Thursday, April 24, 2014

And they're off... FINALLY!

On Monday, AMARA was set to leave "Boat Works" (the marina where AMARA had been docked) in Brisbane and head to the Whitsunday Islands only to find that the generator wouldn't start.  

Everything was working fine right before they were to leave.  Following proper protocol, Martin went down to change the engine oil and turned off the engines before he proceeded with this routine procedure.  After changing the oil, he went to fire up the engines and found that the generator wouldn't start no matter how hard he and the crew tried to troubleshoot the problem.  This then turned into a long session of the men trying to figure out how to fix the generator.
The troubleshooting session begins...
The worst part of this whole scenario was that it was a holiday in Australia, so the crew had to sit around for a day to wait for the mechanics to come in to work the following day.  The next day went smoothly with the mechanics fixing the problem (and figuring out that when we had the generator repaired back in October in Fiji it was, in fact, not fixed—just patched.)  It was actually a blessing that it broke where it did so that they could have qualified mechanics come in and actually resolve the issue and fix the generator.

....And they're off!   Well, kind of...  AMARA set sail Tuesday evening, once the generator was fixed, and continued sailing the 700nm toward the Whitsunday Islands.
While pulling out of Boat Works, the straps to the tender got stuck in the cradle.  Here, John holds onto David while David grabs the straps.  Yep, this should solve the problem!

However, about 86nm's (about 100 miles) into their sail, they soon figured out that the water maker wasn't working. They hadn't turned on the water maker in the marina because there was too much sludge in the water and it would have just clogged up the filters.  So once they got out into the open ocean, they turned on the water maker only to find out that it wasn't working.  Now another problem that needed to be troubleshooted!  The solution?  Martin was going to need to hitchhike back to BoatWorks in Brisbane, pick up the part that was needed to fix the water maker and then hitchhike back.
David still trying to pull the straps out from under the tender while trusting Sue to hold on so he doesn't go overboard.
So, they had to pull AMARA into Tin Can Bay and anchor her while Martin began his trek back to Brisbane.

Martin called me on his way back and didn't seem to be the least bit bothered about the "planes, trains and automobiles" experience and was just glad that they were able to resolve the problem, get the part and fix the water maker.   Soon they were underway... again!

AMARA's Crew.  Sue, Tamrika, John, David and Martin.
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Today, AMARA motored up the Great Sandy Straights past Fraser Island (which is the largest sand island in the world).  While motoring, a dinghy came up behind them and gave them a bucket of prawns!  Now, their luck is finally looking up!
John and Tamrika showing the spoils from good neighbors on the water.
Bucket O' Shrimp
When in Australia, it's only appropriate to throw some "shrimp on the barbie" and as Sue said, "Show some yanks a real taste of Australia!"  I'm a little bit jealous... that sounds good right at the moment.
Tamrika enjoying the impromptu BBQ
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Today was also ANZAC day in Australia and New Zealand.  

ANZAC day is a national day of remembrance that commemorates all the Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in all the wars.  It was originally about the troops who fought at Gallipoli during World War One.  

In 1915 allied tools set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula as part of Winston Churchill's campaign to open the way to the Black Sea and capture Constantinople troops.  They were met with fierce resistance in a 8 month battle that had no victory.  Unfortunately, 8,000 Australians died in the process.  At the this time, Australia had a population of fewer than 5 million people.  It was a huge loss to the newly formed country.  

In order to commemorate this day, throughout Australia and New Zealand, people gather at local war memorials and pay their respects at dawn.  On AMARA, the crew gathered on the top deck for their own commemoration.  They played the song, "The Last Post" which is a haunting trumpet solo played on this occasion, followed by a minute of silence to remember the sacrifice paid by all those who served and died.  Then they read the poem:

"They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn, 
At the going down do the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them. 


Following the service, the crew celebrated with tea and ANZAC cookies.  They are a kind of cookie that women made and sent in by tins to the troops during the war.  

David didn't get to join in on the festivity as he needed his sleep.  Sue says he will be attending the traditional "family service" usually held at 9 am.
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Well, I have already gotten a list of around 15 boat parts that I need to focus on now and track down and try and send back to AMARA with the next visiting crew member, so I need to call it a night for now and start working.  I'll keep you posted on the crew's progress as I continue to get updates.

I can't tell you how happy I am that they are FINALLY underway!  Let the adventure begin!