From five to fifty…

For at least the last two months, every Wednesday morning we go to the Yamba Farmer’s Market – held in the carpark between Witing and Turners beaches. Bella Luna is usually anchored off Whiting Beach – including a 30 second ride in Foamy we can get from the boat and be buying bunches of basil in about two minutes. Bliss…

249/365 • back from farmer’s market having divested ourselves of the Smalls on the way - they’ve gone be to a friends house for hangs and lego time - whee! • . #yamba #kidfree #market #goodmorning #sunshine #northernnsw #visitnsw #abcmyphoto #bellalunaboa

This Wednesday however, we were anchored over other side of the Clarence River in Iluka. The Smalls and I had been to Bush School the previous day (and Honey the boatcat had been parted from her ovaries) – and we had arranged for Small DB and I to catch a lift wtih one of the two local families we know, over to the market in the morning.

At 6.45am, Abalone, a motorboat, sidled up alongside Bella Luna with Dean at the wheel – three of his four kids were in their lifejackets and school uniforms and the two and a half year old was looking jaunty in a lifejacket-over-PJs ensemble.

They were all completely blase about the situation – it’s their normal. To drive to the market would take over half an hour. Fanging there with a 50hp motor on the back? Took approximately ten minutes.

Have I mentioned I like to go fast? I REALLY like to go REALLY FAST – toboggans, rollercoasters and apparently now… motorboats. Those four kids could have been cruising down a suburban street in a Volvo – Small DB and I, however, were agog. Our smiles were smeared and flattened by the speed at which we were travelling – our hair was horizontal. We held on tight.

Fanging in ‘Abalone’ from Iluka to the Yamba Farmer’s Market

The 50hp outboard motor was like Pharlap – it made Foamy’s little 5hp seem like an ancient Shetland pony. Abalone can turn on a dime – I loved the speed, but it was the deacceleration and manouevrability that impressed me.

We did our shopping, fanged back across to Iluka and were back aboard Bella Luna just after 8am. Exhilerated, with a basket full of eggs, basi, blueberries, bananas, tomatoes, rhubarb and two loaves of bread. Abalone disappeared into the distance on the school run…

M and I had two hours before we had to go and sit our Long Range Operator Certificate of Proficiency (LROCP) exam. Time for another cup of tea and some last minute cramming (my specialty). I can’t remember if I have mentioned this before, but in order to leave Australia in your boat, it has to be registered as an international vessel

Registration of a ship on the Australian general shipping register provides legally and internationally recognisable nationality to your ship. When registered, you will have Australian protection on the high seas and in foreign ports.

In addition to the $1500 they make you cough up for the privelege of registration, you must also have an MMSI (Maritime Mobile Service Identity) before you can get the registration. You get the MMSI by passing your LROCP and holding an ACMA maritime ship station licence and callsign. The whole thing is swamped in acronyms…IYKWIM

So at 10.15am we were sitting at a table at Iluka Marine Rescue waiting for our examiner. The Smalls came along as observers and behaved beautifully…

Marine Rescue Iluka - where we sat our VHF exam...

Our examiner, Jeff, was excellent. We completed our 50 question multiple-choice test in under an hour – we needed to get 70% correct in order to pass. Both of us had studied pretty diligently – but there were about five questions I was a bit wobbly on, including one about radar that I had zero clue about. As it turned out, M hadn’t known that one either…

Both of us took the exam to double our chances of obtaining the qualification – although I know M will pass, I wanted to increase our odds and also increase my knowledge of radio communications. Our fingers are crossed – I think we get our results in a week or so. The exams are sent to the Australian Maritime College for marking. We were right nearby there about 14 months ago…

One Reply to “From five to fifty…”

  1. Haha! I love your version of “our normal”! Wednesday mornings are definitely the kids’ favourite time of the week – fast, noisy boat trips, fresh skies and the prospect of quiche for breakfast & a bumper lunch box. What’s not to love!

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