Thursday, 23 August 2018

More Maggie Island 13th to 22nd August

Goodbye Friends

Lexie curls up for a sleep while Ric has dinner with us on Olivia

Arkaydes, Blu Glass, Moor R&R, Blue Pointer and our other Lake Macquarie friends have left us now and headed back south to the Whitsundays. The night before they left we had a "Pot Luck" dinner on Moor R&R. What a delicious selection of food was on offer. It was a lovely evening and a great way to say goodbye for a while. Peter may see them when he and Mike Clarke head that way next week. We have been having plenty of light northerly winds so lets hope it continues, to see them on their way.

The Walks

The lookout walk between Florence and Arthur Bays. Beautiful!

We have now walked every track on this island. Today we climbed over the hill to Radical Bay and then on to the lookout on the promontory between Florence and Arthur Bay. I have never done that walk before and it is a very pretty walk, lots of Magnetic Island Pines and piles of boulders that this island is known for. The bush is looking very dry and many of the leaves on trees and shrubs are frizzled up from lack of water. Amazingly the Kapok Trees are flowering and despite the thirsty landscape these trees burst forth with their beautiful, clear, yellow flowers. They provide an optimistic touch to the parched hillsides. Peter and I are getting very fit now. We have been walking 9-10kms a day. Our walks always include a trek over the ranges as Maggie is very steep. I hope I can keep up the exercise when I get home.

Kapok Trees - no leaves, parched bushland - the definition of optimism

A couple of days ago we did the Forts Walk. There are always koalas there and we found two that were attracting the attention of the tourists doing the walk. One was a mother with a baby clinging to her tummy. SOOOOO cute!! We have come to the conclusion that the Parks and Wildlife people put them there. They are always conveniently at just above eye level and are always on that walk. We rarely see them elsewhere. There are well worn tracks into the bush where the koalas rest in the fork of a tree. If they do put them there it would at least be a useful activity for the P & W to do (entertaining tourists etc) Setting fire to uninhabited islands all the way up the Queensland coast the way they do, seems to be an exercise in stupidity. So many of the islands and many of the Capes are scorched from fires supposedly lit to control weeds. Strange! When I observed where a fire has been weeds seem to thrive. Even Magnetic Island has an area that has been burnt. Did anyone think about the 1500 koalas that are supposed to be here before they set fire to the place? I still think about those huge racehorse type goannas that live on Lizard Island, as when we were there two years ago, 'Sparks and Wildfires' set fire to the place in front of us.

Forts Walk

Tomorrow we are saying goodbye to Magnetic Island for this year and are off to the Breakwater Marina for a week. Here we will have a clean up, catch up with the family and pack me up ready for the trip back home. I have 3 weeks of teaching, in Albany, for my cousin. I am starting to get my head around the idea of work. Actually I am looking forward to it. Peter will be able to have a wonderful time with his ol' mate Clarkeii and won't have me nagging him to do stuff.

Just got to go down there and back up the bush track over that hill and then it's coffee in Horseshow Bay. Yay!!!

Eating Out on Magnetic Island

Best Vegetable Lasagne. Yum!

Made short work of the coffee and scones. Loved the coffee mugs. Tamarind Tea House, Arcadia

Goodbye Beautiful Magnetic Island

Horseshoe Bay. The boats are tucked in the corner out of sight

Forts. Cape Cleveland in the background

Friday, 10 August 2018

Magnetic Island and Townsville 28th July - 10th August

Gloucester Passage to Cape Upstart

We departed Abell Point anchorage at 8am and motored all the way to Gloucester Passage in calm conditions. Here we found plenty of anchored boats in Edgecumbe Bay off the Eco Resort. Most had been involved in a Lagoon (catarmaran) rendezvous here and were still in party mode. Sunday lunch at Eco Resort, under the trees, with about twenty sailing friends turned out to be a lovely way to wile away the afternoon. The resort turned on a delicious lunch for us. After an early night we were up with the birds and off to Cape Upstart for the next night. Here we had another calm night, ready for an even earlier start, 4.15am, for the trip to Horseshoe Bay on Magnetic Island. We wanted to arrive there before dark as we expected to find the bay full of anchored boats. Our fuel gauge steadily shrank as we motored all day - beautiful but costly.

One of Our Favourite Places On Earth - Magnetic Island

Someone pukled the plug out!!!!

Horseshoe Bay was as expected. Many anchored boats there. On our first night we counted about fifty. Luckily it is a large bay with plenty of room to accommodate everyone. We spent three days here walking our favourite tracks, catching up with friends and reacquainting ourselves with the beach coffee shops. Having satisfied ourselves that all was well here we thought it was time to catch up with Peter's brother and sister in Townsville, so we booked into the Breakwater Marina for four nights. This enabled us to catch up on the laundry, fill up with water and fuel and take a trip to Coles for supplies.

Clive and Virginia invited us out to Muntalunga Park for a BBQ Sunday lunch. Amanda met us at the Cotters Market and we all travelled the 30kms out there together. It was lovely to catch up with the family again. We still find it hard to realise that we won't be seeing Andrew again. He was always there to meet us, full of questions about our trip. When we are in Horseshoe Bay I often think of how much Gwyn and Andrew loved being here. There are always memories.

While in Townsville, we discussed purchasing a fridge/freezer for us to use as a freezer only, as our boat fridge is not set up to keep running continually enough to store meat safely. We ended up with a WAECO 35litre car/boat fridge that will run easily off our solar power supply. So far it is working really well and is performing as we envisaged. The boat fridge can now be dedicated to veges and fruit, drinks storage and other items that are not as touchy as meat.

The Ridge Walk to Nelly Bay

After our short stay in the marina we headed out to Horseshoe Bay again to continue our "holiday". Yesterday we walked the ridge walk to Nelly Bay, some 10kms over the range. I must be getting fit as I didn't have to rest along the way, however, my legs were letting me know they'd done some work by the time we arrived back at the boat.

The spring tides are huge at the moment. Yesterday the low tide at 1.30pm was 0.19m. It exposed the sandy mud more that either of us has ever seen in Horseshoe Bay. Peter and I didn't factor this in when we walked to Nelly Bay and when we arrived back here there was no moving our Lily the fifty or so meters to the water. We decided to explore the sandflats and see what was there. All my childhood shell fossicking with mum and dad came back to me. We came across a deep furrow in the sand and upon digging carefully discovered a beautiful Olive shell. I was elated that they are still there in the sandbanks just above the very low tide mark. Us humans have not succeeded in eliminating them all. Needless to say I put it back in the sand after admiring it's shiny, patterned home.

Very low tides in Horseshoe Bay

What a beauty!

Many of our friends from our trip up the coast, and previous years, are here as well as Ron Irons, the man who sold Olivia to us.  As expected, there is plenty of socialising, both on shore and on the boats. Some of the yachts will be leaving in a couple of days to head south again to the Whitsundays. Most of our friends are not going any further north this year. Peter and I are here until I leave to fly back to WA on the 28th August to complete a teaching job that I committed to previously. Mike Clarke, an old sailing mate of Peter's, is arriving to accompany him south to the Whitsundays on the 29th August. I expect they will have a great time - they usually do. Peter is hoping that I will come back to help him take Olivia south to Manly to the East Coast Marina, in Moreton Bay, where he wants to leave the boat for the summer. I'll see. Maybe I will, as it's a long way by himself.

Coffee with our contingent at Adele's Café, Horseshoe Bay

Pets We Know

We have met some gorgeous dogs this year on our travels. Here are a couple of them.
Tilly is in a long term dogsit relationship with Ron, previous owner of Olivia. She is gorgeous. The reason her owners have left her with Ron is that they are on a boat trip to New Caledonia and Vanuatu. Tilly does not travel well on boats, so it was decided that it was kinder to leave her at home. She still has to endure boat trips, but at least it is only to Magnetic Island in a motor boat, not a leaning sailboat. Ron is having dinner with us and Tilly is trying to pluck up courage to come down the stairs to sit on his knee. She sways as the boat rolls slightly in the swells coming into the bay. She's making me feel seasick! We try not to laugh too much. Poor Tilly!! She has such an intelligent look on her little face. I think I've fallen in love with this beautiful little dog!

Tilly, the Jack Russel


Ric dogsits Molly (left) and his own dog Lexie. He looks like he's had enough. These two are best friends and go nuts when they catch up.

Molly is from SV Chandon and belongs to Colleen and Ian. She is a Spoodle. Lexie, the Cocker Spaniel, belongs to Ric and Val from  SV Arkaydes. Lexie has the longest eye lashes imaginable. Both these gorgeous girls race around like maniacs when they meet on the shore. Lexie has the most expressive brown eyes that speak volumes. Molly is a dog that 'talks'. If you speak to her she knows and immediately comes back with an answer. As far as dogs go these three are good advertisements for owning a dog - and from me that's saying something!!!!!

(I'm a cat person) Shhhh!!!! 

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Rediscovering The Wonderful Whitsundays 19th - 27th July 2018

Cid Harbour

Whitsunday Peak
The Climb

We are soooo... lucky! The weather has been absolutely wonderful since we left Keppel Bay Marina. On our other visits here we found that the weather can be windy, just a bit too much for comfort a lot of the time, and cloudy and cool. This time it has been beautiful. Warm, sunny, mostly cloudless, clear and perfect.

The Lake Macquarie people left Burning Point on Shaw Island early in the morning. We stayed on to walk the long beach and wander over the exposed sand banks as the tide receded. We had thought we would follow them to Whitehaven Beach later in the afternoon. However Sparks and Wildfires (Parks and Wildlife Dept.) decided this was the perfect time to set fire to Haselwood Island. Whitehaven Beach is west of Haselwood Island and as we headed towards it we saw clouds of thick smoke blanketing the whole area. We didn't fancy being smoked out again. (Lizard Island two years ago was enough of that!!) Cid Harbour looked like a good option and we also had the advantage of a strenuous walk 2.5km up to Whitsunday Peak. We love this walk.

The View

We spent two nights in Cid. We set off early to walk to the summit of Whitsunday Peak on a cool, smokey morning. Within a short distance of the top you can get mobile coverage and after nearly a week we phoned or messaged a few family and friends. The view from the huge slabs of granite rock, south to Hamilton Island were superb. The natural air conditioning up there cooled my overheated body and we both sat there appreciating the wonderful views despite the smokey atmosphere.

The Office

Airlie Beach

Supplies were getting low so we pulled the anchor and motored to Airlie Beach for stocking up and to do the laundry. No sooner had we anchored north of the Whitsunday Sailing Club than a Marine Safety boat circled us. It was quite intimidating really. No greetings or friendliness. Just, "Are you anchored?" in a less than friendly voice. I felt like saying, "No. we're flying to the moon." I didn't of course, but for goodness sake what did it look like? Anyway they wanted us to put a black ball in the rigging as International and Queensland Rules require. No-one has ever done this since we have been travelling. It is in the rules, but surely a pleasant request to do so would have been a better approach. We have since purchased a black ball and put it in the rigging to show our boat is anchored, but no-one else has taken the slightest bit of notice. I wonder how many fines have been issued.

Abell Point Anchorage

After this friendly welcome to Airlie Beach we stocked up. did the laundry and had a take-a-way coffee at MacDonalds. (The Self Appointed Café Appreciation Society will take on all venues!!!) The coffee was OK and the lovely young lady serving behind the counter gave us lots of change to shove in the washing machines and drier at the laundry.

Socialising is always a prominent activity in our day. Greg and Leisha had told us to look out for friends of theirs who were here, with their two little kids, on a catamaran called Inter Alia. We contacted Emma and Ian and met Ian at the dinghy dock in the Abell Point Marina to go out to their boat for morning tea. We spent an interesting morning with them discussing where we had been and other boat stories and lapsing into surrogate grandparent mode as Abbey showed me through her treasure box. I hope Greg and Leisha can get together and sail with them in the future. They would have a lot of fun.

On Sunday evening 'Shaggers' have a weekly Get-Together at the Hogs Breath Café for snacks and drinks and this turned out to be an enjoyable evening. The next morning Ric and Val met us for coffee, Then Jane and Greg turned up and joined in for a chat. After all this catching up we thought that as the weather forecast was for light winds for a few days, it was the perfect time for a trip around Whitsunday Island to Whitehaven Beach and the bays on the northeast side of the island.

Three Days Around Hook Island

This cheeky fellow beaked his way up the rigging. Luckily it is stainless steel.

Nara Inlet, on Hook Island, was our first port of call and we spent the night there amongst the steep mountains and quiet calm of this anchorage. In the morning the ebb tide helped us on our way
 through Hook Passage, between Hook Island and Whitsunday Island. The tidal streams run fast here and it is best to pick the right state of tide to travel through the narrow passes between the islands. Everyone was out on the water, from huge ferries racing out to their destinations to tiny run-a-bouts fishing in the sheltered bays.

Looks like the bulldozers have been here. Whitehaven Beach
Our destination was Whitehaven Beach. The fires on Haselwood had by now burnt out and the air was clear. Many boats were already here and we chose a spot further along the beach as a quiet night was predicted. Whitehaven was battered by Cyclone Debbie that roared through here last year. Huge piles of trees have been ripped out and pushed up along the high tide line along the beach, like a bulldozer has been hard at work. Dead remnants of other trees clothe the hillsides their silver grey branches reaching skywards. However, nature has begun her recovery and waist high shrubs are regrowing amongst the dead tree trunks. The beautiful white beach is still there, along with the shimmering blue water and tourists. It is still the most beautiful place to visit.

Still Beautiful 

From Whitehaven Beach we motored along the northern shores of Whitsunday and Hook Islands until we came to Maureen Cove. We took up a courtesy mooring here at 3.30pm so were able to keep it for the night. There is a two hour limit on all courtesy moorings here during the day, but you are allowed to stay the night if you pick up after 3pm. We went ashore to walk along the coral shingle beach and then pottered around in the dinghy for an hour taking a close look at the interesting rocks along the shoreline.  Whales passed close by in the evening and we heard and watched them make their way slowly across the bay near us. In the night we heard them blowing and breathing close by as we lay in bed. After three gorgeous days around Whitsunday and Hook Islands we made our way back to Airlie Beach for a planned BBQ lunch, at the water front park south of Abell Point Marina, with the Lake Macquarie crowd.

What a hectic life we lead!!!! After all this' catching up' we spent a day doing the chores, i.e., the inevitable laundry and stocking up the larder for a five day trip to Magnetic Island and our favourite Horseshoe Bay.

An amazing rock formation on Hook Island near Luncheon Bay.
The Woodpile

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Keppel Bay Marina to the Whitsunday Islands 12th - 18th July 2018

A Quick Trip Up The Coast


After spending five days relaxing and hiding from the non-existent strong winds, we set off again for more northern climes. The first day we motor sailed 47nm to Pearl Bay where we rocked and rolled for part of the night due to the tidal influence within the bay. Luckily when the tide changed the rolling moderated, the contents of the cupboards settled down and we were able to get a good sleep. Friday morning saw us up at 4am and we departed Pearl Bay at 4.45am bound for Middle Percy Island. This was one of the better sails we have had and we arrived at 3pm, after 56nm.We were just in time for a quick trip ashore to the A-Frame to look at the names of boats and crews who have visited here before us. This lovely island has a mediocre anchorage and it proved to be another rolly, tide affected night for us. Saturday was another ideal sailing day and we left Middle Percy at 6am and sailed all day in beautiful conditions and arrived at Scawfell Island just before sunset, after completing 62nm.

Wing on Wing in Light Conditions

The Shoalwater Bay/Broad/Sound area has the largest tidal range on the east coast of up to 9m. This produces strong tidal streams and care must be taken especially with spring tides and wind against tide situations. Luckily we had light winds as we made our way north. There is plenty to see in this area as it is  littered with  islands as far as you can see. We saw whales close by, leaping and showing their tails. The ships anchored off Hay Point and those entering and departing the port kept us on our toes as we navigated through the anchorage area and across the main channel north and south, and out through the Barrier Reef. I kept a close watch on the plotter and it became obvious that one ship was going to come very close to us. Peter rolled in the jib and slowed us down a bit and it steamed across our path. It was huge! I have never seen such an enormous ship. It had nine holds and was fully loaded. What an impressive sight as we slid quietly and safely behind it.

Young Endeavour sails past St Bees and Keswick Islands

Having reached Scawfell Island we slowed down to take in the beauty of the islands to the south of the Whitsundays. We decided to motor sail to Brampton Island for a night and as we left Refuge Bay on Scawfell, 'Young Endeavour' came slowly sailing up from the south, so we detoured  a bit for a closer look. She looked wonderful set against the backdrop of Keswick and St Bees islands. Brampton Island Resort remains derelict, with caretakers living there to keep an eye on things. After a quiet night we set off for Goldsmith Island

Brampton Island. Smith group in the background.

Goldsmith Island
Beautiful Goldsmith Island

This island is part of the Smith Island Group. There is many Smiths - Tinsmith, Silversmith, Ladysmith, Blacksmith, Anchorsmith. There is Bellows Islet, Ingot Islet, Hammer Island and Farrier Island. Someone really let their head go in naming this group of islands. However, Goldsmith is very beautiful and we took advantage of the perfect weather to anchor in Roylen Bay for the night. We spent the day exploring the whole northern coast line, walking beaches that had no other footsteps on them and finding a couple of lovely shells. Minnie Hall Bay is not such a good anchorage as you need to anchor well out due to shoaling ground and bommies scattered throughout the bay, but it is great to explore in the dinghy. There is a mangrove lined nook in the eastern corner, which is so pretty, with the background of steep hills that are covered in places with majestic pine trees.

Farrier Island

Since departing Keppel Bay Marina we found ourselves sailing with numerous other boats. Some we have travelled with on and off since the Clarence River in NSW and some since Brisbane. There is always at least eight to ten boats anchored with us every night. At Thomas Island, only 9nm north of Goldsmith we stopped for lunch and anchored amongst five 'cats', on the north side of this rugged, beautiful little island. We decided to move on and anchor for the night at Burning Point, on Shaw Island, as we had explored Thomas Island before on two previous visits.

Yakkidy Yak Blah Blah Blah!!!

Amongst Friends

We rounded Burning Point and were surprised to see about 15 boats already anchored there. No sooner had we set our anchor than a dinghy came racing over. It was Leonie from Comfortably Numb and Ian from Chandon. We had now caught up with some of the Lake Macquarie contingent. Shenanigans was there, our neighbour at the Toronto Yacht Club moorings. They had been joined by a couple of Tasmanian boats and travelled with them for some time. A sing-a-long had been organised on Shenanigans in the evening and we were invited along. It was hilarious. Ian and Leonie played their ukuleles, and the rest of us sang along. Waltzing Matilda, Click Go The Shears, Auld Lang Syne,  Still Call Australia Home (made Jane tear up!) and too many other songs to list, kept us all entertained for the evening. It was a memorable night on the water.

We are now at the Whitsundays proper and intend to explore here for a couple weeks before heading north to Townsville for several weeks then beginning the long journey south back to Brisbane.

Best Found So Far

Sunrise At Middle Percy

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Great Keppel Island to Keppel Bay Marina 2nd July - 10th July 2018

Great Keppel Island

Great Keppel Island

After leaving Kingfisher Bay in the Great Sandy Strait we spent three long days sailing to enable us to travel north quickly in near perfect sailing conditions. The first night we anchored in the entrance to the Burnette River so we could leave at the crack of dawn for Pancake Creek. Again we anchored in the entrance along with another four boats. Many more were anchored further in behind the sand bar. It looked like a large town down there after sunset when the anchor lights glittered in the darkness. This time we rolled out of bed at 4am for a quick coffee and then left the creek at 4.45am bound for Great Keppel Island. We had to motor for the first 2 hours and then we had a wonderful sail north through the anchored ships waiting for coal loading at Gladstone. There were 13 altogether. We arrived at Leekes Beach on the north side of Keppel Island at dusk and anchored there along with 40 other boats.

Plenty of fellow travellers

Amazing! As we were approaching from the south I could see 5 AIS triangles on our chart plotter so we knew there were at least 5 in there....but 40!! We anchored on the western side of the point and settled in for a secure night. 30kn winds had been predicted for a short spell during the night so we made sure that the anchor was well set and we were far enough away from other boats not to cause any hassles. Well after dark a big cat came in and hovered just behind us for a while. We were willing him to go away......but no!!! next minute he has passed us by some 15m or so and anchored directly in front of us leaving little room to spare. Now this may be OK in a crowded anchorage but here there was a whole bay to choose a spot in. He also left red lights shining all night from his stern. There is always some one who does not know the rules of the sea. We wondered if he knew much about anchoring and after the predicted blow hit we kept checking to make sure he did not drag down on us. What a Plonker!!

Too close!! There's a whole bay out there!

We walked along the beautiful beaches and ended up at the Hideaway Bar for lunch. I must say that this was by far the worst fish and chips I have ever had. No recommendation from us for them. I suggest anyone reading this who goes to Great Keppel Island that you try the café further along the beach as they look like they are sprucing the place up. Certainly they will  make a killing if they serve decent food.

After two nights at Leekes Beach we decided to move to Fisherman's Bay to avoid the rolly swell that was entering the bay from the northerly breeze. It was much better there and many of the other boats ended up there too. On Saturday morning a thick fog descended on the bay and we could barely see the next boat. It lasted most of the morning, which was a bit unusual. After lunch we made our way to Keppel Bay to the marina where we planned to stock up, do the laundry, clean up etc before departing for the isolated stretch of coast between Yeppoon and Mackay.

Walk to Long Bay

A Few Days At Keppel Bay Marina

The Turtle

Turtle lunch. The white bits are reflections. The water was clean.

Apparently several turtles live in this marina. They are beautiful and carry on with their business, which is eating the weed off the marina pontoons, without taking any notice of the 'oohs' and 'ahhs' of the humans above. We have seen them on several occasions and locals tell us they have been there for ages. It amazes me how wildlife coexists closely with humans when given the chance and left alone.

The SACAS (Self Appointed Café Appreciation Society)

Peter and I are the founding members of the above society. We feel we are well qualified for this task as we have now sampled hundreds of different venues. All cafes begin with the full 10 points and as we partake of our morning tea we subtract points for unforgivable misdemeanours such as not wiping the table between customers, taste of the coffee and spilling the coffee, coffee too cool, dry cake and not providing REAL cream. An extra point is given for the venue ie, garden looked after, view etc. The Waterline Café at the Keppel Bay Marina is a beauty. On arrival we decided to try the Lamb  Burger and the Barra Burger. They were amazing. Best we have had for ages. Since then we have had coffee and cake there each morning and have not been disappointed. This café has been awarded 9.8 and only missed out on the full marks because it provides that awful pretend cream from a pressure pack. If anyone is coming this way we recommend this place for a meal or coffee break.

On Monday morning we noticed that the 'Cheeky Monkey's' van was pulled up near the garden part of the grounds. They set up large foam blocks, slides, tunnels etc for kids to play with while the parents sat around the periphery enjoying coffee/breakfast/lunch with family and friends. What a great idea. The kids were having a ball playing with the others and the parents enjoyed their break relatively pain free. The rest of the customers could still enjoy their meals on the veranda without bored kids driving them mad. Hooray for whoever came up with that idea.

Emu Park

ANZAC Memorial Emu Park

Yesterday we took the bus south about 21kms to Emu Park, a small community on the coast. We spent a couple of hours there wandering around. It is an attractive coastal village. There are plenty of those, but this one has an exceptional ANZAC Memorial Walk along the coast. It is well worth a look.

A work of art letterbox at the art gallery Emu Park

The Forecast

We have spent 4 nights here and the weather forecast for the next few days at least, looks good for sailing further north. The next part of our trip is through the isolated Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area which includes the anchorages at Port Clinton (no port just bush forever) Pearl Bay and Island Head Creek. After rounding Cape Townsend there is the numerous islands off Mackay and the biggest tides on the east coast. We hope the weather holds and we are able to enjoy this part of the coast. It seems that there will be quite a few other boats to accompany us on our travels. We have stocked up the larder, fuelled and watered and are ready to depart tomorrow.

A peaceful morning at the Keppel Bay Marina

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Manly to The Great Sandy Strait 28th June - 1st July 2018

Leaving Manly Marina

Departing Mooloolaba at daybreak

Gloomy weather! Peter and I hurried off to the showers to have a last bask under the hot water and warm up before our departure from the Moreton Bay Trailer Boat Club Marina. Neighbours helped us ease Olivia out of the pen and we were off, heading north to wherever we decided. Would we go to Mooloolaba for the night or continue on to Double Island Point to await the preferable time to cross the Wide Bay Bar into the Great Sandy Strait?

In the end, after a dull cold day motoring, firstly up the western side of Moreton Island and north alongside of the Main Channel, we decided to spend the night in the Mooloolah River anchorage to warm up, have a good sleep and be ready to make an early start for the Wide Bay Bar. It was a good decision as the night sky turned clear, the moon shone brightly and our anchorage quiet and calm. It is always difficult to find a spot to anchor amongst those already there, but we finally settled on a position next to Minyama Island. The only problem with that was that when we pulled the anchor in the morning an extensive stainless structure from the bow of a boat came up from the bottom attached to the anchor. Luckily it broke up as I slowly motored forward while Peter decided what to do. Later Peter radioed the Mooloolaba Coast Guard to inform them of it's position as it could cause problems for other boats in the area.

The Wide Bay Bar

We studied the weather forecasts, tide charts and bar conditions and decided that we needed to arrive at 'The Bar' at about 4.30 pm, just enough time to cross the bar and anchor at Inskip Point before dark. At least two hours after the low tide is considered a sensible time to begin a crossing, but we were there only one hour after low tide. We had motored all day with no wind to speak of and as the swell was low we decided it would be safe to go. It was. Following the latest way points sent to us by Geoff from Blu Glass, we found the shallowest water was 4-5m. This was our 3rd crossing of this notorious bar and I had a good look for the first time. Our original crossing four years ago had me downstairs eyes glued to the chart plotter making sure we adhered perfectly to the best course. On the way south last year we crossed again, but this time in thick fog and again I watched the chart plotter carefully. Looking out this time I decided that we would never go across this bar unless conditions were good. It was not scary, but with waves breaking on either side of us it is obvious that great care needs to be taken. The Mad Mile, was mad! This deep section after the bar is crossed is where water from all directions seems to converge and cause very disturbed water, something like you would find in a washing machine. We anchored behind Inskip Point well before dark and settled in for a quiet night.

Kingfisher Bay, Fraser Island

Reception, Kingfisher Bay Resort, day visitors welcome

Again we studied the tide tables to work out our departure time to reach the shallow area around Boonlye Point as the tide was nearly full. This way you get a run up the Strait with the making tide, it is near full and has enough depth for us as the shallows are crossed and then you follow the outgoing tide on the other side. This worked very well and the shallowest water I saw on the echo sounder was 2.7m, a little concerning I must admit. Olivia's draft is 1.9m.

Daybreak at Kingfisher Bay

We are now anchored at Kingfisher Bay off the resort on the northern side of the jetty. Yesterday the weather was sunny and warm so we went ashore to explore the resort facilities and met up with Amanda and Neville from Bossa Nova. We spent a pleasant couple of hours yarning with them at the Sand Bar on the beginning of the jetty.

Ruins at McKenzies Jetty, North White Cliffs, Fraser Island

Today we walked south, about 3km, to the derelict McKenzie's Jetty at North White Cliffs. It was a pleasant walk along the soft sandy beach and after reaching the jetty we read the tourist board explaining a little of the history of the place. It was used to export timber from the island for many years. We then set off along the bush track back to the resort. The bush is not unlike that in WA, something to do with the sand I suppose. Wild flowers are beginning to come out and the bush looks  healthy, as though it has had plenty of rain. Along the way we found a memorial to the Z Force Commandos who had lost their lives in WW2. They had received some of their training on Fraser Island from 1943 - 1945 and were trained to carry out highly secret missions behind the Japanese lines. An interesting snippet of Australian history I did not know about. As we walked the dull grey skies grew darker and it began to sprinkle all the way back, just enough to make us damp. It has continued all afternoon so we have been confined to the boat.

Z Force Memorial, Fraser Island

Tomorrow we will continue on north to the Burnett River where hopefully we will spend the night and continue on to Pancake Creek on Tuesday. It looks like there will be more wind then so we may get a good sail in.

McKenzie's  Jetty, North White Cliffs

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

I'm Back 27th June 2018

Three Weeks In Albany June 2018

I enjoyed my short break in Albany which began with Greg, Leisha, Jessica and Anna travelling with me to Albany for the long weekend. The weather was superb and I appreciated catching up with the grandies. We made birthday cake for Greg and Leisha, but once made, the girls could not wait to tuck in so the cake was eaten a day or too early and the secret was out!

While I was there, Val from Arkaydes, arrived for a stay. Unfortunately her visit was not a happy one as her father was in the Albany Hospice. He has since passed away and I am very glad to have had the opportunity to help Ric and Val out as they have been very good friends to us over the past few years on our boat trips. Our condolences to Val and  her family on the loss of your father/grandfather. Hope we can catch up soon.

On the way back through Perth I stayed with Karin, Paul, Isabelle and Emmalyn. I arrived on Isabelle's birthday and was able to participate in the 4th birthday party. Great fun, but I'm glad I didn't have to deal with fractious pre-schoolers after all the excitement and sugar induced 'highs'.

The three weeks wizzed by and now I am back on Olivia for the second half of my sailing season 2018.

Back to Queensland 23rd - 27th June

Manly Marina's, Moreton Bay

I arrived at Brisbane Airport at 5.10am, some 20 mins early. Normally this would be a good thing, but on this occasion it turned out to be uncomfortably early. The train station did not open until 5.40am and I did not realise this and quickly made my way there to catch the train. Waiting on the station platform for the ticket office to open had me shivering uncontrollably in the freezing breeze that blew straight through everything in it's path, including me. It has been very cold here, as much as 10 degrees below normal I am told. The train journey was straightforward and I was soon alighting at Manly Station to be met by Peter. We are currently in the Moreton Bay Trailer Boat Club Marina for the week at a cost of $295, for liveaboards, in a 14m pen.

We have spent the last few days preparing Olivia for a quick trip north. Depending upon the weather of course, we hope to get up to the Keppel Islands as soon as possible. From there we will slow down and enjoy the warmth (I hope!!) and visit some new and interesting places along with some of our old favourites.

Yesterday we took the train into Brisbane City to visit Paddington and then walk to Southbank Park. Paddington was advertised as being historic and having antique/second hand shops, restaurants and cafes etc. We were unimpressed! Especially as we walked a fair distance to get there. Southbank, however, was lovely. We perused the gardens and particularly admired the edible garden with it's vegetables and herbs set out in tubs and geometric shapes. Brisbane is certainly the city of bridges presenting in many interesting shapes and sizes.

Liz at the Edible Garden, Southbank

Today is very overcast and supposed to rain tonight. I hope it clears by tomorrow, when we leave. The weather forecast looks good for our journey north over the next few days. Hopefully we sail into warmer weather soon.