I arrived back in Australia nearly a month ago, with some great plans scoped out and some nice crew lined up. Hannah and Erik from Sweden would join me, and possibly 1 other on the sail out to Lord Howe Island, and then onto Fiji where Amanda would rejoin too.
First I had some hard work to do - so it was a quick launch at RQYS, then down to the Boatworks. Already it was impossible to find toilet paper in the shops (fortunately, I had left some of that onboard, just not much food).
Boatworks was as superb as always. Though I was on my own, they were there to catch me, as I came into the ramp and Duplicat was soon out of the water. It was no drama for them to whip the dinghy off with a forklift, and later do the same with the old solar panel frame over the davits. Thanks Derek - it served me very well, but we need more power! Over the space of the next week, Duplicat went from 2 x 200w panels over the davits to 3 x 375watts bringing the total to just over 2kw. I have plans for the extra power, more of which later. We also fixed the bowsprit mount, fabricated roller bearings and alloy sheeves for the genoa cars, made longer pins for the same cars to stop them jumping. The new genoa and screecher arrived (though the continuous line furler is still somewhere en-route). I replaced all the fridge and freezer door seals and hinges. Wired up the new solar panels, shifted the satcoms mount over about 40mm. And so on and so on.
Robbie from Hope Island Marine Services has been a whizz with the aluminium work, and Seatech Marine are still great folks to work with. Boatworks itself remains hard to beat.
And through all of this, the restrictions on travel and shopping began to really bite. My Swedish crew were keen to come but as the border into Australia closed down it became apparent they would not make it. Worse (for me), Amanda won’t make it for some time. Another possible crew member is stuck in Western Australia. There are a few Aussies locally that I’ve met who could crew, but hard to plan anything at the moment, particularly as we can’t cross state borders for now.
Good friends, Gavin and Nadine have been helping me out - even shopping for me and bringing it up to my current isolated anchorage in their power cat. Other Aussies I’ve met on Crewbay have also been very kind, and keeping in touch which is very nice.
So, I’m safely anchored off South Stradbroke island, have enough food and friends nearby who I can reach out to if needs be. I may move down to be closer to the shops soon, as once the furler arrives I will start heading a bit more north. For now I’m stuck in Queensland, but we can move around, so I may as well go and see some of the Great Barrier Reef. Maybe with Jadean so we can do some diving, but we’ll see - everyone’s plans have been even more changeable than normal even for cruisers :)
Stay safe everyone!