Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Very wet, then dry, then skimmed, then safe . . . .

Just made it in time and safely into Newcastle. But this was certainly not a dull crossing. We've had 2 days of motoring, 2 days under spinnaker and six days of close haul or tight reach with quite rough seas. Very quickly the boat became more and more wet through all kinds of leaks always very difficult to identify and pinpoint. Some of it came through fittings on deck like stanchion bases, some came through along the mast despite a brand new Spartite system, probably water seeping between the plate on deck and the deck itself. Some more came through the rectangular portholes on the hull. Then there is probably the condensation on the hull.
Everything was so wet that the three crews rapidly reinvented the hot bunk system, the three of them sharing the two bunks in the main cabin. My very clever setting up of a bunk on top of the water tank obviously has not convinced anyone yet . .. .
And then, two days before arriving, we went dry on water with tanks half full, as this was the moment that the water pump chose to give up. Fortunately, I had installed (or rather Stew installed) a foot pump in the galley for sea water, and all we had to do was to connect the water hoses to the foot pump and we were back in business. I was not worried since I had taken the precaution to get a spare pump before leaving Virginia and knew we could easily install once in port.
Then we arrived in Newcastle. Everytime I spoke to the authorities, I made sure that they knew that I had no problem whatsoever going to the Quarantine buoy, since we were there after hours, and spend the night there. However, they instructed us to proceed to the marina and tie up there where they were waiting for us. And aboard came two customs officers and one health official. Customs was nice, professional and helpful. Health was not. For his visit and hauling out a small bag of vacuum packed garbage and a bag of foodstuff that we were not allowed to keep, he charged us 522 australian dollars, including 190 for overtime, although the invoice does not indicate those details at all. After years of cruising in all kinds of countries, I had never been hit with a charge that stiff. I could not help but mention to them that in New Zealand not only was the visit by the authorities, customs and health free of charge, but they gave us a welcome kit including a bottle of wine and two glasses to drink it, which I found a very civilized welcome.
Once they had left, we discovered that the fridge was no longer working. It was late, we were tired, and we ended up checking all that we could on the electric circuit in the wron places. So we moved the food to the freezer and went to bed.
Next morning, with a fresh mind, we found that all we needed to do was to clean the two fuses on the compressor unit. Philippe then installed the new water pump, reconnected the hoses, and we were back in business, at least for running water and refrigeration.
We can now, with the wind hauling at 25 knots inside the marina, look forward to our stay in Newcastle.
You won't get photos, even of the nice tuna that we caught two days before arrival, as my camera took an unwanted shower of sea water. I will replace it soon so be patient.

1 comment:

gary and beryl said...

you guys arrived safely pity about the health officials thier reputation is well known.
Mason Bay now in Whangarei 1 week all well 6.65lt per hour and 5.89kts average for the 1000 miles.

Gary aka the Undertaker