12 April 2007

Still in Mooloolaba Harbor

Anchored Mooloolaba Harbor
Queensland, Australia

I want to give out a BIG HELLO to one of our biggest "Team Sandpiper" followers Frank. Frank is a really good friend of my mom's, in Tucson Arizona, who has followed us every day since we left California 2 years ago. Lately he has not been feeling well. So "Good Day Mate" from Team Sandpiper. We hope you are having a great day Frank!

We are still here in Mooloolaba because the winds have been very strong all week long. We tried to leave at 9pm on Monday night. But just as we were getting ready to leave, the winds were blowing over 25 knots. So we decided to postpone our departure until the winds calm down to under 25 knots. We are hoping to leave early Friday (the 13th, scary!) morning.

We are no longer sailing up The Great Sandy Straight between Fraser Island and the mainland. Instead we are going to sail offshore, around Fraser Island, and try to get as far north as we can for two days, and still have enough daylight to find a good anchorage. We are trying to get the port of Yeppoon where we have friends flying in from the U.S. next Friday.

Lately the propeller shaft developed a loud clanking sound, which has been causing me worries. I was afraid that the shaft was bent, or the engine was really out of alignment. I was also concerned that our dripless shaft seal was going bad because water was leaking out when the shaft was turning. The only way to replace this is to have the engine pulled out and then to bang off all the fittings on the shaft. So yesterday I had Amy put the transmission in gear while I sat in the engine room to see what was happening. To our great luck all that was wrong was a loose nut on one of the engine mounts!!

Since we haven't moved in a week, I can ramble a bit about other Team Sandpiper operations. Our long term plan for now is to sail over the north end of Australia to Darwin, hoping to arrive in early July. We have registered for the "Darwin to Kupang Rally". We will be sailing for 4 months with over 100 boats from Darwin, through Indonesia, to arrive in Phuket, Thailand in time for Christmas and New Years.

If you click the "Darwin-Bali-Langkawi Rally" link you can check out all the boats that participated last year, and see their pictures. You can also view a list of all the boats that are registered for this year's rally.

Our friends on S/V Blue Sky, whom we have been sailing with since French Polynesia, are still in Sydney waiting for parts to fix their windlass. They are hoping to head north next week, if the weather cooperates.

Also our friends on S/V Shiraz, whom we have sailed with since French Polynesia, are south of us at Surfers Paradise. They just had a new generator installed, and they are busy making sure that all their systems are working good before they head north. This is the last chance for all us to get major items fixed because there are only limited facilities north of here.

They are both signed up for the Darwin to Kupang Rally too. So we are hoping to see them again and share a "few" cocktails as soon as they catch up with us.

The third part of our three part story has been published in the Presidio Yacht Club's March issue of their newsletter "The Porthole". The PYC is our yacht club back in San Francisco (where we left from) right under the Golden Gate Bridge. If you missed the first two parts, they are in there as well. Jen, the editor/publisher, did a really great job of editing for us. The interesting part is Jen does this job from Turkey where her husband is stationed in the Air Force.

My brother Ron, who is the brains for this web-site, has projected out on Google Earth where we are hoping to be for the next 6 months. So click the Google Earth link to the right and check it out! You can also see all the stops we have made during the last 2 years.

Well its off to the beach. We hope the next entry you read has us north of here!

Tom and Amy

Notes From Ron:

  • Aussies call the top part of Australia "The Top End". So Tom and Amy are "Going over the top end" in Aussie speak.
  • A "drip-less shaft seal" is the mechanism that prevents seawater from entering the boat from the hole in the hull for the propeller shaft. The fact that the hole is below the water line and contains a fast-moving part makes it especially difficult to seal.

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