After our first two sails around Moreton, we decided to take a closer look at the condition of things before the serious trip to Newcastle. First stop was the engine, an original 1976 Perkins tractor diesel, marinised for boats. While it doesn’t look the best, it still seems to go strong and reliably. The coupling from gear box to propeller shaft however, was about to disintegrate! Of the four bolts holding it together, all were loose and worn, only two had nuts, and one was sheared off. If I hadn’t replaced the bolts, the coupling would have flown to bits and the propeller could have pulled the shaft out of the boat. This would leave a nice hole for water to flood in, and given us that sinking feeling. Continue reading
Since our first sail went off without a hitch (ie, we didn’t sink), our confidence was boosted a little, so we decided to head off for 2 nights at Moreton Island. We set sail once again, but once again, the the wind abandoned us and we were left with no choice but to motor over to the island. We made it to the sand hills without any trouble and practised our anchoring skills in shallow waters. The water was so beautiful and clear we could actually see the sandy bottom!
To say that there is an abundance of wildlife in Moreton Bay would be an understatement. On our way over, we gate-crashed hundreds of Blue Blubber parties. They are everywhere, covering every square metre of water – some quite big, and some teeny tiny babies who tumble in the teeny tiny waves of our bow.
Once we were anchored, we hopped in the dinghy and went to shore with many sightings of starfish below along the way. We went for a climb up the small sand hills and made it to what we think was the top, feeling as though we’d just run a marathon. Sand dune climbing is hard work, so we decided to forego the big sand hills. At the top, we had a full 360 degree view. It was gorgeous. It was a great feeling to look out to Moreton Bay and see our boat anchored there alone (it was winter) and to realise that we OWNED her and that this was only the beginning of our “cruising holiday” careers.
It was many moons from buying our boat to the first sail. But sail it we did – sort of. Our boat is a gorgeous 1976 Westail 32 named ‘Makroro’ (how to pronounce that properly, we’re still not sure), complete with moon and sun lead lighted portholes!
We purchased the boat in Manly QLD, but we live down in Newcastle NSW. So after finalising the sale, it was some weeks before we excitedly travelled up to take her out for her first sail. When we got there, I decided that the first thing we should do was to plumb the head to the holding tank (that’s the toilet for all those non-boaties out there). This was a bad idea. About four days later, after many trips to the Chandlery (the boat supplies shop), and many bouts of swearing and being covered in poop, we realised it was a way bigger job than we’d bargained for. So we said “F*** it, let’s hold our bowels and just go sailing already!”.