Life at the Antipodes – Episode 2

In this second episode of Life at the Antipodes, we bring you a disappointing update from Australia but positive news from France!

From Australia

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!

The A-frame and cross beam

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!

From France

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?

A photo from last year, but a good one!

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!

The River Seine at La Bouille
La Bouille and its ferry
Bicycle ride on the Plateau du Neubourg – It’s nice and flat!
Cathédrale Notre Dame D’Evreux

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!

16 thoughts on “Life at the Antipodes – Episode 2

  1. Glad you have caught the failure on the mast , it sounds like a big job but good to have it taken care of. Well done Wade. It is lovely to read you are having such a good time with your Dad. I presume he is going south with you to see Vero and her family. Have a wonderful time eat and drink lots a that lovely French cuisine.

    • Hi Sue – on Anui it is a failure of the A frame, rather than the mast, but yes it is better to have found this out in sheltered waters! We did not pick this up ourselves, nor did the surveyor, but the welder did and when you look at the photos it is obvious. The welder referred Wade to a rigger. Anyway, the repair is now underway.

      I am very pleased with how the time with Dad is going. I think he is enjoying the company and me being with him for the blood test, MRI and results is helpful to settle his nerves, support him and help understand what is happening. He is doing ok.

      We are going together to Toulouse, another good thing for all of us – a chance to be all together.

  2. I can imagine Wade’s discontent and frustration about on more thing that has to be corrected on the Anui. I can also understand the situation in France. I will include your father in my prayers.

    • Yes we have had our fair share of repairs on Anui – more than we expected, but it’s part of the course with second hand boats.
      Thank you HJ for your prayers – very thoughtful of you.

  3. Hi Chris! As always, I enjoy your posts. Glad to hear all is going well in France with your dad esp’ after your false start. Boats! There’s always something & it’s usually “break out another thou (thousand)!” Looked up your Struman lens too that you have been mentioning. Good reviews & a reasonable price too (& Aus made). Looks like a bit of fun. Can see how it would be handy on the boat too. Apart from not having to lug around the weight when we go for walks it’s always handy having a few different cameras set up to catch that special moment while at sea. Just added to my underwater gear … housing, new TG5 (rumours are they are not going to be releasing any more TGs) & an UW dome lens. Might have to add the Strumans! Take care. See you on the water! A

    • Hi Amanda – nice to get your comment! Glad it gave you a few ideas. Struman Optics have a kit with a fisheye, a macro and a wide angle. They also produce a housing for your phone that allows you to screw on the little lenses. Well worth it and easier to use than the clip the lens kit comes with.

      Hope to see you in a couple of months.

  4. Hello dear Wade, How good Chris was able to go visit her Dad…am sure he would have loved having her. Hope you are looking after yourself while Chris is away. I do not know where you are moored but you know where we are if we can help in any way. Thankfully our weather has settled at last. Am sure you would not like to meet that surf on the way to Lord Howe…..” Peace, be still” said Christ Jesus and the sea stilled. Wonderful example. Great photos from Brad of Coolangatta surf.

    It was lovely a few weeks ago – we had a visit from Craig and his two Kids ( lovely Bryce and Carolina) And Paul brought them here. Great talk…..I suppose Craig will start his lecturing soon…something new for him. I wonder if Murray is doing something new …..that would make “Newness” evident for the 3 of you. So glad all the necessary improvements have gone well for Annui. Frank is back to the cricket.. Lots of love and know that you are always welcome. With good wishes from us both – Pam G

  5. Say hello to Toulouse for me. Beautiful part of France. Enjoy your time with family 😄

  6. Thank you for sharing your highs and lows with us Chris. We have been boarding at Deb’s parent’s place (both in their eighties) during our building project, and it has given us a new awareness of the issues of aging. The fast pace of technological change has created new layers of vulnerability and stress for the elderly still living at home.

    I must admit your fore-beam issue shook me a bit. Ours is currently being fabricated. It never occurred to me it could subject to such high stress, being a truss member under tension: not taking direct rig loads. I wonder if a screecher or spinnaker sheet snagged and imposed lateral (sideways) loads at some point? I’d be very interested in the riggers observations.

    • Hi Pete & Deb – yes Dad’s choice is to stay in his home. He is quite isolated but prefers this to “imposing” on anybody. He is a loner. It was fine when Mum was still alive, but much, much harder now, particularly with his health issues. Still that is the choice he has made. He is still mobile, drives, uses his laptop and smart phone and manages pretty well, considering!

      And the forebeam on Anui… now that rattled us too. Don’t know what caused the cracks around the welding on the A frame and how long they have been there. We’ll see what the rigger does. It sounds like he is making a larger base for the A frame. Will keep you posted. It certainly is something for you to think about for Selah. On TIE we did not have a screecher but had a genoa and used the spinnaker a lot!

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