We arrived at the Gold Coast with a list of projects we wanted to complete, the first set of major boat projects since eight months ago in Brisbane. Here are highlights from our arrival and first week there. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map.
Conditions remained calm overnight and we’re now off the floor and back to sleeping on that soft, raised platform in the master stateroom. We could imagine everyone using these. :) We’re just passing Cape Byron, the most easterly point on the Australia mainland and a popular tourist attraction. Many people were high on the cliff taking in the view on this beautiful sunny day. If we continue west as planned, the next time we’d be farther east is if we crossed the International Date Line again.
We continue to near to the coast to avoid the strong counter-current. Here we’re running even closer than on the rest of the trip to pickup every minute we can get in order to make the Gold Coast Seaway before sunset.
Even in relatively calm water the shallows in front of the seaway entrance build up a good-sized swell. You can see Kimberly Rose II just beginning to exit the channel. We bet it will get interesting in rough water.
After a five-day run with a couple of rough nights at sea, it’s wonderful to be back in sheltered waters again. We had a great meal over a bottle of wine on deck and then slept very well. The weather is much warmer than the last time we were here. That and our position on the end of the dock in the Southport Yacht Club reminds us of our stay in Waikiki–we’re going to enjoy our time back here.
We wax Dirona every six months, but we haven’t been in the same place long enough, or people haven’t been available, so this one’s stretched out to eleven. At this point, we need a good cut and polish. We’d heard good things about Harbour Force Marine Detailing, and they had a four-person crew on the boat within thirteen hours of our landing. They did a top-quality job and it’s great to see Dirona shining again.
Bob McCallum of Gateway Hydraulics came out on a Saturday to drop off the parts needed to install a fuel cooler. Fuel coolers are rarely needed in modern marine applications and many recommend against their use. The downsides are certainly worth considering but, on Dirona, the upsides eventually won out. Modern diesel engines recirculate large amounts of fuel and, since some of the fuel passages are in the cylinder head, the fuel returning from the engine is nearly at engine operating temperature. 180F fuel is quite hot but with large fuel loads, it’s diluted by the rest of the fuel in the system and the heating of the fuel load is negligible. But on multi-day runs, the fuel tanks start to get quite warm. The main tanks have 86F water on one side and 110F engine room on the other so, over time, the full fuel load gets hot and the day tank can get as high as 170F. A 70-gallon space heater in the engine room is hard on the people and the machinery, so we have decide to cool the fuel and enjoy lower engine room temperatures.
Here Cookie of S & H Spars is splicing a shackle onto the end of our spare anchor rode. Originally we had the chain portion of the spare rode permanently spliced to the 500′ of line, but to improve boat trim, we moved the chain portion from the forward anchor locker to the after part of the boat.
We like to have a spare snubber on board, and have had two part since leaving Seattle. After our snubber parted last year, we switched to the spare and purchased two new chain claws, but hadn’t yet spliced them onto lines. These RWB chain claws, recommended by David Fincham of Speedbird, are high quality and half the price of what we were using previously. S & H Spars spliced them onto lines for us, so now we have two backup snubbers.
Our new Hydac S610-10-INC625-NI/G1 fuel cooler in place. The cooler is a brazed plate heat exchanger made from nickel brazed Inconel (Austenite nickle-chromium-based superalloy) designed for highly corrosive environments like warm salt water.
Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.
On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at