100. Sunday 6th September 2009. In which we paint a picture and a picture transports me away…


The good ship ASTARET at a Yamba berth.

The good ship ASTARET at a Yamba berth.

Wednesday was a day of excitement.

Airlie Beach is undergoing a huge facelift at present with the Muddy Bay Marina and development in full swing. A roundabout is being built at the end of the strip near where Coconut Grove was. Yesterday the stop go men were kept busy while a trench was being dug across the road.

Mid afternoon an electricity sub-station at Cannonvale exploded and caught on fire. Power to Cannonvale and the rest of the valley plus Airlie Beach, Jubilee Pocket and Shute harbour had no power. The main Shute Harbour Road through Cannonvale, all 4 lanes, was closed to traffic which was diverted via Manooka Drive a narrow 2 lane steep hillside alternative. Of course with the traffic lights out we had Police directing traffic. As it was pick up the kids from school time, traffic backed up to the West on the other side of Cannon Valley and East back to Airlie.

In the meantime, in Airlie the digger hit a water main so the chaos deepened. Most traffic at that time heads out of Airlie and West through Cannonvale. Traffic trying to get out of Abel Point Marina also came to a standstill. Traffic coming in to Airlie from the West also backed up. As things work out a very large roundabout is also being constructed just West of the Cannonvale Shopping centre lights. The roundabout also includes one end of Manooka Drive. This was the alternate route and of course the road-works made it all worse.

By 5pm there was still no power so I headed home. Traffic still backed up but not so bad now as many people had headed home early. After I arrived home power came on long enough to cook dinner then went out again.

The wind picked up and the rain came down. Real rain. Enough so there was water in a nearby creek.

Donnis had planned to paint this week but was called in to work every day. She managed to make a start on the southern wall so some of the trim and profile is done.

I started the painting Saturday morning, managing to finish off the first coat and profile on the verandah side of the house and three quarters of the front wall.

Sunday I got the roller into action to finish a first coat on most of the front wall, all the verandah wall and most of the south wall. Sigh this is a big job but with the heat and wind the paint begins to dry in the roller tray and the brush begins to stiffen if it is left unused for 30 minutes.

Next weekend is all planned out for us. More painting of walls, then we still have the ceilings to complete then start on the read trim. Now that will be a fun, fiddly and intricate job.

I thought it would be a nice touch to show a couple of photos of our house so went to my collection of the many digital photos I have taken over the last 7 or 8 years. Would you believe I could not find any?

Instead, after rummaging around in memory cards, external hard drives, USB sticks and CD’s I found a photo of my yacht “ASTARET”. A photo I had forgotten I’d taken. It was February 2003 and was taken on an overcast day with my Panasonic NV- DCF7 Digital camera. The photo, like many of the photos taken on that trip seemed to have a haze around them. On that trip we spent a lot of time on the coast in windy and wet conditions. Salt spray had managed to cloud the lens and I was not in the habit of cleaning the lens every day.

I found “ASTARET” quite by accident. We were in Yamba, Donnis was in study mode even though we were on holiday. She stayed at the motel room while I went for a drive. When I sold the boat I remembered the purchasers owned a motel at Yamba and the boat was being transported by road by a guy I knew, Dave Stutchbury. I helped prepare the boat for loading on the truck. For some reason we had to contact the new owners but calling the phone number gave no reply. It was in those days I did not have a mobile. So I left the boat and Dave at Boathaven Island and went home for dinner. I called a cab company in Yamba. It seems the cab owner was at home but knew the motel and better yet knew the owners and agreed to call on them (for a price) and tell them there was a problem with their phone but to somehow find a way of calling me. By the time I had eaten they were on the phone, gave me the information Dave needed and I went back to the hardstand to tell Dave. I found the owners on my first attempt!

Now here I was in Yamba, knowing the boat had come here but no idea where. A mooring, in the harbour, at one of the many tiny marina’s along the river, a private jetty, on anchor? So as I drove along the river I pulled up at a small marina and walked across the street. There at the marina was “ASTARET” amongst all the other boats. My heart starting thumping. Of all the places I could have stopped and started my search I found her on my first try! She looked just like I remembered with no changes. Despite all the drawbacks she was a user friendly yacht. These days I would expect her to be set up like my motorhome with facility for shore power, a proper stove and fridge, good electrics, extra batteries, electric winch, and the list goes on.

But for now she was just worth seeing and knowing she was being maintained.

Sorry about the photo quality but perhaps you can seen the nice lines and timber trim which I spent so many hours sanding and varnishing twice a year.


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