Back in Yamba
Who would have thought that we would head back to Yamba just a year after we left for Asia and South Africa? In the beginning of July – with Heidi`s growing tummy – it felt very good to be back in familiar areas – with friends and healthcare facilities nearby.
In the middle of July Eirik and Heidi flew to Norway for a four week ”vacation”. From winter in Yamba they adjusted to summer and long light evenings. Family and friends expected a visit and the weeks passed quickly. Heidi really appreciated the trip north to Vesterålen to visit her Grandmother (99) – and the wedding party for her brother Øyvind and his Sadie.
Projects in Empire
While the crew were in Norway, the Captain used his ”alone” time to get some work done on board Empire. Epoxy work was almost completed and the project “new water tank in the fore cabin” was started. He also managed to sand the teak deck after the epoxy work we did when in Thailand. After more than 5 years on a looong voyage, it felt good also to get some of the more “heavy” maintenance work.
In addition to the maintenance- and other boat work, the Captain also spent much of his time as a cowboy in Cawongla – at Madeleine`s and Bror’s farm. For a couple of weeks he even took care of the whole farm – in the middle of the calving season – while Mrs. and Mr. farmer visited their families in Sweden and Finland. Eivind got good exercise in being a ”midwife”. The calves did not like Eivind as much later on, since he also was the one castrating the male calves…
Also after Eirik`s and Heidi`s return to Australia we saw a lot of Madeleine and Bror in Beaver Creek. Empire was left alone while the last part of the epoxy work was hardening. It was not the best climate under deck for the little sailor or the growing 1. Mate – the last one with epoxy allergy – while the “project epoxy” was in progress.
On the farm Eirik woke up every morning, waking everyone else up with a loud MØØØØ! Followed by BULDOZER, TRACTOR, HORSE and EGG. Eirik knew where the eggs came from, and loved to run to the chock-house for eggs. There is no doubt that the days at the farm left big impressions.
As time got closer to the due date, Empire was more or less ready to welcome the new sailor. Time would show whether the 1.Mate and the Captain themselves were well enough prepared for long voyaging with two small kids on board. The last works of regular maintenance got the priority as we waited. Heidi and Eirik enjoyed many of these days – whit the still growing tummy – visiting friends and different playgroups in Yamba.
Here (s)he comes
One thing is to be woken up by the words ”we are leaking” , when you live in a house on land. When the Captain was woke up at 0200 the night before 21. October, he had a feeling that it was not the Ship that was leaking… Our new Sailor weighed 3135grams, was 50 cm long and cried when he was born. Marius was born three weeks before due date.
Marius was jaundiced and it took some time to get the bilirubin numbers down to ”normal”. Finally, after 10 days Marius and Heidi could leave the hospital for Empire. We were lucky to be at Grafton Base Hospital Maternity ward, and felt very well taken care of.
Link to articel in the local newspaper Daily Examiner >>>
Link to web article in Seilas >>>
After leaving the hospital, we visited Cawongla and Madeleine and Bror again, before heading back on board for the last maintenance work to be continued. The Captain spent many hours in the fore cabin, glassing a new water tank up forward. While the work was in progress the fore part of the ship was sealed off, so that polyester fumes stayed out of the rest of the ship. The only access to the fore part of the ship was through the deck hatch. In general the working conditions in a yacht have always been narrow. In a yacht full of stuff and full of people – and on a looong voyage – it is even worse.
Gingerlily and Eirik was best friends since our first visit to Yamba. They both seemed to enjoy the new little sailor Marius. When the Captain was working on board, Heidi often jumped the ship with the small ones – either to our friends Tanya, Steve and Gingerlily or to one of the playgroups nearby.
Christmas is coming
”Project water tank” was finished just before Christmas. We were looking forward to a not leaking tank. That the new tank also was a bit bigger, is a good thing. With two small ones and two not so small ones on board we need all the water we can get… But, the bigger tank had taken up valued space for other things. Next project was to rise the floorboards up forward
The Christmas tree came on the table just before Christmas. Christmas decorations hung up under deck and the fridge was full of "Norwegian" Christmas food – from IKEA. We spent Christmas Eve and the days between Christmas and New Years Eve in Cawongla with the Bjurstrom family. Also Rita, Bror’s mother, was visiting from Finland. New Years Eve and the celebration of the New Year were spent together with good friends in Yamba.
We did not experience temperatures below zero, neither any snow. Instead we enjoyed making angels in the sand on some of Yamba’s beaches...