Revisiting these musings gives me mixed feelings regarding how much, and how little some things have changed since I bought Dreamagic nearly 12 years ago. I always thought getting older was a gradual process but it isn't, at least not for me. I am suddenly older now and feeling it. I am not as adventurous, or a self assured as I used to be. I can feel my physical limitations. When embarking on a new adventure I even sometimes think "Are you sure that's a good idea?" as I look in a mirror and see my father looking back at me. Of course it is! The Difference Between Ordeal and Adventure is Attitude. Here is the latest adventure.
Just an update to where I am.
Dreamagic is sailing up the Queensland coast on her annual migration north. I am currently anchored off Great Keppel Island. There have been a few difficulties coming up, minor but annoying. The autopilot hasn't worked since leaving Brisbane so we have hand steered for 10 days. I recalibrated a dozen times, factory reset it, went through all the self tests, still it wouldn't hold a course. The Government in their wisdom gave me $750 a couple of months ago so I spent it on a Wuhan Gibson Les Paul guitar. I have never had an electric guitar before and this one came with a really good amp. I put that in the corner of the cabin and would plug my guitar in and try to play. In the cabin on a shelf, directly above the fluxgate compass! So the autopilot would always point to the amp which has a humongous magnet in it. Moved the speaker, autopilot fixed! I found that out just off Gladstone
Going past Gladstone in the very early morning I noticed that while we had a full tank at Bundaberg, we only had 2/3 of a tank now and the level of diesel was dropping fast. With no autopilot I couldnt leave the helm, (Rob was asleep) so I decided that rather than risk it I would go into Gladstone to investigate a serious and potantially dangerous fuel loss. Suspecting a leaking tank or burst hose I couldnt understand why I could not find 150 litres of diesel which should be sloshing about in the bilge. It turned out to be a faulty fuel guage or sender unit!
At Pancake creek the anchor winch wouldn't. I stripped the switch and tested it, remade all the connections, tested the solenoid, couldn't find a fault. I braced myself to have it rebuilt in Yeppoon and started reseaching for someone to fix it. The next day the anchor winch works fine.
We did catch a great mackerel off Dreamagic. Really big, with the dinghy in the davits it was going to be difficult to land, particularly as I don't have a gaff or landing net because I have never got this far in the process before. We were under sail so slowing the boat was difficult. Bob was kicking off as I got the fish to the transom, but Rob grabbed the line and dragged it into the cockpit from under the dinghy. Bob was now trying to bite the fish, the fish was trying to bite anything near it, so I went looking for a knife to kill either one of them. Suddenly the fish spat the hook and flip flopped down the cockpit sole back into the ocean.
Rob Brearley has been helping me sail the boat up here. He came down to Manly to start the trip, we stayed in Bundaberg where he lives for a week, and now he is helping me take the boat to Yeppoon. All the time we have been having his wife's delicious banana cake each morning for breakfast. Bananas! There is the problem. I ban bananas on the boat but missed this. No more bananas on the boat!!
We have been anchored off Keppel a couple of days now. There are about 30 boats here. Last night at Sundowners I played guitar and sang in public for the first time. Fortunately Rob is a professional muso who has been playing over 50 years. He carried me which was great. Unusual among musicians it may be that my debut and swan song were both on the same night but at least it's something else off the bucket list.
And that's about it. DM is going into Yeppoon on Monday and Rob goes back to Bundaberg. I will stay there or return to Great Keppel for a week and then Jules Morrisson, another friend of mine arrives and the adventure continues.