“I’m a happy man,” said Gunter, as he arrived back at our hotel for lunch in his dirty, greasy work clothes. No, it had nothing to do with the fact that our wedding anniversary is coming up this month. It had everything to do with Gunter’s mistress, Pacific Bliss, looking prettier each passing day
. Our home this week is the Burnett Riverside Quality
Motel, where we have booked a kitchenette room. Pacific Bliss is ‘on
the hard’ on the Midway Marina Slipway across the Burnett River.
During the cyclone season, when her owners were safely in San Diego,
an army of barnacles and other sea creatures had attached themselves
to her bottom. Even the fenders that had been hanging in the water were
sprouting. The port head no longer flushed because a huge oyster had
chosen to make the water intake his home! Miss Bliss had suffered without
her master long enough.
Sunday, we took Bliss ten miles up the Burnett river from her slip in
Port Bundaberg to stay overnight at the Mid-Town Marina gas dock. Soon
after we arrived, we were invited to a going away party for S/V Harmony;
we’d met her owners many times in our Pacific island travels.
The party was an Aussie-style ‘barbie’ right there on the
dock. We could hardly say no.
Even so, Monday morning at 0700 sharp, we maneuvered Pacific Bliss
across the river to the slipway, where the workers hauled her out with
a pulley-and-rail system. They immediately began to give her a super
shower: a hose-down with their 3000-psi system. The shower worked wonders
on her hull and rudders (see photo). But it’s not surprising that
our top motoring speed to get her was only three knots. The props were
so clogged with barnacles that they had to be removed and cleaned at
a machine shop
This week, we have fallen into a nice and easy urban routine: We begin
the day with a continental breakfast at the hotel restaurant—which
overlooks the river—and read The Courier-Mail. Then Gunter takes
the river bridge to the slipway to meet the workers scheduled for the
day. I make entries into my journal, work on my book for a few hours,
then run errands in the town of Bundaberg—pleased to be within
walking distance of the supermarket, internet, and shops. At noon, we
have sandwiches in our room, split a beer, followed by our ‘Aussie
pensioners nap.’ To wake up, we walk the promenade for awhile,
stop for cappuccinos along one of the many sidewalk cafes, perhaps browse
in one of the many bookstores, and purchase parts up in the electrical
or marine stores.
No complaints—or “no worries,” as they say in Aussieland.
We’re content here.