Saturday, November 7, 2009

More to(n) the bay

We are still enjoying life in Moreton Bay with Bongaree in Pumicestone Passage, Bribie Island remaining our favourite place in this part of the world.
The original white inhabitants in this area were 3 'convicts' on the run from Sydney who washed up on Moreton Island after a storm in 'their' little open boat. Thinking they were still close to Sydney (must have been one hell of a storm!) they swam to Bribie to escape capture. The area years later was known for its 'cussedness'. Blimey.

eerie sunset in Pumicestone

beautiful one day, perfect the next-Skirmish Point

sand cliffs of Moreton Island

The weather up here seems very tropical for so far south- hot, hot, hot with amazing thunderstorms and sudden downpours. We now live with our hatch and boom covers up as do most cruisers in the area. The thick insulation to keep out the cold in Tassie works hard at keeping out the heat, but the deck can get very hot to walk on so we bucket lots of water over her so no one ends up with burnt feet/pads.

The girls love the walks around Moreton Bay, at low tide exploring is fun. It constantly amazes us that more boats aren't grounded during low tide.

mangrove Jack and side kick

great walks at low tide

hollows left by rays

The channels in some areas become very narrow, with markers being in a few inches of water. Exploring Cabbage Creek saw Manatee's bow rise as she swiftly grounded on a bank. They are usually soft mud and I can almost hear the thwaap as the mud releases Manatee. The bank at Cabbage Creek was so sticky, fishermen in a tinny dragged us off.

entering Cabbage Creek

We journeyed up to Mooloolaba to have a look, a beautiful spot but unless you stay in a marina (Lawries being popular, but a long way out of town) your choices are limited. The pile berths are in a perfect location just inside the breakwater but liveaboard cruisers cannot stay. Anchoring is also limited to days. Pity, but I can understand as it is such a beautiful spot.

pile berths

breakwater at Mooloolaba

Pearlie enjoying her trip

We are all well, with Idgi recovering from her adventure, Marg receiving intensive physio for her back and neck injury and AK picking up a bit of work.

It's a hard life being an old salt

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Spinning 'round the Bay

We are continuing to enjoy Moreton Bay and the Broadwater both for boating and exploring. We've visited markets, walked the edges of parts of the bay, watched powerboat races (yuk!) and seen Redcliffe locals re-enact the landing of Europeans in the area. Redcliffe is a suburb and a peninsular which encompasses many suburbs...confusing ain't it.

Redcliffe jetty and beach

The settlement of Redcliffe (yep it's got red cliffs) by the early Europeans, was for the purpose of establishing another penal settlement. The brig Amity set sail for Redcliffe from Sydney in 1824 carrying settlement commandant Lieutenant Miller, explorer John Oxley, a crew and convicts. They landed at Redcliffe on September 13, 1824.
The re-enactment took place on the beach, with lots of canon firing which scared the dogs and hand shaking with Aboriginal's (I don't think so) which scared me, but lots of locals were too busy enjoying the water or watching the power boat races which surprisingly were on the same day. There has been a lot of controversy about power boats on the bay, with dugongs and turtles washing up injured or dead on the shore. During one of our walks (not long after the power boat race) we came across locals waiting with an injured turtle for Australia Zoo staff to attend. The turtle was magnificent-her shell was almost 1M long-and we hope she survived.
power boat under tow

a 'replica' of Amity (shucks it's a steelie!)

A better location was found for the new settlement on the banks of the Brisbane River in 1825, so Redcliffe was deserted by the Europeans until the 1860s when the area was again taken over and declared an agricultural reserve. The land was used for dairying, sugarcane, wheat, cotton, beef, honey, cattle feed, oranges and potatoes.
Oxley had thought Deception Bay (Redcliffe Peninsular forms part of this bay) was a river as it is so shallow. We explored this bay by dinghy and still grounded!

exploring in dinghy June
Redcliffe underwent a significant land boom in the 1880s and was quickly gaining a reputation as a seaside resort - offering a seaside experience similar to many of the holiday destinations in England. A growing number of people were lured to Redcliffe to enjoy its safe, sheltered sandy beaches. The Redcliffe Peninsular is still a popular holiday destination and Moreton Bay Council has established fantastic walkways/bikeways.

Walkway near Cleveland Point
Day bathers travelled to the peninsula by steamer - the most celebrated being the Koopa. The Koopa delivered its first passengers to the Redcliffe Jetty in 1911 and continued to transport tourists to the city until World War II - when it was requisitioned by the Royal Australian Navy.
South of Redcliffe is Woody Point and the pub has bits of Koopa displayed.

View of the bay from the pub at Woody Point (just for Vic)

In this photo the suburb of Brighton is opposite. Prior to steamers working the bay, a couple from the area made a living by rowing people across the bay. Potential customers would flash a mirror at the couple's house and one of them would dutifully row across. Needless to say, Florence lived to around 100!

Jetty at Woody Point
General aviation is booming up here with a number of airports active. It's great sitting on deck watching aerobatics. NSW is behind in this regard, with the bastardisation of Bankstown Airport, the closing of Hoxton Park and the exodus of flight training to Camden. What a shame.

The northern end of Moreton Bay is a breeding ground for dugongs, alas we have not seen one.

the closest we have come to a dugong

During the recent dust storms we stayed put rather than continuing our exploration, others however didn't. Glad we weren't out there.
Spot the yacht...hmm maybe their nav lights don't work
This area of Moreton Bay has lots of sandbanks, and close to shore lots of rocks. Recently a yacht was holed by a rock near the jetty that wasn't (they said) marked on a chart - and they were locals.
Lots of sand banks (brown water)
The swell can reach 3M and the storms are reportedly ferocious - gee that's something to look forward to! A bloke we met tried to encourage his wife into the cruising life by taking her out into the safe enclosed waters of Moreton Bay (in a trailer sailor) only to frighten her with a large swell. Years later he is still trying to convince her!
We've also done trips down south. Bum's Bay (Marine Stadium) at the Gold Coast is chockers this time of year but Jacobs Well (where we waited out storms months ago) is peaceful and very pretty. Miles of waterways, what bliss!
Pretty Jacobs Well
Now that the economy is picking up (thanks Kev) I can hopefully pick up some work. Marg was injured recently (not on Manatee) and is undergoing physio. The girls are all well and still enjoying boat life.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Manatee's past life

Recently we were sent photos (thanks Geoff) of Manatee when she lived in the Tamar River, Tasmania.

At this time she was owned by the Carter's who built her. The obvious change is the colour, she did look very sleek as a red boat. I wonder if she went faster!

She also has a soft dodger in the photos, Doug the second owner built the solid wheelhouse that we are enjoying. She also is without her Muir anchor winch, thank Doug for adding that necessity! We would both be built like brick shithouses if we had to haul in her anchor by hand!

We've added the dinghy davits and swim platform which has changed the appearance of her stern. With all the netting, birds in the Tamar must be a problem!

Friday, August 28, 2009

leaving Venice

Yes, Anni we have left Venice! We have had (and continue to have) very limited reception and are experiencing email glitches, so the blog is way behind.

So, a quick catch up......we left the 'pond' for the marina at Scarborough to give ourselves some luxury before we slipped Manatee.

Leaving Venice

We spent a few nights tucked away from the strong winds and enjoying water and power 'on tap'. Idgi made the most of her time, exploring every nook and cranny, while we got some R & R.

Idgi checking everything out

On the morning of our slipping, the rain howled and the winds gave us a very bumpy ride across the bay. AK had to continually wipe down the windows to give Marg some visibility so she had a chance to see the river markers. We managed due to Marg's excellent helming to miss a grounding in a notoriously shallow section of the river. We arrived at the slip-way at the pre-arranged time to find Manatee was a very snug fit in the cradle.

a snug fit

Ruby helping move the cradle

Our expected 3 day anti-fouling extended into weeks as the scope for our work expanded. The yard was very cheap ($150 per week), compared to city prices ($100 per day), so we got as much done as possible.

last anti-foul was 2007-not much growth!

We anti-fouled, then gave Manatee a new colour scheme as well as re-doing the anti-slip on her decks (AK had almost gone a over t during the recent storms in the area). We changed the deck colour from buttermilk (pale yellow) to silver grey (blue/grey) as the latter will be cooler in this hot climate. We have continued to use Jotun products, although we have tried super tropic anti-foul this time rather than sea guardian. We have also tried lanolin spray along the water line and on the rudder as this apparently will stop growth. We again used prop speed as our prop was surprisingly clean and neither of us like scraping the prop in the water.
Change of deck colour
Some areas of Manatee's gunnel's needed some epoxy bog as our (past) novice attempts at berthing caused some magnificent scrapes. Although we had kept the paint up to them, Manatee has a zinc coating over her steel which doesn't allow most paints to stick, causing the dreaded bubble. Marg pulled out all the batteries and tidied up wiring. She also pulled out the fridge and removed some lining to allow better access for hull inspections. AK changed oil in the generator, cleaned the bilge, painted the interior of the wheelhouse and did some rust work. We worked on the dinghy davits and sanded and oiled Manatee's teak. The 3 porthole windows from the wheelhouse into the single cabin were pulled and replaced as they were very scratched and there was some rust evident in the surrounds. We also raised the waterline-oops maybe we are accumulating too much stuff!

the fun of anti-fouling

The girls were welcome and enjoyed the novelty of the yard. Jacki and Ruby revelled in hanging with the yard lads who shared their lunch. They became very independent which equalled naughty! Occasionally one dog would disappear and upon questioning someone would say "Oh yes I saw Pearl heading that way with a piece of pizza" or "Ruby is in the grass, eating a pie". On the morning of our departure, Jacki was seen in a shed with a string of sausages, too busy to leave. Their usual diet is very healthy so they delighted in the change.
They all made friends with Shaun's dog Pep who graciously allowed them to dig up his bones. Pep has been the only dog they have welcomed on to Manatee, even allowing him to nap in their bed.
Idgi surveying her new territory
Idgi became proficient at navigating the ladder, while AK and Marg developed biceps from carrying the dogs up and down.

Jacki can always find a comfy spot to rest

Between the hard work we kept the girls amused with walks along the bay, listened and learnt lots of tricks from steel boat owners and did a full check of Manatee's hull looking for any signs of rust. Overall, Manatee is in excellent condition. Nights were occasionally spent looking at the clear country sky with its splatter of bright stars.

the view through the hatch above the bed

Our re-launching was a day of much celebration! We enlisted some friends to help fend Manatee off the cradle to preserve her pristine paintwork.

Chris helping by supervising Pep

returning the guys to the yard
Shaun ready to fend
It was great meeting these guys, we saw the creation of boat 'legs' which will allow hull work without the need for slipping (the legs attach to the mid way point along the hull and stand the boat up in the shallows/on a sand bank), Chris & Shaun explained how they have pulled the fossil fuel motors from their yachts and have replaced them with electric motors, and we learnt about the joy of sailing in the Torres Strait and how to travel the top end in cyclone season.

Idgi had a minor altercation with a tom in the yard, causing a nasty wound which was starting to heal nicely until she went swimming. We had been out most of the day (with the dogs) and Manatee was rafted up to Tony's barge in the river, which Idgi was enjoying exploring.
Idgi exploring the barge
..and ignoring the signs
We returned at nightfall to find Idgi was missing. We called and searched, alas no sign of Captain Idgi. After a few days AK had given her up for dead, Marg wanted to complete one last trawl of the river which we did in June with Ruby sitting on the bow howling for her cat. A run past the boat yard and we had a lead on Idge. She had been seen and was found living in a shed. Clever cat had made her way back to the yard. She had completed a substantial swim, avoiding the bull sharks and made her way through the mangroves to the yard. We all did a happy dance-the pack was complete again! Unfortunately the wound looked nasty, so a trip to the vet extended to surgery and an overnight stay. Her convalescence was stressful for AK & Marg as she was a determined and stroppy patient (traits that probably kept her alive), who decided that a drain and stitches were not required.
poor Idgi
her summer bonnet
Idge has healed and continues to remind us that she is Captain. The dogs are relieved and itching to get on the move again. comes the wide expanse of Moreton Bay!

heading back to Moreton Bay

We have plenty of photos to add, alas internet cafes suck!
Hooray, a computer that works!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Manatee visits Australia's own Venice

We spent a few days been knocked by tide against wind in Deception Bay with constant pitching and rolling. Getting to shore was uncomfortable and wet and, as we had things to do in the area we were hesitant to move to another corner of the bay to seek shelter. So we decided to up anchor and head into the 'duck pond' in the Newport canals, which is a suburb of the Redcliffe Peninsular. The pond is in a cul-de-sac in the estate which appears to be waiting further developement. The very assertive ducks checked us out first thing and the huge crows marked their new territory by crapping all over the deck. The fur family seemed very busy with other things.
On the pond
We had just dropped anchor when Ginny and Cath, sailors from further north stopped by on their planned visit. It's always nice to have a cuppa with women sailors!
During our visits to shore from Deception Bay we decided that we really did need a bigger tender, especially in winter as whoever wasn't driving Ini our wonderful tender got very wet and cold weighing down her bow. We decided on a 'tinnie' to be safer from coral and crocodile teeth when we headed further north. Lots of time spent on ebay and searching papers saw us driving many miles in the search for our new tender. None were right for us...too big, too small, crappy motor, poorly patched holes. So our search continued.
Steph our dear friend from Sydney emailed us to say she had a work conference at the Gold Coast, so we jumped in the car with the girls and drove down for a visit before her conference started. It was great to see her (the first time since we had left Sydney) as we had missed her (and Elle's) holidays in Lake Macquarie and Noosa by a matter of days. Her stories about work in the public sector and Sydney made us feel glad we are no longer in that space, even though we miss our friends.
Steph looking very Sydney and Marg very Gold Coast!
On our way back up the coast we dropped into a marina and got chatting to a guy who took us to meet his boss who had a tinnie for sale. She was the marina manager and her tinnie was a much cared for allycraft with a yamaha motor. Sold! Even though she was bigger than we intended, she has a solid wooden sole which makes her very stable. Her name is June and even Idgi seems impressed.
We have remained in the duck pond for longer than we had intended as we both are laid low with a shocking bout of the flu.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Manatee mooches round Moreton Bay

On our first evening at anchor a few dolphins came by to check us out, a different 'type', quite small with white edging to their dorsal fins. As usual, everybody on Manatee was excited, especially when the dolphins began leaping and "flippering".

Spot the dolphins....not!

So enjoy the sunset instead
We will probably hang around Moreton Bay until we can get into Monty's (up the Caboolture River) for Manatee's lift and scrub. We are hoping to get a mooring up the Brisbane River after Monty's as apparently anchoring is a bit dicey in the silt and mud of the river. It's probably good timing for us as lots of boaties are heading north for the season, leaving some moorings free. If we manage to get work we need to feel Manatee is secure and not dragging.

After a day and a bit in Deception Bay we up anchored and headed across the bay for a change of scenery and to give the engine a good test under load.

Sailing with the Glasshouse Mountains as a backdrop

We anchored in Pumicestone Passage, Bribie Island, for the night and enjoyed it so much we stayed for 3. It was very tempting to swim in the crystal clear water, but Ruby was the only one who ventured in. We all enjoyed our walks along the beach and the nightly visit by dolphins.

The jetty at Bongaree on Bribie Island
On our last morning as we were tidying up to leave, Marg called out "there is a really large yacht
heading straight at us". It turned out to be Lee Roper who recognised Manatee from Laurieton. Lee had stopped in Laurieton last year on his way to Brisbane delivering his late father's yacht, a spray. He anchored, and came aboard for a cuppa and a catch up.
We then up anchored and headed out. We got as far as the first markers when AK noticed the engine overheating. A quick check showed the sea water pump leaking. One of the ordered parts that didn't turn up was a brass screw so we were given alternate stainless screws - not a successful alternative! So back to our anchorage and hours spent pulling the pump apart. The original screw was utilised and engine tested OK. The good part of the saga was that we spent the evening chatting to Lee, drinking wine and having a great time. Lee has been sailing since he was a toddler so has lots of sailing stories and has designed and built his yacht, a Roper 43. It is the ultimate cruising yacht, beamy like a spray, a retractable keel which means he can beach her and a cockpit and saloon similar to a catamaran, but in a mono. Affinity also has the same perkins model as Manatee, so Lee was eager to discuss problem solving a perkins.
We dinghied back to Manatee just in time to avoid the strong SW that hit the anchorage. It was a rough night which we weren't prepared for, so things went bump all night.
Manatee in the anchorage on a calmer day
We headed out the next morning and anchored in Deception Bay.