25 March, 2009

Servicing the Mooring

Camrod Marine has a commercial mooring in Batemans Bay located to the south west of Square Head. It is the mooring from which Malua came loose the fateful day it landed up on the rocks. The mooring is located in a position that people believe they can use without my knowledge. Large vessels routinely used the mooring. I failed to check the mooring the night i secured Malua to it. When we left Malua on the mooring that night in preparation to sail to the Sydney to Hobart race the mooring parted and Malua drifted on to the shore. When I showed the mooring line to an experienced mariner he suggested it had been cut with a knife. This has been confirmed by other people who have examined the line. The evidence is so strong but I do not wish to think that someone would cut the mooring through spite. I do know that many people within the Bay would figuratively put a knife in my back but cut my mooring...well. I now service the mooring every year. Yesterday was the annual survey.
Stephen and I took his Catalina across the bar and out to the mooring. The mooring is in five meters of water. It has a large block with three chain links attached. To this we have shackled four meters of large link chain which is then shackled to a large swivel. Spliced to the top of the swivel through a galvanised thimble is a 25mm nylon line within a plastic tube. The mooring bouy is at the end of this 5 meter line. The tube is protection against abrasion and to make it easier to remove the marine growth that inevitably grows onto the line beneath the mooring bouy.
This morning the tide was about to run out so we either had to service it early at the top of the tide or hang around for the low tine. The weather was beautiful and the water was crystal clear so we started early. I scraped off the marine growth along the length of the mooring line as I pulled more of it into the dingy which we had towed behind the Catalina. After doing this for more than an hour the swivel was just below the surface and I had to don scuba gear and inspect the two swivels and the state of the chain and shackles. They where all in very good order. The lower shackle was buried in sand with no corrosion or wear. The upper shackle's stainless steel securing wire on the bolt had corroded so I replaced that with three strands. The nylon line was in almost perfect condition. The concrete block had not sunk into the sand as far as I would have liked so next season I will assist it into a hole with the use of a air lift pump to remove the sand at its base. I repainted the notice on the red mooring bouy – Not Safe – Do not use. So any person picking up my mooring will be well informed that they are not permitted and do so at their own risk.
Having completed the work we took Tegwin for a sail south towards Pretty Point where Denny has stationed herself with the camera. She took some lovely shots as we ran down wind then turned to sail back to the Bay. A great day.

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