Sunday, December 19, 2010

Return of the Two-eyed Cat

Tigger has had the stitch removed that held his third eyelid over his eyeball while it healed. He no longer looks like a one-eyed zombie!

We’re back in Bundaberg and took him into his regular vet. We made reasonable time coming south and managed to stop at Lady Musgrave Island for a couple of days - and got in a dive. We’re now waiting for weather at Bundaberg Port and we hope to get back to Lady Musgrave for Christmas and New Year.

In January we plan to travel to Thailand for a few weeks; then we hang out until the cyclone season ends.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Hay Point Coal Port


Last year when traveling north we had the surreal experience of sailing at night through maybe 40 bulk carriers at anchor outside the Hay Point Coal Loading Station south of Mackay. We first saw lights on the horizon, then a scatter of radar echoes, and then the ships themselves appearing and disappearing in the early morning fog.

This year, going south we bypassed Mackay and the anchored ships. However, our new AIS receiver clearly shows the mass of ships at anchor, and even gives their names.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Our shortest cruising season

We’ve abandoned our plan to head north to the Solomon Islands and we’ve started south.

We spent 6 weeks in Townsville visiting the vet every 5-7 days. Tigger’s eye kept improving and backsliding. We made an appointment with a Specialist Ophthalmologist who flies in every few months. We almost cancelled it as Tigger seemed better. We had a weather window, and no cyclones were expected, so we applied for our animal Export Permit - for the third time! The specialist examined him and said that it wasn’t properly healed, would repeatedly recur, and might get worse. He recommended more complex surgery than the regular vet could do. Tigger’s eye was stitched shut (again) for two weeks and we gave up hope of leaving.

In theory it might have been possible - wait two weeks, find a weather window with settled conditions and no expectation of cyclones - but it was pretty thin. We get a couple of weekly prognostications about the upcoming weather, and the Bureau of Meteorology puts out a daily assessment of Cyclone risk over the next 3 days, but we would be at sea for 7-8 days - going right through where they form!

So we headed out of Townsville and started south. We’re now in the Whitsunday Islands and we’ll continue on tomorrow towards Bundy. We’ll be able to leave Australia at the end of the Cyclone Season in May.