KatieKat 2001 Cruise Chapter Three

Click on underlined text to jump to it
June 2001KatieKat 2001 Cruise Chapter Four
29 May 2001Visit Home
26 May 2001Glasshouse Mountains
25 May 2001Australia Zoo
24 May 2001Sanctuary Cove Boatshow
23 May 2001Broadwater and Moreton Bay
21 May 2001Lifting BikeBoat
8 May 2001Connected! Updated 21 May
30 April 2001Stolen Bicycle
23 April 2001Haulout
Mar-Apr 2001KatieKat 2001 Cruise Chapter Two

Click here to go to KatieKat Cruise Index Webpage
Click here to return to KatieKat Home Page

This is the third webpage of our cruise covering the year 2001. The purpose of the cruise webpages is to let family and friends know what is going on in our lives. The "Interest" column identifies the target audience, and is intended to spare you baby-picture slide-show agony. This is one long continuous page, and clicking on any of the underlined dates above should jump your screen to the appropriate section on this page (or you can use the scrollbar on the right to navigate up and down this page). Joe Siudzinski

Click on the small photos to see larger-scale images,
then hit your browser BACK button to return to the small photo.

29 May, 2001 -- Visit Home

Kathy's going home for a few weeks to visit her family, while I'm continuing the cruise (singlehanded) and am immediately heading north up the coast. Stay tuned for the next Chapter - hopefully I will be able to connect to a landphoneline again soon.

[Kathy Airport]Heading for home for a few weeks.

Click here to go back to top of page

26 May, 2001 -- Glasshouse Mountains

We drove up to the the distinctive Glasshouse Mountains, named by Captain Cook, allegedly because of their resemblance to molten glass. Took a long steep climb up to the top of one of these hills. The view was wonderful, but would you believe I forgot the camera!

[Glasshouse Mountains]Glasshouse Mountains, viewed from KatieKat. Note the detachable jibsheet attachment, consisting of a loop made using a figure-8 knot tied in the center of the jibsheet along with a short tail and its own figure-8 stopper knot. The loop gets pushed through the clew cringle and the tail pokes through the loop. Haven't been able to shake it apart, yet. Reason for going to this scheme (instead of permanently securing the jibsheet) is that I also need this jibsheet when I hank on the storm jib.

Click here to go back to top of page

25 May, 2001 -- Australia Zoo

Continued our sightseeing of the Greater Brisbane Area, we went to Australia Zoo, where I had taken my son and nephew last year. Australia Zoo is home to Steve, the Crocodile Hunter.

[Kathy Snake]Kathy was fascinated with this critter - reminded her of the gopher snake she kept for a pet as a child.

[Kathy Snake]She's really enjoying this!

[Kathy Snake]I was content just taking the photos.

[Koala]This is cuddlier, if you ask me.

[Croc]The crocodile show, with explanations of the croc's behavior and the actual feeding of the critter, was chilling. These were salt-water crocs (called "Salties") and, unlike American alligators (which are also in the zoo and the keeper feels are friendly pussycats), these suckers are cunning and mean. Fresh-water crocodiles ("Freshies") are smaller and less aggressive.

[Croc]Stories abound in the cruising community of these guys popping inflatable dinghys - makes us feel a little vulnerable on BikeBoat. In the Solomons last year, a cruising skipper was munched up when he dove down to check his anchor.

[SurfinCroc]Tourist bureaus love this kind of publicity! Although the threat is real, there aren't too many croc incidents each year. There are no crocs around here, but we'll be wary in northern Australia where we're heading.

Click here to go back to top of page

24 May, 2001 -- Sanctuary Cove Boatshow

Rented a car instead of sailing down to the boatshow (a mistake). After driving there it took another hour to actually get into the show after parking the car in the official parking lot, as we were subjected to a 40-minute standing-room-only hot-and-sweaty shuttle busride to the show itself. As part of a very jovial crowd full of biting comments, we took it all in stride.

The show was huge, but disappointing with only about a half-dozen sailing cruising multihulls displayed (Seawind, Lightwave, Tasman, Perry, and a couple of French boats) - turns out, most of the multihulls one sees are made one-off by custom builders, who didn't participate in the show. My guess is that 90% of the show was powerboats, ranging from Tinnies (aluminum fishing dinghys) to mega-yachts. Huge boating accessories showplace, with hundreds of vendors - that's where I spent the bulk of my time, but really restrained myself and only purchased a previously highly-recommended marinized tv antenna (brand- Saturn).

It was nice renewing acquaintance with the Seawind team - Richard Ward, Brent Vaughan, and their expert delivery skipper, Royce Black, who had a hair-raising tale to tell about being caught in a cyclone late last year on a Seawind 1000!

After viewing all the boats, we're still really happy with our Seawind 1000 KatieKat - it's primary distinction being the ability to con the boat while comfortably-seated inside the main saloon with all-round visibility, protected from the sun, waves, and weather. Just don't have this comfort while under sail on most other boats, be they monohulls or multihulls, where the helmsperson is outside and isolated. Although other boats had more opulent features, I consider our boat's layout to be very liveable and sailable.

Sorry, no pictures. I had intended to take lots of photographs at the show, especially of boat interiors and running rigging, but didn't go back to the boatshow the next day - the hassle wasn't worth it. Saved myself some money, I'm sure.

Click here to go back to top of page

23 May, 2001 -- Broadwater and Moreton Bay

While waiting for the boatshow, we went for a two-week exploring trip around The Broadwater and Moreton Bay. Some scenes -

[Twin Powerboats]Catamaran configurations for powerboats are also very popular here in Australia. This isn't an example of one of the beautiful production vessels, but if you'll look closely, some ingenious soul took two powerboats, built a bridgedeck between them, and then mounted the control console in the middle.

[Biplane]Another photo of JoyRide, taking off right next to us! Heard on the news that a sightseeing biplane had a minor mishap - wonder if it was this guy?

[Sausage Boat]This, uh, distinctive creation reminded me of the Oscar Meyer Weiner vehicle.

[LeShark]LeShark. This boat was recently singlehandedly ROWED across the Pacific from Chile! Headlines in the local papers. The poor guy dumped it in the surf as he tried to beach it (no harm done). In this photo taken from KatieKat, they were about to load the boat onto a trailer in Manly. Last I heard, the Brisbane Maritime Museum wanted to display it.

[BikeRack]Still experimenting with various ways of carrying the bicycles on board (the replacement doesn't fold). Here, I've found a better(?) use for the lifering holder for short trips where I'm towing BikeBoat. One of the problems I've had with carrying the bikes on deck tied to the lifelines is that the rainwater dribbling off the chaindrive leaves an oily residue on the deck.

[KatieKat in Tangalooma]Visited Tangalooma again for a couple of days - the purposely-sunk wrecks were supposed to form a breakwater - unsuccessful, as evidenced by the wildly rolling monohulls in this anchorage. Darn, missed a photo-op of the rolling monohulls - they were spectacular! To sleep in them, I'm sure people had their leecloths installed. KatieKat was a little bouncy, but not a problem.

[Tangalooma Wrecks]We found these wrecks very spooky at night!

[Tangalooma Beach]Kathy on the crowded :-) Tangalooma beach with BikeBoat. KatieKat and the wrecks are in the background.

[Jellyfish]Hmm, maybe these jellyfish explain why one doesn't swim in certain areas around here. Note how clear the water is.

Click here to go back to top of page

21 May, 2001 -- Lifting BikeBoat

Our SeaCycle pedal-powered catamaran (nicknamed BikeBoat) has been a wonderful vehicle, comfortably transporting us from anchorages to shore, allowing us to explore many lovely areas, and providing much-needed exercise. With a top speed of 8.4 knots (gps) and a normal cruising speed of around 5 knots, significant distances can be easily covered.

The problem is that, while sitting in the water, the SeaCycle slowly acquires a marine growth, despite its polyethylene hulls. This factor, coupled with some desire for theft protection, makes it desirable to do what most other yachties do - lift the tender out of the water when not actively using it. Even though the SeaCycle disassembles easily, it becomes just a little too time-consuming to do it every day (especially since I use lots of grease on all the fittings because of their use of dissimilar metals). At around 180# with all the baskets and accessories, BikeBoat is a little too heavy to man/woman-handle up onto the deck easily, even using the spinnaker halyard. As you can see from the photos below, I've experimented with various techniques - the latest being an unsuccessful attempt to rig some davits high up off the targa bar (conventional lower-down davits would interfere with mounting the fully-assembled BikeBoat across the targa bar when passagemaking). For the time being, using the boom to hold it up appears to be the most viable technique for keeping BikeBoat out of the water - providing the topping lift doesn't snap.

[BikeBoat on Targa]Ready for an offshore passage. That's my son Alec and nephew Jon in the photo, taken last year. Takes about 15 minutes to mount BikeBoat into this position, using the boom and topping lift as the hoist. Long term, the load on the lower polyethylene hull distorts the hull significantly and it takes a few days for it to regain its shape.

[BikeBoat on Deck]Disassembled, BikeBoat fits snugly into each pulpit, and doesn't interfere with sailing KatieKat. Takes a good half-hour to take everything apart, clean off all the greasy parts, and mount/strap everything into place. Good for sailing but not for temporary stowage.

[BikeBoat on Deck]Second attempt at carrying BikeBoat assembled on the forward deck for sailing (the first was athwartships and worked well but restricted access to the anchor). Note the seats were removed to avoid snagging the jibsheet. Still a half-hour exercise, and not a temporary storage solution.

[BikeBoat Forward off Water]Temporary mounting to keep BikeBoat out of the water using the spinnaker halyard. Still about 10 minutes and some struggling to do this.

[BikeBoat on Deck]Another view of this weird position. Note that the bicycles can also nicely park on the forward deck and are easily lifted over the side because of the low forward decking.

[BikeBoat Forward]OK, now we're knocking down the time to get BikeBoat out of the water. Not a good spot because it's difficult to cushion and interferes with the bow breast line.

[BikeBoat off Boom]This is currently the best technique and takes no more than five minutes. I've since modified it to use the preventer tackle to lift the forward part and the first reef line to lift the aft end. Hope that topping lift holds!

[BikeBoat off Davits]Unsuccessful and expensive davits experiment. The loads on the upper railings were acceptable, but the unexpected twist induced into the solar panels was not. Happily, I had made the davits detachable using custom U-clamps (which had taken me a full day to make!).

[Davits]Davits RIP. Less weight when they're gone.

Click here to go back to top of page
Click here to go to KatieKat the Cat webpage.

8 May, 2001 -- Connected! (Scroll down for the 21 May 2001 update)

Back on September 2 of last year I detailed my unsuccessful attempts to inexpensively connect my computer to a cellphone and thus send/receive e-mails directly off the boat. Problems included having pre-paid mobile service which allegedly had "data" inhibited and my having a Macintosh which caused all the salespeople to roll over and die because the Mac is not supported by any of their cellphone "data suites". My attempts to use an acoustic modem were also unsuccessful, and the salespeople were confusing cellphone infrared connectivity to the computer with infrared communications capability, further thwarting the efforts.

Suffice it to say that all the hurdles have now been overcome and I am now connected between a Nokia 7110 infrared cellphone (picked up an old discontinued model) and my Macintosh PowerBook. The Mac operating system has Nokia and Ericcson infrared modem drivers built into it and the connectivity is a byproduct of the recently-established WAP capability on pre-paid mobiles. Would you believe the service supplier still swears it will not work - and this repeatedly from their tech-support people!

It is certainly nice to now sit at an isolated anchorage and be able to retrieve the e-mails without having to hassle finding a landphoneline. Even though connection speed is only 9600bps, this is sufficient for e-mails provided nobody tries to send me huge graphics attachments. After just getting burned, I've now configured my e-mail program to defer retrieval of e-mails in excess of 15K. All this means is that I should be able to read your normal e-mails, but won't retrieve your attachment until I'm hooked to a landline (the landline connectivity is very clean here in Australia, with normal speeds in excess of 48K). Also, please don't send html-encoded emails: simple text (ascii) is just fine.

The photo below shows just a part of the KatieKat network. The Nokia cellphone is communicating via infrared with the Mac PowerBook for e-mail service. The yellow wire provides the ethernet connection to the other Macintosh (unless I'm close enough to the other computer to use the infrared linkup). A USB cable hooks the Mac up to the printer, whereas the other USB port is used for the RS232 converter to provide the NMEA 0183B interface to the GPS (for use with the navigation charts on the computer) and, in the future, to the boat instrumentation. One of the PCMCIA modules provides an old SCSI bus interface to an external backup hard drive and ZIP drive (haven't bought any new ones to use the computer's FireWire port, and the other PowerBook has a built-in SCSI port). The other PCMCIA card is the digital camera SmartMedia card adapter for quick photo uploads. The computer audio input port connects to the SSB receiver to produce on-screen weatherfaxes. The audio output port goes to some powered speakers for listening to CDs off the CD-ROM drive. Finally, we also use the Mac to watch rented DVD movies (in a more comfortable setting). You were wondering why this is called KatieKat. net? :-)

[Computer]One of two Macintosh PowerBook computers and a few accessories.

Update 21 May, 2001

Right after writing the above, we took off for a week-long island-hopping cruise around Moreton Bay and I had a chance to really test the remote connectivity. First a little more background information and then some observations.

For the past year I've had Optus Express pre-paid mobile service and OptusNet pre-paid internet access. Both have provided pretty good connectivity. I can only use pre-paid as the contract lengths are a couple of years and I have no permanent Australian address. I've found Optus Express to be fairly expensive, but they've just recently changed their plan to extend out for six months so it's ok for low usage. Optus has been a wealth of misinformation from their tech support centers regarding computer-mobile connectivity. Some examples:

The Optus Express pre-paid mobile service is very expensive compared with Telstra pre-paid mobile using off-peak rates. The nice thing about Telstra is that they round off the charges to the nearest second.

Telstra is the only pre-paid mobile supplier who says that they handle data and I initially purchased it (Telstra Communic8) as a backup but I am now using it exclusively for remote access (to my OptusNet ISP). The nice thing about GSM is that the SIM card is transferrable from one cellphone to another, so I can keep using Optus in my old cellphone while the new Nokia gets the Telstra SIM.

While anchored out, the mobile requires a strong signal to connect in the first place. Even though it may connect and logon successfully, for some reason the system might not continue and connect to any of the e-mail accounts, leaving the line open and hanging - I'm finally figuring out how to detect that has indeed happened (data out is active but data in is dead) and switch off the mobile before further costs are rung up. I wasted at least $15 on Optus just sitting there repeatedly with inactive open lines (at first I thought it was caused by the slow 9600bps connect speed).

When things are working right, the logon and transmit/receive of a half-dozen typical e-mails each way can be easily accomplished in two minutes. Using Optus that's about a US dollar but only about a quarter using Telstra.

I've been fairly lucky with spam, but for some reason was inordinately subjected to the trash this past week - painful when one is at an anchorage paying per second of airtime. Since I receive a fair number of e-mails from people reading this website, I'm reluctant to insert any filtering scheme.

--- End of 21 May 2001 Update ---

Click here to go back to top of page

30 April, 2001 -- Stolen Bicycle

Australians are helping us with our boat weight reduction efforts. Popped back into Southport for a day to reprovision and unfortunately had my bicycle stolen when I left it for a few minutes unlocked in front of the Australia Fair mall. Replaced it with a cheap bright yellow cheap old rusty lightweight cheap used mechanically-perfect 12-speed, as we've really come to rely on bicycles as our primary means of transport.

[Bike On Deck]This was the Dahon Mariner full-sized folding mountain bike which was stolen. Still have Kathy's, which is identical. Photo taken while in the Broadwater approaching Southport Yacht Club, with the Gold Coast high-rises in the background.

[Yellow Bicycle]This is the replacement. Note the pre-rusted spokes, especially on the front wheel. NOTE: Not worth stealing! Must say that the effort of pedalling a road bike is significantly lower than that needed for the mountain bike, but the ride is sure harsher.

Click here to go back to top of page

23 April, 2001 -- Haulout

The two months of sitting at the dock in Southport allowed not only green stuff but barnacles to become very attached to the boat. Exactly a year after launching, we sailed up the Coomera River and hauled out.

[Plants]Motoring up the Coomera River. The veggie garden in full bloom. Our guardfrog usually sits by the aft entrance and croaks to let us know someone came aboard. Note the handheld autopilot controller - with its multifunction display, river depth is constantly monitored on it. You can tell we're cruisers by the bicycles strapped to the railings.

[Haulout Start]Ready to haulout.

[Haulout]Not many things stress me nowadays, but this is one of them.

[Barnacles Rudder]This rudder is not what one would call a clean airfoil.

[Barnacles Bow]Bow barnacles.

[Spraywash]Spraywashing prior to painting. First time in my life I've ever had someone else work on one of my boats. I must be getting old.

[Painted Bottom]New bottom paintjob and fully serviced motors and she's ready for re-launching. Anyone wanna race?

Click here to go back to top of page

Click here to return to KatieKat Home Page