25th Jul 2012 - 31st Jul 2012
Port Douglas getting back 18
Wednesday 25th July.
“2 check ins on Friday“ I report to Annie and John. There is a pause. Annie repeats me and John comments casually “I heard chickens“. Looks like my Kiwi accent is hale and hearty. I tell them that my friends have to love me anyway!
Sailing tonight has the cute young Chilean naval officer Daniel who works on Calypso joining us and asking what each item is in English (bit different from the beautiful square rigged vessel he has been sailing on), also Huge Dave (Liz’s brother) again and a charming Irish woman Maureen. She has a whale of a time on the helm and her husband who joins us for dinner is most regretful he didn‘t come too. Mike is away with the fairies most of the night. Heaven knows where his head is. He tells me he is in his cave so I just say I’ll hang around playing happily at the entrance. That makes him smile at least.
Thursday 26th July.
I receive an email confirming I have the housesitting job in Melbourne in November. Yippee. The house is in Ivanhoe which is a reasonable distance NE of the city but that’s ok. I will have 2 Cavoodle dogs and an old cat to look after for 5 weeks. Easy peasy.
Beautiful day weatherwise, 27 degrees and the water is flat calm. Down the beach I bike and don’t care tuppence there is no mail to collect. It is such a lift to excerise in the sea air.
Mike asks if I am still outside the cave. I tell him yes and it is boring. I might wander off. 2 mins later there is a tap at the door and he says he thought he should check I was fine and not FINE as I am sometimes. I say I’m fine. He says good and that he stinks of diesel and heads home.
Friday 27th July.
This morning I have the first of many dentist appoinments at the James Cook University Dental School. My 4th year student is a perfectionist so I should be grateful. There is a 2nd year student as his assistant and I remark to the supervisor that my dentist would be a good tutor as he is explaining what he is doing and why really well to the younger one. I am waiting for the ‘oh oh...‘ to pop out of his mouth. He replaces 2 large old leaking amalgam fillings. Next week he has a root canal to do. Arrrgggh.
Mike pops over for a drink to finish the week. He has been working on Lee-Anne’s place down the road and the physical work has his arthritic toes and knee throbbing. He lives on pain killers I think. His knee is about twice the size of the other but there is no way he is having it drained in this tropical climate. This area is a dead cert for major infection. He’d rather put up with the pain.
Saturday 28th July.
Olympics opening ceremony but the earliest I can make it up is 6.30am, just in time for the tribute to children‘s literature. Great as Peter Pan is my all time favorite children’s play. Supposedly the Queen was parachuted into the grounds. I don’t quite believe that but I am sure that will all be repeated on the tv news later.
The Low Isles fun race is an annual event which comprises a sail to Low Isles, a swim to shore, a run around the small island, a swim back to a boat pick up, a sail to 4 mile beach, a swim to shore and lastly a grueling run along the beach, up to the lookout and back to the club. Yeah FUN. A big race where the athlete is crucial and the yachts have imported them from anywhere they can find them. The weather is sunny, not too hot but there is a strong wind warning issued. The J has been commandeered by another club member for this race so Mike and I have been invited aboard Indigo the ‘party‘ boat catamaran (meaning it never sails very well) but in these conditions it could be our day. Another boat, Sinabada, is missing its runner so Mike foolishly volunteers. Foolish I say because Catherine is aboard and she is a PE teacher for Heavens sake and used to be a competitive swimmer! What is he thinking! I tell him he is being really stupid and storm off but he wants to be a hero I suppose. The wind warning is ‘voted down‘ by the competitors at the briefing and we start the race at 11am. The wind is SE so it is a reach all the way to Low Isles and we hoon along as we should in a catermaran with high wind. We are frequently over 8 kts and are first to arrive at the drop off for crazy Pete, our ‘athlete‘ to swim and run around the island. He is 52, fairly unfit and does his best but runs in the sand rather than up around the trees and we also need 2 attempts to collect him with other yachts crowding the area. It is dodgy and dangerous. He reports that a reef shark cruising past him helped speed him up. We leave for the return sail leg in second position but another big yacht passes us all and we are slowed more by having to throw in a few extra tacks to avoid the reef off the island. The waves are a good 3 metres and wildly exciting for a catermaran sliding up and over them. It is an endurance race for everyone it seems as 2 of our passengers are chundering over the rail. Poor things. Sinabada retires from the race with technical difficulties, which has me wondering about Mike’s efforts...
Back at the beach we drop one of our sailors as well in order to recover Pete’s discarded expensive fins. Fortunately the surf and tide makes this an easy swim but the run is pretty awful. The race is over for the yacht so we relax and sail back to the club in the 3 metre following surf hitting 9.1 kts, tie up and wait for Pete at the finishing line. He looks really knackered when he arrives but we make it in second place over the line and that is fantastic. Back to the boat to party.
Mike tells me later that he learned something from this. He is older than he thinks. He even acknowledged it was a stupid decision. He really struggled with the swim and was relieved that Sinabada had sail issues which pulled them out of the race.
Amazingly 3 people from Indigo became members today, one of them was one of the girls chundering over the rail!!
Sunday 29th July.
Recovery day from the tough sailing yesterday. Work cleaning 2 rooms then out for a lazy bike ride.
Dinner tonight is another party for Catherine’s Mother’s 83rd birthday. She is visiting from NZ. Like many ‘expat scenes‘ many of us in Port Douglas are ‘from‘ somewhere and don’t have family around so whenever any turn up, we all support the gatherings. We are a family. The Chinese ‘banana split‘ place does have other food and for the 13 of us, there is food for Africa with the mains alone. Everyone is a little jaded and not really in the mood to tolerate one guy Gary who mouths dreadful red necked opinions at the top of his voice. It isn’t only me gritting my teeth. Catherine’s Mum is as gracious as ever but I am glad to hit the hay tonight.
Monday 30th July.
Bit of a nothing day. The weather is gorgeous. The town is full of tourists. Mike calls over after work for a cuppa before rushing home to cook dinner for Taylor. Lots of bonding required there since last week‘s departure.
Tuesday 31st July.
Boy! Some guests are right pigs! Most are good but today the amount of sand inside the apartment I have to clean is extraordinary. There are drifts of it throughout. The balcony has to be hosed! What is worse they either broke or stole the pretty china tea pot and jug. Grrr.
Out on the bike to cure myself.