Thursday, December 3, 2009

NBobbing in the South Pacific

Well folks I'm back after a week away on the job.
Was a good trip all up with no significant badness.
Good company, interesting countryside and boy does it make a nice change from the same old same old that I do week in week out. I get to do 2 or 3 of these trips each year where we set out in the good ship Lollipop and head out to sea to chase the poachers, villains & hopeless clowns that justify my meagre pay packet.
Some photos.
This is the good ship Lollipop.

The more observant among you will notice the red stripes. That indicates that she is in fact the QG Lollipop, I need to be vewy vewy careful on what I say in case Big Brother construes it as a criticism.
I believe I have spoken in the past about All boats being compromises. You trade off X for Y. Speed for comfort in this example. Note her beam - or width for you lubbers. She is very narrow in the hips. That makes her go like a cut cat when the big twin cats downstairs roar, but it makes for a very rock 'n rolly ride.

Exhibit B your worship.
You are looking out the back deck, across QG Little toot in her cradle. The alloy pipe structure is a gate that lowers on hydraulics to allow launch & retrieval at sea & at speed. Only sissy boys use cranes & davits (yes I'm looking at you Customs -blouses the lot of them) As you scroll down pay close attention to the horizon relative to the roof, if I could be stuffed I'd assemble it into a little animation, but I cant so just pretend it's one of those old flick books OK? Good.

What was really cool was that we were running with the sea, not into it. So instead of turning green & feeding the fish I was scarfing down left over pasta sauce as we steamed along.

So we steamed up the coast and overnighted at Fitzroy Reef. Google Map it. Seriously, Now. Go do it, there'll be a test after.
Neither words nor photos can begin to describe the brain bending beauty of this place. It is simply stunning.
I could happily spend a month there fishing & diving and napping in the cool bug-free sea breezes.
Here's a dodgy photo of the plotter.

I could stick in a tirade about global warming and the threat to the Great Barrier Reef & yah de yah, but I wont.
I will however digress for just a few moments.
I hope one day to own a substantial vessel. I'm not usually motivated by grand desires, in most things Im pretty humble in my wishes & dreams, but one day I'd like one of these. She is a Cloverlly Class dive tender Ex Royal Navy. Accom for 8 + 3, full compressor & gas mixing facilities. Slow as a fat kid & Ugly like a bucket of smashed crabs, but I like her lots. I really want to cruise the Western Pacific before it's buggered, I recognise that I'll probably never have the ca$h to do it under my own steam, so I need to find some other clown or clowns to ca$h up. I figure high-end live aboard dive charters in the region of $2K US/day would be about the market I'm looking for.

Anyway back to where we were.
We overnighted at Fitzroy after a big night of Trawler boardings. The next day we steamed for 130 odd miles down to behind Fraser Island. Another huge day, that's the run the Rock & Roll photos are from, we had 25+ knots of wind straight up the jaxie and had the Lollipop surfing down waves, at one stage hitting 20.2 Knots, which while not Rocket-car fast is really going in a lump of alloy That big.
We anchored up in the lee of Fraser and hit the bunks. Blessed sleep. Funny, I actually got used to the constant humm of the Gen Set running all night and woke three times with a start last night in the silence of home, my point being it doesn't take long to get used to something
The next day we launched Little Toot again and went for a big blatt around the islands & up & down the Sandy Straights, some lovely countryside through there. And then it rained & rained & Fkn rained. Holy mother of dog it rained, at one stage visability was down to about 5 meters and the wind against tide pushed up a 3/4 m chop; commonly referred to as a kidney killer, because you have to drive standing up, but slightly hunched over the helm and that's where the pounding gets you- in the lower back, about kidney-ville ugh.

So we pounded back to the Lollipop, for a hot shower & a big feed and it was all good.
Back into Hervey Bay to top up with about 3 thousand litres of diesel and 80+ of ULP.
Washed the Lollipop from stem to stern. Secured her alongside and caught the train to home & hearth.
8 huge days and I'm ready for days off.

Hope all are well.
Dad's home & doing ok, which means Mum is over the moon.
And we can all sleep soundly knowing that the Wallabies were able to defeat that mighty powerhouse of Rugby Union, the Welsh.


  1. Wow - adventures in the South Pacific, big boys toys, what's not to like?

    The Ilchester looks a fine ship. Actually it looks like it could go *anywhere*. Is it ice hardened?

    Me, I dream of a just-big-enough-to-be-comfy yawl or ketch, built for rough sea but equipped for idle cruising. I say that, but it'd end up being a huge cat for the sake of overstating the "comfy" part there for the benefit of the mrs. One day, most likely when I'm too old to enjoy it, I'd like to be a seafaring grey nomad. But it's an idle dream :)

  2. Bob

    I spent 2 years on Thursday Island.

    The size of the customs boats was a shock. They would never go out in your tiny little ship.

    The navys patrol boats look smaller than the customs boys toys.

  3. Aye Cap'n D, The Ilchester & her sisters are rated to Ice Class 2, which means they can follow a breaker.
    I'm not keen to frost bite my flippers, but it does mean that she is strong with a captial Grr.
    Classic RN over engineering.

  4. Just what I needed to see while sitting in my stoopid little office, doing stoopid crap!

    At least someone is getting to live the life!

  5. This would do me quite nicely if I were single, though "comfy" probably demands something a bit bigger with a wheelhouse.

  6. Very very nice Damian & not a bad price either.

    Some interesting numbers being done on $ for a circumnavigation with a diesel chugger Vs sail.
    Rigging & sailmakers these days charge unbelievable ammounts.
    I know a 60 foot cat that cost 100 K for a full rigging suite + crane for install - note no sails, just SS rigging.

  7. Jebus dog!

    I like the way the sail + electric + small diesel generator backup option is starting to look. You use the props under sail to charge the batteries, and the diesel is only there for doldrums that exceed battery capacity.

    But $100k just for the rigging - yowsers! The rule of thumb I always remember about the cost of a build-yourself yacht is 1/3 for the hull and superstructure, 1/3 for the rigging and sails, and 1/3 for the interior fitout and equipment. A rough guide but still a decent one I suspect.

    Clearly rigging and sailmaking are the ideal choice for a second career.

  8. Maybe you could convince Birmo to hock the hovercraft for one of these babies? Could be a multi-use vessel to be employed in Flinthart's anit-piracy voyages.

    Man, I so wish I had your job.

  9. And look how nice the bunnies would look on board!

  10. Ah, the best jobs are the ones with the best field trips. Half your luck. Although I would have been feeding the fishes on a fairly regular basis!

  11. Some of those boats in the Hervey Bay mariner are impressive no? I sat in the boat club sippin' whiskey and watching the massive whale charters reversing tightly into their bays.

    Sounds like a great trip. Itching to be out on the water again.

    Did the bunks smell like salty fish? ;-)

  12. Good to see the nice side of the job. A family member had a Fastlane that went up that way, the idiots cooked the motors with low octane fuel on the delivery trip.

  13. Ahoy there! Just checking out the other regional writes bloggers and love your profile. Finally, an honest writer:) Happy travels - it sounds like a fab adventure.

  14. Tres erudite blog Bob. So what is a knitter doing following a fisheries inspector. oi loike other stuff too.

    Found you via turnips. Hughesy's turnips at the Noosa Country show.

    Great rain on mangroves water photo.



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I was the proud recipient of the worlds first monkeys ass to human face transplant. Friends of the donor monkey says it took well, I'm not so sure.