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PAT & JIM...continued

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“Well, I met one of my Aussie girlfriends at the gym this week. She asked how the permanent residency was coming along. I told her about all the medical tests we had to have, then followed up with the joke about the operation. Instead of laughing there was a deathly silence and she looked mortally offended.”


We all roared our heads off. When we stopped laughing and crying, I spluttered out “You must have slipped pretty smoothly from the legitimate medical tests into the joke, so much so that she didn’t realize. I reckon she thought she’d been deliberately suckered!”

Pat and Jim have two children who come with them to the boat each time – an old Chihuahua called Paco and a Pekinese called Ginger. Ginger is a gorgeous female ball of fluff with not a brain in her head. She loves Jim and barks at anyone passing the boat, even if she’s seen them 47 times before. Paco, on the other hand, missed out in the good looks department but has a lovely nature, gorgeous eyes and cuddles on your lap more like a cat than a dog.


Unfortunately, Paco is accident prone. The first time we met him he had a bucket over his head to stop him scratching at his eye surgery, after he’d nearly poked his eye out on something on the boat. Next he fell into the water between the back of the boat and the jetty, while trying to use the cute little square of turf Pat and Jim carry around in a tray, as a dirt lawn. Not long after that, Paco fell into an open locker and did his knee. The damage and the reconstruction were identical to that already performed on Jim. In fact, there were a surprising number of similarities between Paco and Jim, as Jim himself pointed out to us (except that Jim is much better looking!!)

Every weekend Jim stared at Masala’s hull, which was overdue for a polish (the blue paint looks lovely but like all dark colours it slowly goes chalky in the sun). This caused Jim pain because, amongst many other things, he is an expert in surface finishes and could envisage how Masala should look. We, on the other hand, just wanted to go cruising, so polishing never made it to the top of the list.


In desperation, Jim appeared one Saturday morning with some of his special polish and his buffer. “Grant, can I just do a little bit on the bow here, to show you how well this stuff works and how lovely she would look if you polished her,” he said. I knew I wouldn’t have time to polish the whole boat and would probably end up with one polished patch on a dull hull, but relented anyway.


Jim set to work. Suddenly everyone in the vicinity was interested. The result was astounding – rich blue colour and a shine I could have shaved in. “Wow!” was the general chorus.


Jim took pity on us and gave us the rest of the polish. Next week I set to work. As predicted, I only got one side done before we left. So now we are Jeckle and Hyde. Depending on whether we like our anchored neighbours or not, we can show them our good side or our feral side. And there’s still that one shiny patch on the feral side to remind me every day of my failure to finish the job… Thanks, Jim!!


A few boats up from ours at East Coast Marina was a lovely new yacht, just 3 weeks old. After a couple of dock conversations with the owners, Col & Ann, we were fortunate to be the first people invited aboard, for champagne and nibbles, to celebrate the acquisition. After hearing the words “Victoria” and “Power Station” where Col had worked, we asked, “You don’t happen to know our friends Paul and Sjany off the catamaran Skellum, do you?” as Paul had worked in the power industry in Victoria too. They did. Small world.


 Now Col was obviously missing the power station after his retirement, so while we were still working on Masala at East Coast, they took their boat to the Gold Coast to have their own power station installed – solar panels and a wind generator, to add to the existing diesel generator. Perhaps they planned to sell power to other yachties, most of whose boats are chronically short of electricity.


Not long before we were due to depart East Coast, Col and Ann arrived back and pulled into the berth next to us. Sure enough, the boat had sprouted generation capacity left, right and centre. However, they didn’t look happy.