So what the heck have we been doing for almost two weeks in Australia? Well, here are just a few of the big items. We put up our mainsail and jib, installed a new VHF radio and speakers, installed a new water pump, installed a new exhaust riser on the engine, put new gaskets on all the external lockers, installed a new thermostat and switch in the fridge, upgraded our dinghy anchor rode, upgraded our satellite phone software, shlepped jerry cans of diesel fuel to the boat (extra fuel besides the 600 liters in the fuel tank), cleaned out the sail lockers and the huge cockpit locker, cleaned out all cabinets and shopped for and put away a ton of drinks and groceries. We also had some lovely morning and afternoon walks by the seaside â€“ listening to the incredible bird calls- and did a bit of socializing with the few boats we know here.
Today , Sunday, we decided to take Â½ day off and went to a couple of Redcliffe events. Redcliffe is the community we are in â€“ about an hour north of Brisbane. We have been working on the boat practically non-stop for 12 days, and although we donâ€™t really get tired of working on the boat â€“ and there is still a lot to do – we really needed a break. The first event we went to was supposed to be a big flea market with used boat and fishing gear. It was sponsored by the local coast guard and was just down the street from the marina at a local Catholic school. It was quite a funny little event, with 6 or 7 tables of the most run down items you can imagine. Short pieces of discarded hoses and wires, rotting and rusty bolts and screws, boat lines that looked frayed and worn, life jackets that must have been made in the 1950â€™s, some old beat up fishing poles. We knew a couple of people there and even brought our old VHF radio parts with us to sell via a nice lady we knew there who said she would sell it for us. (It did not sell). It was hard to spend more than 15 minutes there so that was a very quick stop. We then proceeded to the next highlight of the Redcliffe week-end which was the kite flying exhibition down by the water. There were dozens of huge kites being flown – including a half naked mermaid, a lobster, a couple of frogs, a squid, a whale, a shark and some other cute kites â€“ but the greatest part of the event was watching the official kite flyers who were all older looking men with huge beards, even huger bellies, and the general look of carnival workers. The park was filled with families and there were at least 100 food tents set up â€“ with a lot more attention being paid to the food than to the kites. If you think Americans eat poorly, you have to experience the Australian outlook on food â€“ fried doughnuts, fried potatoes, candy-floss, fried chicken, candy, more candy, thick and gooey pastry, pizza, and every other possible combination of fried, sugary and otherwise not so good for you food. It was a little bit like the Minnesota State Fair, only all concentrated into a 2 block area. We know that the bigger cities of Australia have all sorts of lovely restaurants and cultural events, but we are not quite in the same league here. Still, it was a lot of fun to get out and walk around with the Aussies. Some of the stands were selling handicrafts and various kinds of goodies and our favorite was the guy selling a special tool for making fishing lures which promised to â€œTake the pricks out of fishingâ€.
Mark has a list of 80 things to take care of on the boat before we go â€“ and my list is shorter , but still a bit exhausting.
Provisioning is almost done – just to give you some idea of volume here are just a few of the things we have:
Â· 18 boxes of Special K and a few other cereals
Â· 20 boxes of various mueslis
Â· 40 liters of UHT milk
Â· 28 chocolate bars (embarrassing, but true)
Â· 20 cans of various beans and chickpeas
Â· 20 cans of mushrooms
Â· 20 jars of curry paste
Â· 40 cans of tuna, sardines and mackerel
Â· 30 packages of Ramen
Tomorrow we will try to finish up the provisioning â€“ and tuck it all away into whatever space is left on the boat. It is kind of amazing how much stuff you can put in here. Now the problem will just be with me remembering where the heck I put all that chocolate!