Oswald wreaking havoc

Posted in: Living aboard on Sunday, January 27th, 2013

As I type this Ex tropical cyclone Oswald is bearing down on Brisbane causing flooding, strong winds and general havoc.

I’m sitting on a lean to starboard, the saloon table is vibrating from the forces being applied to the mast and I can barely hear myself think due to the constant groaning of the fenders protecting Tygress as she’s being blown against the dock.

The latest observations from the Bureau of Meteorology are indicating wind speeds of 31kts (57km/hr) with gusts of up to 46kts (85km/hr). Tygress is taking a hammering.

Brisbane radar image as at 6.15pm

And to top it off we’ve just lost power.

This is the worst weather we’ve had since moving aboard and I’m not too proud to say that i’m frightened.  The last time Brisbane experienced weather like this I was safely ensconced behind four strong, solid walls watching the worst of it on the television.  Now I feel like i’m at the mercy of it. It’s not a good feeling.

As for Tygress herself, we fortunately managed to seal her leaking windows yesterday morning with gaffa tape so we’re not having to contend with water in the boat.  The tarps though have had to be tied and retied numerous times today thanks to the cheap rope we’ve been using. We’re slowly learning that only the best will do for our boat, trying to save money by buying cheap rope will only cause problems down the track. With this wind the tarps are acting more like sails and the sound they make when they fly lose is like a cracking whip against the cabin roof.  Our poor little fenders are looking deflated after having Tygress squishing against them for the last few days, one of them even popping out onto the dock, squeezed out under pressure, forcing us to push our bull of a steel hull against the wind to get it back down between the opposing forces of hull and dock again.

The video below is of the harbour entrance at about 3pm today, the poor boats are really getting thrown around, i’m glad we’re further into the marina and relatively protected from the waves.



Four furry little land legs

Posted in: The Ships Cat on Thursday, January 24th, 2013

Enjoying his walkabout

Our beautiful old boy has adapted to his new live aboard life really well and having him with us has helped us adapt to our new life too. Our boat became and felt officially like home after he stepped on board.

Leaving his old house has brought big changes for him.  BB (Before Boat) he was an inside and outside cat, he roamed free and far to his heart’s content. He could go outside to conduct his business with privacy and a modicum of dignity. He could have macho hair raising standoffs with the neighbourhood cats and he could escape his adoring, sometimes irritatingly affectionate humans to seek peaceful solitude under the hedge.

Those days for him are gone, to be replaced by a small confined space with different sights and smells and no nighttime adventures or free time outside. Then there is the indignity of having to poop in a box while usually being watched by me to make sure his aim is on target (and when it isn’t, a slight redirect by the tail).  Geez when I put it like that it sounds a little sad and mean.  It’s not really though.

We had to fight to be allowed to have him with us here at the marina at all.  When we told the office that we had a cat there was some grumbling and hesitation but in the end they relented so long as we kept him under wraps. There is a prejudice against cats among marina boaties which I’ve touched on in an earlier post.  And for five months he was content with regular patrols around the deck and chillin in the cockpit or under the tarp. But the day finally came, as we knew it would, when he realised he could get off the boat.

“Freedom here I come”

Fortunately I was on the dock to intercept him and I almost whisked him up into my arms and back onto the boat but then Ben and I looked at each other and thought “what the hell, let him have a wander”.  We had felt bad about having to confine him all the time particularly when he really wants to go out for an explore. (We suspect he’s aware of this guilt and tries to make us feel even worse by sitting on the top step watching outside looking forlorn)

At once he was alert,  his little nose to the ground and twitching taking in the new environment.  I was quite excited to share his first walk around, and he was such a good cat, he didn’t go racing off forcing me into futile pursuit. He walked very calmly at my side constantly looking up at me for reassurance, “Can i go here?” “What about over there?”. He sniffed mooring lines, rubbed his face against cleats and his body against utility posts. Cats do this to release pheromones from pores in their faces. By rubbing his little head on things Fluffy was making his surroundings feel more like home, making it a part of his comfort zone.

Land legs, he’s still got em!

Every now and then he’d sit next to a boat and look at me as if to say “Can I jump up on this” and despite me shaking my head no, he’d slightly adjust his position, calculate angles of approach and distances, assess the risk of landing in the the water, then look back at me, shift again and get swooped up at the last minute, all of his careful planning for naught.

Unfortunately, despite the fun we both had wandering around together, his little adventure on the dock has meant the end of his unsupervised time on deck. When he thinks he’s not being watched he makes a beeline for the stern of the boat, and despite his advancing years he’s still a quick kitty, keeping us on our toes! I look forward to the day, as I’m sure Fluffy does too, when we can let him have free reign of the boat, so that he can come and go as he pleases.




From the Galley: Parmesan and Parsley Crumbed Fish

Posted in: From the Galley on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Parmesan and Parsley Crumbed Fish

This is an easy and delicious way of enjoying your freshly caught fish.


  • 4 fresh fillets
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 grated fresh parmesan cheese
  • 2tbps finely chopped parsley
  • 1tbsp milk
  • 2 eggs
  • Masterfoods lemon pepper seasoning to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine eggs and milk in bowl, and whisk
  2. In another bowl, combine bread crumbs, parmesan, parsley, lemon pepper seasoning and salt and pepper
  3. Dip the fish fillets in the egg wash and then coat with the crumb mixture
  4. Heat oil in fry pan over a medium heat, add fillets and fry until crispy and golden brown.
  5. Serve with salad
Notes: There is usually always crumb and egg mixture left over so this recipe could do more than four fish fillets, we did six fillets and still had some left over.


A soul set free

Posted in: Family on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Beautiful Coonarr Beach

We drove in silence for a few minutes taking in the scenery and no doubt thinking back on the mornings poignant events.

“How do you think that went?” I asked Bens’ Mum Marg.

“I thought it went well, I think now his soul has been set free…and it was a lovely day for it”

We were on our way back from Coonarr Beach, a beautiful undeveloped paradise not far from Bundaberg.  We had been there to scatter the ashes of Marg’s father Bert or Pop as he was known to most of us. In life Pop had loved to fish Coonarr beach and his family thought it fitting that he be returned to the waters of the fishing grounds he loved so well.

He was to be returned home to the sea.

And the sea was beautiful that day for Pop, clear, warm and sparkling in the morning sun, forever enriched by his return home.


The family gathered to return Pop home to the sea


These things I miss

Posted in: Living aboard on Sunday, January 13th, 2013

1. Ice

Probably not something you expect to find at the top of the list but believe me it’s one little luxury that is hard to live without especially if you like a couple of chunks in your afternoon scotch.  Without it my scotch is luke warm within minutes, a pale, syrupy imitation of how the Gods intended such a nectar to be enjoyed.   However there is hope of having this frosty delight in my beverages again.  As soon as our Eutectic fridge comes online our Waeco will be turned from a fridge into a freezer and the first things in will be my ice cube trays.

2. Air Conditioning

Need I say more? It’s safe to say that this is the first summer that I’ve actually experienced fully in all it’s humid, sticky, sweaty oven baked horror.  Without air conditioning there is nowhere to hide from it, even sitting directly in front of a fan provides no escape.  I have heard tales of other lucky boaties that have air conditioners on board but I don’t think that’ll ever be us, at least not with our current boat.

3. Our Queen Size Bed

The main berth just isn’t cutting it in terms of space and comfort not like our old slice of heaven back at home.  When we were sleeping in the V-berth dreaming of the time we could sleep in the main berth it seemed much bigger, it was going to be the solution to all of our sleeping problems.  But since we’ve switched over it feels more cramped than the V-berth and I’ve definitely drawn the short straw when it comes to the better side of the bed. Especially since it seems I have to share with the ships cat most nights.  If i’m not whacking my leg against the cockpit recess or fire extinguisher as I sleep i’m knocking my head on the too-close-wall when I roll over.  But the really sad part is that I misjudged the berth size when I bought all this beautiful expensive linen, and as apparently it’s closer to a single than a double nothing fits except the pillow cases.

4. Standard Land-based Plumbing 

Sure there are toilets at the marina and we do have a marine head aboard Tygress but I miss the proximity and reassurance of my own flushing toilet.  To most people a toilet is a toilet but to those few of us that harbour certain neurotic, irrational fears about unfamiliar toilets then a marine head is a construct of pure terror on par with porta-potties and aeroplane toilets.

5. A Full Size Kitchen

It’s almost enough to make me weep when I think of all that bench space I took for granted, or how I considered packing and unpacking the dishwasher a chore and how I managed to fill all those wonderful cupboards with so much crap that I never used. Today I have barely a fifth of that bench space and I certainly don’t have a dishwasher and I can barely fit the things I need into the few cupboards that I have.  Add on top of that the nagging worry that I’ll block the seacock in the galley with detritus from the washing up water and sink the boat. I miss my kitchen.

I’m sure I could make a much longer list but these a the big items I find myself missing the most on a regular basis. What are some of the things that you’d miss?