Frosty toes & drippy noses!

There isn’t a great deal to tell you in the way of exciting updates or interesting news but I miss not ‘writing’ on my blog, so I thought I would make a posting with some general chit-chat! Firstly, we are happily bobbing at anchor in a peaceful location that does not overlook suburbia or moreover, our previous home! Having finally been delivered of our new clear zip up covers that enclose the back cockpit into a snug area protected from most weathers, we were able to finally cast off and move away from the Redcliffe Peninsula.

The new zip up clears in cockpit area

The new zip up clears in cockpit area

Fuelling up before leaving Scarborough

Fuelling up before leaving Scarborough

Saying that, we cannot sail too far away right now as we have committed ourselves to returning back to the marina mid July for a wedding that I would hate to miss out on- that of my close friend, Lillian’s son, David whom I have known since childhood. Lillian is a wonderful friend and over the past 25 years we have shared many memorable times cooking for hoards of kids on school camps, creating hundreds of Christmas hampers and catering for all sorts of events. However, the occasions I enjoy most are when I participate in the pre party preparations that go hand in hand with any function their family hosts. This invariably involves preparations on an epic scale, with family & friends turning their hands to whatever job needs to be done to transform their country property into a fairy wonderland of flower decked arbours, decorated marquees and tables groaning under a mountain of home cooked feasts. Lillian can cook, paint, teach or sew better than anyone I know, and whatever she creates usually far exceeds the quality or finished product than most professionals could ever hope to achieve. Her kindness & talents have no boundaries so she spends most of her time & energy sharing her abundant & diverse skills with others- from tutoring children, creating professional wedding cakes, painting murals, grafting rose gardens, sewing wedding dresses or simply feeding the tradies working on her house. Working alongside Lillian is both awe-inspiring and great fun as we banter and share stories whilst cooking up a storm. I love being part of such a creative frenzy and spending time with Lillian and her family, so heading back to port for a week or so is high on my agenda.

PS- I have just remembered one negative thing about Lillian! It needs to be said that she is the single most unsympathetic person when it comes to arachnophobia!!! Each year for over ten years, we were the camp cooks for scores of schoolkids, & the camps would generally take place in bush quarters where there were outdoor toilets and humungus spiders lurking in dim corners! I would be so scared to use the toilets and Lillian would literally hoot with laughter at my quivering fear. Those 16 hr days and sore feet were nothing compared to my fear of needing to use the bathroom, and Lillian’s only saving grace was that she would give the empty toilet stall a quick check before I dared venture in!

Changing subject, we have meandered in Stars End 2 down to the southern part of the Bay and are snugly anchored just inside the Canaipa Passage, away from the prevailing winds and safe from any threatening weather fronts. The other important factor is that with a little tooing & froing, we have established that this spot has good internet access, so Frank is sitting across the table from me, still working from ‘home’!! His office can’t complain that he is not on deck (pun-haha!) during the required hours or performing diligently, but there have been times when Frank quickly has to stop the engine running (to charge the batteries) to take a business call, or run to the front of the yacht, mobile in hand, to avoid giveaway background noise, or the time when he was required to stand in the cabin stark naked for 40 minutes chatting with his boss, caught unawares as he was about to take a shower on board! But hey! Small price to pay for freedom of lifestyle!

Next up, I think we (well alright, Frank!) has fixed the dilemma with the fridge on board . Remember how I told you how most of it’s contents next to the cooling plate wound up frozen with the enclosed narrow deep space I have for all my cold storage? Well, Frank fixed a computer cooling fan on the top of a PVC tube that now sucks cold air from the bottom of the fridge and pushes it out at the top. Hey presto! I have circulating cold air rather than freezer temperatures in some areas. I still need to protect the basket I have resting next to the cooling plate full of fresh produce, with a sheet of silver insulation, but so far I have not had any spoilt foods or frozen items. Yaaay! Clever Frankie!!

Using my hand wringer

Using my hand wringer

That being said, I have to be honest enough to admit that living on board a 39 foot yacht does take some getting used to. Things we take for granted in a house like constant hot water, washing machines, and shops just round the corner suddenly become luxuries you learn to cope without. I am learning to manage without some of these items quite well. I have a well stocked pantry that allows me to cook the tastiest of meals on the 3 gas burners and in the efficient compact oven. I cook my own bread by hand every few days, and have enough food in the small freezer to last the two of us many weeks. We have a water maker on board to make our own fresh water & hot water for showers by simply running the motor, and the water we waste waiting for it to become hot we pour into a bucket to use for washing. I bought a modern version of an old hand wringer from the USA that makes washing day a whole new experience!

 Despite being ruthless, and prioritising what moved on board with us, space is at a real premium. I am fastidious (Frank would say obsessive!) enough that I can generally put my hand on anything I might need on the yacht, having labelled, packed & meticulously stored it myself. I am sad to say that is not the case for my other half! Frank might be the smartest, most resourceful and technical man I know (he is not called Fix-it-Frank for nothing by our friends!!), but in the organisational department, well, I am afraid my husband is seriously challenged. He will argue that he is too busy doing other jobs, but the truth is that some people simply do not care about or possess these organisational genes! Whilst this didn’t create too many problems on land with an entire house, garage & shed to store all Franks’ equipment, tools & spare parts, we now have regular forays to scour the yacht for some errant tool or spare part. If it weren’t so frustrating, it would be quite funny!

Cushions are lifted, lockers opened, storage containers and boxes are removed to another area of the yacht, lids are opened & the search begins. Then one of us will remember that it could be in another locker, which entails moving all those same cushions, containers and boxes to a different part of the yacht (and there isn’t that many areas to choose from!) and before we know it, there is total chaos! Frank may then remember that he put the missing item in a plastic tub BEHIND the back cabin bulkhead where he THOUGHT he would only need to go occasionally, so this now means taking off the bed mattress, undoing the wooden bulkhead behind it, and rummaging in a space where he has limited access & everything needs to be pulled out in order to find the right container which is wedged in behind many others. In a half hour of ‘searching’ the yacht can look totally trashed and the worst is that we may not even have found the elusive item!!.

Sunset on the Bay

Sunset on the Bay

I am determined that time will see these issues resolved. I will simply have to get into these tool boxes, containers & lockers to organise and list them all myself! Since I am equally determined to become competent and knowledgeable in all working areas of the yacht, (my ignorance being a fact that I have become only too aware since planning our longterm sailing) then this should resolve the problem of not actually knowing at this point what half of the gear we have on board is required for! I have become all too aware of the significance & importance of being able to take over command of the yacht if Frank were to become sick, or fall overboard or be taken hostage by pirates!!! Well, you have to think of every scenario, and it’s not totally impossible with Indonesia & Somalia lying between us and the Mediterranean, and visions of Nicole Kidman protecting herself from a killer stowaway on board her yacht in the movie ‘Dead Calm‘ are enough to make me figure out where I can hide our machete on board!!

All that is in the future. For now, we are still figuring out much more important issues than pirates and sailing the Med- can we cope with frosty toes and cold noses in the mornings or should we bring ugg boots on board? I like to think we shall soon be sailing in warmer waters- let’s see what the next few weeks bring?

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