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Back on Masala at last! Thanks to Pat and Jim, Helen and Don, and Von and Maurie, for looking after us so well on our way up.

firm and delicious, with few bones when filleted. When alive it is a striking fish – browny-green with diagonal pale and dark blotching, all covered with bright orange spots like a weird sort of Dalmation. Or perhaps a bad case of measles. What possible evolutionary advantage could masses of orange spots be?


But more on Island Head Creek later…

Left: Black Jack in Gladstone Marina after the race


Right: Leanne and I with the lovely Pat. Paco needs training to look at the camera! Photo courtesy Jim.

The usual pre-cruise maintenance and annual improvements began in earnest. Masala was in wonderful condition despite the summer devastation to Queensland, with floods just to the south at Bundaberg and just to the north at Rockhampton. Not to mention the Brisbane floods and Cyclone Yasi. What a wet season!


Gladstone missed the lot. Masala only needed a wash outside and a bit of spit and polish inside and she was ship-shape again – the joyous benefits of a well-insulated, well-painted steel boat.

When Is a Car Cover Not A Car Cover?

Not so good was the condition of the large and complex cover for the doghouse windows, that Leanne had diligently sewn up before leaving Masala last year. We had purchased what we thought was a good quality car cover from a leading auto parts store and cut it up as the source material. Well, the sewing was still perfect but in six months the material had been turned to dust by UV and fell through our fingers when we touched it.


Intensely annoyed at all the wasted effort, we found the container the cover came in and had a close look. It was then that we found a small tag sewn on the back where it wouldn’t be noticed. It had a list of ridiculous “Do Not’s” that meant, amongst many other things, that you couldn’t leave the cover out in the rain, and culminated with the ridiculous statement that the cover should not be left on the vehicle for more than a week, and that failure to abide by any of these conditions would void the warranty! Please!

A Crap to End All Craps

We took some time off from our chores to watch the end of the annual Brisbane-Gladstone Yacht Race. The winner, Lahana, at nearly 30m long, crossed the line in first place about an hour and a half in front of the 20m Black Jack. Black Jack’s skipper, Mark Bradford, runs North Sails in Manly, Brisbane – in 2009 he designed and made the big zip-up boom bag that catches and secures Masala’s main sail when we drop it.