The first weekend at MOFSC a Seawind Regatta of 5 boats arrived for a few days of sailing and socializing. Our friend Janice took us for a drive around Mandurah showing us the beautiful Peel and Harvey Inlets as well as their canal front home where they have moored their new boat Zoa Brunk which they purchased in Mooloolaba and sailed back to WA this year. We met Jan and Mick at Lizard Island with Brian and Betty in June.
The new membranes for the water maker had arrived in Australia however it was not until Thursday 19 November that they could be installed and tested. All went well apart from us needing to purchase some new high pressure fittings. The first week in Mandurah we experienced a few days of strong winds and rain so that kept us on the boat. I caught up on some of my sewing projects. Cran unfortunately had a dental emergency (a broken tooth) and after a visit to the Dentist in Mandurah, then a trip to Perth to visit the oral surgeon, he was scheduled for the following Monday to have his tooth extracted. Many thanks to Tony the Bosun at MOFSC for lending us his car for that first trip back to Perth.
We spent the time doing yet more boat maintenance – painting and varnishing, cleaning etc etc etc, we always have a To Do List that seems to grow even as we cross things off. While installing new o’rings on the hatch handles Cran had the misfortune to drop a part of the handle and as usually happens, it falls over the side of the boat instead of through the hatch. It provided an opportunity for Cran to try out our new Power Dive hooker. After about 20 minutes feeling around the weed on the bottom in 4 metres of water Cran recovered the part which was about the size of a golf ball.
We hired a car and drove to Harvey, a picturesque town to the south where friends Vince and Blanch live. They took us to lunch at Stirling Cottage on the banks of the Harvey River which was very relaxing. They have just sold their home and plan to move back to Queensland.
This week saw us back in Perth on Monday for Cran to have surgery to remove his tooth. All went well and he did not experience any side effects which has been great. We spent Tuesday and Wednesday preparing the boat to leave Thursday for Bunbury. Unfortunately our delays have meant that we will now be sailing through lobster pot territory as the commercial lobster season has just started. Not such a problem during the day but a different story when sailing at night as we will have to do at times.
Friends from Fremantle, Steve and Mike arrived at Mandurah on their way south to Albany and we spent time with them. Steve’s boat Lazy Bones was purchased in Malaysia and he is sailing around Australia then on to the Pacific before heading back to the UK, his home. Mike is from Fremantle and he and his wife Helen are heading north next year on their yacht Proteus 11, hopefully we will meet up again on the Queensland coast some time in the future. They left Tuesday in fair weather and when we arrived in Bunbury they were anchored off the town beach, after having a wild time of it beating south then loosing their satellite navigation due to a computer problem. They decided to turn back to Bunbury to get things sorted. We had just dropped anchor when Steve phoned and invited us over for dinner which we gratefully accepted after our own wet and lumpy sail down from Mandurah. The next day Cran was able to return the favour by fixing Steve’s computer problems.
On the trip down to Bunbury we were motor sailing and encountered a problem where the engine suddenly lost power. The most likely cause was something wrapped around the prop but unfortunately it was too rough to go over the side to investigate. The beauty of having 2 engines, we were able to switch to the other engine for the rest of the trip. Cran dived on the prop the next morning and found the prop wrapped with a woven plastic bag like the type used for bulk rice sacks. Bad luck to pick up something like that 10 Nm offshore.
Koombana Bay, Bunbury is a good anchorage just off the yacht club, main beach and town. There is a Dolphin Centre just to the north of the beach where daily encounters with live dolphins can be experienced. On Friday a large school group were there for the day and we could see the dolphins as they came close to shore to be fed by the children. Our friend Roy arrived Friday flying in from Brisbane. He will join us on our journey south around Cape Leeuwin and then we start heading east, firstly to Albany, then Esperance and hopefully across the Bight to Port Lincoln then on to Adelaide for Christmas. He arrived with a Christmas cake baked by his wife Deborah however I am not sure if it will make it to Adelaide!
Yesterday we came down to Dunsborough and took a mooring off the main beach. It was a beautiful afternoon with smooth clear waters so Roy was keen to launch the kayaks and have and explore. Today we have been preparing the boat for our trip around to Albany. We will leave about 5am and should be in Albany late Tuesday afternoon. We are all looking forward to this leg where we will sail around Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin. At Cape Leeuwin we will leave the Indian Ocean and enter the Southern Ocean with its big rolling swell. We are fortunate to have a favourable weather window for the next few days.