Stolen Kiss

Stolen Kiss

March 12, 2009

Fabulous Fremantle

We were somewhat relieved to fly off to Perth late November for most of the wet season, leaving Stolen Kiss tethered in Tipperary Waters Marina, insured for the first time since we departed from Australia. The latest bit of expense gave us peace of mind. In hindsight (if only!!!!!!!) we need not have worried as the monsoon trough appeared to have sat further south than Darwin this year resulting in a very quiet wet season in Darwin city.

Initially we planned to head back to Darwin in January, which then became March with the pending arrival of yet another grandchild, who luckily was born 5 days before my return to Darwin. The first granddaughter who has three strapping brothers to contend with! Apart from spending time with family we were busy catching up with maintenance on our rental properties and buying yet more parts for Stolen Kiss. What happened to the idea of traveling light?

On returning home this year we took somewhat of a different perspective of Fremantle and our pristine sandy beaches that stretch as far as you can see. Maybe it was a quiet reflection on the other stunning beaches we had been to over the past 5 years. We made the most of the quiet mornings before the ‘Fremantle Doctor’ kicked in at 30 plus knots and swam in the stunning, shimmering crystal clear water of our local beaches.

It was a little strange being in our house again. (Our tenant had gone to Europe so we offered to house sit rent free – for her!) We have a small storage shed packed with our precious bits and pieces, some of which mysteriously appeared inside the house, taking up familiar places. As fast as they appeared, I put them back!! I didn’t want Peter getting any ideas of coming back just yet!!

Lyn and Steve from Carillon (who was parked opposite Stolen Kiss in Darwin) came down to Perth for a short time and stayed with us. We managed an afternoon sail on Hitchhiker on an unusually hot day (comparatively speaking as we had a very cool summer), which was just as well as nearly every other day was our normal 25 knot plus sea breeze. Also on offer was a drive through the Swan Valley wine region and a spin on a fast launch (Lyn and I forgot to ‘hang on’ when Peter open the throttles in the harbour and nearly fell off the back platform!!). It was a little like a ‘Miami Vice’ boat! Rather a long story as to what we were really doing on it!

As Rottnest Island is a real ‘must see’ in Perth, it could not be missed off Lyn and Steve’s itinerary. A quick ferry ride over for the day and Timmy there to pick us up and take us around to Stark Bay on Lady Jane was just perfect. As always, Timmy, a most gracious host at the best of times, afforded us a nice lunch washed with some fabulous wine! (He is a bit of a wine buff.) At least the two of us ‘locals’ managed a swim!

So much fun was had entertaining three young children (having lived through this once with Peter’s children!) that time whizzed by. What better excuse to legitimately (?) behave like a child again!! I had to keep reminding myself that my body was not twenty anymore and jogging along the beach (soft sand) with the children at surf lifesaving with an injured ankle (not one to show pain) was a tads over doing it! Where was Peter you ask????.....looking after his very pregnant daughter and youngest grandson in the restaurant enjoying the view over breakfast!!!! After much discussion, we managed to convince an 8 and 6 year old boy that being pounded in the surf and sitting out a shark alarm was actually fun. The question of ‘do sharks eat people?’ was asked and our reply along the lines that they sometimes get a little confused did put things into perspective! We were able to teach Thomas (a very astute 8 year old) to watch the wave pattern and time your run in and out of the surf. Whilst he managed to follow our instructions, it was indeed a case of ‘practice what you preach’ as I misjudged two waves the whole time and ended up being dumped, rolling up the beach in a very ungainly fashion, and even more pleased that it went unnoticed! Of course, grandpa who is really an old surfer dude, NEVER misses a wave! It was indeed a windy, rough summer!

We also had the pleasure in being able to share Di and Gorbar’s launching of their NEW boat! Our first NEW boat launching!! A bit of fun was had sailing and trips up and down the river as it went to and from the ocean to its new home at South of Perth Yacht Club. The electric winches were a treat in getting the mast back up (a few bridges necessitate mast lowering)…and also for getting the final trim of the headsail in 30 knots of breeze (when Gorbar wasn’t looking!). Due to the pending arrival of Lucy, Peter and I never made it together down to the Busselton Regatta to sail with Di and Gorbar, although Peter managed a weekend of racing the first weekend and I the sail home! In typical west coast style, we started off with a 22 knot E/SE breeze which finally died late afternoon being replaced by a 15 knot SW sea breeze. As our heading was north, there were smiles all around! The new Dufour was a little lively in the early morning, but nothing beats sailing along on a reach 200m off the beach all the way from Bunbury to Mandurah, some 45 miles. Gorbar was indeed in good company with Di, Heather and I! Averaging 8 knots for most of the day (even reefed down) enabled us to make Mandurah before sunset in 11 hours – at total of 75 miles. Great stuff!!!

It was soooo good to get back to Stolen Kiss. We were happy to return to a boat that was relatively clean and no mould! One of the kind yachties in the marina opened her up on the nice sunny days, of which we were very appreciative. Steve swam under the boat the other day and said we had an amazing amount of barnacles underneath, yet another yacht from Fremantle had only slime. Hard luck! Maybe it’s because we had sailed a few thousand miles since our last antifouling! Maybe we nee dot re-think hauling out before we head east. There will be no getting in the water until Lizard Island!

Well…the best laid plans…….Peter swam on the boat to check all and sundry and surprise….the shackle holding the board strop had broken again! Cheap Chinese crap that was only available in KK. So now a quick haul out before we depart! It appears that most yachts from Tipperary have gravitated at Spot On for their great haul out experience as well!!! Very expensive, but as this is the only game in town……. If it was just a bottom job we required we would have been happy on the piles. So, in line with the tide we will have our turn at negotiating the lift bay up the creek, hopefully at slack water. Surely it could not be any worse than Wavemaster, Langkawi or Kudat!

As a squall of 40 knots came through the marina in a thunderstorm, we were happy not to have been at anchor. Clearly we have been tucked up here far too long!

Plans are now underway to head east. As daunting as it is, we are forever hopeful of a quiet season of SE winds and the center of the highs being in the Bight!! Stylopora and Time Out are in the enviable position of being there after having done the trip last year. Hopefully it won’t be the ‘pay back’ of all the beautiful sailing we have had in SE Asia.

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