Airlie Beach to Cairns

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October 10th 2015
Published: October 14th 2015
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Barry discussing plans with Ian & Graeme
Sunday 11th October 2015

Today was the day! We left the Port Airlie marina just before 0400hrs the wind only blowing lightly. Everything went smoothly and with Barry at the helm for the first watch, we went back to bed. Rags was soon asleep, the sound of the motors lulling him off.

A change in the note of the engines woke him at 0630, Barry having lifted the speed from 10 knots to 15 knots. He joined the other 3 crew and hot coffees were soon on the go. By 0700hrs everyone went about their various tasks. When we left Airlie the boat carried 5600 litres in the boat tanks, 2500 litres in the stern bladder, and 500 litres in the bow bladder. At 10 knots 82 litres/hour was 'burnt' increasing to 270 litres/hr at 15 knots. Graeme and Rags spending the next 30 minutes or so pumping fuel out of the stern bladder into the main tanks. This went very smoothly with about 800 litres being transferred. It was whilst Graeme & Rags were trying to undo the jammed Anderson plug to the pump in the engine room that Mark smelt diesel and on entering the room saw

Graeme resting after fuel transfer. Note the dark skies over Airlie.
a mist of diesel coming out of the port engine. After shutting it down it was found that a fuel connection had snapped! It was only later, when discussing what happened, that we came to terms with what could have been the outcome.

The decision was made to continue to Townsville about 80 Nm further on, rather than turning back, for repairs. With just the starboard motor we travelled at just under 8 knots, the radar and plot tracker helping us to keep on course. We all had turns at the helm but it ended with Ian getting the boat into the marina and Barry somehow reversing into a berth without any hassles or damage to the boat. It was a day all the crew could be proud of.

No-one seemed very hungry so Rags just pulled all the leftovers out of the fridge and together with a few beers, a tonic water, and a bottle of red, all the crew went off to bed quite replete.

Monday 12th October 2015

All of us were up early, greeted by a warm, muggy morning. Barry left early to look for a hire vehicle whilst the

Our morning view from the bridge.
rest of us had coffees and breakfast on the stern. Tough life, but knowing all of us, it would become quite boring. Ian & Rags went for a walk into town but found that the area they were in was quite commercial, nothing like what Rags remembered of Townsville when he was here 4 years ago.

The rest of the morning was spent doing a few chores and Ian replacing the pump used to transfer diesel. After the first successful fuel transfer it appears to have fused due to the oil seals failing. Luckily there is a spare pump but we now need another. Barry and Ian went off to source what was required while Mark and Graeme started the unenviable job of washing the diesel off the walls and emptying the bilge. Rags was spared this as they didn't want their future meals tainted. Instead, he started planning lunch - toasted baked bean & cheese sandwiches. He was relieved of this duty when Barry returned with a bag of Subway sandwiches which we all hoed into.

The afternoon was spent transferring fuel from the stern bladder to the main tanks and to another two previously unused ones on the bow. This allowed us to move the stern bladder forward and certainly gave Ian a chance to work out what was wrong with the pump. He traced the fault to the assembly of the Allen plug, the second mistake the electrician made, and the pumps now work the way they should.

Tomorrow we expect the fuel pipe to arrive and after fitting expect to leave after taking on more fuel .

Tuesday 13th October 2015

Our expectations were met, the part arrived, was fitted and at 1330 hours the engine was started for testing. All went well and after taking the boat to the fueling jetty and topping up the bladder on the stern we made the decision to leave immediately rather than at midnight as planned. The ocean was almost smooth with just a little swell on our stern and after a short period Barry handed the wheel to Rags for his 3 hour watch ending at 1800 hrs. He will then have a twelve hour break before his next watch commencing at 0600 hrs.

Rags prepared a dinner of mango chicken and stir-fry vegetables for dinner and this was enjoyed
Filling the bladderFilling the bladderFilling the bladder

Ian, Mark & Graeme topping it up.
by all. He has now set the standard and will have a challenge to maintain this. It will give him something to do in his spare time.

Wednesday 14th October 2015

With earplugs fitted Rags had a reasonable night's sleep, the motor sound reduced to a steady hum. The ocean was calm making it very pleasant. He was up before 0530, had a coffee and made his way to the cockpit to do his watch. Conditions were beautiful with slight seas and a following swell, the boat tracking smoothly on the auto-helm. Graeme left Rags to it and the boat continued on its way. He was greeted by a spectacular sunrise and slowly the cabin filled with the rest of the crew s they woke and had their breakfasts.

Barry had arranged for a 1000hrs stop at the fuel jetty and it was just before that time that we tied up. About 1200 litres of fuel was taken and Barry then picked up the navigation chip we had waited for in Airlie. This will be needed later in the trip. As the conditions were so good, we had picked up what we needed, and we
First watchFirst watchFirst watch

Rags settling in for his first watch
wanted to make up lost time, we all agreed that we should continue on towards Thursday Island so by 1130hrs we were on our way again.

Additional photos below
Photos: 8, Displayed: 8


Cairns marinaCairns marina
Cairns marina

Only here for a couple of hours before heading to Thursday Island

14th October 2015

Good reading !! Beautiful Photos !!
I was glad to hear all went well except for the the fuel problem, which could have been very nasty ! It sounds like your well and truly on your way now. What a wonderful experience !! I hope you enjoy every minute of it. Looking forward to the next Blog. Good luck to you all. Thelly
15th October 2015

Great blog. Enjoying the stories and photos.
19th October 2015

Coastal life
Loved your stories. Thanks for blogging.

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