There are things which draw you to this town. It’s not just the colonial architecture, the broad coastline parks, the markets…. it’s the people.
I’d start with the local marina. We were last through here several weeks ago and yet when we contacted the marina by radio to advise that that our arrival was imminent, we were greeted by our first names, despite our correct radio transmission which only gave our yacht name and call sign. Tired and grumpy as we were on arrival we expected a friendly hand to assist us to tie up to the fuel wharf. Nobody came. Eventually the woman from the office came down to greet us cheerily as we attempted to drive/drag Fling upwind to the low pressure fuel pump.
She apologised, the person who would normally catch our lines and assist us was currently helping an injured marina resident into the shower. We felt bad for feeling so grumpy and selfish.
Our marina neighbour has a progressive, degenerative disease which prevents him from speaking. But he has all the friends and communication in the world. People constantly stop by, call out and ask if he needs anything and chat with him, allowing him to answer in his own way. Today I overheard a live-aboard cruiser asking him if he would like to drive her to the shops to get his groceries. This warmed my heart to see someone who recognises that even though one skill is lost, the others should still be recognised. Our neighbour has all his skills, except speech and it was wonderful to hear someone acknowledge that. Every night our neighbour feeds the marina fish. Never let anyone tell you that fish have a poor short term memory as these fish gather and mill around a good fifteen minutes before they are fed at exactly 1800hrs each evening!
During our five days stay here we have enjoyed the Friday Night Market on the Strand and ‘Cotters Market’ the Sunday market which fills the main street in town with fresh local produce and local art works. We have chilled out in the Tobruk Pool each afternoon, where the 1956 Olympic Team trained. We also caught up with Paul Lobsten and his crew for a dinner at the CYC on their magnificent deck.
We have repaired our anchor winch and our new halyard is reeved, so tomorrow we will be off. The northerlies look like holding until the end of the weekend so hopefully we will find ourselves in the Whitsundays by then.