Saturday, March 31, 2012

The time has drawn nigh.

The weather is right.  The tide is high for leaving.
The car and the motorcycle have been sold. The storage unit has been emptied and all nonessential items purged.  All the other sails and equipment have been repatriated and stowed down tight aboard “Rogues Scholarship”, our 57 foot cutter rigged sloop. It has been over two years that she has quietly been tugging at her mooring lines here in Southeast Queensland, (OZ). The auxiliary rudder has been hung on the transom after very little debate. “We’re only going up the coast”, “We only need it on long passages”… “You won’t want to do it at sea if something does go wrong”… enough said!
We’ve been to the Pediatrician, the GP, and the Travel Doctor for last minute tire- kicking and oil checks.  As I write this I’m in the middle of a four day course of oral immunization for Typhoid fever. Our darling, diminutive, daughter Dylan Claire (now over six months old) is not due now for any more shots for 6 months.
The new chart plotter has been installed next to the radar in the cockpit within easy view of the helm. It stands as a back up to our primary computer which is a backup to the paper charts we never look at. The water tanks have been filled and the lockers are bursting with canned this and that, bags of these and jars of those. It’s not like there won’t be a super market where we’re going.  It’s just that to get there you might have to put the dinghy into crocodile infested waters, lower the outboard and fuel tank onto it and drag it onto a beach, all the while keeping a weather eye out for “Salties” just to have the opportunity to look for a bus to take you to town. We realize just how lazy and scared we really are.
 Liz has been reading, voraciously, about all the anchorages up north through cruising guides and other peoples’ blogs who have done it before.  Apparently if you Google the name of an anchorage in the Whitsundays, for example, five people will have written everything about it on their travel blogs. These have been a great sort of information, both reassuring and disquieting at the same time. It appears that there are all manner of things out there that through stupidity or ignorance can conspire to dismember you and/or cause a very painful death. (We choose none of the above.) It is a great paradox that the seemingly calm, beautiful white sand beaches of the North Queensland coast are infested with the Australian Box jelly fish, Bull and Great white sharks, Crocodiles, Pythons and last but not least the second most dangerous jellyfish species in Australian waters , the Irukandji Jellyfish (Carukia barnesi).   We will be playing Scrabble, reading books or otherwise contemplating the beauty of Nature from the secure decks of our sailing fortress.
 Liz is understandably anxious and concerned about taking our baby daughter out into the sometimes not so friendly world.  She has had a few pep talks from other cruisers who have sailed with young ones, been there and done that, which has helped put her at ease.  It’s always a daunting process for us to leave the security of the known (marina) and venture out, off shore, into the unknown. She has diligently studied Plan A , Plan B and even mapped out a Plan C just in case. True to form, she knows everything about where we are going and has realistic expectations about what we will encounter there.   Any words of encouragement would certainly not go unnoticed.  Anything  else … You can keep yer yap shut..

The time has drawn nigh.  The weather is right.  The tide is high for leaving,
Would you please be quiet, Try not to cry, The Baby, she is sleeping…