15 January 2007
Gold Coast Marina Center Coomera River S 27.52.210 E 153.20.154
"No drama mate"
Finally the holiday season is coming to an end and businesses are opening and tradesmen coming back to work. We met Mark, the diver that came out to our boat on Christmas Eve, today and he suggested that we hire him to dive for our propeller. The Coomera River is nothing but brown muck and you can't see anything so you have to go along the bottom and feel your way in the mud. Mark would establish a grid on the bottom by using pegs and then systematicly muck around in the mud. He believed the chances of finding the propeller would be about 70% so we decided to give it a go. He was scheduled to be at the boat over the weekend but at the last minute postponed until Monday. Whilst (I think that's Australian for while) having dinner with new friends, John and Elizabeth, we were encouraged to dive the river ourselves. I decided to enter the water mainly to reconfirm that hiring the diver at $500 AUS per day was a prudent thing to do. We are 10 miles up the river and visibility is nil. Despite the warning about bull sharks found attacking birds this far up the river, I forged on. Oh yeah, did I tell you that we had spotted brown snakes in the marina and in the water just around the boat. This is Australias' most poisonous snake. Just this week one struck a teenager who immediately suffered a heart attach and is in critical condition. Well, I've lived a full life and after all we might save a few bucks. I told you there would be drama in the rest of the story.
Rene kept watch off the boat for dangerous or venomous marine life. Australian Customs had confiscated our shotgun when we arrived so all she could do would be to alert me as to any danger. Our dive computers were in the shop for new batteries so we hooked up the 40 foot hose and attached it to a tank with air that smelled and tasted rancid since it had been in the tank for about a year. But hey, you have to use what you got. Sinking below the water was like a night dive without a light. (Now I've never been on a night dive but let's just suppose.) I can't see my hand in front of my face. The water is about 15 feet deep and your could tell you were on the bottom because your arm sinks in up to your elbow in soft mud. It was a matter of creeping along the bottom and grabbing a handful of mud to see if you could feel the prop. Every five minutes I had to resurface in order to reorient myself before going down again. After a lot of crawling on the bottom, it was time to give it up but Rene encouraged me to check right under the boat to see if it was there.
Well what do you know! I came up with the $3000 propeller all covered in stinky mud. So you ask why I didn't do this earlier.
We notified our primary contractor, Barnacle Busters, that we had recovered the propeller and they made contact with a new mechanical company to work on the boat and then contacted SeaTech about getting the Yanmar parts. Well, to no surprise SeaTech did not have the parts in inventory and in fact had been misstating their position about the parts all along (my mother taught me never to call anyone a liar).
Well, here we are again out of the water some 35 days after we left the dock to head for Sydney. Even though the parts arrived earlier the haul out was postponed due to Australia Day and our fear that the boat may not go in short order and that we would then be stuck on the boat for the long holiday weekend without refrigeration, without electricity, without power, without toilet. Good idea huh? So we haul on Tuesday because on Monday the haul-out facility was booked (we didn't see one catamaran use the haul-out ramp on Monday). Okay so by 9:30 AM we are on the hard and no one, yes no one, puts one minutes worth of work on the boat that day. The temperature in the boat is 97 F. Barnacle Busters tells us that the mechanic was on site at 8:00 AM and then disappeared. Do you believe that??? Me neither. Wednesday and Rene heads for the office and there is hell to pay. The three principles at Barnacle Busters take a deserved pounding. They turn scarlet with quilt and humiliation and what do you know, someone shows up on our boat to fix the rudders that very morning. But no mechanic shows. The temperature on the boat is 97F.
We ended up being on the hard for three days for work that took a mechanic only 4 hours to complete, once he showed up.
Now, back in the water, we have filed a claim against Sea Tech in small claims court for the new shaft and the extra work that needed to be done (an additional haulout) to get us back to square one. In our opinion it is not a coincidence that the shaft broke the first time we put our boat in reverse. Sea Tech compounded our frustration by handling the entire incident in a very unprofessional manner. So before you have a haul out in the Gold Coast area email us and we will alert you to some of the pitfalls.
But for now we are anchored in "the Spit" right in front of Sea World in Southport. A great anchorage to sit in while waiting for a weather window to head to Sydney.