Monday morning Frank pulled down the dodger for me to repair. The dodger is that top piece of canvas that covers the front portion of our cockpit and supports the windshield. As I've previously mentioned it is becoming worn in the same spot and needs another patch-up. We have just had it done not 6 months ago in Port Macquarie for a small fortune so I'm a bit miffed about the need to deal with this again. We are flying on a wing and a prayer with this canvas hoping it will last until our planned replacement at year-end. I paused my fender cover making, pulled out my canvas repair materials and sat down with the dodger across my lap to assess and strategize. Thank goodness a patch is not actually required and essentially no canvas surfaces have been worn through. The problem it seems is that the stitching all along the front of the dodger has utterly disintegrated. The thing literally began to come apart in my hand. Apparently the re-sticther did not use UV thread, hence the decomposing dodger. The seams are so thick I couldn't get any part of it under the pressure foot of my pathetic little second-hand sewing machine, and was about to begin hand stitching when Frank put up his hand and said, "You don't have to do that. Give it to me". Being the enterprising kind of guy that gets things done, and my hero, he loaded the dodger into a dock cart and wheeled it down the road to the repair shop about 1 km away. I resumed my fender cover making and Frank returned to inform me we shall remain dodgerless for a week or so. We spent the remainder of the day working at our seemingly never-ending boat jobs
Monday evenings at Tipperary Waters Marina is BBQ night. We bring something to slap onto the barbie, sit around meet the neighbors, socialize, eat and BYOB. I suppose to that agenda I should add scratch! We sit, chat, eat, and scratch. Blast! We forgot our insect repellant. These noseeums are villainous and rapacious. How can something you cannot even see eat so much flesh!?!? Rodney (the Lockmaster/marina manager) came to the rescue proffering a variety of sprays, which we all gratefully applied a bit late. After a while no one seemed to notice that we were all talking and scratching, eating and scratching, drinking and scratching. When I shared this with my husband's former sister-in-law Winnie, she suggested we wear flea collars – maybe that isn't such a bad idea, eh? We had a fantastic time at the end of the night and had gotten to know our next-door neighbors, Jo and Lex quite well. We made plans to get together for dinner soon.
Tuesday morning we took off on foot shortly after 8:00 AM for the Travel Doctor. Our appointment was at 9:10. We arrived at 9:00 to be told that our appointment is not until 1:00 PM. I let Frank deal with this one since he had made the appointment. As I thumbed through an entertainment magazine I over heard some of the conversation. Although it was summarily agreed that we were (probably) right and that someone had written the time down incorrectly in the clinic's books we may or may not get in to see the doctor. Now here I have to sidetrack just a little bit. Sail Indonesia directed us to this clinic via our information packets. The clinic will not allow us to see the travel nurse without first being assessed by the resident doctor. We waited for over an hour before the doctor squeezed us in for a 10-minute consult, wherein he determined that our vaccinations were current. We found out much later that we could have taken care of this last week when I went into the doctor for a checkup and would have saved a lot of money and anxiety. Now back to the clinic. The doctor impressed upon us that although we are current on all the Hep A & B, Yellow Fever, Tetanus, Measles, Typhoid, etc vaccinations, we should take the rabies vaccine shots: a series of three over a 21-day period. You see there are dogs, monkeys, bats and cats running around Indonesia and Southeast Asia with rabies and we wouldn't want to get bitten or scratched by one. Without forethought we agreed immediately to take the first injection. Afterward, stepping up to the cashier we were handed our bill for $408.40. WHAT!? It boils down to separate consult fees for each of us with the doctor and then respectively with the nurse and then of course the cost of the first installment of rabies vaccine. Travelers beware. Call around and get cost estimates before seeing a travel doctor in Darwin. Geez.
Immediately afterward we trotted off to the Indonesian Consulate where we picked up our passports and visas. On the way there and back we happened into several fellow cruisers on the same errands. We all look a little lost and somewhat hopeful, eager to get these chores out of the way while comparing stories, sharing information and getting and giving directions to one another. It is really quite fun and exciting living this strange life of ours. Finished with our morning business we walked through the Smith St. mall, did a little shopping and settled in for some Yum Cha at a Chinese restaurant.
By the time we began the trek back to Destiny the sun was blaring overhead and lightly toasting our limbs. We'd long ago sweated off our sunscreen and were ready for another gallon of water to drink. We had two more stops to make on the way searching for a replacement fender to match our busted one and trying to locate a book titled "101 Anchorages Within the Indonesian Archipelago". So far we have struck out on both fronts. We finally hit pay dirt on the fender, snatching the last one at an off the beaten path marine store but are still having no luck with that book. We'll find it eventually.
We returned to Destiny at 4 PM, tired and dust covered but feeling pretty good about our accomplishments today. Darwin is not like any place we have been to and although we are busy with "must-do's", we are discovering more of this town and it's people bit by bit and liking it. Hopefully we will get caught up enough to get out and have some good old fashioned fun.