09 January, 2017

Plans written in the sand at low tide

2017 is upon us but it would not be right to let 2016 go without a review of some of the milestones of the past year.

My beloved V6 3L VW combi came to a halt in the heat of December on the way to the coast.  It has carried our family across the plains of Africa, through the Okavango delta where we did a head over heels and stopped for three days, to the far north of Queensland where a large cow stopped us in our tracks.  That kept the VW off the road for 14 months however it rose again to ride again but maybe not this time.
A new VW Caddy Maxi has taken it place. Not as strong but currently more reliable.

The early part of 2016 was focused on the garden and rejuvenating some of the major internal element of Malua.  The generator had a major overhaul with new rings, electrics and upgraded alternator system.  It now puts out more than 100 amps of DC when it is in generator mode. The attached water maker is next in line.

The feathering Autoprop dropped one blade after the many hours of motoring across the Pacific.  I had to remove it, pack it up and send it back to the UK to fit a new blade and then balance it.  It was returned bright and shiny but that uncovered a new problem, a bent shaft.  That was replaced and on went the propeller.  All good again.

The timber ketch Red Reef was sold after Phill's death but I was unable to transfer ownership because the local boating officer seized the vessel under dubious reasons.  He paid the price later in the year.  I helped the new owner sail the vessel north to Sydney where it will undergo some well deserved TLC.

The first of July came with the disturbing news that Malua had been "stolen" from my berth in the Batemans Bay Marina by a transport contractor and the marina manager.  It was placed on an inappropriate mooring in the Clyde River fairway.  The criminal matter is still in the hands of the police while civil matters are developing as the file expands in size.

I sailed Malua south to Bermagui and secured a long term berth in the new marina.  A friendly, secure, safe and well built facility.  There is a great community of people in the marina and the passing vessels add a new face weekly.  I cant be happier.

A group of concerned boat owners formed the Batemans Bay Boaters Association which has has some success in the Bay and the wider boating community.  I now sit on the Recreational Vessels Advisory Group which is part of Maritime's consultative forums. I also visited the Crown Lands Minister in Sydney on marina matters and look forward to reading some recommendations from an in depth report on our local.

Local shire council elections came and went with a few new faces.  The bureaucrats are still the same however transparency and accountability are now more on the agenda.  I look forward to some accountability in respect of DA.  Which reminds me that the mud-flats to the east of the marina have been dredged not in June and July but well outside the allotted time window.  The pied oyster catcher chicks died in the construction netting - a great loss.

In October 2016 a new crew member arrived on schedule: Ruby Louis.  The family are thrilled while Theo has to compete for attention.

Malua has a new floor in the saloon, a chart table upgrade, a saloon table varnish as has the granny seats and cockpit table.  The "glass" has been replaced in all five portlights and the hatch surrounds given a new coat of varnish while the headliners taken down and the dust of many a sand storm cleaned from behind them.

The chartplotter, auto helm and instruments have been replaced, serviced or fitted with new screens.  All are ship shape and Bristol fashion.
Ten years of stores, spares, books, odds and ends have been removed.

What does this all mean you ask?  Well Malua is almost ready to put to sea again. To set out into the sun rise for distant shores.  It is proposed that Malua visit the cruising grounds of Tasmania during the best part of the summer.  So watch this space as our wake moves south to the best cruising grounds in the world.  That is the plan until the tide comes in.