered back into the briny. It was due for some maintenance and of course from his point of view there is never an ideal time for this as he cannot haul or launch any vessels while it is out of action. These massive Lows look as if they will continue into next week, so hopefully by then the tracks will be back in place and ready for use again.

We have been in touch with Fremantle Sailing Club again where Jason has given us the most convenient berth right in front of the Club. I mentioned Jeremy and Kathy of Sal Darago who were there a few weeks ago and he replied, “Such a lovely couple, you can have their berth, the VIP pen, it’s still warm from their stay.” I asked him, tongue in cheek, if there was a special dress code if it’s VIP.

“Well not really. Not being a royal yacht club things are fairly casual round here. The club house is shoes and shirt as a minimum, so pretty much the same around the club. As far as Zoonie goes she will no doubt speak for her self being an Oyster.”

Natalie Griggs at Christmas Island, who overseas Cocos Keeling, our first port of call, sent us a bizarre letter. Firstly it was addressed to Sal Darago, with Zoonie’s name used just twice in the text. The letter states that on 16th June the quarantine requirement for IOT (Indian Ocean Territory) residents and people from Western Australia was being lifted.

On 29th July she announced that this only applied to air arrivals and not sailing yachts.

The next short and blunt paragraph that needed to be deleted stated that Zoonie was not permitted to travel to Cocos Keeling.

This little blow was immediately followed with ‘The Territory Controller and I have agreed to allow SV Zoonie to moor at Cocos……but do not have permission to go ashore…..’ Well that’s fine; we can rest, refuel, take in stores with the help of the TC and communicate with folk near and far before we move on. That was what we planned anyway, but we hear it is a very lovely place, so maybe they will consider our passage as quarantine time, so we can explore a little, we will see.

Jerome at La Reunion is looking forward to our arrival and has our papers sent by email, so we can look forward to the dramatic skyline of that island as we cross the Indian Ocean centre.

We will clear out of Fremantle as and when we arrive and are ready with a favourable weather window to get us offshore.


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