June was a month of repairs and more repairs with a bit of hope to carry us through.
At the beginning of the month, while waiting for spares to arrive in Airlie Beach, we sailed over to Nara Inlet off Hook Island for a few days of respite.
We enjoyed a hike to the Ngaro Cultural Site, dinners with friends, and frequent visits from a flock of cockatoos who seemed to have a lot of experience with sail boats.
We returned to Airlie Beach two days later to pick up our provisions and were underway to Hook Reef by 7 June.
Along our way, our primary auto pilot and water maker stopped functioning. We dropped anchor in at Butterly Bay off Hook Island to assess the situation and considered heading back to Airlie Beach for repairs.
In the end, we decided to continue onto Hook Reef and postpone repairs until we reached Townsville.
We are so happy we did. The light winds made for a comfortable couple of days in the Hook Reef anchorage.
The visibility in Hook Reef was less than optimal, but the Reef was lush and we did manage to see a turtle, a white tip shark, and a HUGE lobster.
The first pictures with my new camera were also less than optimal given that I really didn’t know how to use it. Lesson learned…read the instructions and play around with a new camera and case before entering the water. It is hard to focus on learning the basics underwater while simultaneously keeping an eye out for sharks.
On our second day, we decided to head over to nearby Bait Reef where the water was much clearer. The snaps however remained less than optimal. I have some studying to do before getting back in the water.
On 10 June, we set out for Townsville for repairs and to wait for a weather window to return to the Reef.
When we arrived on 11 June, our bow thruster and port side winch failed while docking. But no worries..The Captain had successfully fixed these before. We would just add these to the ever growing list.
The next morning, we headed to market for fresh fruit and veg and saw some really cool street art along our way. In the afternoon, The Captain successfully repaired the primary auto pilot and water maker.
As The Captain was preparing to fix the bow thruster and winch, we noticed the smell of diesel coming from my cabin. We opened the floorboard, and found diesel in the bilge. The fuel tank had sprung a leak. The continuation of our sailing voyage was in jeopardy.
After a good night’s sleep, The Captain sprung into action. He arranged to have the fuel pumped out, removed the tank, cleaned the bilges, and had a plastics company assess the source of the leak. Initially, the thought was that the leak could be stopped by resealing a drain bolt plug which The Captain did.
After resealing the drain bolt plug, The Captain reinstalled the tank, but it started to leak again while refueling, so he suspended the operation, had the tank re-emptied, removed the tank again, and sent it to the plastics company for repair. The leak was in a different place than originally believed. The second time around was a charm but the process was lengthy and painful.
Still, we had our health, our sense of humor, and a sailing voyage to Darwin, Indonesia, and Singapore in our near future.
The Captain finished the remaining repairs (bow thruster, winch, throttle, hatch handle) during our last days in Townsville. And I got to enjoy watching a new piece of street art be created.
We left Townsville on 22 June and sailed for two days to Cooktown where we are now. We leave in the morning and start making our way around the top of Australia through the Torres Strait and onto Darwin.
Once we leave here, we will be off-grid for 2 weeks but will be sending periodic position updates via satellite phone along the way. You can follow our voyage updates on Farkwar or on Twitter . I will respond to comments when we arrive in Darwin.
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