LETTER from Heidi & Eivind _  AUSTRALIA, Yamba 2011 -  JANUARY - APRIL 2011
Yamba, NSW, Australia.
Eirik is wondering when Marius will start to run...
Boys on Tour to New Zealand.
We had a great weekend at Kate and Al's place.
Many things to celebrate in one day...
Lena - from the Norwegian Church abroad in Sydney.
Eirik 2 years old.
The ship is roomy - one of several "see you" dinners.
Best friends in Yamba - Gingerlily and Eirik, Tanya and Heidi.
An almost new winlass is mounted.
The boys!

Yamba 2011

The days after New Years just flew away, while washing nappies, playing with our kids, exploring places on shore and doing boat maintenance work. The maintenance work was more and more left to the Captain. If too many cupboards were open, or if too dangerous fluids were in use – 1.Mate and the young Sailors escaped to the playground or to good friends. Slowly but steady Empire was getting ready for the coming voyage.

Always a lot of weather in Australia
The beginning of 2011 was troubled with much extreme weather. Somewhere in Australia there was either flood, huge forest fires or cyclones – it seemed. In the beginning of January the biiig floods were in the news all over the world. It was not only flood and a lot of water – many places experienced the worst floods in more than 100 years.
We watched the flood warning for Clarence River, which is the river running in to the ocean near Yamba, closely. Luckily there was not much drama in Yamba, except that the road in and out of town was closed for four days. Some empty shelves in the super markets were the only signs of flooding in Yamba, Further upriver the damages were bigger. A few places upriver were even totally submerged, but nothing compared to the flash floods in parts of Queensland.
Link to web article in Seilas >>>
The Captain and Eirik packed their sacks in the beginning of February and jumped on the plane to Auckland, New Zealand. Eivind’s visa for Australia was running out by the end of April, so it was time for a trip abroad. Eirik joined in for the fun of the tour. ”The boys” met many of our friends from when we stayed in New Zealand 2007/08.
It was Auckland Anniversary Day and Eirik and Eivind joined in as crew on board Thelma. Thelma is the 112 year old classic gaff rigged lady that we raced many times during our stay in New Zealand 3 years ago. It turned out to be a ”fresh” race – with winds up to 36 knots during gusts. Eivind did not get the chance to do much racing work on board, as the captain clearly told Eivind that Eivind`s primary task was to take care of Eirik`s safety.

Biiig farm
Our Australian yacht neighbors in Yamba Marina – Kate and Alistair – are managing a big farm south of Liverpool Plains. To drive there from Yamba takes about 8 hours – under good conditions. With two kids in the car – and with the tourist glasses on – it took us 11 hours to drive to  their farm - in Bundella Creek. We had a wonderful long weekend almost in “the outback” - together with Norwegian and South African friends.
Kate and Alistair is managing a farm spread over 22000 acres. There are up to 1000 cows and 1000 calves on the farm. Of course there are also several horses on the farm. All this huge numbers tells that this is a big farm – but it is not THAT big - in Australian terms. We did not manage to see all the animals at the farm. In addition to the farming animals, there were plenty of game – dear, wild pig and kangaroo - on the property.
Also their kids Lillian and Gordon are helping on the farm – when they are not at school. Kate was driving 200 km every day – only to get the kids to and back from the school bus stop…

Visiting family
Proud Grandparents and Peder (Eivind`s son) visited for four weeks, to spend time with their kids - and grand children in Yamba. We are not spoiled with too many nannies on our tour, so we used parts of their visit to get some more work done on board. Eirik, Marius and Grandparents had a great time together, while we were sewing the new cover for the dodger and the bimini.
We also managed to do some sightseeing with the visiting family. Circus in Lismore – with lions, was a high score. The Currumbin Animal Park and the Outback Spectacular were great, too. The most important anyway, was to spend time together.

Christening and surprise
Empire showed all flags on display when we threw off – on Eirik`s two years birthday the 4th of March – with family and friends on board. After anchoring in the Clarence River one ceremony after the other was performed on Empire`s deck. 2 x Christening, a wedding and Eirik`s birthday were on the schedule.
Marius and Stella, last mentioned the daughter of friends from Yamba and Norway, was christened on Empire`s deck – in salt water from the Pacific Ocean.  
Only Lena, the priest from The Norwegian Church Abroad in Sydney – Anne, Heidi`s mate of honor, and Kalle, Marius` Goodfather knew in advance what was really on the schedule. There were many surprised faces in the moment Heidi came up on deck – with a veil in the hair. It was a big celebration in Yamba that night!
Link to article in the local newspaper Daily Examiner >>>
Link to web article in Seilas >>>

Soon heading north
Between boat work, kindergarten, the family visiting and sightseeing we met many of our friends from the first Australia visit again   - and we made many new ones. The last week before departure from Yamba, there were many “see you, but don`t know when” parties.
After 12 months in Australia, nine of those months based in Yamba on the east coast of the continent, we were exited to head of for new adventures. It was a long time since we had been that long in one place...
Empire was as ready as possible for the departure – so were the crew. Many hours had been spent during the stay in Yamba to be sure that Empire`s condition was as good as possible – before we headed off with two Sailors on board. Empire is 12 years old in 2011, so it felt good to have done a thorough refit.

Good bye, Yamba
We threw off from Yamba the 30th of April for the last time – for this visit. With friends waving from the pier – friends we hope to see in Norway when we are back there – it was sad to say ”see you”. There were several wet eyes on board Empire when Yamba disappeared behind the island...

Empire`s “refit” in Yamba, NSW, Australia
  • New water tank in the fore cabin was glassed as part of the hull. The tank is also a collision bulkhead in the bow
  • Taken down the radar antenna, fixed corrosion on the circuit cards and lackered to protect against future humidity
  • Dismantled plotter/radar screen, cleaned the circuit cards after humidity and lackered
  • Replaced a leaking fitting in connection with a underwater through hull fitting
  • Glassed the main bulk head to the inner liner where that was not done
  • Glassed fore bulkhead in conjunction with the baby stay
  • Mounted small hatches to make easier access - to inspect some of the through hull fittings and storage rooms.
  • Sealed a water leak in the quadrant room – by the gas locker aft
  • Sealed a water leak that ended up in the galley cup board
  • Pulled a new electrical cable in the mast, to motor lantern/deck light
  • Visual inspection of the rigging,  everything found in perfect order (new standing rig in New Zealand in 2008)
  • Taken out and apart and replaced seals in the autopilot hydraulic pump after an oil leak, remounted
  • Found a leaking seal in the windlass (new in Ushuaia 2006). Dismantled and replaced seal and many of the windlass parts after the leak and following corrosion
  • Mounted a new compass – the membrane in the old was leaking oil
  • Changed gear oil. Replaced seals on the S-gear drive (while hanging in the lift)
  • Changed motor oil and oil filter
  • Changed 3 fuel filters
  • Raised the floor boards in the fore cabin and the corridor/passage up front for more storage room
  • Replaced old SSB antenna with a new one
  • Changed seal and impeller in the seawater pump on the Volvo Penta
  • Changed drinking water filter
  • Finished redoing the notes of the teak deck, sanding the new epoxy notes
  • Made a template and sewed a new sprayhood
  • Made a template and sewed a new bimini
  • Made a new cover for the cusion on the chart table seat
  • Made new covers for the fenders
  • New battery bank, 5 x 120Ah deep cycle, mounted
  • Fixed and reinforced zippack/mainsail cover
  • Polished the hull
  • Greased the Furlex system
  • Changed gear oil in the outboard and serviced

And even a few more things which we have not noted.
Did you think it was only high drinks and vacation on a loooong sailing voyage? We have done all the work our selves – with two curious young sailors hanging over our shoulders !

Young and keen helper. Last finish of the new sprayhood - in the appartment our parents hired for their visit. It takes lots of fabric and tread to make a new sprayhood and bimini.
Busy morning... Eirik enjoyed having his big brother Peder around. Gingerlily and Eirik.