Cairns!

We have had a great couple of weeks in Cairns, catching up with friends and doing a few boat jobs.
Normally we swerve marinas. They tend to be expensive , stressful ( as far as manoeuvring goes) and privacy is at a minimum , as you are jammed into small berths, right on top of your neighbours. Anchoring is free and usually pretty idyllic.
Marlin Marina in Cairns however, is probably one of the best we have ever been in. It is super close to the town centre ( a rarity) and the facilities are excellent. The marina itself it surrounded by bars and restaurants , but the crowning glory has to be that is is a mere 6 minute walk to the best curry house in Cairns. Actually, it is probably the best curry house in Australia. And given that the last takeaway we had was back in January, we thought we would treat ourselves. It’s shaping up to be a good stay….

We went to Rusty’s markets to stock up on fruit and veg. Had a fab pad thai at one of the food stalls for lunch.
A few boat jobs , followed by drinks onboard our neighbours boat and then a grandstand seat for the fireworks.

Last week was splendid, both weather wise and socially.
The boat jobs were once again been interrupted by far nicer ways to spend our time.
Nick organised us a fab day out on the Great Barrier Reef on Tuesday.
We swapped our catamaran for another (much larger and faster than ours) and we had two awesome dives out at Flynn Reef and Milne Reef. Me, Rob and Martina enjoyed the services of our own private dive guide ( when he didn’t have his head in a hole taking photos 🙃)
Great viz and plenty of fish life as we all enjoyed a few hours in our happy place 😊. Thanks to the team at Passions of Paradise Great Barrier Reef Day Tour – Cairns Australia especially Skipper Gareth, who dropped us onto the dive site like a boss. 😎

It was also wonderful to catch up with the ever smiling Vili Mataiwai, who dropped by for a chat on Wednesday. So good to see you Vili.
Lunch at the vegan cafe Cheeky Yam, where we bumped into Kiana again. Superb food . Cairns has been a joy for us to eat out, with most restaurants offering vegan options. Brisbane take note…

Thai was on the menu when Nick and Martina took us to their favourite place in town. Not hard to see why they are regulars, as the food was superb.

So, maybe the boat jobs will get done tomorrow?

It was a challenge getting work done in-between social engagements, but we had a focused couple of days to get (enough) jobs done.

For your reading pleasure I though we would let you know some of things we get up to as part of our boat repairs and maintenance. It is a little geeky and technical, but bear with us.

Wins:
1: Full firmware update of our navigation system (Garmin)
The previous owner has kept the MMSI number registered to our boat -this is a UNIQUE number used to advertise our position to other boats and emergency services. Normally it stays with the boat, but we noticed our position was changing to the UK and then Spain. So we have worked with our hardware suppliers and updated our AIS system and Garmin radio with a new MMSI number.

2: Added a galvanic isolator to electrical system to keep all those pesky DC currents away when on shore power and help retain some of our sacrificial anodes.

3: Updated our mainsail halyard to a ‘Karver hook’ system. (Three trips up the mast)

4: Replaced our 55 metre main halyard with a brand new dyneema (Purple!) line. Used the old halyard to run it through the mast – double checked the connections with the admiral as we really did not want to ‘fish’ a new line down the mast…some of you may know i am not the best at connecting ropes and chains (or handling anchors, if you read on!)

5: Added Beachmaster wheels to our tender (and thus reducing our future chiropractic fees !)

6: Had a massive spring clean of the boat and sorted out lots of tools, spares and boat paraphernalia.

Losses
1: I bought a new shackle for our anchor as our chain swivel kept jamming up. While fitting it, I managed to let gravity take control and dropped the anchor (yes – into the water!) . Despite 2 dives and digging up to my waist in the marina sludge, it could not be found. There was much assistance (and mickey- taking) from all the other boats on our finger, including the loan of some dive gear and lots of helpful advice (such as ‘There’s Crocs in there’ and ‘ can you see if you can find my glasses? ‘ )
You will be pleased to know we rigged our spare anchor (with the supervision of Nick Leigh and many safety wires!) We are currently researching a suitable replacement…

2: Filled the boat with diesel for our journey south – using our 20 litre jerry cans. I managed to overfill the tank and spill lots of diesel over the back deck, including soaking the bottom our (new!) clears. 😧After three hours of cleanup we are ship shape again.

We never intended to come as far north as Cairns (the Whitsundays was our target) but we have loved our time here. It is a really convenient place to get around, with lots to do – great food and restaurants as well as fitting in some dives on the reef and a lovely 7km walk through and around the back of the botanical gardens (I am sure it was a goat track!).

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