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Sailng on Windwanderer.
16th Dec 2013
16th December to 21st December 2013

The lost weeks Monday 16th December to Saturday 21st December 2013.

Wow how time flies, we have been so busy I have not had a moment to rest, we have been racing like crazy, but today I finally am making the time to catch up on my blog.
Just a warning this one may turn into a novel...haha

So let's start at the very beginning...haha this sentence always reminds me of the song in The Sound Of Music movie, you all know it,

Let's start at the very beginning
A very good place to start
When you read you begin with A B C
When you sing you begin with Do Re Mi

Yeah I know I'm gonna be singing it all day now, along with the rest of you...haha

So way back on Monday 16th Robin and I got stuck in an oiled almost every bit of timber trim on deck, we went flat out all day so this here vessel of ours can look a bit better when the Family and friends see her.
The Captain had the horrible job of still dealing with Customs and racing around getting papers scanned and sent to our customs broker, and chasing him up almost hourly, we are now waiting on quarantine to give us the ok and then we can finally get out of here.

Tuesday morning we decided we had had enough, and decided to go anyway as we are still allowed to sail in Brisbane waters we figured by late this afternoon we would only then be leaving Brisbane waters so they could just contact us by phone and if they insisted on looking over the boat again we could pull in somewhere along the way and they would just have to come to us.
We were so over the Australian officials, serious if it was not for family and friends we would never have brought the boat back to Australia it is discusting how we have been treated and quite frankly Australian officials you should hang your head in shame, we have sailed over half way around the world and have never ever been treated like we have here in our own country.

The exit at the Marina did not go well with a marina employee suppose to be holding the ropes let go and we slammed into a piling and bent the bow sprit, then going into the fuel dock was almost as bad with me fending off a roof and The Captain and Robin trying so hard to hold ropes and pulling us in closer to the dock, but somehow we managed to fuel up and limp out of the river, still in one piece.

Once we reached the boarder of how far we were legally allowed to sail and still we had not heard anything we just kept on going...haha call us pirates but with luck we finally got the call to say we were allowed to leave, hours and hours after we were way out of Brisbane waters...haha

We did not have an easy trip down the coast we were slammed by everything, poor Robin got the lot, from peaceful seas, to raging winds, from going so slow it nearly drove us crazy, to racing at one stage doing 10knots.
We had no idea what day we would reach Swansea Channel it changed from Saturday to Sunday almost hourly.

Our newly fixed transmission that cost over $900 to fix let us down the first day, one very hairy moment and many more to come when the drive just stopped turning, we quickly discovered that we were losing transmission fluid at an alarming rate, and only had enough on board to run the engine for so many hours, so we had to pace ourselves with the usage of the engine, which was not easy as sometimes we were just sailing so slow and needed to get moving all the time.
We had worked out all the high tides at Swansea as it's quite shallow there and needed to be there on the high tide to go through the entrance.
The transmission was just the start of the breakages it seems like we can not sail anywhere without something going wrong, in high seas and strong winds a bracket that holds the traveler that holds one of the ropes in place for the Yankie sail, just came apart from the rail and bent right back, this is such a thick piece of steal and shocked us all how it just bent, so The Captain had to get on his harness and get out there and rig up another way so we could at least furl in and out the Yankie, I happened to be coming up the steps the next day and looked over at the other side and the same was happening there we quickly moved the traveler back some so it was less pressure on that one which worked fine.
The other major thing that went wrong was the main sail our great new system let us down once again, the track that also holds a traveler type thingy came apart and as we were letting out the main sail it fell off with ball bearing flying everywhere once again the safety harnesses went on and The Captain and Robin went out and jury rigged it and off we went again.
The last 12 hours we were hit with a southerly and it was touch and go wether  we would even make it to Swansea at all we almost went into Newcastle harbour, we were just getting nowhere and beating into the wind doing around 2 knots if we were lucky.

I was not happy about going into Newcastle harbour at all, we had come this far and it has been our dream for so long to sail into Swansea with family and friends to greet us on shore as we went by, so we ploughed on I think The captain and Robin were not happy about this at all and there was a few tense moments with The Captain and crew but we made it, in hind sight we would of been so much better going into Newcastle Harbour, but to their credit not one of them said a word about I told you so, even though I was saying it to myself over and over....haha 

The entrance into the channel was a shocker, we skimmed over a very shallow spot all holding our breaths but made it just fine, only to go through a very narrow spot and the transmission died on us once again. it had happened several times before and we had worked out how many hours we could get on refilling it so we should of been fine, but obviously no one told the boat this, she had her own way of working it out.

So we are faced with a huge break wall of rocks shallow water on the other side and one very fast moving current, we had no hope in hell of doing anything, The Captain grabs the radio and calls Lake Macquaire Rescue for urgent help and then Robin and him race to get the anchor down only for the switch to die on us.
They had to get it down by hand and by this time we had hit the rocks side on.
Talk about panic I honestly thought we would ship wreak the boat right here, but with luck it was a very gentle hit and we only took off a small amount of paint, also it helped that the rescue boat got to us really quick.
This was all watched by family and friends on shore much to their amusement when they announced over the loud speaker that the bridge was opening up for an emergency and the rescue boat came flying through with lights flashing, it's so typical we sail all this way and come to a crashing halt in full view of all the family, I'm sure they are still scratching their heads and questioning our sanity.

So we get towed off and the rescue boat decided it was much safer all round if they towed us all the way under the bridge and to a safe anchorage, so with all the mob watching us we got towed passed them waving and crying by almost all, it was a very moving moment on my part at least when I spotted my Mum and Dad man did the tears flow than my boy who told me all along that he would not be able to come watch us, and of coarse my Bek and Ant, my best friend lyn and her husband Pete and my sister Di and Stuart and some friends as well.

They start towing us through the bridge at an alarming rate and we swayed to the port and the stays caught and scrapped right along the top of the bridge man what a noise it made I'm sure the whole of Swansea heard this but luckily no damage was done.

we told everyone we would go to Lake Macquarie yacht club and tie up so as we were getting towed there they all jumped in their cars to meet us there.
It was not meant to be the so called rescue boat pulled us right onto a sand bank and we were stuck solid.
They decided to turn us around and were going to take us to a buoy just this side of the bridge, so I rang everyone to go back to Swansea, only to find out that we are too heavy for their buoy, so they got us in 5 meters of water just of Pelican, so another phone call to everyone this time to come to pelican luckily these suburbs are very close to each other so they did not have that much of a distance to go, but I'm sure they were getting over going this way and that by now.

Friends of ours Deb and Rod have a boat at pelican marina so they loaded up everyone except mum and dad as they needed to get home, and ferried them all out to us, where many more tears happened, Robin jumped off the boat with the rescue crew and they took him ashore as he was getting picked up from there but it was so funny watching him take off with this relieved look on his face, and thanking us for a great time and the near death experiences... Haha

We enjoyed a great afternoon catching up, it's good to finally be home.

Well tomorrow is another day.

Next: Monday 21st April 2014
Previous: Sunday 15th December 2013

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