To quickly recap on the last three weeks, we have, to be fair had pretty good conditions although some significantly big seas courtesy of some strong winds. Day three was one of the first tough days with not only our Lifecells bouncing over board but also one of our storage racks breaking on Glenn’s ski. These were removed and a friendly campground neighbor took them home until we can arrange to have them collected.
Leaving from Sydney Harbour was quiet a surreal moment and we have lots of people to thank for making it happen, in particular Dan Duemmar from Roads & Maritime Services. It was a glorious day with the sun shining and a small flotilla of craft where on hand to escort us out to the heads. Riding under the Sydney Harbour Bridge and past the iconic Sydney Opera House is something we will never forget. Glenn will also never forget as he went to jump over a large wave as we excited the heads and his Lifecell bounced off the back, 10klm's into our journey and we were having equipment dramas.
A fairly large, albeit gentle swell pushed us along from behind and we made good time to the entrance of Broken Bay and in past Barrenjoey Heads and onto Brisbane Water to make our way to the boat ramp at Woy Woy. We stopped for a quick swim and a chat to a couple of jet skiers at one of the beaches just inside the bay before heading off just in time to meet the support crew as they arrived at the ramp.
We have had some fuel tank problems with both units suffering from being incorrectly connected at the start. We got to the bottom of this in Brisbane where we had a rest day and with the exception of a piece of debris caught in the fuel pick up on Glenn’s ski the auxiliary tanks have performed exactly as they were intended to.
On the subject of fuel, we have found that the skis use a significant amount more than in our pre-departure trials, as much as 1.4 Klm’s per litre in rough seas. This is significantly more than the 2.25-2.50 Klm’s per litre of our trials. There are a couple of significant concerns with this and the obvious one being our fuel budget. We will at this rate, not succeed in our goal of circumnavigating Australia, as the funds just quiet simply aren’t there. The other concern is also the fact that our logistics planning for the more remote regions will need a major re-think as our calculated fuel range is now reduced significantly, by as much as 100 Klm’s in a worse case scenario.
In light of this we are working hard at trying to find a financial sponsor to enable us to continue our journey. We are also considering starting a crowd funding campaign separate to our fund raising activities. This is not something that we are totally comfortable with but with the excitement people are expressing about our adventure we are slowly but surely being encouraged to swallow our pride and ask for some help via this method.
We have had some amazing interactions with people coming up to us at our camp sites and departure points thrusting ten and twenty dollar notes into our hand to put into our fund raising bucket, wishing us well for our journey. It's a very heartwarming feeling to know that people are so generous when it comes to helping kids in need.
We ran our first raffle at Stockton Beach where we raised $325.00 for Variety Australia thanks to the generous people from Dometic Waeco. They donated a 68 Litre Waeco Ice Box which we are sure that Les and his mates will put to good use. It was also great fun just walking around the park and meeting a lot of the people and telling them about adventure. We have found that for the most part that a lot of the parks have been very quiet and as such it hasn't been viable to run a raffle. We do have lots of great prizes and we are hoping to get something going online before we head off from Airlie Beach which will allow us to sell tickets Nationally and make a huge difference to the kids that Variety Australia works so hard to help.
We did suffer an almost catastrophic incident at Claireview in Queensland when Glenn’s ski ingested a large quantity of rocks into the intake impellor. Clearly luck was on our side as all of the debris could be cleared without any disassembly and the ski is performing faultlessly. We also suffered from a fire extinguisher failure, again on Glenn’s ski (bit of a pattern here), when in rough conditions the head of extinguisher snapped off allowing the extinguisher to unload it’s contents into the front storage compartment on his ski.
We have been lucky enough to pick up some new product sponsors whilst on the journey and would like to both welcome and thank Redarc products and Whitsunday Escape for their contributions to our project. Redarc will be supplying some DC to DC charging equipment for our support vehicle as well as some product for us to raffle off to raise much needed funds for Variety, this may mean the end to the fridge failures we have suffered resulting in the loss of hundreds of dollars worth of food. Whitsunday Escape generously loaned us a 38ft sailing catamaran for two nights upon our arrival into Airlie Beach, it was a much-needed get away at Hook Island’s Stonehaven for the tired and weary crew, although the ride back to Abel Point Marina in 30 knot+ winds on the Monday morning sure meant the Glenn & Lorraine paid a fair price for the privilege!
We have also received some additional support from Pivotel Satellite on top of the SPOT Gen 3 Trackers that they have already supplied in the way of an absolutely knock out deal on three Sat. Phones, one each for the skis and one for the support crew. Special thanks to Tara from Pivotel for her interest and support with our project.
We have both suffered minor injuries on the journey with Lorraine using her ski as a submarine on the run up to 1770 which resulted in a minor laceration to her nose as her face mask was pushed into her face. Glenn suffered badly cut feet upon arrival at Stanage when the skis started to float away on the changing tide and he ran out into the muddy water to secure them, the rocks did a nice job of turning the process into a slow and painful one. Playing in the back of Glenn’s mind was the ‘Beware Crocodiles’ sign at the top of the boat ramp.
We have been fortunate enough to have the continued support of the media as we make our way up the coast with both television and radio interviews being conducted, and several newspaper articles.
We were also happy to have been contacted by Ben from Whitsunday PowerSports who generously donated his time and resources to service our skis at no charge. Ben also arranged for a number of his customers to ride out to Daydream Island and escort us in. He has also organized a sausage sizzle for his customers whilst we are in Airlie Beach, which will give us a chance to chat to them about our adventure so far and the performance of our skis. It’s a pity that Yamaha and their dealer network have not taken advantage of the opportunity that has passed right by their doorstep in the same way that Ben has. Well done to Ben, the industry needs more people like him.
We are now having quiet a long break here at Airlie Beach, which is much needed, and we have set-up quiet a comfortable camp home in one of the areas caravan parks. We plan on using the week to catch up on social media activities, video updates and preparing the skis for what is now going to be the most difficult and dangerous part of our adventure, the remote North of Australia. We’ll set the skis up with all of the equipment we need for when we are remote and use the four to five day stretch to Port Douglas to asses and refine it’s effectiveness.
We need to make special mention to the following caravan parks and campgrounds that not only donated our accommodation but also in some cases wouldn’t accept any payment for meals or made contributions to our fund raising.
Blue Dolphin Resort @ Yamba-Nice place, has a swim up bar!
Harbour View @ Hervey Bay-Good location, friendly staff
Poinciana Tourist Park @ Yeppoon, Great staff (they rang a few days after we stayed to see how we were going), brilliant location.
Barracrab Caravan Park @ Claireview, Excellent ‘Pub’ right on the water, friendly staff. We could have stayed here a week if you drive past in your travels your missing out.
We’ll leave it at that for now and we hope to get more regular, read shorter, updates to you all from here on in.