Old Boats on my mind…

Ever since I sold my old Westsail I’ve longed to have another sailing boat.  It was a sad day when I parted with that yacht which was home for 8 years. It was the home that Cutty grew up in.  Life onboard an old sailing boat is pure happiness. 

Knowing that I’d one day get another boat I regularly keep an eye on the yachts for sale around the bay. I was taking a walk down at the marina this morning and looked across to see a familiar shape.  It was the old Westsail.  I think Cutty sensed its presence.  It’s the second boat from the left in the picture below.

   

We went over to take a closer look.  The young couple who bought the boat have recently listed  her for sale.  I guess people’s plans change.  They have done a lot of work to her and kept the boat in great order.  I admit that I’m tempted to buy her back, but I only need a small boat now to sail around the bay.  The Westsail is a huge boat inside and was designed for crossing oceans. Plans do change and my original dreams of voyaging around the globe have been replaced with spending a week or so at a time cruising the coast or the bay.

  
I do miss those high bulwarks and big bronze windlass.

 Just being out on the bay and seeing the boats go by brings back very fond memories.  Those years onboard my sailing boat were the best.  I’m off to find a boat.

 

The guest house

The land I have on the island not only has my little cottage on it but also  another old run down cottage that needs a lot of work.  I’ve been tidying up around it bit by bit and today I tackled the exterior timber cladding.  It’s got a lot of potential and with a lot more work it will make a nice little guest house.  Not that I have many guests visiting me here, but if I do, they will have their own quarters to stay in. 

The exterior timber is full of mildew and very weathered.  I scrubbed it with some chlorine based cleaner then hit it with the pressure washer.

  

And it came up a treat.  Someone has tried painting part of it previously so I need to strip the paint off to expose the timber.  I’ll coat the timber with an exterior oil to give it some protection and enhance the colour. I’m very happy with the result.

 

The next job on the guest house is the laundry and bathroom which is a wreck.  I had to rip the floor out due to old wood rot.  Fortunately there aren’t any termites and it should be a straight forward job.

A week of + and –

It’s been a great week having spent most of it on the island and the weather is back to being sunny and cool.  I’ve been trying to be as self sufficient as possible with food and having recently bought a bread maker I’m now making my own.  After some initial experimentation, I’ve got it sorted.  Thanks to my bread machine I wake up to freshly baked bread using organic flour with no preservatives.  I love how it makes bread while I’m sleeping.     

  

I grind some coffee beans using my old hand mill from the boat.
  
This is the organic coffee from the Lemon Farm which is probably the best coffee I’ve had, regardless of it being organic, which is a bonus.

    

Some free range poached eggs, basil from the garden, a bit of tomato and worcestshire sauce and some Aussie mustard and breakfast is served on the deck.

  

Starting days like this puts me in such a positive state of mind and I’ve been extremely motivated to make some progress on the cottage.

It’s not all positive on the island though. Like anywhere there are people who just don’t give a damn about their community or environment, let alone the bigger picture. We do have a few feral drug addicts and dealers on the island and that element is what keeps the island from reaching its potential. 

I came across this depressing scene today down in the mangroves along a part of the island waterfront. Fortunately it’s nowhere near my place.  It’s impossible for me to comprehend how anyone could do this. Here we are living in a small community in a precious marine sanctuary and they have dumped oil drums and rubbish along the waterfront.  Apparently it’s leftover from an old house boat that was dismantled here.  It’s such a lazy, short sighted and selfish act. 

  

The oil slick is visible in the photo below. I rang the local council and they palmed me off to the state government. So I called the state government pollution hotline and they passed me off back to the council. Nobody wants to deal with it. What’s more frustrating about this is that apparently it’s common knowledge who created the mess but people are scared to say anything.  

I can get rid of the rubbish by taking it to the tip but I can’t get rid of the oil in the ground which will need to be properly removed with an excavator.  Personally I’d like to dump it in the backyard of the feral prick who created the mess, although it wouldn’t make a difference since he keeps his yard in a similar fashion.  

There are going to be some changes around here soon. I’m talking to the council about this on Monday morning. It’s a ridiculous situation.

 

So back to a more positive note.

I worked in the garden today sorting out some paths.  As I was digging there were worms all through the soil.  I accidentally broke this poor fella, but look how healthy and big these worms are. 

  

The soil is ridiculous here.  I wanted a choko vine, so I literally stuck a choko in the ground a week ago and now it has started to grow.  No special technique or care, just dump it in the ground and bam, we have growth. It works the same for anything.  I’ve literally hacked off part of a plant, stuck it in the ground and within a week it’s taken root. 

I replanted it next to a post so it can start to climb.  It will be interesting to see how long it takes to produce chokos.

  

Plants and worms aren’t the only things that do well here.  I think I found the owner of the snake skin I found recently.  I was walking through the yard tonight and came across this very healthy Python.  He is about 2.5 metres long (I put the highlighter pen next to him for size reference).  I’ve probably disturbed him with the recent work so I relocated him to the neighbouring bush.  He will probably be back though and I don’t mind having him around as they feed on rats, possums and even cats (thankfully not Portuguese Water Dogs).  They are a very docile snake and beautiful to look at.
  

Wet wet wet…

 We’ve had wet weather this past week and just when it looks like it’s going to clear, it rains again. 
  

 I was heading back to the island on the barge and seeing this rainbow was hopeful that it was clearing.

  

The wet weather continues unfortunately but it does provide some nice photo opportunities.

  

Being stuck inside for most of the day I had depleted my supply of coffee.  I decided to make a quick trip to the organic farm on Macleay to pick up some of that awesome organic coffee.  I was greeted by these ducks.  They were happy since there was plenty of water around.
  

I wonder if he was an ugly duckling?

  

Day to day

After I took some branches off one of the old pines a couple of weeks ago I was cleaning up around the cottage and saw my old mate the kookaburra was visiting.  They are such great birds to have around and excellent snake catchers.  

The council for the island has been very active lately with the work on the new park and sealing of the roads.  I liked the old gravel road but the sealed surface is far better for keeping dust and mud out.  The original drainage system that the council implemented consisted of just a graded roadside with some road base.  Not ideal when the next big rainfall came.  So today they came back and graded a spoon drain and laid turf over the top.  It looks very fancy.

  

We’ve had a lot of rain these past few weeks and the garden is going crazy.  Everything seems to grow twice as fast on the island.  Here are some egg plant coming along.

  

One of my favourite things in the garden are snow peas.  They rarely make it into a meal because I just pick them and eat them raw as I’m working in the garden.  It’s bizarre but I swear they grow to full size overnight because I eat them all, then the very next day there are more.

  

A few ingredients for lunch.

  

I was doing some work on the cottage yesterday and as I pulled a part of the roof away I found this old snakeskin.  It was at least 4 foot long and I could fit my fist inside it.  It’s only a harmless carpet Python and good to keep the rodents away.  I haven’t seen the snake around but it may still be hanging around somewhere.  This one is definitely too big for a kookaburra.