Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Bundaberg: epic; blind; some numbers

         I have now been back in contact with the world long enough to catch up with the news, and long enough to know that I mostly don’t care.  I’ve also been able to catch up with sites that I like to visit.   
         Among these is that of Doryman, whose 23’ Stone Horse, BELLE STARR, broke her mooring and was driven ashore and sunk last year.  One side of her hull a gaping wound.  Almost all sailors, including me, would have considered her a total loss.  However, Doryman, who is a professional boat builder and repairer, did not, and with help of his friends, rebuilt her over the winter.  Scroll down to 'Splash'. 
         BELLE STARR is again afloat and better than ever.
         You might call this a miracle; but it wasn’t.  It was skill and hard work and dedication.  It is epic.
         My congratulations and admiration to Michael and to all those who helped him.

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         Of the other news of the world, I checked first to see if Leicester City won the English Premier League Championship.  They did.  This won’t mean much to most of my fellow Americans, but it is one of the great sports stories of all time.  Leicester had never won the championship, and at the beginning of this season bookies, who generally know their business or they wouldn’t long be in business, had them at odds of 5,000 to 1.  
         I'm as pleased as if I had bet on them myself.
         I then checked the baseball standings and find the Cubs have the best record in baseball and the White Sox the best in the American League.
         For the rest, I skimmed the GUARDIAN and the NY TIMES online and thought:  I don’t care.  What’s more, I never may again.

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         Two friends, Bill and Steve, followed GANNET’s passage from New Zealand on their sites.  Both noticed us stall out and posted wind maps that showed why.  I’m not sure which of them posted this.  You can see strong north wind east of us.  We were in the dead spot for a while.

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         The Yellowbrick’s charge was 71% upon our arrival in Bundaberg.  Less than two hours charging yesterday brought it back to 100%.
         Although this morning was surprisingly cool here only a degree south of the Tropic of Capricorn and caused me to dig out a Polartec and would have Levis if they were not buried in the bow, the day has become sunny and warm, and the ship’s batteries, too, are fully charged.

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         Milton wrote a famous poem, “On His Blindness.”  I am now always half blind, but sometimes I am totally blind because I don’t see what is before my eye.  This was the case with the Pelagic end fitting.
         I took the Pelagic arm with the disconnected wire to a local shop yesterday.  The wires are tiny and in a cramped location.  They soldered the disconnect together and returned it to me.  I plugged it in.  Nothing.  I opened it up and found that in reconnecting one wire, they had broken the connection to the other.  Considering the situation this is understandable.  I took it back to them.  They returned it this morning.  Plugged in.  Nothing.  Opened up.  Wires connected.  
         Later in the morning, I was showing the arms to Patrick, who took the photos of our arrival, and he immediately pointed out that there are two bolts in the end fitting and I had removed the wrong one.  I am ashamed of my blindness.
         Correct bolt removed.  Unit transferred.  I now have one useable Pelagic arm.  In fact I always did.
         I will try it when I depart next Monday.

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         I have used Craig’s LuckGrib to download GRIBs from here to Darwin.  The wind looks to be light next Monday—Sunday in the U.S.—but from the right direction, so I expect to depart.
         For that matter, except for crossing Van Diemen Gulf approaching Darwin, the wind should be from the right direction for the next 8,000 miles.  Let’s hear it for trade winds.
         I have refined my measurements.

         Bundaberg to Cairns:  750 miles    6 days
         Cairns to Cape York:  500 miles    10+ days
         Cape York to Darwin:  750 miles    6/7 days
        Usually I anchor on the south side of Van Diemen Gulf before reaching Darwin so as to navigate among reefs during daylight.
         I will sail outside The Great Barrier Reef from Bundaberg to near Cairns, then day sail inside from Cairns to Cape York.
         I no longer plan to stop at Cairns, though I may anchor nearby.
         My Internet connection is via my iPhone in which I now have an Australian sim.  I may have a strong enough signal to get online near Cairns or Port Douglas, but probably no further north.  I don’t recall seeing many cell towers in the Big Empty.