The “ Beautiful Batavia Coast Marina” as it is called in the Geraldton Visitor's brochure, is a state-run facility with more amenities than many, but less than a private marina would usually offer. It's secure ... we have to use electronic keys to get in and out of the jetty gates and the ablutions block (read that toilets, shower, laundry). We were issued a separate key for the trash tip (dumpster) though it was unlocked and overflowing when we made our first contribution. The marina is unattended and all questions and discussion about what is and is not working or available is by telephone between 8:15 and 4pm, Monday through Friday. It's not the Ritz, but it's not bad. It is quite expensive by our standards ($50/day), but it's certainly convenient for repair of the windlass (yes, we'll talk about that soon) and for check-out procedures.
There are a couple of issues we've experienced, however, that are rather disconcerting. The shower block for marina residents is separate from the public toilets which is good. The showers and toilets, however, are unisex … little compartments, all in the same room … which could present an issue at times. We went late last night … all primed for a good, relaxing hot shower, but alas … no hot water. What a disappointment after stripping down and waiting … and waiting … and waiting for the hot water to kick in. There wasn't any. No switches to switch, no knobs to turn, nothing to plug in … no hot water. Ah, well … we'll call the Department of Transport – Marine Division in the morning and see if they can help.
One morning at 0615, I headed to the ablutes for my morning toilet run. It's a dark, dank, eerie sort of place especially in the morning when the sun's not quite up. The dim lights are on a photo-sensor, so you're in the dark for a second or two when you first step in. The floors are concrete. There are no windows, just vents along the roof line. I used my electronic key fob to get in, but to get out you need to press a green button. There's no keypad on the inside, no other door and no other exit options. I did my business, then pressed the green button to exit. Nothing happened. I pressed it again … nothing happened. Hmm … I must be doing something wrong, although I'm usually adept at pushing buttons, especially when there's only one large green one to choose from. I tried another 10-20 times without success. Aha … I'll push the door closed tightly and try again. Nope. I'll pull the door and push the button. Nope. I'll pound on the door and perhaps catch a passerby. What could they do without an electronic fob to either open the door or open the jetty gate to get David? I leaned against the wall and contemplated my possibilities. Waiting seemed like the only option. I moved around a bit to make sure the lights didn't go out. David would eventually discover I was missing and perhaps come to look for me. More likely, he'd need to use the ablutes, too, at some point and he'd rescue me. When, however, was the big question. He was very distracted when I left, absorbed in windlass thoughts. I really needed to be patient (not my long suit!).
Every 3-4 minutes, I'd try that stubborn green button again … always without success. I'd press it hard. I'd press it gently. I'd press it once. I'd press it 20 times in a row as fast as I could. It seemed futile. My thoughts turned to dying in an ablution block. How embarrassing! What if there was a fire? I'd be cooked! I really needed a cup of tea. There was nothing to read, no windows to look out. Woe is me. I pushed that damned green button again with a fair bit of cursing involved. Lo and behold … the door opened. I couldn't believe it. Free … free at last. I stomped back to the boat.
“Didn't you miss me? I've been gone well over an hour!”
“Oh, were you? Sorry, hon, I've been working on a windlass solution. I didn't even notice.”
Yup, I could have died in there!