During the extended layover, I had our troublesome exhaust system comprehensively sorted, and had two, 150W solar panels mounted on top of the bimini. Electrical issues were an ongoing drama in Townsville, and beyond, and we were still sorting them out in Darwin several months later. Without the patient help of our friend Colin Grazules, we'd probably still be in Townsville.
I had one false start at leaving Townsville with a friend, Mick Flynn, and we were testing the boat out on a lovely, sunny day. Heading for Rattlesnake Island, a pleasant day-sail away, sun shining, perfect breeze, heeled over nicely, and Mick happened to be reading Alan Lucas's Cruising Guide.
"Oh, that's interesting. Rattlesnake Island's the centre of the Air Force's live firing range.....ummmm....do you think we should check on that?" So I called the local Coast Guard who advised us to do an immediate U-Turn. A very quick U-Turn. Immediately!!!!
And we headed back a bit sheepishly to the safety of the anchorage in Horseshoe Bay on Magnetic Island, which is a great little spot anyway. Then, the solar panels stopped working and it was back to Townsville again.
Meanwhile, Mary and I detoured a little, for a long-promised holiday in Morocco, (which was terrific, and another story) and it was just a week or so after our return that we finally made it back to Townsville again. Another departure from Townsville, and after a night on the anchor at Magnetic Island, the fridge packed it in. Back to Townsville!
Colin Grazules stepped aboard again and after a few more days in port, we were finally ready to go. Off to Rattlesnake Island! This time, I'd carefully checked that Bombing Season was over, and we had a pleasant cruise and a peaceful night on the anchor. Weren't inspired to go ashore though in case we inadvertently stepped on any live bombs that the Air Force misplaced.