We are on our way. But its been a bumpy month to get there. In the past month we have had two mechanics quit causing lots of stress and uncertainty around our departure.
We have been unable to replace the guys leaving, so far… and leaving our workshop with two mechanics down. Luckily Geoff and Jeremy have just hatched Plan B so we could still leave and keep advertising the vacancy. Please universe, you can send us the perfect one now. We are ready.
Seems when you have a deadline to get to – so many things appear to get in the way. I have questioned if its a message for a not to go, or a sign to test our endurance! We choose the latter and kept on with our plans. So much has gone into this… so we cant back out now.
We went south for 3 days for my Dads ashes ceremony and the final Armstrong Cup. We honoured the closure of our ten years of grieving for dad and celebrated that we all made it. In our own ways… taking all the time we needed to grieve. I feel at peace. And it was a beautiful ceremony at Lake Clifton. A place dad has some good memories with his brothers as a young man.
We came home for 24 hours to put the caravan away, washed clothes, made the bed in the boat, packed all the last piles of stuff and hook up the boat. We begun our journey 7.30am to Wyndham today – 23rd April 2018. Today we drove until sundown.
The housesitter’s are all settled and look like they have got the pets and property under control. On google maps it says we have 2932km taking an estimated 30 hours. We will do this over the next few days…
Its been a depressingly windy summer, which means since we got the new boat we havent got to the islands. Alas – the day arrived! Finally. Just a quick 24 hour run over and one sleep to test a few important things…
Geoff has been busting to find out our fuel consumption. We did 95 nautical miles so that should be enough for him to calculate our litres per kilometre this week. THEN Geoff will know the final piece in the fuel puzzle and be able to confirm our fuel bookings up on the Kimberly barges.
We also got to test the Whaly again at sea. Luckily – because lots when wrong. We forgot the bung and water came in, that required us to beach and drain the tender. The pulley system got jammed and needed modification (and nearly ripped my hands off). The loading and flipping of Whaly went wrong and dented the bait board (and nearly took Geoffs head off). The towing needed practice and wrapped around the engine prop snapping the aluminium bar at the back of the boat. So thats LOTS of little things to go wrong – hopefully ironed out. (and more repairs!)… You could not attempt this if you didnt have a handy husband!
Sleeping over reminded us of a few things we needed to pack – more books, games, things to do like an art kit, uno and playlists. I thought more about food and wrote a few more notes of things to get. Geoff has a ‘big list’ that seems to keep growing. And now he is feeling the pressure of our departure date rapidly approaching. I have little piles of stuff around the house. Tick tock. Its coming…
This week I have begun the journey of food. This includes creating vac sealed meat portions, a herb garden and 7 weeks of dry stores.
Lets take a closer look.
We will have one Engel freezer powered by solar. This will hold our meat portions. Plus any extras I can fit in like maybe some frozen berries, spinach and bananas! I have also discovered I can freeze eggs. They have to be mixed to be frozen, so I am putting 8 in a click bag at once. We can use this for omelettes, cakes or pancakes. A perfect ocean protein.
We are creating a little herb garden and one tomato plant we have nicknamed Waterworld. Just for the novelty of eating some fresh goodness at sea. So I am planting it in the pot now so it has time to get established, and fingers crossed an ocean success!
Next is the BIG job of buying trolley loads of dry stores. I have been thinking about all the wholesome things I can create at sea. The time has come to begin the collection. We do not want to take any more weight that necessary, so somehow, I have to be as accurate as possible.
Because we cant load too much weight into the boat until we get to Wyndham, we have to store all the supplies in tubs on the truck tray. Then when we arrive, we will take a day to load everything on the boat ready for sea.
Geoff has printed the sea maps, charts, safe anchorage directions, tides and tourist info for the 2000km stretch. He is in the process of creating a manual for the journey we will have bound before we leave.
Geoff installed a dipstick gauge in the fuel tank as a manual back up to know what fuel we have on board. Geoff found out some good news that drinking water should be readily available from the waterfalls more than we first anticipated. Fingers crossed. Having regular access to fresh water will be a real luxury!
Here are some of the facts we have to work around…
Four humans will share 20sq of living space on a boat.
We will be collecting our drinking water from the waterfalls.
We will carry food for 7 weeks including frozen, dehydrated and dried.
Our main danger is crocs who learn the behaviours of their prey.
We have pre-ordered our fuel drops along the 2000km sea journey.
There is no internet. No ‘googling’ help when we get stuck. No FBJ
We have a satellite phone and Epirb beacon for emergencies.
The tides rise and fall between 2 – 8 metres in one day.
We will be using a real map made from paper to navigate our route!
We will be washing our clothes in a bucket.
The kids will be doing their school work along the way.
This is some of the remotest and pristine land left in Australia.
We christened the boat at sea ‘Endorfin’ with Champagne on the bow.
“We wish for a safe passage and plenty of fish!”
“I cant believe we are going to live on here for 7 weeks” Gracie exclaims while on the boat last week. I soothe her underlying fear around “will we survive in a confined space for that long”, on a boat with no escape from one another… except for our excursions on the land of course! Im sure that will make all the difference!
Geoff is busy creating the food storage cupboards under the beds. He is building a false floor in the hull, covering it with sea carpet and popping in flexible plastic tubs. Then it will be ready for me to load the food in March. We need to carry enough food for an eight-week trip. I’ve decided to pack the food into three areas with provisions for about 2 and half weeks in each area. This will stop everyone eating all the good bits first leaving the dry lentils behind! And then going mad at sea because there is ‘nothing to eat’. I am just wondering how I am going to survive without my favourite green thing: rocket!
We will only be able to carry fresh food for a maximum of two weeks… with no restocking. So I am now really thinking about all the yummy long lasting food options to keep it exciting and nutritious! It reminds of my early childhood – we only went to the shops like once and month. My mum was old school good at whole foods and keeping it simple. Plus, these days gosh there is no reason not to be eating like royalty because there are sooo many great long-lasting options that don’t need refrigerating.
Geoff has turned his attention to fuel and power. He will soon book our fuel drum drops, work out how much fuel we can carry and safe fuel storage. Geoff is also installing more solar panels, the Engel to carry the precious cargo of frozen meat portions, more 12volt power outlets and house batteries to keep it all running. We will also install two 9kg gas bottles on the roof for cooking.
We brought a 6kg pressure cooker and an old school stove top coffee maker today. Now I am at home practicing! More essentials ticked off the list…
Geoff has decided that Margaret is not going to cut it. She is just too slow…
So it was back to the drawing board to find a new truck. Geoff found one deceased estate dual cab truck on gumtree. So it was off to Perth to check it out.
Geoff also found a hard plastic tender called Whaly that comes all the way from Holland. We need a hard tender because of the rocky beach landings and crocodiles. Plus it needed to be light enough to store on the roof during travel. Whaly is going to be perfect!
We stayed over the night in Perth and collected the new truck and dinghy.
Geoff is going to finish tidying up Margaret and sell her.
Geoff has breathed a sigh of relief and feels like the big jobs are done; boat, dinghy and truck. Lucky we started six months before we leaving!
All big things take time… Its all apart of the adventure. The whole journey, not just the destination. This is going to be a whole journey trip!
Its been so windy! The wrong time of year to buy a new boat… windy, blowing, rough seas…
So its been weeks of waiting… looking at the boat… getting frustrated by the wind… more repairs and organising and planning…. Waiting…
We had a few breaks in the wind and swell and whizzed out to get blood on the deck. Geoff is getting more confident in driving. Navigating a bigger size, sits in the sea different, new driving style and needs. Each time, the nerves are easing. She’s a big boat! We helpers are slowly getting better at launching and retrieving. Much to Geoffs frustrations we are not lining it up properly or letting go of ropes too early! Bugger…