Monday, February 14, 2011

Day 32 A One Night Stand and an Ugly American

Urangan Harbour
Hervey Bay

12th February

We were going to leave at 5.00 am for the high tide but it was still too dark to navigate the unlit channel. We decided to wait until 14.00 so had breakfast at the pub. We bumped into Steve and Dulcie who joined us for coffee before going back to the boat.

CMap on the rocks
Calculations were correct and we got out without too much drama, although the screenshot shows the accuracy of Cmap. We favoured the channel but the plot shows us straight over the rocks. Our next destination is Urangan which is 80 miles away. The forecast is for E/SE winds but as usual the E part was a no show and we motored the entire trip directly into the wind.

Rona and I are quite good at night sailing and watch keeping together and the night passed uneventfully. Dawn revealed the coastline and we entered Urangan Harbour at about 10.00am.

Our plan was to refuel and then park but that was easier said than done. The harbour was so crowded and because it was a Sunday and there were so many boats moving, manoeuvring was a nightmare. We finally found the fuel wharf but found that although it was a floating dock, the piles were outside the concrete rather than in it. Consequently our topsides would hit the concrete piles. We decided to find our berth and sort that particular problem out later.

A tight berth
Our allocated berth was one of the most difficult I have ever encountered. It was a blow on berth but at a dogleg angle to everything near it. The berths have very little room between the fingers too so this was going to be tight.

We were making our approach when a head poked out of the boat beside us and an American accent asked if we needed a hand. I said we did and got the stern line ready to throw. Unfortunately the American failed to actually make it to our dock, preferring to give me a hand by telling me in an extremely loud American nasal whine what I was doing wrong. ”It’s a blow on berth! He shouted, “You are not gunna make it!” His only concern, and the reason for his offer was to protect his own boat, not to actually be neighbourly. (Now I understand why there is no U in the American neighbor !) . We would have made it easily had he taken the stern line but he just continued to shout in ever increasing decibels “It’s a blow on berth, you are not gunna to make it”.

With Rona, thinking the stern was taken care of, she started tending the bow line. The boat stopped midships to the front pile and with the stern still free pivoted so that the bow came around and the stern went towards his boat. I threw the stern line at the American who was now shouting “I told ya that ya wouldn’t make it”. I asked him to secure the stern but he was more intent to embarrass us and stood holding the rope I had thrown, making no attempt to actually secure it.  In my best English accent I explained what I wanted in simple international  language. “ Secure that f#@cking line”. The mouth on the dock continued to rant, Dreamagic was now side on to her pen and a large tour vessel was coming out of the channel we were in so that we could not move. Ugly American would not shut up, so I asked him, quite politely I thought, where he thought I should go?  “I am where I should be”  he said and threw the stern line back on Dreamagic before going to the sanctity of his own boat.

With what I considered brilliant boat handling skills on our part, we waited for the tour boat to pass, motored out, started our procedure again and backed in without incident. I could see our American friend seething on his boat as he was torn between wanting us to mess it up again and not wanting damage to his boat. No such luck and we tied off and walked to the Marina Office.

Another problem that we face is that our new alternator has decided not to play any more. Our batteries are down and although we can charge them with shore power,  Rona has meetings in Brisbane on Wednesday and right now we are kicking around the option of leaving early tomorrow and pulling another all nighter to get to Mooloolaba but I am concerned that if our batteries fail we may be stranded. However, having had no sleep for 30 hours, right now what we need is bed.

In the late afternoon we went to the Hervey Bay Boat Club. I had been here years ago when delivering Carpe Diem to Cairns. Then we were initially refused entry because I was not wearing socks. (What yachtie wears socks? Well ours do, sir.)  This time they have relaxed the rules and entry was easy. The place hadn’t changed though. Harvey Bay is predominantly a huge retirement village. He club knows this and caters for it. Meals are unbelievably cheap, and the duo dressed in their black shirts and bright yellow trousers with ties to match play “Spanish Eyes” on a doowack machine while pretending to strum. Meanwhile the patrons put the Tuesday Line Dancing and Thursday Tango lessons they practice to good use on the dance floor. Personally I think it’s great to see but the bit I didn’t get until half way through the second bottle of wine is that these people are not much older than me! I never see myself as nearing retiring. Christ how can I be retiring from something I haven’t started yet!

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