Blue Water Dreaming
Gold Coast - Getting Ready for a New Sailing Season
When the cyclone season came to an end in April, the list of things we wanted to do before setting sail again was still quite long and we hadnít managed to take care of them during the summer. We spent just over a month in an apartment in Southport while Zenitude was out of the water. It was a convenient arrangement with Zenitude in dry land as living in a boat in the shipyard is not what you can consider comfortable. 
Zenitude on Land - Between Southport and the Shipyard - April 2014
Gold Coast Seaway far in the background
For over a month, every single day, after enjoying breakfast with the outstanding views from our air conditioned apartment we headed to the dusty, heated, noisy world that is a shipyard. 
We concentrated first in the jobs that needed to be done out of the water leaving bottom paint and waxing for professionals while we changed the set of seacocks, valves and hoses that are part of the holding tank system, painted the fridge door with actually really good results and completed lots of other little projects to make Zenitude a livable home again.
With Zenitude in the water it was time to leave the apartment and move back to life on-board where another big list of jobs waited for us meaning that we couldn't leave port just as yet.
Finally it came the day when shinny Zenitude was ready to be deposited back in the water
Fridge door before.

With lots of advice from Inspirations Paint the results are actually quite good for our first paint job.
No doubt we have to thank many of the trading people in the Gold Coast, whom more often than not were happy to teach and give us good advice or direct us to the right place if they couldn't help. This is indeed a contrast with other places where greed to take your money is the main drive in business.
After. A new looking fridge.
Zenitude Back on the water - Working at the Gold Coast City Marina - May 2014
The terrific GCCM shipyard crew at work
With all work on the dry completed we kept going for several weeks with the many things we wanted to do before leaving, such as installing the new sails, new Raymarine navigation system, several electrical system jobs, engine maintenance and the list went on.

While dealing with the nightmare of passing cables for the upgrade of our Raymarine navigation system we were wondering where is the wireless technology up to for marine navigation systems. It was such a nightmare and we spent double the time we had estimated, we even had to call a welder to make a hole in one of the stainless steel tubes to be able to remove the old Radar cable that got stuck inside. 

In the middle of all this we had a seacock valve failure and had to be lifted again to install a new one. Once more, we were extremely grateful to the staff in the marina that lifted us at the end for their working day, let us 'hanging' in the travel lift for the night and put us back in the water next morning. The weather gave us a break as well as it was pouring rain all day except when we needed to move the boat, which mainly kept us dry.

Then we discovered that our wind generator blades got damaged in the big hail storm during last summer, adding to the list of things that needs replacing. 
Installing the new navigation system
Brand new digital radar
Navigation system installed and working, ready for a sea trial with Raymarine rep.
With all electrical work done, new sails installed, wind generator fixed, engine maintenance half way (one engine done, one engine to go) we had the feeling at this point that the list of things to do would never end. But after 8 years of cruising life, we were used to this feeling and we knew one day we would say enough is enough, we are leaving. Close to the end of May that day was approaching.

By now we had made our minds and finalize our sailing plans. The farthest north we had sailed in Australia was Bundaberg, this year we decided to go further up the QLD east coast. The basic idea was to go north and spend time in the Barrier Reef and the islands probably up to Townsville or Cairns where we would turn and come back south before next cyclone season.

During this time Dave and Booker were also at GCCM working on Tortuguita to get her ready for this season. We met them in Grenada, Caribbean, several years ago and had sailed together many times in many different places. They crossed the Pacific last year and it was great to have them around, very handy too, as Dave has a load of knowledge on how to fix things around the boat, but the best were the pizza nights together at the local club after a hard day's work. Their plans were similar to ours, unfortunatelly they had at least an extra month of work so we would have to meet again somewhere along the way.

We also had a chance to visit our friends Kristina and Phil from Songline who live here in Brisbane. Songline was sold some time ago and now they have a beautiful home. We met in San Blas, Panama and crossed the Canal for the first time with them in Songline, Zenitude's sister ship. We visited them for a weekend in their new home, it was great to catch up with them.
The fixed wind generator and a rainbow
The new sails installed and another rainbow
Dave and Booker from Tortuguita in
Bonnaire (2008)
Songline and crew after crossing Panama Canal (2010)
Phil and Cristina on the left
Cristina taking Songline thru the locks (2010)
Ready to Go - However, it is a Soccer World Cup Year
We were almost ready to go but as 2014 was a 'Soccer World Cup' year Oscar decided there was something missing in Zenitude: a TV Antenna.

Last soccer world cup we were in Fakarava and Toao, Toamotus. When the timing of the games allowed, we used to go to a resort for breakfast and watch the game there. When the game was in the middle of the night, Oscar would ride the dinghy to the beach and walk around town to one of the local houses where people would gather to watch the game. (You can read all about our time in the Toamotus here).

It was not the best of arrangements and Oscar decided this year he wanted to watch the games in the comfort of home, no matter the time. This required for Zenitude to get a TV antenna, a new little project. After good research on the best option, we bought and installed the antenna, the structure to mount it and all the cables.

At the same time we started looking at the weather for our first leg. There were two options for the start of our trip, we could go inside Moreton Bay on day trips or we could get out to open seas thru Gold Coast Seaway and sail in an overnight to Mooloolaba.

The latest was our preferred option as the cold weather was starting to bother us and we wanted to get to warmer latitudes. 

With that in mind we did the last preparations and when a good window opened at the end of May we set sail towards Mooloolaba. 
Gold Coast Seaway - Towards open seas