Wal & Robbie
We first met Wal and Robyn (Robbie) on 'Annwn' in Garry's Anchorage after a very difficult night. The short version is that Meridian dragged her anchor late at night after 3 days of very strong winds. Greg from Windchimes had assisted us as much as possible, but Meridian finished up lying on her side on the sands of Fraser Island.
The next day, after moving and re-anchoring, I was making sure that we didn't drag again, by letting out LOTS of chain. With the prevailing winds and tides, Meridian then proceeded to sail back and forth on the anchor chain. Wal was anchored behind us, and he offered the advice that I shorten the chain to prevent this happening. (It did.) We were invited over for drinks to meet Robbie his partner, and friends Peter and Ron.
This was the start of a long friendship - we cruised with them to the Whitsundays, then back to Mooloolaba where Wal was commissioned to do make various improvements to Meridian. These included modifying the aft lazarette to increase the useable volume, modify the bathroom for the same reason, and the ultimate joy, a hard dodger over the cockpit.
These jobs took quite a while to complete, and there were many 'discussions' on every dimension, angle, colour, you-name-it ... The end results were something we were and are extremely happy with.
We parted company in Mooloolaba in August 2001 as we headed north again to Cairns, then back to Sydney.
Wal and Robbie went to live in Port Augusta for a period, while Wal fitted out a yacht.
In August 2003 as we left Bundaberg for the Louisiades, Wal and Robbie waved farewell from the Burnett Heads marina. We saw them on our return to Bundaberg in May 2004 as we prepared for our trip to Vanuatu. After that trip we returned to Sydney where we stayed until our second trip to New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Solomons in 2006. Meanwhile they had cruised the Qld coast, staying in Cardwell for a while - including the arrival of Cyclone Larry. In 2006 they headed north to join the Darwin to Kupang Rally. They then continued on to Malaysia and Thailand, having many wonderful adventures and experiences.
We finally met again in Cairns, in December 2007 when they returned, and we were having major work done on Meridian. Again, Wal made some more improvements to Meridian.
2008 saw a momentous change for them as Robbie's house in Sydney was acquired by the Dept of Health for a hospital. Robbie then replaced this with a 5 acre spread at Yandaran, about 30km NW of Bundaberg. Annwn is now on a mooring in the Burnett River.
A collection of photos taken over the years is here, http://www.flickr.com/photos/29237886@N00/sets/72157611825877757/