31.03.2008 25 °C
Sunday 27th July 2008
JJ and I have been in Bundaberg Port Marina for three weeks now.
First initial clearance went okay; all it took was for us to move Alana Rose from her anchorage in the little bay outside the marina to a berth alongside, the Quarantine dock on the end of the marina’s Red finger but are still not allowed to set-foot down on OZ soil. A couple of hours later Alana Rose was boarded by three officials, Rebecca from Customs, Rory from Immigration and Amy from Quarantine. The paperwork was completed, the inspection was performed; fridge/freezer and lockers looked through, turned out and fresh food taken. Not all our food was taken; things taken were frozen meat and chicken, eggs, fresh cheese, powdered milk, fresh veg and fruit. Things not taken, to my surprise, were frozen fish, tinned meat or fish, UHT milk, tinned fruit & veg, not even the old tins of Pork and Bean bought back in Panama City.
I had everything out, everything that JJ and I had bought throughout our whole trip; all on display around the salon, ready for Rebecca and Amy to take whatever. But no, I was totally shocked! My craft and artefact purchases past inspection; I get to keep all my shell and dead coral collection, the necklaces, the multitude of weaved basket ware and the table mats. Yippee! What a shame I did not keep the large beautiful, brilliant pink coloured Conch Shell from San Blas Kuna Indians; JJ said no, OZ Customs would not allow it. Buggar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Our passports have been stamped, all the forms are signed and co-signed; we are now allowed to go ashore. I thought my legs would be wobbly, especially after this last rough trot at sea but not so. Somehow it does not seem like we are home as JJ, Dusty and I make our way up the finger to the marina office and the solid land of OZ; it just another marina. Alana Rose is my home, not the land which we will often visit.
That same afternoon Alana Rose gets moved back off the Quarantine dock to the end of the Green finger pontoon. JJ starts her engines, I throw off the lines and Dusty is waiting on the Green finger berth. Alana Rose moves astern but not in a straight line; the wind and the river current have a big influence and she gets pushed sideways. JJ keeps good control but I am left running madly from stern to bow with a spare fender to protect the boat side from the danger of colliding with the sharp corners of the both docks. I’m not impressed, I swear (F**** everything!); we could have done with the help of one more, but no; JJ said “we could do this”. Yeah right! Peter from the marina saw what was happening and came to the rescue. Thank goodness the man is deaf!
Berth18 on Green Finger is now our new resting place; it is the last berth on the end of the finger, an outside berth sitting right beside the Burnett River. Alana Rose sits starboard side too with the Burnet Rive swiftly flowing past out to sea. JJ and my cabin is on the forward Port side, my dressing cabin is on the aft Port side. These are our personal living quarters; the portholes and hatches look out over the passing river enabling us to watch and listen to all the river activities while lying in bed, dressing or using our ensuite.
Our nearest neighbour is on the inside of the pontoon, in berth17 is an elderly X German, Klaus, who has a bad limp and has to use a cane to help him walk, with happy, little, fat, black and white Nicky the X short-haired terrier. The “Bar Fly” at the restaurant calls Nicky “the calendar dog”, because.......................................... her tail is in the air and you can always see her date. He really did say that! Klaus and Nicky have lived aboard their mono-hull in the same berth for the past six years; he said that he sailed in one day, fell over, into his boat, thank goodness, cracked a vertebrae in his neck, spent quite some time in hospital and has stayed here ever since. Klaus also has a habit of turning most of his conversations into a bit of a political arena. Nice elderly man though.
There is another elderly man, further along the same finger, with an unruly thick, long, grey beard and an obsession with alcohol. He has gout in one foot that he says has left him almost cripples at times. Someone told him that this was due to his drinking too much beer and that he should give away the beer. Well he did; now all he drinks is Whiskey, all day and every day. But then again, I have caught him sneaking a sly beer every now and then; he just gives me this stupid grin.
To our delight and surprise, Fantasy 1’s owners and crew, Karl and Sandy, were on board, back from some months in Adelaide. JJ and I have not seen them since they sailed out of Raiatea for Port Villa then OZ, back in early October of last year, 2007. Karl and Sandy are here to do some work on their boat before putting her out on the hardstand for some time. Karl says that they are looking at retiring from cruising; it has been nine years since they had sailed away from the OZ shore for their circumnavigation of the world. Both Karl and Sandy are in their late 60’s and are now looking at some nice little unit to retire to; some place that offer most of their interest which is more social, involving the arts, theatre, bridge club, Sunday drives and coffees. Defiantly not found in a marina. In the mean time we are catching up on some old times.
JJ and I have now started the process of importing Alana Rose into the country. Fist was Customs with their mile long information process and filling out endless forms; JJ does rather well with his info form filling out skills. We passed the first test and paid the Custom’s bill which ended up being 17% of the value of the boats; $48, 000(AUS). This really hurt the bank balance!
Next step will be the Quarantine inspections; the first is this Monday when Amy will come aboard once again to do a more thorough sweep of Alana Rose and after that we need to get the Sniffer Dog in to do his thing before Alana Rose will be given the "all clear". It does seem funny how this little trick is not done on any other boats that are coming home to OS, even when they have been in high risk countries, only for boats being imported. The system does not seem to be 100% efficient to me.
Last week I came down with some form of flu virus, ended up in hospital for four days with swollen lymph nodes in a saliva gland, not Mumps. I had been to the doctors earlier last week for a sore lump on the side of my neck followed by an ultrasound and blood tests. I was due to go back to the Doc at 2.30pm that same day, Friday. My lump had actually grown bigger, it was very sore, it throbbed big-time, I found it very difficult to chew or swallow solid food or even to open my mouth too far and I had a major headache. I had been living on Panadol for the past few days; Doc could not call the shots till the tests were back, so no other treatment till then. Doc and his staff were real good; they got me into the Radiologist the same day and the Pathologist the following morning; instead of the usual two to whatever week some people are forced to wait.
Doc said I had Parotitis, an inflammation of the parotid gland, which is a large salivary gland located in front of each ear only mine had extended under the jaw line. In the ultrasound it also showed enlarged lymph nodes. He was not happy; he was not 100% confident with the right treatment and had got me into the ENT man at 4.30 that afternoon.
It is too far to go back to the marina and come back in so JJ and I did some window shopping and spent some more time in a coffee shop. What else could one do? By the time I got to the ENT clinic I felt a complete wreak and I must have looked it.
ENT man took one look at me and put me into hospital, on a drip with two types of antibiotic, one which was so strong that it burnt the sh*t out of my vein (jungle juice), Panadine Forte every six hours and two shots of morphine. (OMG!)
That night my temp was up, my BP was up, my Pulse rate was rapid, even the morphine did not knock me out. Not till the next day and then I was a zombie till Sunday morning. Come Monday morning the excess fluid was going down but the lymph was still enlarged; I was wheeled off to Pathology again for more pictures and a needle aspiration on the offending lymph node. Ouch!!
Today, Tuesday I was allowed to escape, with another appointment to see the ENT man Wednesday at his clinic for more tests; he stuck a scope through my nose and down my neck. Yuk!!
I came home with a bag full of tablets, DICLOXACILLIN which is the "jungle juice" in tablet form and PANADEINE FORTE which is now not for the pain in the neck (No I'm not the pain in the neck as JJ would like to suggest), but for the pain in the bad lower back from lying on the hospital bed for too long in the wrong positions; jacked up on all those pillows when the back needs to be supported in a more upright position.
The ENT man was great, the hospital was great, all the nursing staff were great and poor JJ was the best. JJ hired a car to travelled in and out everyday to be with me, he bought me some sexy PJ's (Sesame Street characters) from Best and Lest and he even did my washing and the house cleaning on the boat before I came home. No, he is not "for sale"!
I’m home now, back on board again, home to my comfy bed, to hibernate for a few more days. The weather is not so good, cold, very windy and wet. Yuk, yuk!! I have slept for most of the first two days home; great to be back in my own bed. The weekend Gave Way to some activity on board; just can’t keep a good woman down. Saturday morning JJ and I caught the marina shuttle bus into Bundaberg, walked up and down the main street, went to the Post Office and a couple of other shops, stopped off for a coffee and something naughty from a little bakery near the IGA, picked up some groceries and a carton of beer then caught the 12.35 town bus back to the marina. That afternoon and most of Sunday JJ and I spent time catching up on chores that had been left; all the chart are now away in a secure locker, half my old clothes have been cut up for rags and the push bikes have been resurrected. Way to go!
29th- 31st July 2008
It’s cold! It’s so bloody cold that we have had the heater on for most of the day. The sun is shining, but the wind is howling around the boat making the waters of the river form into little white crests that noisily bang on Alana Rose’s hull. JJ and I keep busy doing any kind of chore that we do inside only; this is to keep us warm. It is not working!
In the past two days there has been three electrical storms go through; torrential rain, high winds up to 45knots but mostly around 25-30knots making living on the river not very comfortable. So far JJ has put the new vents in the clothes locker doors, installed a couple of 240v power points, put new label on the power board, pulled the bikes out of the forward locker cleaned then down and put the back together (we have not used them as yet) and installed a new water pump under the sink. I have done my bit; put the new matting under the spare beds and made them up with sheets blanket and doona, stowed all the charts under one of the beds, culled a lot of our gear that Ange had brought up from Brissie, cleaned out several locker and put all the cruising guides and that kind of literature on the shelf in the S/b cabin leaving me with an empty locker in the P/t companionway for more galley things. Both JJ and I have spent a lot of time just sitting around playing on our computers.
Wednesday it was warm enough for us to get out on deck to measure up the standing rigging. Neither of us wanted to go up the mast to do the job; a bit of thought and ingenuity was brought into play. By using the spare halyard and attaching more line to this we could pull the line up to where we needed to measure mark the line off, pull it back down and measure up with a tape and repeating this process for each stay. Job done well; smart cookies!
I’m feeling a lot better, still on medication and need to have a little rest most afternoons, but I am up and about getting on with things. I have begun to do some light exercise each morning; even in the freezing cold. Up and down the cockpit step, some squats, lunges, push ups, Ab work and Yoga stretches. The past couple of day JJ and I have been for a little walk along the road outside the marina. JJ spends most of his walk trying to look in the boat yard or the shed to see what is happening so our walk is not what I call “for exercise” more of a stop and star fast stroll. Still have not tried the bikes!
Our life on Alana Rose is not so much different to most of other retired peoples’ lives out there, we potter around finding things to do, do the things that we like and rest up when needed. We still get up early and go to bed early, even when there is no real need to; just habit. JJ has finally slowed down and is not in such a rush to get things down, but he will always be a planner and has loads of projects on the drawing board, the difference now is that there is no deadline to keep which enables JJ to change or improve on his projects.