“Okay, Houston, we’ve had a problem here.” These are the actual words used by Jack Swigert during the Apollo 13 spaceflight. Hollywood changed them to the now popular ‘Houston, we have a problem’ for the movie. We too can now say ‘We’ve had a problem here’. Another one.
The weather on Tuesday was anything but ideal for a journey out at sea and Cordalga remained firmly tied up to the public boardwalk outside the RSL for the day. During the course of the afternoon Geoff descended into the black hole to do the normal pre-trip checks during the course of which he attempted to start the engine. You did notice the use of the word ‘attempted’. For some or other reason the batteries were dead. It didn’t make sense. Everything had been fine the day before and the batteries had never given any trouble. A flurry of calls ensued between Geoff and Glenn and Glenn arranged for an electrician to come and look at the problem.
The electrician’s view was that many of the leads were old and corroded and needed to be replaced. New parts were made and fitted and we spent a few hours cruising up and down the river charging the batteries. I’m sure some of locals thought we were lost as we cruised up and down going nowhere in particular.
The plan was for an early start on Thursday – up at 03H30 for a 04H30 departure. Once the obligatory early morning coffees had been consumed, Geoff attempted to start the engine – yes, there it is, the ‘attempted’ word again. Zero, zilch, zip, nada, nothing! The batteries were again dead. Geoff tried a few things but eventually gave up and it was back to bed. I’m sure the electrician would have been unimpressed if we had called him at that time in the morning.
The electrician was back on the boat by 08H00 and got the motor going. There was a technical explanation for what had happened but it went way over our heads. And so, by 09H00 we were on our way again. Headed for the Gold Coast.
The bar crossing proved to be an interesting experience. There were some waves breaking over the bar and as we powered through the water Cordalga’s bow would soar high into the air and you just know what goes up must come down – and it did with a great deal of force. Everything that wasn’t firmly bolted down in the wheelhouse went flying in all directions and there were a few tense minutes as we powered through the breaking waves. Geoff made the comment, ‘we may not be laughing at these conditions but Cordalga is, she spent most of her life in Bass Straight and has dealt with much worse’. Sure enough, she never missed a beat and we cleared the bar and then tidied up the wheelhouse. The Skipper even had to change – he was standing in the doorway when a wave came crashing over and gave him an unexpected shower.
The wind and swell on the trip to the Gold coast were from the south which meant that we had a following sea which was great. For most of the journey we were at over 7 knots. We had thought we might arrive at the Gold Coast at about 22H00 but by 18H00 we were tied up to a swing mooring and enjoying the scenery. We had covered 75 nautical miles in 10 hours. For those who don’t know, a nautical mile is based on the circumference of the earth, and is equal to one minute of latitude. A nautical mile is 1.852 km.
On Friday morning we booked a pen at the Southport Yacht Club to do some laundry and general housekeeping.