Monday, April 30, 2007


Here are some traditional Australian tourist photos in this handy dandy slide show format. Let me know if you have trouble viewing them.

We will be taking off for Tawoomba, the Garden City of Queensland, on Thursday with Dave. No final decision to post about Mia, but we expect to make an announcement before we leave.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

No Word

As of Friday here, we had not received the survey report, meaning that we the next step in our buying process has not started. We learned yesterday that the owner will bring the wind vane back next week-end, so we have some time to wait before the boat will be completely put back together.

Meanwhile, crew mate Dave is getting ready to join us. He departs in a couple days, and we just made plans to do some traveling while we wait. This also coincides with the fact that our Manly Hotel filled up for the week-end, so we're off to explore a little.

Meanwhile we're learning more about Australian Customs, import and export, Coast Guard regulations both US and Australian, looking for sources of charts, pricing outboard engines, ... you get the idea. Last night, we happened upon a folding bike to go in a boat, and full size one for sale last night - $15 each. Bargains are hard to come by here, Evvy has sniffed out cheap housing, and we found another one. We picked them up a couple hours ago, and we're still out with them. For Shawn's sake, we'll be sure to get some pics of these up soon!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Decision Time, Again

As most of you know, we tried to buy two other boats and looked seriously at a long term charter. None of these three worked out, so we're hoping Maia will work out for us. Our haul out and sea trial revealed a number of new things to consider. I won't go into all the details, but as an example the boat is not quite ready for sale since the owner has removed the self steering vane for repairs, a key piece of equipment, so we were unable to test it. We also have no date for when the owner will be done with this or how well it will work. A second issue is what documentation for the boat that we can get in Australia as U.S. citizens. This could be a deal stopper, but we are making the inquiries now. So a number of question marks remain.

This is the time to weigh whether Maia is an acceptable home, sailing ship and investment. An earlier entry mentions a 72 hour decision period, but that starts after we get our survey report, which may take a few days. We have scheduled a haul out date for May 8, so we're on track to keep moving.

Nothing could move forward yesterday, however, since it was ANZAC day, the local equivalent to veterans day. Australians take ANZAC day seriously. Almost everything was closed. So we jumped at the opportunity to go sailing on someone elses boat. The broker tipped us off that a huge sailing race was taking place and we could easily crew on a boat by just showing up at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron (this is said with a straight face) in the morning.

We put in our names to Judy at the desk set up in the bar of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron. She lined us up with a boat and warned Craig that if he didn't take his hat off in the bar, it could be his shout (turn to buy drinks for everyone in the bar). We lucked out on the boat assignment, our skipper Trevor and his crew Aaron found us and invited us onto his Farr 11.67 Meter, a fairly large and fast boat. We had a great sail, our skipper is a great sailor and very relaxed about the race. Rather than screeming and stress, we had a gorgeous sail. Trevor was not returning to the port we left, so when the race was over, we sailed on to the town of Cleveland after sunset. We ended up having dinner and drinks with Trevor late into the night last night, great fun. I think we might have worn our captain out with all of the questions we peppered him with. We got the low-down on everything from good places to eat to places to buy boat equipment. Oh - and why Fosters isn't sold anywhere - apparantly no one likes it.

Well, its off to more figuring and research for us now.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Maia Update and Silly Tourist Stuff

We are sitting on a park bench outside the marina trying to get internet access.

We’ve relocated our humble abode to the Inn at Manly Harbor. It’s just a short walk from the boat, saving us money and time on transportation. Manly is a cute little sleepy town filled with salty old sailors that we hope to get to know. We are staying above the local pub where everyone seems to meet in the evenings. We’re looking forward to soaking up the local knowledge on everything from best anchorages to good shops to buy provisions.

Tomorrow is the survey and sea trial. We’ve hired a surveyor with ultra-sound so we can be confident in the condition of the steel hull. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that Maia doesn’t have any big problems. After the sea trial we have 72 hours to make up our mind about the boat or negotiate a new price. When/if the sale goes through, the real fun begins with about a months worth of projects from fixing the rust spots to building an arch for the solar panel to installing a new water filter. Dave’s coming out just in time for the fun stuff.

Enough of our boring logistics, this weekend Craig and I took a break from our odd little sailing dream to partake in some traditional tourist romps.

On Saturday we headed out to a koala bear sanctuary located just west of Brisbane. Part petting zoo, part traditional zoo you are allowed to feed the kangaroos and wallabies or get a picture taken with a koala (perhaps not so nice for the koala). A cassowary (see this link for more on this endangered bird) was on display in a well vegetated but smallish pen. In the “scales and tales” room we found snakes, adders, and frogs. In the slide show is a picture of an adder. There was a boa constrictor whose birth was larger than a standard tire. So exciting to see, but also a reminder of how many deadly critters there are in Queensland. It looks like I can't upload pictures tonight but this is the link to the park.

On Sunday we went to the Gold Coast – to the beach. It was great to frolic in the surf. The water was not as cold as Southern California but not as warm as Hawaii or Florida. It’s amazing how built up the coast is. It makes Honolulu and Miami look like small towns. OK that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but the area is still filled with sky scrapers, much bigger than we imagined.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Maia views

Here are some more views of Maia, from our inspection of the boat. We had a couple hours there, enough to ensure that we can get internet in the Marina, so here is Craig writing e-mail in the salon, that's what it looks like. In the background you can see quite a bit of electronics, 2 EPIRBS, 2 VHF radios, an SSB radio that transmits - a pricey and useful item.

Evvy is playing cook, the galley is pretty big for this size boat, and also well equiped. We hope the pressure cooker is included.

There are a variety of birds in the bathroom, it's cozy.

Here is a view of Maia's starbord bow.

Last, the haul out we'll be using on Tuesday is right behind these noisy birds. They were quite interested in our picnic, but when we fed them some carrots, they figured we were crazy health nuts and left us in peace.

We're off to find a new apartment, as ours wasn't able to give us another week - we are taking it one week at a time. We may move out of the City down to Manly, right by the boat.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Caveat emptor

The news for the day is that the mast I was much worried about got the OK from the rigger. The mast on Maia is made of steel, unlike most modern boats which use aluminum, or as they say here, aluMINIum. Steel is cheaper, which is probably why it was used for Maia, but it rusts, and this one has some rust that caused us some concern. Yesterday I was able to secure a contractor to replace two places on the deck that are a bit rusty too. When we're out sailing the next 6 months, we'll have to work on some rusty spots. This is part of learning how to care for a steel boat, which requires more maintenance, but in turn is much stronger.

There remain two big steps for the boat: an inspection by a surveyor and a sea trial to make sure it sails well and the systems work. This was just scheduled for Tuesday next week. It may seem from far away that these are formalities, but we have to remain ready to turn down this boat.

In other news, our friend Dave is coming out meet us next week, which will be a help getting boat ready to start voyaging. Dave is looking for some adventure too, so we plan to be a happy crew of three for a good part of our journey.

We are starting to adjust to Australia. Our first 3 days here consisted of somewhat stressful car driving, on the absolute wrong side of narrow, winding roads, in a daily commute of an hour or more. On Tuesday we thankfully gave that up for the train. Coming home that first train day, we stopped in the Central station, one stop from home and walked along the river front. Evvy said it was the best City walk she's had in years. Downtown Brisbane is very dense, with shiny new buildings beside quite old ones, and the waterfront has cute ferry boats, the walkway is packed with runners, bikers and very fancy bars and restaurants.

This entry is the first one I've been able to do with a power connection, and after much needed boat business was just concluded, so I could write at more length. Unfortunately, I don't have pictures handy, so I'm afraid dear readers, you'll have to sit on the edge of your seat. No worries, right?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Back in Time

Sorry about the delay. We finally have things sorted out enough to share pictures. Problem is, we haven't been taking many. This is the quarter birth not shown in the "for sale" photos of Maia.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

English Lessons

Apparently, we do not speak English. Lucky for us we came to Brisbane to learn the right way to pronounce things. For instance, aluminum has five syllables and is spelled aluminium. Cairns - is pronounced "carns". And the one that looks so funny to us on signs isn't really pronunciation at all, but if an object ends in "s" and is possessive you use all the s's that you pronounce. For example if you were to comment on James' hair in Australia you write about James's hair. Not sure what one might say, but that is how you write it.

We will post pictures as soon as we get the power, online situation coordinated.

Connections limited

We haven't been able to post much because we are running into communications problems. It is crazy that our friends on Ute in Honduras have great access, while we're sitting here in supposedly the first world, and we can't get on line - just goes to show we're rookies at the traveling life! We don't have wifi access in Brisbane, whether free or paid. This means we can't Skype from our computer, can't get in touch with the people we need to move forward, so we don't have much news. We're continuing to pursue Maia, working through how to evaluate and fix the flaws we have discovered.
Jet lag has been plaguing me (Craig), but Evvy is getting along
pretty well. The first day or so I ran pretty strong, but
everything was like looking through cotton candy. Since then
I've been pretty zonked, not sleeping well, but last night I
went out at midnight to make a wire transfer of $ during US
business hours, and that might do the trick for me.

So in the mean time, we've been boat shopping on the 1/2 hour
drive from Brisbane to Manly. On this route, we found 5-6
different marine shops, a solar panel shop, and
the home improvement store where we can buy metal working tools.
Pics to come when we get more organized.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Bought It

On our first day in Brisbane, we saw the boat we liked from the pictures. It looks good in person too, so we made an offer and it was accepted. We bought a boat our first day here. Like most all boat purchases, this is subject to our careful inspection, survey report and sea trial. So we are on the fast lane to get things done here. We will say more about the boat soon, but here is the web page for Maia:

The boat is fairly simple 32', made of steel, and well outfitted. A better deal than we could get back on the West coast, nothing like it for the money. We will have to do some work on it, but compared to other boats, there is not a great deal to do. This moved at break neck speed for me (Craig), but Evvy and I are both happy that we're moving forward. We're off to get a better look at Maia right now. More soon.

Monday, April 9, 2007

We Are Down Under

Craig and I arrived this morning in Brisbane and are currently in the marina waiting for the broker to view a boat. Wish us luck!


A few tips for keeping in touch with us.

We do not have our phones, so email is the best way to contact us. We will do our best to check email frequently.

We do not have a time schedule like you might expect on a cruise ship or a road trip. Obviously we don't have a boat yet, but even when/if we do purchase a boat we need to be careful about leaving when the weather is right and when the boat has all of the things she needs. Otherwise, it could be dangerous. So, we will not have a list of cities that we will be traveling with dates when we will get to them. We have a general course that we would like to take and we will do the best we can. We will update you as we know.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

On Our Way

Welcome to our new site. We will try to post regularly on this page so you know where we are and what we are up to.

We are leaving on Thursday, April 12th at 10:45 pm. We will arrive in Brisbane Saturday morning. Let us know how Friday went.

Craig and I are packing up and heading out. More soon.