Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cairns arrival

What nasty weather for our arrival in Cairns on Sunday, July 26! It was one rainstorm after another for the entire day. Luckily we had the track from another boat into the marina; that always lessens the tension when arriving in these shallow places. You just never know how accurate the electronic charts are. We don't blindly follow tracks given to us by others, but those tracks are good guides and help us know if our charts for a new area are relatively accurate. The C-map chart for Cairns area was perfect. The entrance is very long and narrow. Depths on either side are too shallow to accommodate our boat. However, the channel markers are quite high and the channel is very well marked. Entry was a breeze.

Bill called the marina as soon as our cell phone started receiving a reliable signal. They had received our email earlier today but had not responded; but, yes, they did have a slip available for us today. Turned out that the marina actually had made 3 separate reservations for us. Every time we had emailed them an update on our arrival date, they had made a new reservation. Efficiency at its best, I suppose.

There is a large anchorage area across the small river from the marina. We dropped the anchor briefly and moved the dinghy from the davits to up on the mizzen deck. Dock access onto our boat is easiest from the stern steps, so we always prefer to dock stern-to in marinas. Having the dinghy on the mizzen deck blocks walking down the starboard side of the deck, but that slight inconvenience is far outweighed by the ease of access on the stern steps vs. having to climb up from the dock and over the side rail. We have a stainless steel tubing all around the boat -- a life rail rather than a flimsy life line and there is no gate opening. Climbing up and over is a strain on my legs and hips and it is far more comfortable to use the stern steps. This will be especially important to us during this marina stay since there will be 2 children and an infant aboard.

We backed into slip F27 without a hitch and were promptly greeted by Bob on S/V Boomerang. Bob is from our home town of Houston. Bill had met him in French Polynesia; I had met him in New Zealand. It was a surprise to see him here. Bob said he was leaving the next day; he just had to get out of this marina because he had been here too long already. Bob told us that there are probably 200 restaurants and bars within walking distance of this marina, and that one of the best ones is right at the end of our dock. Good to know! We walked all over the place trying to find the marina office to officially check in. Finally gave up and went to lunch. After lunch we eventually found the marina office and got checked in. That is when we learned about them having 3 separate reservations for us.

It rained the whole blessed day. It was nice to be tucked safely into this marina slip as the wind howled.

Monday morning we walked the seaside esplanade (or promenade if you prefer that word) all the way down to the Base Hospital. This walk took us past the swimming lagoon, which I am sure we will be visiting if the days are sunnier and warmer. There are playgrounds for children and nice gas B-B-Q grills for the public, exercise stations, jogging path, bicycle path, whatever one might want in a park. This is an exceptionally nice waterfront area.

The ER nurse said that the only type cast that could be applied in their department would be a plaster cast. But she gave us a referral card to the hospital Fracture Clinic, which is closed on Mondays. We called the Fracture Clinic and have an appointment for tomorrow morning. Zach is very anxious to get this full-arm cast off.

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