2023 Heading North to Queensland

Malua is almost back in cruising mode after COVID and cleaning out all my cruising gear to put her on the market.  Next came the replacement of the wind transducer at the top of the mast which took months and months to be imported and then sent to me from Melbourne.  Don't believe it when a web site states "In Stock" or when you phone and say "Is it in stock" because all the person will do is look on their web site and state "Yes"  However when you actually speak to someone that knows the sharp end of a vessel from the blunt end and ask for the status of the order they may say Sorry it is the war in Europe and we have delays.  Finally after four months I get a delivery date.

Well the wind instruments are at the top of the mast and connected via NMEA 0183 to the existing Simrad wind displays and I now know the strength and direction of the wind.

Having spent a considerable amount of time at the top of the mast I decided to install a 4G telephone/data antenna right at the top to capture the signal when I am at the outer reefs in Queensland.  Installing the antenna was easy.  Then came the running the rather thick coax cable down the mast to exit at the base and then take into the saloon.  The red string lead "Mouse" went down like a charm but when attached to the cable things just got stuck. No matter what I did the cable would not go past the lower spreader set-up.  I pulled the cable up out of the mast rolled it up and decided to tackle that another day.  The red string "Mouse" is still in the mast.  No amount of Ratex would get it out.

Next came the anchor chain.  It had been sitting in the forward anchor locker for almost two years.  I had some time ago end to end it so the worn links where now at the end and the bright shiny links at the anchor end or so the theory goes.  I tried to drag 100 m of chain behind Malua while off the local beach but the engine was not strong enough to pull it a single meter.  So back to the dock and unload the chain onto the pontoons and string it out to inspect, clean and then paint/galvanise the rusted bits.  It is only superficial rust and paint so it will not last but it did look good on the dock. I set about marking the length of chain so I know how much I have in the water when I anchor. I have previously used cable ties which worked well so this time I painted the chain at each 10 meter length. Blue, White, Red and orange at the 40 m mark then repeat with the next orange at the 80 m mark with the final 20 m green and bright red. That took care of the 100 m of chain. In addition I added red cable ties – one per 10 meters then switched to green for 50 to 80. I will now be able to see the colours go out and also the number of cable ties.

The final step in the preparations was to investigate the stores on Malua. Some date back some years with a use by date of 2016 and 2019. S those had to go. Next turn to my check list of what is required which I have used all around the world. I still haven't solved the storage problem. All like stores in one container. Meaning to replenish the weekly store one has to go into maybe 5 containers to get the range and selection. The alternate is to divide all stores into many containers and then work your way through each box. But what if you eat more corn in the first box and need a tin do you raid the next box. That problem is not an issue on Malua because I don't eat tinned corn!

OK off to Aldi, Woolies and Coles to stock up. I also went to the market to get fresh produce. Another trick learned many years ago – don't purchase from only one supplier. Spread your purchases of onions, potatoes etc around so if you get a bad lot you are not left with all of them spoiled or rotten. Potatoes in the light and onions in the dark. Eggs in plastic containers not cardboard.

The moon is full in two days time and there appears to be a four day weather window opening for us to leave and head towards the Gold Coast.

The next leg of the adventure here...