Exciting times ahead: My sister Véronique and husband Didier will be joining us from France in mid July and will spend 3 weeks with us on board Take It Easy, exploring the Southern end of the Great Barrier Reef!
But first, there is the small matter of taking the boat northward. Wade, yachties Mike Kotrba (also an Easy catamaran builder) and Merv Edmunds, and of course Bengie the ship’s cat, will hopefully have a fun and uneventful passage from the Gippsland Lakes to Tin Can Bay in QLD – or thereabouts. They are giving themselves three weeks to get up there and we will follow their delivery trip rather eagerly! D Day is any time from 20th June, weather allowing – only a week away! I am stuck at work, but will join in the fun with the French contingent descending on Take It Easy on 15 July! Ooh la la!
The work to get Take It Easy ready to go has been huge. It is with great relief that we finished the endless list of boat jobs. The last few weekends have been spent organising things for a long absence. Our normal spring maintenance schedule had to be brought forward, since the boat will be away from our home port until February next year. We installed a rainwater collection system, repaired the catwalk damaged by our anchor while at the Port Albert mooring, replaced the water pipe that perished in the sun, serviced the engines, installed a new inverter, installed a new start battery (the old one decided to die this week), cut and polished the hulls so they are nice and shiny, and finally provisioned the boat for the trip up and the holiday. Everything always takes 3 times longer than you’ve allowed. Quick jobs don’t exist, neither do easy jobs – most turn into big awkward ones. But in the end hard work and resilience pay off. Take It Easy is ship shape and ready for the big adventure!
Wade has also been busy researching anchorages and ‘hiding’ options along the coast, since at that time of year the East Coast lows can be mean. He has looked into the crossing conditions at the Wide Bay bar (which gives access to Tin Can Bay) and at the Noosa River as an alternative, depending on wind conditions. He is following the weather forecasts with closer interest than usual. I can feel his excitement but also his apprehension. It’s a long way to go (900nm), with limited time for the passage North. He is responsible for the boat and the safety of his crew and has the eventual success of our holiday with our family resting on his shoulders. Big breath in… Big breath out!
Once Take It Easy leaves the lakes, we won’t see this beautiful region for a while since the boat will stay up North at Rosslyn Bay (Yeppoon) for four months after our Frenchies’ Adventure. We will sail her back South as our Summer Cruise during December/January. So here are a few photos of the Gippsland Lakes as a very fond “Au Revoir” and miaow to you all from Bengie!