In this second episode of Life at the Antipodes, we bring you a disappointing update from Australia but positive news from France!
Wade might have dodged the bullet with Cyclone Oma which returned offshore without wreaking havoc, but his email signals other hassles: “Houston we have a problem”! We thought we had attended to everything on Anui. Well we were wrong. A chance meeting with a welder to make an adjustment to the A-frame aimed at avoiding chafing of the mooring ropes against its sharp edge, uncovered a serious problem!
For those who don’t know, the role of the A-frame is to counter the force which the jib and forestay place on the cross beam. The forestay stops the mast from falling backwards and is what the jib furler rotates around, and the rigging on either side of the A-frame stops the cross beam from lifting at either end. So it is rather critical that the A-frame be strong! What was discovered was a crack along the welding at the base. It seems to have been there for a while but was not noticed at survey time. Have a look at these photos:
Because the A-frame is anodised it makes re-welding problematic and also does not deal with the root problem which is that it is not strong enough. The A-frame has had to be taken off, ropes attached to support the mast, and a new A-frame needs to be made by the local rigger, which will take a couple of weeks. So no sailing for Wade! All he can do is motor. He has decided to get out of the marina for now and go and anchor around Moreton Bay to minimise costs. He will return to the marina in Manly when the A-frame is ready to be installed.
You have to be thankful for small mercies. It is better to have discovered this problem now than to have a catastrophic failure at sea!
All is going quite well. I can’t help but be impressed by my Dad’s resilience and his attitude. Even though he has pancreatic cancer, he refuses to think he is running out of time. Luckily he is generally not in pain, just gets exhausted quickly and gets rattled if you introduce any change of plan to his day. But at the age of 87, these things are to be expected!
He walks steadily and without a cane, we have gone on a bicycle ride along the country lanes… He is doing remarkebly well and behaves as if he has years ahead of him… and maybe he has, who knows?
We have done so much talking about life, about the choices he and Mum made long ago, about the past and about his wishes for the future. And of course I have shared with him my own choices and tried to convey why Wade and I live the sea wanderers’ life we now have. Hearing the stories of my family and especially of the strong, adventurous, independent women in my lineage makes me smile… I certainly know where my temperament comes from and Dad understands the need for living life on our own terms, outside of the more customary retirement lifestyle.
As I listen to my Dad, I feel this time together is so precious. We have settled into a simple yet comfortable pace: leisurely meals, morning outings to the local green grocer, charcuterie and bakery, afternoon wanders in the countryside. We have been lucky to enjoy exceptional weather.
Here are a few photos. For once I have not taken my Canon Camera overseas and I am making do with the iphone mostly, or the Olympus TG5. I use the Struman Optic fisheye lens with the iphone for some of the inside shots. These “fit in your pocket cameras” do a pretty good job. A photographer friend once told me “it’s good to train yourself to photograph with what is at hand instead of lugging your big camera all the time”. So I am practising. It is quite freeing!
We have a busy end of week: MRI for Dad, visit to my cousins Michel & Geneviève, and on Sunday we head off south to Toulouse to see my sister Véronique and the nieces and nephews.
More on our respective activities next week, stay tuned!