Departing Cairns for Cape York - Sun29July07

This week has been very busy with jobs on board - except for Wednesday when I took a day off work to go out to the Great Barrier Reef with Chris in the big Sealover catamaran. The 25 knot winds raised fair seas but didn't cause a major problem and I enjoyed my first dive for quite a time. There was an impressive variety of soft corals and we were lucky to see a Hawkshead turtle, in addition to a green turtle which we hand fed with red algae from under some dead coral lying on the seabed! As we started our dive, the photographer posed me in company with an enormous maori wrasse which followed him around - it was behaving very placidly, rather like a big pet dog!! It was quite awesome, being so close to such a big creature - and it didn't mind being stroked ...

Jobs have gone very well - oil has been changed (both main engine & generator) and oil & water cleaned out from under engine and in bilge - lengthy & messy, but nice to have finished!! Connecting up the cables to the new batteries went without a hitch & Theo from FNQ Electrics came to see if he could sort out my overcharging problem - the regulator seemed to have been misbehaving but after lengthy testing and trouble-shooting, Theo finally tracked the problem down to a faulty fuse on the voltage-sensing wire at the battery bank - an erratic fault resulting in false low readings being sent to the regulator, thus causing it to overcharge. Now that problem has been resolved, we should be able to benefit from the new batteries installed last week.
Winch servicing (another lengthy job - 6 winches in the cockpit alone!)) is going well and a new (correctly-sized) double clutch installed for the 3rd reef lines. I'm expecting a possible rough passage at least part of the way across the Indian Ocean, so those are important items I'm pleased to cross off my list. The only outstanding item on my joblist now is 'freeing' the inner forestay removeable fitting - another item to be dealt with before Cape York, from where I'll sail 850 mls to Darwin, crossing the Gulf of Carpentaria.
My onboard dive gear was serviced, so that's an important safety item dealt with.
Chris kindly acted as my 'chauffer' on Friday and I was able to provision and buy various other items I needed. It actually felt nice and warm for a change!
Sorting out the chaos & stowing food and gear down below is also going well.... it will be completed over the first one or two evenings at anchor as I travel north, the deck already being clear and tidy, so sailing is not compromised! I need to move on as fast as possible now, having been delayed by several days due to dealing with so many jobs & problems while here - obviously a good thing to have done. I'm feeling very pleased to have dealt with the batteries & with the regulator problem ... that last one was really worrying me, especially with new batteries in place.
The weather has possibly changed for the better (less rainy & warmer?) but wind strength may have dropped too much for good sailing - we'll see.
I'd hoped to leave around 10am on Saturday, after refuelling, in order to reach the Low Islets 35 mls away well before sunset, but getting & paying for the fuel at the marina turned into a major, unwanted, timewasting hassle, and my winches needed to be finished still.... so I ended up staying another night and left midday Sunday instead.

Written by : Mike

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