We sailed Tahina out of Soldiers Point on Thursday and took a short trip north to Fame Cove. It’s a quiet little anchorage with a few moorings. We found the only one available near the shore and got situated. On the way, our speed was a clear indication that the props were fouled. It was a nice sunny afternoon, so I got the wet suit and snorkel gear out and checked the props. Despite having cleaned the props just a month earlier when we left Broken Bay, the props were indeed covered in about an inch of barnacles. And, there was a thin film of rough slime all over the hulls as well. We also already knew there was quite a lot of slime on the waterline. Ugh! I only spent an hour in the water trying to clean before I was too tired and cold to continue. This cleaning needed to be done because we hope to leave to head north towards Brisbane over the weekend.
A couple of days earlier, I changed out one of the macerator pumps because it had gone bad, this is a pump that empties the holding tanks. Yuck! That pump was particularly hard because it is in a very awkward position to work on. But, at least I managed to keep the yucky parts to a minimum. I also diagnosed another head problem and think I may have to buy a new pump for that one. That’s the problem with having four heads, all with electric toilets, too many parts that can go wrong. Not only that, but yesterday as we were preparing to depart, we realized the other macerator pump had a leak. This happened because the bolts on these pumps break on a regular basis. Oh joy! The other pump would be an even nastier job.
We had been watching the weather all week. A front was going to be moving through that would shift the winds from the north to the south. The trick was whether it would be too strong to use to head north. Fortunately, it looks to be getting better, so we decided to leave yesterday and head out of Port Stephens up a few miles north to Broughton Island. We had to motor the whole way, but at least the weather was beautiful! Very sunny and light NE winds.
But, first I had to work on cleaning the bottoms. I spent another 90 minutes in the water and finished cleaning the props the rudders, the waterline (on all four sides of the two hulls), and cleaned parts of the hulls. But, I ran out of energy and warmth before getting it all. Our speed improved, but is still about 15% off our normal clean hull speed.
We motored out and arrived to Broughton Island early afternoon. We were visited by some dolphin just before we arrived. The island was very pretty, but I had to immediately work on the other pump. It took over two hours to first disassemble the old pump and get at its bolts, then remove the other pump and take it apart, break out a maintenance kit with new washers and gaskets, re-assemble, re-install the now repaired pump, clean out the very nasty bilge, and clean all the tools and work area with disinfectant. This was the nastiest of jobs on a boat – and I don’t love it at all.
We are planning to leave first thing Sunday morning (today) and start heading north. With our slower speed, plus the current working against us, we will make slower than normal progress on this trip. The weather may allow us to make it all the way to Brisbane, but we may stop in Yamba or Southport depending on how comfortable we are with the trip. Awesome sunrise as we departed!
Here are some photos from the last few days starting with our last days at Soldiers Point.