26 November 2013

Sailing Misadventures & Selling Antiques at the Beach

Here's a thunderstorm rolling in over the
last of the sunset colours.  It's always
amazing to see these storms from the
vantage point of the Mountain Stronghold.

In the last week we’ve been enjoying the enormous electrical storms that have developed on many evenings, giving spectacular lightening displays from horizon to horizon.  My favourite type of lightening is the one that crackles seemingly for miles long the bottom of the clouds.  We most often see that type at night, with the air very still and absolute silence on the mountain (non-stop crickets and cicadas aside).  It’s a beautiful sight.

We’ve also had a few big thunderstorms, and even 10 minutes of hailstones for the second time ever.  I saw on the television news that there had been significant damage around the area from the thunderstorms and hail, but nothing ever happens up at the Mountain Stronghold.  You’d think we would get our fair share of bad weather up here, but the mountain’s escarpment offers a great deal of protection. 

Doug says it's very beautiful at Airlie Beach,
but hot, hot, hot.
Doug has headed north to Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays, to go sailing with a friend for a week, and I’ve taken the opportunity to hunker down with the moggies and have some alone time.  Occasional alone time is a good thing – it gives you an opportunity to miss each other.  We used to own a racing yacht and I did enjoy sleeping on it sometimes, collapsing onto a bunk after a hard day’s racing, all tired, wet and windblown, and more than a little salt-encrusted.  But these days I’m more of a day-trip sailor - I want sunshine and dolphins, a little bit of champagne (because we don’t drink and sail, nosiree), perhaps a pleasant picnic lunch, and no rogue waves.  So although Airlie Beach is very beautiful it’s also an 11 hour drive from Eumundi, so you really have to commit to sleeping on your boat or forking out for a hideously expensive resort. 

We've had Caleb to the vet because something
- not a tick - bit him on the back and the wound
became inflamed.  The vet shaved his back, and
you can see that his swirls and rosettes and
stripes are in his skin and not just his fur.
Rogue waves, by-the-way, aren’t so uncommon as the term ‘rogue’ implies.  A sudden, hard, unexpected impact from a wave going against the general swell isn’t something you can really prepare for, but it can really hurt.  We were once in a race in a twilight series on Port Philip Bay in Melbourne, and doing pretty well.  It was a bone-chilling evening, with deep grey clouds hanging low over the bay, dumping freezing rain.  We were moving at a fair clip, heeling over in the wind, and outpacing most of the fleet.  Suddenly a rope jammed in a pulley and, even worse, it was a rope I was meant to be pulling on.

As an aside, yes I know “rope” is not a correct nautical term, but what is this – a Sailing Blog?  No it is not.  If I said I was hauling on a sheet would you know what I was on about?  No you would not.  Unless you’re a sailor.  Or just clever.

This French girl with her knickers
showing is so far one of the
most popular reproduction
images we've offered.
So anyway, we needed to tack pretty urgently to keep our competitive edge, and my rope had jammed.  Doug was at the helm, and curtly ordered me to change places with him – he was a regular Captain Bligh when we were racing and he was feeling all competitive.  But we were moving along pretty fast, heeling over at a fair angle, and it was wet.  So it took me a while to get into position.  Meanwhile, much to Doug’s chagrin, our rivals were now hot on our heels.  But guess what?  It wasn’t that I was just some weakling Nancy Girl, the rope really had jammed pretty firmly.

Doug braced his feet and hauled on the sheet, and Doug is really quite strong so the rope unjammed.  But just as he was braced against it, and at the very second that it unjammed, that was the moment that we were hit hard by a rogue wave.  There were three of us crewing, and two of us made a wild grab for Doug as he went sprawling towards the side of the boat.  Doug later told people that when he turned around he saw my hand in his back, but I was saving him, people!

This is another of our most popular
reproduction images.  It's called
Gossips.  I have the original of this
image in my personal collection,
and the copy is so good that
you can't tell them apart when
they're held up together.
Not that I needed to, because his flight across the deck was nicely halted by the boom, which he hit head first.  Do you know how much head wounds bleed?  A lot.  A real lot.  So then the rope was freed, but the boom was loose and we were wallowing and being overtaken.  Crews on passing yachts were all saucer-eyed and slack jawed at the sight of Doug, resplendent in his white wet-weather gear but with his entire face covered in blood.  The other crew member and I were equally saucer-eyed and declared that we had to abandon the race and get to a hospital asap.

But no, Doug was having none of that.  He pulled a scungy old hankie out of his pocket, dunked it in the ocean, smeared the blood further around his face, and announced that he was fine and if his fat, lazy crew would stop gawping and get their act together we still had a chance to Place in the race.

Calypso is so cute.  No matter how tired she is, if
the TV is on she insists on watching it.  Even if she
has to prop her head up against it to stay awake,
she's not going to bed until everyone else does.
We were near enough to the end of the race that it was better to just finish it than argue with him, so we jumped to it, took off like a bat out of hell, and overtook most of the yachts that had passed us while we wallowed – with their crews still saucer-eyed at our mad, bloodied helmsman.  In the end we came Third, so hurrah for that, and finally we were able to berth and Doug went below to look at himself for the first time since the accident.  You’ve got to be joking! he bellowed from below.  Look at me! Why haven’t you taken me to hospital??? 

Helping to unpack the shopping is also exhausting.
So his long-suffering crew carted him off to hospital, where it turned out that his wounds were only minor – a couple of stitches in one, and a flap of skin taped up on the other.  But by golly they did bleed a lot and with the bruising it looked quite impressive.

The next day at work everyone asked Doug what had happened to him. He told them all that I had hit him with a vase.  And everyone believed him and went all quiet and changed the subject!  Please.  As if I would waste a perfectly good vase.  Though it was good to add a bit to my don’t-mess-with-me reputation.

Caleb and Calypso are not the only snoozy ones
in the household.  Klaatu and Artemis are also
pretty good at knocking out zeds.
We only ever had two sailing incidents that required a trip to the hospital, this one and an infamous case involving Robyn the Bimbo Nurse.  To this day I go all squinty-eyed and pursed-lipped and hands-on-hips when I recall Robyn the Bimbo Nurse.  But she is a Blog entry in herself, so remind me and I shall recount her antics one day.

But I expect no such adventures for Doug and his mate up at Airlie Beach.  It does look like a beautiful place, and I might make the hike up there one day.  But meanwhile, it hasn’t been all sleeping-in and slackness for me at home.  Well it has, a bit.  But I have also worked on getting yet more of my best images reproduced to a standard I am happy with, got some land care done, and have started work on the description and price tags for our new shipment, arriving soon. 

At least one of the gang is able to stay awake.
Here's Mischka, watching some Willy Wagtails. 
We hate Willy Wagtails.  And Crows.  And
I have also sorted out what stock that I think will be best for the Peregian Beach Market, because the good news is that we have already been allocated a stand there and our first attendance will be on Sunday 1 December.  We’re very pleased at this development, because as you know we really like this Market, so we’ll see how it goes.  If you’re going to sell nice antiques, doing it at a beautiful beachside location for half a day a fortnight sounds like a good plan. 

A better plan would be for all the stock to magically sell itself, but it appears that some input by us is required.  So to that end we might also apply to take a stand on alternate Sundays at the Caloundra Market.  That would double our workload to every Sunday morning, but we’ll force ourselves.  But let’s start gently, with the beach market.  I’ll report on it soon.
I might make it to Airlie Beach one day but it's 11 hours away, versus Noosa, which is 20 minutes away.  So far Noosa is winning.



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