Sunday, 28 May 2017

Preparing to leave your boat for an extended period.

We are preparing to leave Our Dreamtime  tied to the dock for the southern winter while we flit off to lead a flotilla charter in the Greek Isles during the northern summer. While we are looking forward to our Greek adventure we fear we may suffer some separation anxiety being apart from our floating home that long.
We will worry about her while we are gone but are taking what we consider to be the basic precautions anyone leaving their boat for an extended period should. Here's what we have done.

We are fortunate to have great sailing friends we can call on for help. A few extra hands
certainly made getting our sails off easier.

1.       Our boat is moored on a friend’s private pontoon berth in a canal estate. We have left him with two contact numbers of people who know how to start the engine and move the boat if the need should arise, although highly unlikely in our case. In a marina situation this would be much more important.
2.       We have arranged for one of those friends to check on the boat and run the engine each month.
3.       All fuel tanks have been filled. With very little exposure to air, they are less likely to get much condensation and suffer from any diesel bug.
4.       We also filled  the water tanks but added a small amount of bleach to each to prevent any nasties growing. Our Queensland winters are way too mild for any risk of freezing lines to worry about.
5.       We have removed both headsails from their furlers, the main from inside its Liesurefurl boom along with the mizzen and its sail bag. Why have them out in 4-5 months unnecessary UV  exposure.  June to October is certainly not storm season here in Brisbane but that does not mean an unseasonal big blow couldn’t occur while we’re gone.  The disastrous outcomes of Cyclone Debbie in the Whitsundays just a few months ago reinforces how important it is to strip the sails off your boat when leaving it for any length of time.
Our friends Bob and Lyn plus an obscured Brett, carry the mainsail ashore for flaking and bagging.

6.       We removed all the running rigging that was practical. This includes sheets, preventers, furling lines, spinnaker pole lines and running backstay lines. They deteriorate quickly laying on the deck and, again, we want to avoid unnecessary UV  exposure.
After as many lines as possible were removed, they spent a day soaking in fresh water before being rinsed and spending another day floating in a water and fabric softener mix.

Our daughter's back fence was great place to dry all the lines before they were coiled and put into storage. Yes - ketches do have a lot of line.

7.       Everything normally stored on deck, such as fuel jerry cans, crab pots, dive tank etc, has been removed and put into storage.
8.       The dinghy and outboard is off the davits and stored under a tarpaulin at Karen’s parent’s house to avoid UV. 
9.       The fridge and freezer are emptied, turned off and left open to air.
10.   We have also left all lockers below open so they too can air and hopefully avoid mould.
11.   All seacocks have been closed except those for our scupper drains.
12.   Everything  electrical except the bilge pumps are turned off.
13.   Some people isolate their batteries but as we have good shore power and solar panels, we prefer to leave them connected and let the smart regulator cycle them. We have done this for a month at a time before and everything has been at 100% on our return.

14. We have an LPG shutoff valve at the stove plus a solenoid activated shutoff in the line but always turn the gas off at the bottle whenever we are leaving the boat.
15.   We contacted our insurance company and advised them of our movements and preparations to make sure nothing adversely affects our cover.

Our Dreamtime with her sails off and almost ready for her winter slumber. Dinghy and kayak yet to be removed.

We are going to miss Our Dreamtime while we’re gone but are very much looking forward to spending the summer meeting many new friends as we lead a Greek Sails flotilla charter based in the port of Poros south of Athens.  Maybe you’d like to join us. Have a LOOK HERE.


We love to receive comments on our blog from readers. If you do leave a comment and you also have a blog, please leave a link as well. We'd like to click over for a visit and leave you a comment too.
To stay right up to date with what we’re up to  and see lots more photos check out and 'like' our Dreamtime Sail Facebook page at DreamtimeSail
If you have only recently discovered our blog and would like to read how it all started, or work through our previous adventures, click the link to go back to our first blog entry. Stuff it. Let's just go sailing anyway.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

A new blog about Garlic on Our Galley

Karen has just published a great, new blog about eight out of ten people's favourite ingredient to use in their cooking.  As usual she has packed it with info and tips whether you cook on the boat or at home. Click on the image above to check it out.

Friday, 19 May 2017

What we carry in our boat's First Aid Kit

It's important to have a well-stocked first aid kit in your home, but on a boat you should be carrying a comprehensive kit so you can deal with minor accidents and injuries, away from immediate medical help.

While kits may be any physical size, they should be large enough to contain all necessary items, and be immediately identifiable which means ideally marked with a white cross against a green background. Kits should also contain a list of the contents inside, and be made of material that protects against dust and moisture. Having a well organised kit will help you to identify items of need quickly and items that need replenishing when next in port. Your first aid kit should be ready for action at all times but kept locked in a cool, dry place out of the reach of children. 

On Our Dreamtime we use 5 individual boxes (similar to tool boxes) that have individual areas for each item. Each box has a clear lid where each item is visible, labelled and easily identified. Our First Aid items are kept in 4 of the boxes and medication separately in the fifth. With each medication instructions provided. Crew should be fully briefed on the first aid kit, location and use prior to leaving the dock. If you are the one injured you need them to be fully aware of your supplies and usage.

We have delved into our kit on many occasions in response to minor bumps, scrapes and maladies. But we were very thankful we were well prepared when Karen had the misfortune to suffer a stingray strike. You can read that story HERE. 

On Our Dreamtime we have 5 boxes with clear lids with everything clearly labelled
Many people also keep a small first aid kit in the dinghy for emergencies ashore. We have one that is similar to a bum-bag, it is easily worn whilst hiking. We also have one in the fully equipped life-raft and a separate one in the ditch-bag. (See separate article) 

This style of first aid kit is handy for going ashore and hiking
A basic first aid kit may contain:
  • plasters in a variety of different sizes and shapes 
  • small, medium and large sterile gauze dressings 
  • Blood Pressure bandages large and small
  • at least two sterile eye dressings 
  • triangular bandages 
  • Splint
  • crêpe rolled bandages 
  • safety pins 
  • 5 pairs disposable sterile gloves 
  • tweezers 
  • scissors 
  • alcohol-free cleansing wipes 
  • sticky tape 
  • thermometer (preferably digital) 
  • skin rash cream, such as hydrocortisone or calendula 
  • cream or spray to relieve insect bites and stings 
  • antiseptic cream or spray
  • painkillers such as paracetamol (or infant paracetamol for children), aspirin (not to be given to children under 16), or ibuprofen 
  • cough medicine 
  • antihistamine tablets 
  • distilled water for cleaning wounds 
  • eye wash and eye bath 
  • Resuscitation mask
  • Saline Solution 5 bottles 15 ml
  • Waterproof Bandaids 
  • Hypothermia blanket
  • Burn Cream
  • Burn Plastic wrap
  • Burn bandage
  • Rehydrate powder or dissoluble tables with electrolytes. Sports drinks are also suitable.
It's also be useful to keep a comprehensive first aid manual or instruction booklet with your first aid kit. 

Medicines and consumables should be checked regularly to make sure they are within their use-by dates. Letters from your Doctor should be held for any prescription medication in case authorities require proof of requirements on board.

Emergency treatment Medication Plans for particular illness.

If a family member or crew member has any particular ailments such as Allergies, Asthma, Diabetes or High Blood Pressure, you should prepare an emergency response plan with the help of your doctor. All crew on board should be aware of these plans.

Additional medical items you may need.
  • Adrenaline autoinjector (EpiPen®) to treat a severe allergic reaction
  • Asthma preventative and treatment medication 
  • Diabetes medications or insulin
  • Antihistamine 
  • Pain relief 
  • Snake Bit Kit
  • Trauma kit 

Do you know how to use your first aid equipment?

First aid is essentially a practical skill, and your confidence and effectiveness will be greatly enhanced by expert training in a practical setting. There are a number of first aid courses that specialise in yachting. The RYA's (Royal Yachting Association) one-day course covers all the usual first aid subjects, but from a boating perspective. It is aimed at anyone who goes afloat, whether on inland waters, rivers, estuaries or on cross passages.

In a medical emergency a little first aid knowledge and immediate action can save lives, especially in remote locations. This one-day course is designed to provide a working knowledge of first aid for people on the water.

First aid equipment explained

The various gauzes, dressings and bandages found in a first aid kit have different uses. Some of these include:

Adhesive strip dressings – small strips of gauze attached to a sticky backing. These dressings are used for minor cuts and skin injuries. In Australia, they are commonly called bandaids. It is important to be aware that some people are allergic to the adhesive on bandaids.

  • Non-adhesive dressings – best used for covering burnt or abraded (scraped or grazed) skin. Never use adhesive dressings on burnt or abraded skin.
  • Wound dressings – these thick pads are used to help control bleeding and reduce the risk of infection. Different sizes are needed for different-sized wounds.
  • Crepe or conforming bandages – these elastic bandages are used to create pressure, hold dressings in place, reduce swelling and provide some support.
  • Triangular bandages – these non-elastic bandages are used for slings, to hold splints in place and to restrict movement.
  • Sterile eyewash solution – used to flush eyelashes, insects, dust, sand or similar particles from the eye. Never attempt to remove an object that is embedded in or has penetrated an eye – in such an instance, seek urgent medical attention.

Traveling overseas with prescribed medication. 

If you are planning a trip overseas, organising your medicine is one of the most important things you can do. If you require prescription medicine, it is important you have this medicine with you so you remain in good health while you are away.

It is illegal to take PSB medicines out of Australia unless the medicine is for your personal use, or the personal use of someone travelling with you. 

If you are planning to take prescription medicines overseas for your own personal use or the personal use of someone in your care who is travelling with you:
  • read the the relevant travel advice and check with the embassies of the countries you will be traveling to make sure your medicine is legal there 
  • carry a letter from your doctor detailing what the medicine is, how much you'll be taking and stating the medicine is for your personal use or the personal use of someone with you (for example, a child) 
  • leave the medicine in its original packaging so it can be easily identified. 
More information on travelling with medicines & medical devices: this is the link to Smart Traveller

Knowing the medication you have on board.

Safe Medication Care Starts With You! Do you know the best medications to take and how you take them. Out in the ocean when we have no Doctor down the road, we need to know what we have onboard and how to use it.

If you take medications, you play a role in your healthcare when it comes to medication safety. Keep an up-to-date list of all the medications you take and carry it with you. (See below medication record list). Medication, or medicine, doesn’t just mean t he prescriptions you take. Your medication list speaks for you in case you can’t, or if you don’t always remember all the medications you take. 

Sharing your updated list every time you see your doctor helps them give you the best care possible. It could even prevent a dangerous medication situation.

A medicines list is a useful way to keep all the information about your medicines together. We use alphabetical dividers in a folder. It will assist you in understanding the medication you are carrying onboard, assist crew to use the correct medications in an emergency and provide authorities to asses what you are carrying onboard.

You can use a medicines list to record:
  • all the medicines you use, including prescription, non-prescription, over-the-counter, minerals, herbal and natural medicines
  • what each medicine is for
  • how much of each medicine to use
  • when and how to use each medicine
  • Keeping a medicines list will:
  • help you to know more about your medicines
  • remind you how and when to take your medicines
  • ensure everyone involved in your health care knows which medicines you use
  • help your doctor and pharmacist check and review your medicines
  • provide vital information about your medicines in an emergency.
  • Knowing as much as you can about your medicines will help you to:
  • get better results from the medicines you use
  • get the most out of a consultation with your doctor or pharmacist
  • help to prevent side effect and interactions
  • enjoy better health.
  • The List can be as simple or as detailed as you want.

    Here is a link to a great site that can assist you in making your own "medicine list". 

    Keeping a medicines list

Here is a few common situations where first aid may be required on the water.


We know, you didn’t mean to get sunburned. You lost track of time, or nodded off, and now you can tell you’re going to be lobster-red and miserable. It can take several hours for the full damage to show itself. So at the first sign, get out of the sun and follow this expert advice from dermatologist Jeffrey Brackeen, MD, a member of The Skin Cancer Foundation.
  • Act fast to cool the skin, treat with cool water or cold compress. 
  • Moisturise while the skin is damp.
  • Decrease the Inflammation by taking an anti inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin. 
  • Replenish your fluids with water and electrolytes 
  • See a doctor if you are showing signs of blistering or concerned about anything.
If in doubt call for medical assistance by phoning 13HEALTH or for emergency 000 (in Australia)


If a person becomes mildly to moderately dehydrated. 
  • Stop their activity and make them rest. 
  • Get them out of direct sunlight and lie down in a cool spot, such as in the shade. 
  • Prop up feet. 
  • Take off any extra clothes. 
  • Drink a rehydration drink, water, juice, or sports drink to replace fluids and minerals. Drink 2 litres of cool liquids over the next 2 to 4 hours. 
  • You should drink at least 10 glasses of liquid a day to replace lost fluids. 

You can make an inexpensive rehydration drink. But do not give this homemade drink to children younger than 12. Measure all ingredients precisely. Small variations can make the drink less effective or even harmful. Mix the following:

1 litre water
½ teaspoon table salt
6 teaspoons sugar

If in doubt call for medical assistance by phoning 13HEALTH or for emergency 000 (in Australia)

Allergic reactions 

Person may develop a rash, itchiness or swelling on their hands, feet or face. Their breathing may slow down. Vomiting and diarrhoea can also occur. Common causes of allergic reactions are pollen, stings, latex and some food items.

A severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) is life threatening and requires urgent action.
Emergency responses for severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) are:
administer adrenaline with an autoinjector (EpiPen®)

If you or a crew member are at risk of a severe allergic reactions, you should:
  • have a severe allergic reaction action plan
  • carry an adrenaline autoinjector (EpiPen®) to treat a severe allergic reaction
  • Member wear medical identification jewellery – this increases the likelihood that adrenaline will be administered in an emergency 
  • avoid medication (where possible) that may increase the severity of an allergic reaction or complicate its treatment – such as beta blockers.
Heavy Bleeding

Put pressure on the wound with whatever is available to stop or slow down the flow of blood. You are acting as a 'plug' to stop the blood escaping. The pressure you provide will help the blood clot and slow the bleeding until a dressing can be applied. 

Sprains and Strains
  • Get the person to rest. 
  • Apply an ice pack to the injury. An ice pack can be simply ice or frozen vegetables wrapped in something such as a tea towel. Applying it to the injury will reduce the swelling and pain. 
Broken Bones

Good first-aid care of fractures is always important. Moving the broken bones can increase pain and bleeding and can damage tissues around the injury. This can lead to complications in the repair and healing of the injury later on. 
  • Encourage the person to support the injury with their hand, or use a cushion or items of clothing to prevent unnecessary movement. 
  • Supporting the injury may give pain relief and prevent further damage. 
  • Fractures of the head or body such as skull, ribs and pelvis are all serious and should be managed by paramedics. 
  • Cool the burn under cold running water for at least ten minutes. Cooling the burn will reduce pain, swelling and the risk of scarring. The faster and longer a burn is cooled, the less the impact of the injury. 
  • After the burn has been cooled, cover it with cling film or a clean plastic bag. This helps prevent infection by keeping the area clean. It’s an ideal covering because it doesn’t stick to the burn and reduces pain by keeping air from the skin’s surface. 

  • Establish what they have taken. When? And how much? Emergency services will require this information.  
  • Do not make the person sick. By making them sick, you can cause further damage to their throat or block their airway. 


The person may be shivering, pale and cold to touch. They may also be disorientated. 

Warm the person, giving constant reassurance until help arrives. You can warm them by wrapping them in a blanket and giving warm drinks and high-energy foods, such as chocolate. 

Asthma Attack

Severe asthma attacks need emergency first aid.

Help the person sit in a comfortable position and take their medication. When someone has an asthma attack, the muscles in the airways narrow, making it difficult for them to breathe. Using an inhaler relaxes the muscles, allowing the air passages to expand and ease the person’s breathing. A mild attack should ease within a few minutes.

If it doesn’t, or the inhaler has no effect, call for medical assistance immediately by using your VHF, phoning 13HEALTH or for emergency 000 (in Australia)

Where to get help
  • In an emergency, always call triple zero (000)
  • St John Ambulance Australia Tel. 1300 360 455
  • Australian Red Cross Tel. 1300 367 428
  • 13HEALTH for non life threatening injuries or sickness.
  • Betterhealth - search


We love to receive comments on our blog from readers. If you do leave a comment and you also have a blog, please leave a link as well. We'd like to click over for a visit and leave you a comment too.

To stay right up to date with what we’re up to  and see lots more photos check out and 'like' our Dreamtime Sail Facebook page at DreamtimeSail
If you have only recently discovered our blog and would like to read how it all started, or work through our previous adventures, click the link to go back to our first blog entry. Stuff it. Let's just go sailing anyway.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Go a little crazy - Sail the Greek Isles with us.

May 15, 2017

Our friends are a pretty divided bunch regarding what we have done with our lives over the last six years or so. During this time we’ve turned our backs on the normal world of the big house and working 9 to 5 (or a lot longer hours in our case), sailed off to distant lands, immersed ourselves in different cultures in South East Asia, explored the Mediterranean’s old world, snorkelled remote tropical islands in the Pacifc and generally lived life large. Perfect - although we have seriously depleted our finances in the process. Half of the people we know think we’re stark raving mad. The other half want to be us.
Obstacles have been placed in our path at different times as we pursued our new life afloat. Fortunately we have been able to make it over or find a way around each and every one of them so far.  Recently we thought we would need to ‘swallow the anchor’ for a while and return to full time jobs ashore to rebuild our bank balance before we could cast off again. Then a new opportunity presented itself  allowing us to once again leap over the hurdle blocking our path.
We have found a way to keep sailing while actually earning some money instead of just spending it. We’re currently preparing to fly to the Greek Isles where we will be leading week and fortnight long flotilla charters around one of the world’s most spectacular cruising areas for the summer season.
The Greek Island of Poros will be our base for the northern summer.
Unless something else unexpected fortuitously arises, we will probably still have to bite the bullet and return to the shore based working world later but, in the meantime, we are going to make the most of the sunshine and delights of sailing Greece’s Saronic Gulf with the very professional company, Greek Sails,  from their base on the island of Poros, less than a hour’s travel  from Athens. We will be leading the Greek Sails flotilla group from mid-June for the remainder of the northern summer. You could even come too and sail your own chartered yacht in a small group lead by us.
Greek Sails have an outstanding reputation and a Five Star rating with TripAdvisor
On a flotilla holiday you sail separately in your own chartered yacht, but meet-up with the other yachts in the flotilla each evening at an agreed location. You don’t need to be a highly experienced world cruiser. You have the benefit of an experienced crew on the flotilla lead boat who are there to help you throughout your flotilla holiday; each skipper in the flotilla can benefit from their local knowledge of weather and wind, harbours and eating places and should there be any problems on passage, help is close at hand. This therefore increases safety for all and bestows a feeling of security that makes a flotilla holiday stress free and  far more relaxing, certainly for the skipper!
Flotilla holidays are ideal for:
-          Those new to yacht chartering and skippering a yacht, or those who simply appreciate having a flotilla lead crew available for advice & assistance to allow a more relaxed sailing holiday.
-          Those who simply enjoy the social aspect of being able to charter their own yacht, yet make and meet friends from the flotilla each evening.
Sailing in company under the guidance of a Flotilla Leader provides a stress free holiday
On the Greek Sails flotilla charters we will be leading, skippers and crews will receive a briefing each morning covering the day’s weather and sea conditions, route and details of the evening’s port of call. We will organise all formalities with the harbour authorities, be on hand to assist you to dock and provide information about local highlights to see and things do.
Each evening, all will be welcome to join us for dinner at an excellent range of local tavernas to experience the best of authentic Greek cuisine in a highly sociable atmosphere.  Flotilla charters are an outstanding way to meet people from all over the globe who share your interest in sailing and travel.
A sailing holiday needs to be stress free and relaxing
A flotilla holiday must be exactly what it says on the brochure - a holiday! In truth, if you just wish to sail all day, you would do better to select a bareboat yacht charter where you can sail as much, or as little, as you wish and enjoy the adventure. However, if you want a stress free holiday with relaxed sailing in paradise and a great time with new friends without the hassles of dealing with officialdom in a foreign land, a flotilla charter is for you and Poros is THE place to do it.
Poros is located away from the hustle and busy shipping channels a quick ferry ride from Athens
Rod Heikell’s West Aegean pilot guide describes Poros by saying; “The approach to the town is one of the most attractive in Greece...” and goes on, “ has something else other than the appearance of a little Greek Venice, it has a sensuality, a calm, and what can only be described as a conviviality...”. But Rod Heikell is not alone, Lawrence Durrell, described it as “the happiest place I have ever known and in her “Greek Odyssey” television series, Joanna Lumley reveals how her love affair with Greece started with a chance visit to Poros; “It was just enchanting...the best holiday ever”. What better place to start and end your sailing holiday!
Spare yourself the nightmare of starting your sailing holiday from one of Athens’ noisy coastal ports such as Kalamaki or Lavrio. Enjoy the beginning and end of your sailing holiday by wandering the quayside restaurants & bars of Poros or shopping in the winding streets. You even save yourself the long upwind beat back north to an Athens base against the Meltemi. In Poros, your sailing holiday starts the moment you step off the ferry.
For a perfect flotilla holiday, Greek Sails has planned three sailing routes; one north and two south of Poros, which combine all the elements of a fulfilling flotilla holiday. Each route allows for daily lunchtime/mid-day swimming stops and you can opt to combine routes if you wish to stay for more than a week (the eastern Peloponnese route is already a two week route, but you could still combine that with a week in the Saronic Gulf to make a three week flotilla holiday if you wished!).
Each route has been selected to keep the emphasis on fun and a relaxing sailing holiday with daily sailing distances that are rarely more than fifteen miles.
Whichever way you look at it, Poros is a great place to start and end your sailing. Greek Sails are also the only yacht charter company in Poros, so if you are being offered a flotilla sailing holiday with a “Saronic fleet” and from a Poros base, it will be with us; there is no other yacht base here.
Greek Sails is one of the longest-established sailing holiday businesses in Greece being founded in 1983, the very early days of sailing charter holidays. It is a family owned business with an unmatched reputation
They don’t simply have over 30 years’ experience but their customers have awarded the company  ‘5 out of 5’ (excellent) on TripAdvisor with the reviews of their Greek Sails charter holidays.
-“Sailing perfection”
-“Amazing company”
-“This would be difficult to beat”
-“Best Yacht charter in Greece...”, and
-“Greek Sails Are The Best Company We Have Sailed With” ...
These are just some of the very positive comments. You can read the TripAdvisor reviews in full  ‘HERE’
Check out the Greek Sails Website,  get some friends together and join us sailing the Greek Isles on the trip of a lifetime. When you book say you would like to sail with Rob and Karen.  We’d love to have you aboard.
Join us for sundowners in the Greek Isles.

We love to receive comments on our blog from readers. If you do leave a comment and you also have a blog, please leave a link as well. We'd like to click over for a visit and leave you a comment too.
To stay right up to date with what we’re up to  and see lots more photos check out and 'like' our Dreamtime Sail Facebook page at DreamtimeSail
If you have only recently discovered our blog and would like to read how it all started, or work through our previous adventures, click the link to go back to our first blog entry. Stuff it. Let's just go sailing anyway.