What a Weekend!

It began on Friday evening with dinner with friends – about 40 of them packed into a small noisy restaurant. Actually we took over the whole restaurant! Two of our sailing friends, Peter and Jean Stallwood, organised a dinner with fellow cruisers. Although difficult to hear we enjoyed catching up with old friends and making new ones.

Up early on Saturday to pack in a short sharp walk before leaving by 8:30 for the sailing club to launch Dusky Dolphin after her maintenance session on the hard stand. Although Rob had asked for the boat lifter to lift her and stay put, when we arrived the lifter was already making its way to the launching ramp! Rob leapt from the car, raced over to the lifter driver and the lifter’s slow crawl towards the ramp stopped. So there was Dusky Dolphin, suspended in the middle of the road through the hard stand area, and we had to climb up onto her to fix the rope for the swinging keel. One of the workmen hauled a ladder over and Rob, thankfully more confident on his feet than me, climbed up and managed the step across to the stern of our boat which was swaying in her slings.

A few climbs up and down later, plus the usual skinned knuckle, and the new rope and shackle that Rob had put together at his desk during the week were firmly in place. In the meantime I applied anti-fouling to the keel and a couple of spots which had been missed. Even this required climbing up the ladder and hanging out into space with the paint brush! Without further ado, the driver returned to his cabin, the lifter completed its journey to the ramp and Dusky Dolphin was slowly lowered into the water. Rob and I walked across the plank to the boat and then Rob clambered into the tiny engine bay to check that the stern gland wasn’t leaking.

It was!

We asked the driver to lift the boat out of the water again so Rob could work out the problem without getting wet. Our satchel of manuals was unearthed and manuals thrust aside until Rob found the one for the stern gland. Then it was back into the engine bay for Rob, this time with a towel to cushion his chest and stomach from direct contact with all the knobs on the top of the engine. I have to hand it to him, he’s certainly cool under pressure – must come from his years in the operating theatre and intensive care. While waiting I listened to the driver and his helper planning out their weekend as they too waited – “Make sure she brings along her sister,” was one gem I heard. Soon Rob emerged, with a glimmer of his smirk this time, and I knew all was well. “Please lower her into the water,” we called out of the companionway.

The next challenge was getting her into her pen. With a strong cross-wind Rob had great difficulty getting the bow on a good course into the pen. He managed that well, but then the wind took over and she was pushed to the side. However Rob is very good with this. Pulling on the mooring ropes and keeping the propellor going he got her more or less in place without damage. We tied her up, closed the seacocks and locked up the boat, leaving the mess to tidy up some other time.

Back to the car and back to our place in time to babysit Tom while Tristan, Blaine and Alythea went to a wedding. They had been there for a while by the time we arrived. Showers had been had, Blaine was feeding Alythea and Tom was ready for lunch after a busy morning that had included a swimming lesson and visit to a celebration at Tristan’s old school, Rosalie. Jeanette and Christopher had arrived to see them, especially Tom. Tom knows where we keep his food, so chose what custard he would like, and then headed for his high chair. We fed him with Rob’s bread (which Tom also loves) and custard. By then Tris, Blaine and Alythea were dressed and ready to go.

We all trooped out the front to wave them off, and once Jeanette and Christopher had gone home to entertain their friends and Rob had gone to buy something for our lunch, it was just Tom and me. He was tired after his busy morning and ready for his nap. I thought he might like a cuddle before going into his cot, but he told me very firmly that this was NOT on the agenda. So I asked him if he would like to get into his cot. In reply he reached out towards his little bed, so, armed with his monkey, he snuggled down under the blankets. I patted him a wished him “Night night”. After wishing me “Night night” he went straight to sleep.

And I finally had the chance to have a shower, wash off the blue antifouling paint and get into clean clothes.

Rob and I enjoyed barbecued salmon for lunch, then it was time to get round to the post office to post more of Elwyn’s things over to UK.

By the time I returned Tristan and Blaine were there. Alythea hadn’t settled during the wedding ceremony, and there was an hour’s wait until the reception, so they decided to come back and try to settle her. After a couple from Freecycle arrived to pick up the coffee table we had offered (it was one of our first pieces of furniture, but we haven’t used it for a looong time) we enjoyed a cup of tea together, and Tom loved the biscuits.

Tris and Blaine took Alythea (still not settled) for a walk with Tom, and she finally got to sleep. So Rob and I left Tris and Blaine to have some much needed quiet time together while we took Tom for our weekly vegie shopping.  He loves shopping and was a great help:-)

Then it was back home to get an early barbecue dinner for us all. Tris and Blaine looked better for their quiet time.

As we all sat around the table, with Jeanette and Christopher, I wondered that it had been like when Rob and his brothers and parents had sat around it. There wouldn’t have been grandchildren…It was a good gathering, and Alythea slept long enough for Tris and Blaine to have their meals. We finished with chocolate icecream – Tom DID get some in his mouth, although looking at his face you wouldn’t have thought so!

We all helped with packing up their car, waved them off, had a bit of quiet time and went to bed.

Sunday was an early start, with a walk in the north part of Bold Park that we haven’t done before. We were blessed to see a pair of rainbow bee-eaters. They must have been establishing their burrow-nest nearby. With their bell-like calls, their wings bronze against the light and their jewel-green bodies they are gorgeous. Back home for breakfast before Heidi and Lance (met through Freecycle) arrived to pick up the bricks. I had worked hard during the week to finish lifting the brick paving we didn’t want, so the bricks would be ready for Sunday. They arrived before 9, with their 2 children, and Rob soon had us organised into a chain gang to get the bricks from their stack into the trailer. The children were fascinated with the wood slaters, earth worms, baby crickets and strange chrysalises that emerged from the brick stack.

Next it was off for a sail. With a good breeze we sailed south into Cockburn Sound, enjoying that romping feel that happens when conditions are right. At the dinner on Friday night some friends had said they would be sailing in this area over the weekend. We thought it would be nice to meet them on their sail and go with them back to the club. However, although we got most of the way down to Rockingham there was no sign of them. So we turned around and headed north. We had things to do at home so it would be best to get back earlier than we had planned. The wind had eased so Rob helmed and let me have a nap. After I woke we had dolphins swimming in the bow wave. Magic:-)

Almost back to the club and the wind was picking up again. We heard on the radio that  some of our sailing friends were just leaving Rottnest to return to the club. We looked at each other. Things waiting to be done at home, the wind was getting better, friends to sail with…it only took a few seconds to decide what should be done! We turned round into the wind, radioed the sea rescue with our change of plans, then it was off to Rottnest!

Well that was one of the best sails we’ve ever had. Romping along at 7 knots, the sun sometimes breaking through the grey clouds that had hidden it for the rest of the day, it doesn’t get better than that. When we met our friend Bernie and Sue’s yacht we turned round again and sailed with them. Of course there was some competition and it was a good opportunity to practice our sail trimming, but best of all was flying with the wind. All too soon we were approaching the club. Bernie brought his yacht up close, waved, and then both boats had to have sails brought in ready to enter the harbour.

Quick clean up, then off home for a late dinner.

Phone calls made, system maintenance going on the home office network, cats patted and we sank into chairs to enjoy smoked salmon and well-earned drink before dinner, listen to music and bed.

What a weekend! Tomorrow it’s back to work for a rest:-)

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