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November 9th 2013
Published: November 9th 2013
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Since tuesday, one day has followed the next as we swing in this endlessly windy anchorage, but the batteries are staying well charged from the wind generator. Every day we take a trip ashore, through the chop and usually get some salt spray over us. We could have left three days ago but something always seems to stop us.

Yesterday we had to print up a document for this years boat insurance so visited the library. It had a new photocopier so we were able to just stick our USB stick in to print it. It also had a great selection of cool toys for Alex to play with in the play area.

We walked further inland to visit the Botanical Gardens, not usually our thing but these ones are quite historical. They date from the late 19th centuary, maybe the oldest in Queensland, and feature many of the plants collected by Banks and his 'scientific team' on the HMS Endeavour. I'm not sure how many of the plants made it back to the UK alive but I do know that at least half the scientific team didn't survive the trip. They were nicely laid out gardens, the original flower beds were not very pretty, lots of plaques to read but still not very interesting.

We followed the path to Finch Bay which had a lot of steps up and down, especially since I had to carry the pram up them. We were then suddenly brought out of the trees to the dramatic windy beach bordered by large smooth rocks. The blustery conditions sent occasional sand blows our way, some in the form of mini-tornados, so we didn't hang around. Made our way south along the beach, followed the boardwalk back to the dirt road and then back to the gardens. Stopped at the Interpretation centre for a drink and didn't bother looking at the display behind many glass panels with lots of writing.

Yesterday we had engine problems with the dinghy. I headed to shore - as usual with a jerry can to fill up with water and some rubbish to throw away. I was on the hunt for another jerry can as ours has some cracks in it but at $50 at the chandlery I left it. The engine would cut out when I put it into gear with giving it more revs,
our landing spotour landing spotour landing spot

next to the boat ramp
and on the way back to Luna Ray it wasn't running smoothly and then cut out about 50m from the boat. It wouldn't restart and as the wind and current were starting to push me away I started rowing and initially made no progress and thought I might spent some hours on the north bank until the tide settled. But then slowly inch by inch I started to make progress if I kept rowing at full power. Finally made it back and did some tinkering to find the fault. Cleaned up the spark plugs as they were half covered in soot and she seemed to run well.

Took her for a test run, initially up wind/current of the boat and then as I my confidence increased headed back towards town again. Then she conked out again! I was better sheltered from the wind here so not drifting as fast but she wouldn't restart. Ended up getting a tow from the old guy we had met at the boat ramp a few days ago who happened to be passing - very nice of him though I would have preferred he wouldn't have banged his tinnie into the side of our boat as he pulled me in!

Cleaned the spark plugs again and again she ran well so took the risk and managed to get to the boat ramp. Went to the service station and got some new spark plugs, and 2 spares, and also a jerry can for only $25. Changed the spark plugs on the beach keeping a look out for crocs, and she ran well getting back to Luna Ray though still missing a beat when revving fast in neutral.

Another day we followed the scenic walking track that surrounds the town to the Cemetery. Not without the obligatory stop at the playground for Alex of course. It was a flat raised gavel path through the mangroves - so couldn't let Alex run ahead as we were keeping a keen out for crocs. The path moved into woods and we came across a solitary grave amongst the trees . Passed this to a chinese memorial and grave site, and then came into the open main graveyard. The stones ranged from historical figures of the town's past to modern glitsy ones. Stopped by IGA again on the way home for a few extra groceries along with the obligatory 4 pack of ice-creams. Actually this day we got a more refreshing pack mini-calypsos which is a brand of iceblock but the smallest pack was of 10.... I ended burning the inside of my mouth!

But enough is enough, we are leaving today once the tide rises after 9 am. Plan to make the 30 miles to Cape Flattery and the next day a further 20 miles to Lizard Island. This paradise is our planned most northerly point and we will probably want to stay for a week and then catch the soonest favourable winds south again. There will be no internet we think and sometimes you have to wait weeks for good winds so there may be no blog for a while.

Bye for now, Luke

Additional photos below
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Alex relaxingAlex relaxing
Alex relaxing

watching his DVD player

11th November 2013

Xmas Party at Mariner Lodge
Hi Guys. Good to hear you're making friends with the crocs. Just thought we'd invite you back here for our Xmas do on the 7th Dec. We'll certainly toast to your continued good journeying. :)
19th November 2013

cheers guys, sadly we won't be able to make it but hope it goes well and life is harmonious at Mariner Lodge

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