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.

Monday, 18 June 2018

What happens while Liz is back in Albany

Before Liz left for Albany, WA, we fueled up and topped up the water tanks, stayed the night anchored off Boat Works, them put Liz on the bus, then train to the airport - a very quite boat!

First port of call was back to Southport and a long walk to Whitworths to buy insulation for the genset cabinet and a service kit for the electric toilet pump.  The insulation only marginally worked in reducing the noise level.  The disgusting job of fixing the toilet took many hours longer than expected as it then leaked like a sive, until after pulling it apart a number of times and copious quantities of silastic it was eventually a working concern.

From here I headed up the Seaway Channel to Tipplers Passage and anchored for two nights just west of the shop/caffe/bar.  After a long walk through the bush and around the Resort, I retired to the bar, as you would, for a feed and quite little drink.

The next anchorage was further north, through the Broard Water area, then through a very shallow tight section and up to Jacobs Well.  This is a tidy little town with all amenities required and a lot of moored boats, some washed up in the mangroves after previous storms.

The next stops were around Karragarra Island, where I visited Russel Island for stores, Lamb and Macleay Islands for walks and a flat white.  Lamb Island would be my favourite if I had to make a choice.

Motored on north to Peel Island while the winds were in the north and anchored in Horseshoe Bay.  Here the water is clear and there's a long beach to walk on.  The sad thing is that nearly all the Island is closed to the public (unless with organised tour guide), due to "cultural" reasons.

I moved to Victoria Point, inside Coochiemudlo Island when the winds turned to the W and SW, as this anchorage was protected from these winds, and there's stores shopping available.

I booked a birth at the MBTBC Marina in Manly Boat Harbour to be able to pick Liz up off the train and bring her back to the boat - back to a more controlled life!!!


Tuesday, 29 May 2018

The Last Few Days At Boat Works 26th - 30th May


Green Lane coffee and scrumptious,  fruity raisin toast

We borrowed the Boat Works courtesy car for the weekend and on Saturday drove the windy, scenic route 38km to Tamborine Mountain. Of course the first thing we did on arrival was find a coffee shop. Green Lane Coffee Plantation has a café serving their own home grown coffee and yummy looking cakes and food, in an old restored Queenslander. The coffee is the nicest I have ever tasted. No burnt taste, just beautifully smooth with a delicious coffee flavour. A 'Crop to Cup' tour is available, but we decided to spend the rest of the morning wandering along the Gallery Walk 7kms away perusing the shops.

The Gallery Walk is a strip of touristy shops selling mainly 'stuff' from China etc. You can find it all over Australia's touristy places. It generally has a bit better quality touristy bits and bobs, but we thought it was very disappointing. We only found two artist galleries with paintings. Our anticipation at several glass outlets was short lived as these also proved to be mass produced imports, not local  productions. The best shop was the German Cockoo Clock Nest with their wall to wall cuckoo clocks, grandfather clocks and various other styles of watches and clocks. They also had a range of toys that I have not seen since I was a kid, like tin spinning tops, music boxes, wooden puppets and many other interesting toys. By that time we had had enough of shopping and we thought we might find a café for lunch at the Botanic Garden. The garden was lovely, but no café, so we decided to drive back to The Green Lane for a focaccia toasty for lunch. What a good idea. It was just as delicious as our earlier coffee.

Over $16,000 for this Grandpappy

Just a small sample at the German Cuckoo Clock Nest

After lunch we drove further on through the scenic, hilly roads until we came across the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk. We paid our $16.50 (Seniors) each and set off along the metal bridge structure. Quite soon we found ourselves high up in the treetops as the ground fell away below us. The walkway has a grid to walk on so you can see clearly the vegetation underneath. At one point I felt uneasy looking down from treetop height, but could only gaze in awe at the beautiful, straight, tall trunks of the gum trees surrounding us. Part of the walk is on bush paths so you get a view from above and below. It was well worth the visit.

Tamborine Mountain Botanic Gardens

Time was moving on so we drove our trusty little Hyundai Getz back to Boat Works for a Tavern meal with Jim and Jan from Par Des Chat, Gary and Anne from Chances and Neville from The Bossa Nova. What a lovely day after our nine days of boatyard living. On Sunday evening we had a BBQ at the new BBQ area provided by Boat Works down by the river. We feel like we are settling into a way of life here.

Skywalk - It's a long way down

Finishing Touches

Ready to go

By Monday morning Olivia had just a few finishing touches to complete before she was ready for her launch back into the water. Her rudder needed some fill where the bolts had been removed, then antifouling. Finally the prop was to be painted with Prop Speed . Peter and I walked to the Oxenford shops, partly for exercise and also for some cash while the last jobs were done. We had a relaunch time of 8.30am on Tuesday. After 13 nights on the hard at Boat Works, we finalised our account and jumped on board for Olivia's relaunch. Russ from Nautilus Marine accompanied us to burp the dripless seal gland and make sure we didn't sink. Everything was fine so we motored off to the Gold Coast City Marina where there is easy access to fuel and water.

Olivia on her way back to the water

Now we are anchored in the Coomera River for two nights as it is easier for me to catch the train from Coomera Station to the Brisbane Airport. The bus to the station stops near The Boat Works front gate and drops me at the station 3-4kms away. The train journey is an hour and a half, via Brisbane City and I don't have to change trains. The Seniors train fare is $28 with no taxi needed from here which is a bonus. Peter is going to motor back down to Southport, about 2 hours, where he wants to visit Whitworths for a FEW items - Can I trust him???? He is then going to make his way slowly up The Main Channel to Moreton Bay over the next three weeks while I am back in Perth and Albany. No more Blog for 3 or 4 weeks.

Trying out the new motor. He's happy.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Frantic Friday 25th May


On goes the rudder!

Last Friday really was 'Frantic Friday' in the boatyard. A constant lookout had to be kept so as not to get squashed by one vehicle or another. There are many different types of electric vehicles here that people get around on. You have to be alert as to where they are, as they are silent. My favourite are the electric skateboards that the young guys use. They look like fun as they zip around the yard leaning this way and that. The travel lift was constantly shifting boats back into the water. This Friday is definitely not as frantic but we have action here at Olivia. All the parts for our prop shaft  refit have arrived and Nautilus Marine guys are here putting the whole lot back together. It took four men to lift the rudder into place. It is very heavy, solid!

An Alien has landed! Just the bog n paint to go!

The rudder, steering assembly and prop shaft are all back together ready for a bit of fill and some paint on Monday. We are booked to go back in the water on Tuesday when Nautilus Marine guys will come with us to check that all is OK. Work begins here daily at about 6.30am (no sleeping in), but it means that most work is over by lunch time on Friday. Unfortunately we still have to stay in the boatyard for the weekend, but at least we have the courtesy car to use.

We intend to anchor nearby for Tuesday and Wednesday so that we can motor next door to The Gold Coast City Marina to refuel while I am still here to help Peter. We are also going to try out the new toy - Lily's new motor. It will be easy for me to leave from here as the Coomera Station is just up the road and a train goes every half hour directly to the airport taking 1 hour and 25 minutes. Then Peter is on his own for three weeks while I go back home to do some house jobs and see family.

A view of the steering assembly

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

The Boat Works Continued 20th - 24th May

An Extended Stay At The Boat Works

Olivia looks like a million dollars. She has attracted some compliments. Just the prop shaft job now.

I am beginning to feel like  a permanent resident here!! Most of the work has been completed. Anti foul has been applied, hull has been polished, and various small jobs finished. When the workmen removed the prop shaft and bearing they found that electrolysis had occurred and it was obvious that a new shaft was necessary. That meant a new one had to be machined to fit Olivia. That job has been outsourced to a business not in this complex and despite Nautilus Marine's continuous pressure the job is taking longer than expected. It seems that they are finally on to it this morning (Thursday) so I am keeping my fingers crossed. We are now two days longer on the hard than expected and at $90 per day we hope it won't be too long. It's looking more like Monday might be our launch date.

Peter works on the rudder
Meanwhile Peter keeps visiting the chandleries here and at Gold Coast City Marina and finding more items he cannot live without. He has installed jack stays (safety lines along the deck to attach personal life lines, for the non boaties). This is at least an essential safety measure.

We frequent the coffee shop here - a particularly nice one, for coffee and a shared muffin each morning. On Monday we walked to the Gold Coast City Marina next door and that place is HUGE, like The Boat Works on steroids. We had morning coffee there, but they don't have as nice a restaurant as we have here.

65 today, at The Boat Works

On Tuesday morning we decided to walk to Oxenford shopping centre to have a look for the Bunnings I saw over there when I went shopping with Val. It turned out to be a 5.2km walk there so by the time we got back my feet had had enough. It was a pleasant walk though, crossing the Coomera River and around a river parkland area. Killed some time!

Early morning visitors float past in a pumpkin

As mentioned the rates here are $90 per day for the hardstand work area, but Sunday is free so that is $540 for a week for Olivia at 43'. Lift out is $430. Austin, an American guy, who is next to us has a 32' yacht and his fee is $68 per night. For that you get free en-suite bathrooms, laundries and courtesy cars for up to 3 hours at a time and we can live aboard, so no motel fees. So far we have borrowed the courtesy car three times this week. There are several cars and a couple of utes. An honesty system operates for fuel use where you decide how much fuel has been used and put money in the jar in the office. When it looked like we were going to be here this weekend Peter went to enquire about hire cars so we could do some exploring around the district. The office girl said, 'What about the courtesy cars?' Apparently we can book the car from 4pm on Friday for the weekend and go exploring, the only stipulation being we fill the fuel tank when we deliver it back on Monday morning. Peter did explain we wanted to go exploring and she said that is what it is for. What a bonus! Now I am not dreading the weekend.


Billy is a little terrier who owns the cat (boat) next to us. He loves his boat life and has such a perky attitude. In the morning Peter and I get up before his master and he is there with his happy, yappy good morning and asking for us to take him for a walk. He looks very disappointed when we tell him to wait for the boss. Billy is 2 years old and is a Kiwi. He has changed colour since moving in here and is now a dirty grey colour and has a blue bum where he has sat down in blue anti foul paint dust. He'd make a great yard broom!! He was pristine white when he arrived. He has no problem ascending the steep ladder up to Olivia's deck for a bit of a sticky beak. It has taken me nearly a week to get over the feeling of vertigo when I step across the gap between the top step and the deck. Someone moved the steps a bit and there is an even wider gap now. No problem!!

Just Checking!