Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sailing North. Or rather, not.

31st July 2011
Mackay Marina

Hi again!

The more observant Ocean Racer Chasers may have noticed that Capt’n Willi Cinque has abandoned writing the ships log on a day by day basis. This is mainly because of the discovery of which invites cruisers worldwide to write their blogs.

Interesting as they may be, they all contain the same ingredients. Sailed here. No wind or too much wind or wrong direction. Another bloody tropical Island. Dropped anchor. These other boats were also here. Had sundowners with Sally and Harry on the beach/their/our boat. Watched another bloody tropical sunset. Had dinner, went to bed, had breakfast, raised anchor, sailed here. Of course the more unobservant ORC would not have noticed that the blogs had stopped, or merely assumed that we had sunk. To you may I just say, Thank you for your support, and after I have washed it I will wear it often.

So, Capt’n Willi missed writing about our night at Digby Island which was quite delightful. (Dropped anchor, watched sunset, went to bed, etc. etc.) or our sail across to Mackay Marina ( wind too light, wrong direction… actually that isn’t true we had a great sail.) where we arrived some 10 days ago. We caught up with a good friend of ours, Chris from the Bavaria 50 Time Lord. He’s doing Airlie and Maggie in the same division as us. They arrived direct from Bundaberg and made our 36 hour stints seem tame with the mileage they put under her keel in single hits. We had a couple of dinners with them before they continued up to Airlie. We stayed, and Rona went back to Brisbane for business while I got frustrated negotiating with various people with varying proficiencies in English in different time zones, trying to do some research for an “Exciting New Business Venture” as they call it in BRW.

Mackay is a fantastic marina with a Yacht Club, pub, restaurants galore, and a great 5 star hotel. What it doesn’t have is a supermarket, or indeed any shops whatsoever. (Now there is an “exciting new business opportunity”). The day after Rona had gone I was getting cabin fever so decided to go into town. It was at this point that I discovered another oddity of the Mackay Marina. There are only 3 buses a day to Mackay, and none at all on Sundays, being a religious holiday presumably. (It’s only fortunate that the Sabbath is not observed in Brisbane. If it were there would be no taxis on Fridays).

I had arrived at the bus stop at 07.15. An examination of the timetable showed that the first bus was 08.45. However, it also showed that the bus would arrive at the Canelands Shopping Centre at 09.00.  A 15 minute journey if my maths are correct.

I have written about the reasons for my lack of mathematical skills before in these pages. It was in the blog about my days at Private School, or Public Schools as they are known in England. I think that blog was entitled “Rum, Sodomy and the Lash”. No it wasn’t, that was the working title. It was called “Why I wish I had paid more attention at maths” and it is at if you are interested. Anyway, using the Mr Singh method of solving a mathematical problem:  Bus takes 15 minutes, allow for stops, a 7 minute actual ride, Mackay is just a brisk walk.

Are the buses made by Ferrari? Is that why there are so few of them? An hour and a half later I was not so much brisk walking as staggering into Mackay like someone who has just crossed the Simpson on foot. Fortunately I got there just as the Number 12 bus from Mackay Marina arrived. Had it beaten me I would have been very miffed.

I had a haircut, and a bite of lunch before wandering around the very quaint old part of Mackay. At about 1.30 I felt I had experienced enough and that I should get back to the boat and my conversations with Indians. I eventually located the bus stop, looked at the timetable and the next (and last) bus back to the marina was at 16.05. Or in two and a half hours time.

I would like to say that the trip back was much easier. I would like to say that but I would be lying. No hat, no suntan lotion, no sunglasses and no water. What do they say about mad dogs and Englishmen?

Well, that is why I am a Yachtsman. We don’t walk. All I can say is don’t try that at home. Overall it was in excess of 20kms including wandering around town. (I measured it when I hired a car to collect Rona at the Airport yesterday). My knee seized during the night and I could hardly walk for the next two days. Talking to the Land of the Waving Palms takes patience that I was sadly lacking, and for once they felt like hanging up on me. At least I didn’t call at dinner time.

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