27 March, 2022

Cruising the Lakes

Malua has travelled in may waterways around the world from the high seas of the southern ocean to the canals of France and also the brown waters of the inter-coastal waterways (ICW) of the east coast of the USA.  Maybe the most amazing waterway was the Hudson River flowing down the shores of Manhattan where we stayed opposite 48 St for almost a month.  Now this last location was right in the bustle and noise of down town New York so to set off up the placid water ways of the Victorian Gippsland Lakes was what Denny and I needed.

The passage westwards up the entrance area is quite easy and very well buoyed.  We entered the Bancroft Bay which opens up to a wide lake and headed for the northern shore and Chinaman's Creek.  Here we stayed the night and the following day exploring the creek and the surrounding bush land - a bit different to downtown Manhattan or even Lyon. 

Next day up the anchor which was covered in mud and off to the local pub at Metung for a drink and some food.  This is a great place to walk along the shore and look into the many holiday homes overlooking the water.

Where to next?  Well you dont have to look for a weather window or even consider the swell or wind.  It is just cast off the lines and off one goes to the next destination which in our case was Paynesville.

We pulled alongside and tied up to a very accessible dock and walked the water front before preparing one of the gourmet meals Malua is famous for.  No French truffles and Brest chicken at the local market here but still good food.

I unpacked my folding bicycle and rode to the local marina and boatyard.  Only to find it was up a creek and not easy to access or to find a local motel so Lakes Entrance was a good choice.

After a long walk on Raymonds Island we returned to Malua and a good sleep.  Next day it was off to the upper reaches of the lakes into Duck Bay and the bush surrounds.  Unfortunately it rained and rained for a few days so we were constrained from doing any long walks but did see a few tracks.  All well signposted and easy to follow - where has the adventure gone in the modern world?

It was now time to head back to Paynesville and towards Lakes Entrance.  No planning required just up anchor or in this case let go the mooring line and point the bow along the track to the next waypoint and there you go - we are on passage.

We stopped at Paynesville for a few provisions and at Metung for an evening G&T then head back to Lakes Entrance.  The water outflow was with us and we made quick time back to our spot at Lakes Entrance waterfront along with the fishing fleet.

Thankfully our VW Golf was still in the parking spot we had left it next to a few fisherman's vehicles who had also gone to sea - quite a relief.

A magical moment on Malua

25 March, 2022

On the hard - Anti-fouling

Bullocks Island government hardstand is a very well run facility with safety and security featuring very high.  One has to do an online safety course before they will take you out of the water with a well managed travel lift.  It was done very well but they sure know how to charge for extras you did not ask for.

Finally get Malua on the ground with scaffolding all around. and ready to start the work.

An aside.  One of the reasons I had chosen this location was that I had been negotiating with a potential purchaser of Malua who lived near Melbourne and we had agreed that as a condition of purchase he would organise an out of water survey to occur after the anti-fouling had been applied - about Wednesday.

He arrived on Friday evening just as I had docked Malua at the new location and asked to come aboard.  After some hesitation I said yes and he came down below.  From the instant he stepped aboard I knew he was not interested in the purchase because he took little interest in the vessel.  I answered his questions and then asked him to leave but he again insisted to see the vessel on the hard on Monday - what could I say?  On Monday he arrived and looked at the bottom and prop.  I asked when would the surveyor be arriving and he came out with the statement: I have not arranged one!  Well that left me up in the air with very little time to organise one at this location in two day.  My full persuasive power where brought in to bear as I asked a local surveyor to do the job.  Thankfully he arrived on the appointed time and undertook a very comprehensive and detailed survey.  Malua passed with flying colours.

Now on with the work.  I have completed a wash, sand and two coats of anti-fouling in less than 8 hours along the east coast of America when cruising in that area.  That was hard work and good organisation but it is possible with a night to dry before splash down the next morning.

Our labour laws only let the locals work from 7:00 am to 3:50 pm four days a week - Fridays is early knock off.  Here they want to lock up so you cant stay on board or work after hours.  Most days I had to rush to pack up before they close and find a motel to stay the night in - just a short walk away.

No one afternoon I forgot a vital item on board as I hurried to close up Malua for the night and only realised that I had left it behind on reaching the motel.  As they say in Australia "No worrys"  This would not be the first or even the last marina with high fences I have entered after it was secure for the night.  It would not be good protocol to reveal my modus operandi but I can tell you at low tide the security goes out with the water.  I was able to walk - shoes off right into the compound and get my item then approach the automatic gate which opened for me to exit - easy 

This is the first time I have ever used Prop Speed anti-fouling on one of my propellers.  While in Queensland at Boat Works I was able to walk up to the counter of a chandler and order a small pack of the valuable covering - no questions asked.  In NSW they will not sell you the product unless you go on a course with a very high price tag and the people who have undertaken the course are not allowed to sell you the product.

After reading the instruction more than once, watching the videos and finally doing the preparation in fine detail it was time to paint on this golden magical covering.  Well it was simple and definitely not worth the cost of the course but wait will it work?  We will have to wait and see.

Splash down happened rather easily and I motored up river again to find a spot along side a floating pontoon waiting for Denny to arrive - this time in our car for a few weeks cruising in the lakes