Heading Home

It’s been a productive weekend and even though I haven’t had a chance to relax I’m feeling pretty good about the progress I’m making on the shack.
This is the view from the back of the ferry leaving the island.

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Moreton Bay is a beautiful place and the sand hills of North Stradbroke Island make a wild and picturesque backdrop.

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Long weekend

I’ve been working flat out all weekend. Today I did some tree trimming with the chainsaw. The truck came in handy to use as a platform and it’s a good thing it’s 4×4 since it got stuck in a big hole where I took a tree out previously. It’s a good feeling to be productive, but even better to kick back with a beer afterwards and relax in my little beach shack with my best mate sitting beside me.

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Island work

I’m on the island again this weekend trying to get some more work done. I’m taking Big Red over to the mainland to pick up some bulky items. It’s time to test out my design concept for the pod. I designed it so I could remove the pod and leave it in position while I use the truck as a flat tray transporter.

20 minutes after I began the process, the pod was off. If 2 people were working together, it would take 10 mins or even less.

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It may look a bit precarious but it’s surprisingly stable, even at this height.

I love it when a plan comes together.

So now I’m off to the mainland to load up. It’s $180 return trip for the truck so I need to make each trip worthwhile.

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It’s not a bad view from the driver’s seat.

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Easter holidays. Probably not the best time to be trying to get somewhere in a hurry.

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I made it back to the barge for the last trip of the day. I literally did not stop all day and got back to the barge with minutes to spare. Luckily I had a decent breakfast because I’m starving. My life is always hectic!

Bird’s Eye View

I’ve noticed regularly that there are a pair of sea eagles flying out the front of my house. The house is up on a cliff so I’m guessing they are getting a thermal or uplift from the breeze when it hits the cliff.
They are generally around in the early afternoon each day.
Unfortunately the photos are pretty bad as they are just taken on my phone. It also doesn’t help that it’s a grey and rainy day.

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I did manage to get some work done yesterday. Lawns, weeding, installed some lights etc.
The rain has stopped me today so I’m heading back to the mainland early.

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Brown Dog Breakfast

It’s been a while since I visited Brown Dog Cafe. I used to bring Cutty over on my bicycle when she was just a tiny pup. It hasn’t changed much in those seven years and the owner still remembers the days when Cutty was on the back of the bike in the basket.

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I keep coming back here because it’s seriously the best breakfast in Brisbane. This is on the menu as the “big dog’s breakfast”. Of course Cutty gets the ham and haloumi.

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I’m off to the island for the weekend to try to get some work done.

Quick decisions

Ok, I know I wrote that I was content with being boatless and that my mug was a perfectly good substitute, but things have changed.
My considerations for a boat now are:
Smaller than 30ft;
Accommodation for a weekend for 2;
Traditional rig either lug sail or gaff;
Shallow draft or retractable keel;
Able to be hauled out on a cradle so I can do my own maintenance on the island;

So I started looking around and came across this.

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It’s a trailerable 24ft yacht with 2ft draft.

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More to come on this soon….

Fond memories

I went to the island today to unload the truck. On the way over I was reminded of my days sailing on the old Westsail when I saw this yacht making good speed in a gentle breeze.

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I’ve unloaded about 3/4 of the gear out of the truck. I’ll get to sorting it out one day. As you can see from the photo below, there was a lot of stuff on that boat. I think I may be a hoarder!

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After unloading all of my gear I sat out on the verandah, had a coffee and recalled some great memories from the past 10 years. I may not have a boat anymore but I have a Westsail mug. I mean really, who needs a boat when I can have this perfectly good substitute. It’s a fine mug and all I need to do is give it a scrub. It sits in the kitchen sink and bobs around just like a boat. In fact she has beautiful lines, and that handle is just plain sexy. No varnishing or antifoul, no anodes to replace. It’s awesome. I love this mug. As long as I have this mug I’ll never want another boat.

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Another chapter ends

I can’t believe how much gear I had on the boat. It took me an entire day and the truck is full to the brim. I’ll take it over to the island tomorrow to unload.

I left the marina at about 8pm and was driving home when a police car came up beside me. I saw them looking up at me in Big Red then they dropped back behind me and followed for a few kilometres. I was watching them in my rear view mirrors and began to get nervous that they were going to pull me over. I get nervous with police because I’ve had some bad experiences and found if they go to the trouble of pulling you over they generally try their best to find something to book you for.
Anyway, on go the blue lights, high beams flash and I pull over. I jumped down from the truck and went to their car to ask what the problem was.
To my surprise one of the policemen said, “hi, we actually pulled you over out of curiosity, what is your truck designed for?”
I told them that it’s an expedition vehicle and he said that he was telling his partner that I might be a doomsday prepper. I thought that was pretty funny.
They were both really interested in the truck, had a good look over it and that was it then they drove off.

Funny end to my tiring day. I’m off to bed to start dreaming of a smaller boat.

Busy weekend

This weekend was going to be pretty full on. I left work on Friday night and got the late ferry over to the island. A quick dinner and I was in bed just before midnight. I was up at 5am this morning to get ready for the day.
I had a coffee on the verandah and was visited by a kookaburra.

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I haven’t been living onboard for a couple of years now and it’s been almost ten years since I bought my Westsail. The beauty of Westsails is that they have massive cargo capacity. That’s great for living onboard and hauling all of your possessions around but I figure that I don’t really need that now. I considered hauling the boat out and emptying it completely and starting from scratch with just the essentials. After 10 years it was full of possessions that weren’t necessary and were just taking up room. If I did that I’d have a big boat to maintain with lots of cargo capacity.
I’ve been thinking about a smaller boat for some time and it just so happened that a friend of a friend was looking for a Westsail. After some discussion on price we had an agreement.

It’s a huge decision for me and this boat has shaped my life for the past decade. I’m very emotionally attached to it but it’s time to downsize.

So after breakfast I grabbed the canoe and paddled out to the boat for the last time. I had a 6 hour sail ahead of me.
About 4 hours into the trip I crossed paths with a friend Peter Kerr who was out sailing on his yacht Pagan. He kindly snapped this photo for me.
This is the last photo of me sailing my old Westsail.

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After a long day the old Westsail was tied up to the dock and it was time to start unloading. After 10 years I have accumulated lots of junk. I’ll bring the truck over tomorrow and start unloading the boat.

Sunday

This morning started off fairly leisurely. I knew I had a big job ahead of me and I needed to get my head around it. I picked up Big Red last night and drove out to the marina this morning. I stopped off for breakfast just down the road at a little cafe opposite the boat ramp.

Not a bad view to start the day and contemplate being boatless.
Big Red is parked over to the left.

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Now the work begins.

Road trip

I took Big Red for a run today. The old truck just purrs beautifully and never missed a beat. It’s a nicer way to travel than the old troop carrier. The trip ended up being about 500kms and there was plenty of scenery.

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This is Northern New South Wales and it’s looking particularly green at the moment.

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The headland in the right of the photo below is Cape Byron, the most Easterly point in Australia.

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Cutty wanted to have a break so we stopped off at a cute little village called Clunes.

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It was a beautiful day for a road trip and it was good to get the old truck out for a run.

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