Our Diary News from Brisbane (Part 4)

August, 2010

It's been far too long since we've put pen to paper so here goes.

Firstly, to all our cruising friends - reading about all your exploits leaves us with mixed emotions; pleasure, envy and regret! You are all a truly remarkable group of people. You silently "just get on with it", without recognition or publicity. Like Tom and Nicolette on Katanne, now in the Med. They led a convoy of 27 boats through "pirate alley" with the aplomb that you'd expect from such an unassuming couple. Peter and Toni on Tigger, now in Papua New Guinea, who have been playing postmen around the islands of Melanesia, delivering parts and, for one island, the proceeds from the year's copra crop. Jackie and Brian on Songster are still in Malaysia and gadding about SE Asia before heading for the Med early next year. James and Adelle on Santana (ex Sula II) enjoying their second season of cruising - Adelle has been working as a nutritionist in Tonga and has worked hard to improve the diet of these islanders over the last year, whilst James has been rebuilding other people's boats! What a great start to their cruising life. Ian and Emma on Desire started out this year from Dockside Marina on their first season of sailing and are enjoying New Caledonia.

And to all our family and other friends, thanks for all your continued support. Some of you may not know that we finally managed a trip to the UK last April - our first in 6 years. We found it very enlightening - we had been concerned about what we would discover about ourselves and the state of the UK. We were pleasantly surprised to see that little had changed - even Tom, still propping up the bar at our local Ashlett Sailing Club, looked as though he hadn't moved from the same spot in 7 years! We were also spotted by other members, and the most surprising comment was "where have you been lately, we haven't seen you in months!!" It just goes to show that other people's lives move at different paces!!

Our UK visits were very successful and we managed to do almost everything on our list (and a few more). We even squeezed in the Beaulieu Boat Jumble - another successful day shopping - the only item we didn't get was some replacement light weight oilies (the latest colours are either black or charcoal - not exactly high visibility).

We checked out Keith's house and in general it's looking pretty good. We need to replace the guttering at the rear and may need to replace the study door in the next year or so. We also went to the storage unit which has ended up storing all our terrestrial goods for the last 7 years. We opened the door, took one look - and decided it was way too hard to sort out. We checked out the soft furniture which seems OK and there was no sign of damp, so we locked the door and walked away! Will keep on paying...

We enjoyed a relaxing few days in UAE on the way back - but wouldn't necessarily choose to go back there again. The architecture in Dubai is amazing but it isn't a city one can stroll about - far too spread out. Keith reckons the place is just huge shopping malls and hotels joined together by 12-lane motorways! And since the country is relatively young, there's not much cultural history to explore. But the shops are amazing - if you have money and like designer stuff!

It was really great catch up with all the family and friends. Especially those that had "swallowed the anchor" - their advice/experiences on settling back down to normality were invaluable. As a result of their majority recommendations and our cogitations, and assuming all is stable and well with Keith, we've come up with a plan to stay in Brisbane until at least May, 2011 and then go cruising again!!! At this stage we're thinking of doing a 1-2 year circumnavigation of Australia. This would allow Keith to obtain his Australian Citizenship whilst still being within reach of the Australian medical system if required. If all goes well and we feel fit and able, we'd then consider resuming our circumnavigation back to the UK.

The other big decision we made was to move off the boat for a few months to enable us to do some painting and varnishing of the interior - a major pain whilst living aboard. So in June we moved into a 2 bed/2 bath apartment at the Dockside Apartment Hotel, immediately adjacent to the marina - no excuse for not working on the boat. With lots of help from our marina neighbours, we have emptied the entire boat with the exception of the spares and tools. Poco is now lying about 8" higher on the water - and the list to port has become even worse! The spare bedroom in the apartment is full of 7 years accumulated junk which we are gradually sorting through.

Gavin and Pei-Yi (aka Sandy), our other marina neighbours tied the knot in July and all the marina guys gave Sandy away - an awesome sight, seeing five men escort her down the aisle - poor Gavin! It was a lovely wedding with a great friendly atmosphere - and the bride looked wonderful.

Doug and Shirley's daughter Alex married Ben in the UK and apparently the wedding went off without a hitch. Bride and groom and, of course, the parents of the bride, all looked stunning…

Life ashore is different - it sort of looks like we're camping out - sleeping on the floor on our boat mattress atop the V-berth cushions! And there is so much space - one seems to have to walk miles to get to the bedroom or bathroom. The kitchen doesn't have as much storage as our galley, but it is wonderful having our own laundry facilities. We acquired 2 x 2-seater sofas from Christine's work and an office table we can use for dining. Went to Ikea and bought 2 cheap chairs, so we're all set.

We've started work on the boat - have re-bedded two out of our seventeen windows - particularly messy jobs, and have painted inside the V-berth lockers and have started on the varnishing. Hopefully, when we finish, it'll be good for another few years and we will be ready for whatever comes next - either sailing or selling!

Health-wise, Keith has been receiving monthly IV treatment with human immunoglobulin to help boost his immune system - it seems to be working and we hope these treatments will soon finish. The blood tests appear to indicate that his disease is stable and we hope this continues for a long time. In himself, he looks as well as he has for some time - and having enjoyed the British beer so much on our holiday, now needs to lose a few pounds! Christine had a bit of a scare with chest pains a couple of months ago but has now been given a reasonably "all clear" report from the cardiologist - a big relief for us both.

We are looking forward to a long weekend south of Sydney at the end of August to visit Brett and Debbie and see their new yacht, Interlude IV, and hope to see Rob and Gemma (Orinoco Flow) at Christmas time. Our marina neighbours Sue and Mike Celia Mary have invited us to help them sail down to Hobart early next year which should be fun (depending on the weather, of course). And we'll get a chance to have a few days exploring Tasmania.

So life is good - all work and no play is making us very dull - but life is much better than the alternative!