Monday, December 26, 2011

Lady Musgrave

We set off early, after repairs, with Lady Musgrave Island in our sights. She is a coral cay with a lagoon that supports an anchorage with a recommendation of about 10 spaces amongst the coral. The reef extends way out south, so we were very careful in our approach.
The lagoon entrance is well marked and quite narrow. AK stood on the wheelhouse roof to look for the coral bits that weren't marked. Some extend above the waterline but there are numerous bits just below the surface.
Lagoon entrance top left
It took a few attempts to get the anchor set, it was lobbed onto patches of sand, carefully avoiding the coral. And then it rained, so we enjoyed our first evening in the wheelhouse, looking longingly at the island!
Clear lagoon water
Next morning it appeared that reef sharks had made our hull their home, these creatures were rapidly dashing around Manatee. Some were up to half a metre in length, so we waited until another yacht expelled it's inhabitants into the lagoon before we were brave enough to go in!
With masks donned the reef sharks morphed into ramora's or sucker fish-known to live in the vicinity of large sharks or turtles- not so reassuring until we saw huge turtles. The ramoras happily adopted Manatee's large bum for our lagoon stay.
We had fluked our visit with turtle mating season so we felt extremely blessed.
A couple checking each other out.....
....nah, flippers too small
It was an amazing scene, turtles mate for hours and they drifted around the lagoon knocking into each other, tenders and boats without breaking apart. We drifted around the lagoon in our inflatable trying to stay out of their way but an enormous pair swept into us, jolting the inflatable and startling us...but not them. The inimitable lovers pushed off with their flippers without any interruption. The marine life was amazing, lots of beautiful fish and we were lucky enough to see a graceful manta ray. Patches of coral were spectacular but it was so disappointing to see the number of people who walked across it without thinking.
Sea creatures
beach near camping ground
We went for long walks on the island which is beautiful, the coral has been pounded into amazing fine sand which supports a pistonia forest. It is possible to camp on the island, all very
basic to keep disturbances low. It's a carry on everything, take everything back with you national park.
Noddies are the prominent birdlife, they nest in the pistonia forest and some come to a sticky end.
node of noddies
sucessful noddie nest
After glorious days of lazing about, swimming, snorkeling, walking and telling the girls "you can get off the boat soon, you wouldn't like the island at all' we had a night of pure hell. Weather checks had not alerted us to this event. A storm set in around 2100hrs that was scary,terrifying, horrifying and a little bit frightening. We encounted 50kt winds and the lagoon became a hot surf spot with breakers crashing over the reef. Thunder was deafening and the lightening was zapping around the anchorage in circles. We practiced extreme yoga, keeping watch while holding all body parts off our steel boat! The yacht anchored closest to us dragged and just missed us. Our anchor chain which had become a little tangled over the days suddenly straightened plummeting us back toward the reef. Needless to say we were up all night with the engine on ready to move.
anchorage on a calm day
The next morning was calm and clear with a "what storm?" feel about it. The lagoon was deserted as BOM (better late than never!) predicted more of the same. We exited the lagoon a little stressed, helming between the turtles into a very rolly sea. Destination Pancake Creek.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

one for JK

Prior to leaving Bundy we traipsed off to the botanic gardens to visit the Hinkler Hall of Aviation.
It was a fair walk and we hoped after about an hour that the gardens weren't off limit to dogs ! Jacki has developed a ploy where she HAS TO stop and smell every bit of grass, every tree, every lamp pole, e v e r y t h i n g when she gets tired, so it was a long trek. I guess old age can be excused.
We were all pleased on arrival to find the gardens gorgeous and welcoming to all creatures and to top it off a fabulous cafe(cafe 1928) which served great coffee and had a tropical view was next to the aviation hall. Of course we all had a treat before AK ventured inside leaving everyone else lolling on the grass in the sun.
The hall celebrated the life of Bert Hinkler (1892-1933) who was born in Bundaberg and flew his first person-carrying glider at Mon Repos Beach (now famous as a turtle hatchery) in the early 1900's aided and abeted by his mum!
Bert left Australia for England as a young man to work with the Sopwith Company before flying in WW1 and later making the first South Atlantic solo flight and in 1928 a solo flight from England to Australia.
Bert built a house in Southhampton (England) and named it Mon Repos. It was destined to be demolished in the 1980's but thankfully a dedicated group of Bundaberg locals and bicentennial money saw the house relocated to its present spot. Mon Repos has been beautifully restored and if one dashes from room to room (as AK did) a cacophony of "Bert recordings" fills the house, with AK's favourite being "Bert" explaining to his partner that his long and frequent baths were not just for pleasure but rather conditioning for his flying!
Mon Repos House
The hall is amazing, the first interactive display being a glider test flight. The visitor is encouraged to lie on their stomach, hand on a joystick, while underneath the bench an aerial display of Mon Repos Beach is displayed. It really does feel like you're flying.
The second interactive display is a joy stick where the visitor can attempt to navigate from the hall to Bundaberg Aerodrome using a copy of Bert's famous mud maps. Yes Jacki, I managed to do it.
There are reproductions of Bert's aircraft...Avro Avian (you can sit in it), Ibis, Puss Moth and Avro Baby along with newsreels of Bert and a recording of the Hinkler Quickstep. Bert was a very popular lad in Australia, especially after landing his first aircraft in the main street of Bundaberg to visit his mum. The CWA developed recipes in his honour and songs were penned.
An original piece of Bert's first glider was sent into space on Challenger in 1986. After it exploded this small piece was found, mounted by NASA and returned to Australia. This takes pride of place in a theatrette.
A fantastic commemoration of an Australian pioneer (and the gardens were fantastic-Jacki & Ruby loved the beautifully manicured lawns but weren't so keen on the gregarious geese. Marg loved the green flowers).

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

working out Bundaberg

After being treated to pies for lunch aboard SV Northwind we headed up river to Bundaberg town. The river showed the effects of the floods with markers missing, the river bank eroded and wharfs missing.
We anchored off the Bundy Rum factory and the next morning took the girls and the dinghy into the town jetty for a looksee. Work was still being completed on the marina with barges still ramming piles into the riverbed. The town with its wide streets with nary a hill in sight was perfect for walking and over the week that we were there we all walked lots.
looking down river to the anchorage
As is usual in most towns the supermarkets were situated out of the town centre, so provisioning certainly made us fitter! AK was still trying to get her missing cards replaced so many an hour was spent at "which bank" has very poor customer service! (This was not achieved until Gladstone). In the marina chandlery we met one of the people who towed out, in his words, the perfectly serviceable aircraft that Heron Airlines owned, to make use of them as an artificial reef after the airline could no longer afford to compete with Qantas. Qantas was a dirty word in this town.
After a few days we up anchored and moved away from the rum factory as the quaint smoke billowing from its chimneys was causing Marg's asthma to play up.
One night we spent a few hours checking out every restaurant in town looking for one with a sensibly priced menu. No wonder country towns have difficulty attracting tourists! We ended up sitting in the street sharing a pizza.
So after a week of walking and then walking some more it was time to head down river to the emergency anchorage which would allow us to head northeast to Lady Musgrave Island whenever we were ready.
We filled our tanks with diesel at the Port Marina, paid to fill our water tanks and then found that the marina at Burnett Heads (closer to the river mouth) had fuel 15c per litre cheaper and free water! Oh well, another lesson learnt! AK chatted to a great couple in the marina who had just returned from their second world circumnavigation and were heading back to Adelaide 'now the grandkids were an age that didn't require babysitting!' Their favourite places.....Thailand and Turkey.
We waited out an amazing storm that produced not only strong winds but a spectacular show.
So after another few days waiting for favourable weather and fixing our furler we were anchors away for Lady Musgrave.....until halfway down the channel our alternator bracket came loose. Oh well there's always tomorrow!

Bustling to Bundaberg

We watched whale antics for the morning and then set sail for Bunderberg a good 6 hrs away if we travelled at 5kts...hmm 2kts under sail. After we both contemplated and then disregarded the idea of an overnighter ( we were enjoying the peacefulness of sailing) on went Ms Perkins to bustle us along on our journey west.
the northern tip of Fraser island
The seas were calm and looked like liquid velvet prompting Marg to take many photos. We were joined by lots of dolphins who would scurry over to Manatee, play in the bow wave and check us all out before departing to do whatever dolphins do. We tried trolling with our reel off the stern but managed to lose lures rather than catch dinner.
liquid velvet
As the afternoon was drawing to a close, the seas picked up and the wind became flukey so we decided to rely on motor only. Well....the damn furler wouldn't furl and we couldn't drop the headsail as the halyard was stuck. Boating is sure filled with highs and lows! After womanhandling the furler we managed to get enough sail in that it wasn't flogging but the drama put us way behind schedule for a daylight entrance to the Burnett River (Bundy). 'No worries' we both said as it's a major shipping port so the entrance will be well marked.
oh where oh where is Bundaberg town?
The entrance was well marked, with Marg commenting that it looked like a runway. Our plan was to anchor between Burnett Heads and Bundaberg Port Marina where there is an emergency anchorage outside of the channel. Marg had the navigators cap on and the plan looked good until she became mesmorised by the 'runway lights' and became disorientated. AK had been reminicing about runways so hadn't bothered to have the anchorage sorted. (Another)Lesson learnt....if there's two of you on board, why not both do the navigating!!
We finally anchored outside of the channel and in the morning found we were anchored off the fuel wharf for Bundaberg Port Marina. The other yacht anchored (we saw its anchor light so presumed we were at the anchorage) copped a mouthful from a marina tenant early next morning for anchoring too close to its berth. Clearly they had come in at night as well. When Northwind's Sue rang with a 'where are ya?' we could only reply 'gee we thought everyone in the area could hear us arguing as we anchored!"
Oh how a gorgeous sailing day can turn into a stressful evening!

Monday, October 24, 2011

not drowning, waving

Waving a massive flipper
The huddle proved to be a couple of boats (mainly dedicated whale watching boats) following 3 whales. We stood back and turned off our electronic equipment (it interferes with their senses) and it wasn't long before two graceful giants headed toward us. Like, really toward us....just under our bow sprit, hold your breath and hope they are just having a gander! ( Weeks later we heard of the yacht off Fraser Island who was a plaything for these massive animals and was taken for a long ride after one took their anchor rope in its mouth and took off dragging the boat behind it...freaky!)
We spent a couple of hours blissfully watching their antics and attempting to get some decent camera shots before heading over to Platypus Bay for the night.
We anchored in crystal clear water in an anchorage called 'the lagoon'. At high tide you can cross the channel over the beach to an actual lagoon on the island. We opted to stay off the island so that we were not reliant on tide. During the night, Margot was excited to hear dingoes calling.
Early the next morning we put up the sails to check out the whales playing in the distance.
Playing in Platypus Bay

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Oh where, oh where are the whales?

We headed north east into Hervey Bay and toward Moon Point where SV Northwind had sighted whales. It was a rough and choppy ride and Ruby headed downstairs to her safe spot in the sea berth. Not a whale to be seen, although we did make several passes on a grumpy turtle.
Ruby in safe mode
Moon Bank was very uncomfortable so rather than waiting around here we kept east to get some protection from Fraser Island. The channel between the eastern edge of the bank and Fraser is very narrow and passed tantalising close (as far as the girls were concerned) to a pristine beach. We were a bit unsure as to how narrow it was so waited for one of the whale watching tourist boats to pass through.
The very narrow channel
There was some protection in the channel and we could see boats in a huddle further north so presuming whales were about , we set course for the huddle

looking for Mary

So west to Maryborough.....
It was a pleasant sail over to River Heads where the Mary and Susan Rivers join. Since the floods some markers have not been replaced, so negotiating shallow spots is a bit tricky. We manoeuvred into the Mary River safely and were escorted up river by dolphins for about 1nm. It was about 19nm up river to Maryborough, so we all settled in for some country sightseeing.
Around Beaver Rocks there was an abundance of uncharted orange buoys, some with white poly buoys attached, so we presumed they were crab pots. Nope port markers! A quick u-turn saw us follow the markers in a wide semi-circle to deep water.
River Heads where the barges to Fraser island berth.
The closer we got to Maryborough the more evident was the flood damage. Manatee was anchored off the sailing club and we all attempted to get ashore to stretch our legs. As the jetty had been washed away we needed to tie to shore and managed to step into knee deep mud.
After a stroll around the grassy grounds of the sailing club, Jacki and Pearl were returned to Manatee for a bath while the rest of the pack went for a walk to town.
We were keen to explore the town, as in the late 90's on a flying adventure to an airshow west of Gladstone, we were forced to remain in Maryborough for a few days due to bad weather (boating and aviation have a lot in common!). We both loved the town and had decided it was a possible country retirement area, so would we still feel the same?
There are walking tracks along the river that have been beautifully landscaped and filled with sculptures and the botanic gardens are gorgeous. Maryborough is also the birthplace of PL Travers, the author of Mary Poppins and the town makes the most of this fame with statues of Mary and stories about PL set into brass on buildings like her old home. Buildings around town(Customs House, School of Arts etc) have been beautifully restored and street cafes abound.
While in town AK set to in an attempt to get lost cards replaced and we needed to get an exhaust elbow manufactured(where exhaust gases and water mix to be expelled through the hull. It had been leaking and our epoxy fix hadn't succeeded). Kindly cruisers we met offered to drive us around and gave engineering recommendations.. The town is an old sea port so there were plenty of options. We headed off to Olds Engineering which had an amazing workshop of historical value and after much humming and arring Mr Old sent us off to the house of a mate of his fathers who was a tinkerer. Ron was in his 80's and in the middle of his morning porridge, but after examining our old elbow, instructed us to meet him at Barry White's engineering shop, which just happened to be next to the marina. Between them they made us a new elbow which Barry then offered to help us fit. With a few minor adjustments we had a new elbow. Kind men and a great service.
We met a great group of people in the quaint Maryborough slipway who were doing up a huge ferro yacht which they were hoping to launch by Christmas. The boat was going to be their home for their missionary work in PNG. Unbeknownst to us they had been taking photos of Manatee as she had the wheelhouse of their dreams. Surprisingly their yacht had a very similar layout to Manatee, just on a larger scale to house five adults. The fit out they were completing was beautiful, fantastic joinery and very stylish.
We also met a couple who had just completed building their catamaran and were planning to head for the Philippines. SV Sea Dragon was fantastic, the first junk rigged cat we have seen. Over sundowners we were told stories of the floods which sounded traumatic. The marina had still not been totally repaired and most berths didn't have power and water.
The river was yucky, lots of debris floating around with the odd 44gallon drum floating past us.
On our last day in town we bought our fresh fruit and veg from the markets which were held in the main street, AK filled up on second hand books at the sale in the town hall and managed to talk Marg into a trip to the airport for a look around and a coffee. Marg joked that that was too much spoiling for 1 day.
The airport was sad and deserted, a far departure from the memory of a bustling and vibrant enterprise.....and there was no longer a terminal to buy a coffee.
So we left Maryborough, having found the town delightful, but agreeing that we don't like many rivers.
Heading down river, navigation again proved difficult as the orange buoys had been blown around in the strong winds, some almost on shore. With fingers crossed we managed to get through without grounding and anchored in the Susan River to wait for favourable weather to go whale watching. It was a beautiful anchorage and we were teased by turtles who would swim around the boat.
Sunset over Susan
After a couple of days we headed back out to the Sandy Straits, passing what looked like a pod/group/family of dugongs. How exciting!

Saturday, October 15, 2011


After a few blissful days at Gary's Anchorage, we meandered north along the western side of Fraser Island. Lots of beautiful anchorages and clear water.
Along the way we encountered Peter and Antoinette (from the Spray Tiramasu) who were rafting their partly built Wharram back to Tin Can Bay after it was damaged in the floods at Maryborough. Gee Sprays can do anything! Tiramasu has done 4000nm in the Sandy Straits, they love it here.
We anchored off Kingfisher Bay Resort early afternoon and spent time wandering around this fab place. Boaties are welcome to use the facilities (swimming pool, hot showers etc) as are day visitors from the mainland, but we were content to stroll and look. It looks good here and is reasonably ecologically friendly although a tad expensive.
The anchorage off Kingfisher Resort

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Salubrious Sandy Straits

We were all excited to take the dinghy across to Inskip Point for a beach walk after our hectic previous day. As we were coming through 'the mad mile' we had a phone call from Tin Can Coast Guard (a woman by this stage) who said 'you're probably at the bad bit by now, just remember it looks worse than it is. When you come in anchor just inside, you can take your tender over later to Inskip, it's a great doggie beach, your little doggies will love it.' What a kind and reassuring service!
Land Ahoy!
Well, we all did love it. It is the point of Rainbow Beach and has a basic camp site in the scrub. We spent all of the next day here and Sue and Roger (SV Northwind) joined us for sundowners. That is one of the things that we love about cruising, you can catch up with other cruisers in different locations. We met Sue and Roger in Southport and spent many an hour having enjoyable chats over sundowners.
SV Northwind
The following day we headed south to Tin Can Bay and just managed to get our anchor set before we had a storm that caused a white that was freaky! We spent an enjoyable few days here (mostly, some of it was spent trying to find banks etc to get cards replaced). There were lots of dolphins around and quite a few sprays.
We got up early one morning to watch the dolphins being fed. This apparently started in the 70's when a fisherman accidentally injured a dolphin and took it upon himself to hand feed it until it recovered (co-incidentally I was just interrupted by a dolphin swimming under Manatee and Ruby running out on deck to hang off the bow sprit and chat to it). The third generation of that original dolphin come in every morning to be hand fed, although it did feel like an obligation of sorts, the female eager to get away as soon as 'the show' was over.
Allegedly injured dolphins (mainly shark attack) come in to be fed and recover as well. They are Indo-Pacific Humpback dolphins which have smallish dorsal fins and are big, these two weighing in at 145kg. Surprisingly they also had big teeth that made more than one toddler cry when they were being 'encouraged' to feed the dolphins. AK heard a local fisherman in the crowd explain that they were superb hunters, being very efficient at rounding up fish into the shallows as a team.
After Tin Can we headed north up the Straits, back over to Fraser Island where our first anchorage was 'Gary's'.
The glassy waters of the Sandy Straits
The anchorage is called 'Gary's' after a Butchela man who lived in this area (a lagoon is also given his name) around 1900 who continued living a traditional lifestyle and welcoming visitors to his camp. It is very popular with cruisers as it is protected with a beach at low tide.
Manatee at Gary's
We decided to have some 'adult time' so left the girls on the boat and went for a walk along the fire trails on Fraser. Four hours later we had not seen any dingoes, although we saw lots of tracks which we followed only to find when we back tracked that dingo prints were on top of our footprints. That picnic lunch sitting on the trail was probably not the smartest thing to do!
Intrepid explorers in the bush

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mooloolabah and more

We left Moreton Bay on the 31st August with S/SE winds forecast at 10-15kts and a sea/swell combination of 2M. It was a beautiful clear sky with lots of sun. The seas were calm until Caloundra where they picked up...but there were lots of dolphins to accompany us. AK also saw her first shark off the tip of Moreton Island, very exciting.
Manatee averaged 6.5kts with her headsail deployed, she really does motorsail beautifully! The entrance to Mooloolaba was shoaling so the port marker had been moved so that we had to enter the harbour beam on to the swell....interesting. The entrance was also shallower than we expected with not much depth under us in the 2nd hour of the flood tide.
We anchored in the Mooloolah River which was very crowded. We spent a very enjoyable few days here, lots of beach walking and chilling in the sunshine. We were joined by our friends Miki and Steve on SV Boris, a 40' Adams steelie that they totally rebuilt at Monty's over a few years. Their blog is
Unluckily AK lost her purse overboard on the 6th. Damn every card was in it.
We (crew of Boris and Manatee) all decided to leave Mooloolaba on the 7th. To get the right tide to leave the harbour we had to up anchor at 0340....shivers! Our destination was Lady Musgrave Island. Lucky it was dark as we probably would have freaked if we'd seen the size of the swell on the bar....which we had to turn beam on to. It is the first time Manatee has taken water over her sides. Jacki and Ruby did freak and had to be ushered downstairs. Pearl had to be woken to go as well...she's not a morning being either!
The weather forecast was winds s/se 10-15kts with the seas at 1.5m and the swell 2m decreasing. We waited until dawn to put up our sails by which stage it wasn't worth it..the wind was light and variable. We headed into deep water a few nm off shore while Boris hugged the coast looking for stronger winds. The sea/swell coming from the se mostly was 3-4m and hitting us on the beam, which made for a rolly ride.
The fur girls were antsy and irritable the entire way, it hadn't been a good start for them. We started thinking about options, as it was a good 24hr journey outside of Fraser island to our first anchorage. It wasn't shaping up to be a pleasant night!
After getting bar advice from Tin Can Bay we considered going over the Wide Bay bar (between the southern point of Fraser Island and Inskip Point) into the Sandy Straits, not something we were looking forward to due to its reputation. Abeam Wolf Rock we saw a magnificient sight....a humpback mother and calf lolling on the surface, mum waving her massive flipper. That helped us make the decision, if we see dolphins it means we enter an area, they generally escort us, so if we see
We headed up to the bar entrance, we already had the GPS co-ordinates, looking for the light leads. Yachts waiting to leave the area over the bar were reporting substantial breakers with replies from the laconic coast guard "yep that will be why they call it the mad mile". We couldn't find the leads, it was late afternoon by this stage, with the sun behind the leads making it a difficult task. AK never being one to totally trust a GPS, made the call to another yacht we knew was behind us 'Amazing Grace' to enquire of their bar experience. They had done 'it' 6 times so we were happy to follow them across.
Margot was on the helm with AK repeating 'just look straight ahead' with waves breaking either side of our path. At one point a red yacht made straight for us from the opposite direction, we both
said "who's that mad bastard". On closer inspection it was Eric on 'Isabella', hi Eric!
It was a relief to drop our anchor at Pelican Point at 1720.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

some pics

Manatee on Southport public jetty

her new look after her tart up at Monty's
view of the beautiful Glasshouse Mountains

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bye Bye Bribie

We've been waiting for favourable weather at Pumicestone Passage, Bribie Island and made the most of this great spot.
The Seaside Museum was under construction when we were last anchored in the passage and we were lucky enough to be able to visit it this time. Some fab exhibits, unfortunately only since Mathew Flinders visited! Hopefully this will be rectified with some of the temporary exhibits.
Heaps of information about 'Mr Fairweather', a very talented artist who lived on the island in a grass hut in the 70's and completed amazing paintings. Quite inspirational.
We walked heaps and chilled in the relaxed atmosphere of the island where everyone has time for a gidday and a chat. Came across Jacki & Barry Moore who were on a sail-away with members of the Slocum Spray Society, great to catch up, but unfortunately no sprays stayed.
We upped anchor early in the week to head for Moreton Island only to have our chart plotter lifeless....and then all our electrics dropped out. Bugger!!! Back to Bribie where we spent a few days trouble shooting and rectifying. Nothing major but time consuming. Then the weather took a turn for the worse. We choose to think Manatee was looking out for us as the winds are howling from the south/s-east at 30kts. It would have been nasty at Moreton Island.
As disappointing as it is as we are eager to head north, we have moved to our favourite pond at Newport to seek shelter. We had water over our bow coming across the bay and it was a good sea test. so...still waiting
PS. Must have been' sundowner time'-the last post informed you that we visited the 'Wineglass Mountains', they are,of course, the Glasshouse Mountains!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What on earth have you been doing?

So you may ask! Not really cruising, hence our blog has not been updated.
Since leaving the Brisbane River (around August 2010) we headed to Southport to take care of some business with our unit prior to heading out of the area and up North. Marg was still recovering from her car accident and still not 100% fit, so we were in no hurry and we all love Southport.
Our stay was longer than we originally intended, but work was plentiful (we both completed certificates to work as AIN's, a booming area of employment with jobs readily available) and the lifestyle was great. The girls loved being surrounded by a beach at Marine Stadium and having the run of an island while anchored off Wavebreak.
Upon arrival at Marine Stadium (known as Bum's Bay) we were hailed by Rachel and Steve from SV Lifeline, neighbours from Brisbane who gave us the rundown on 'remaining legal' in the area. This area of the Broadwater has zones and boats are required to move between zones every 7 days and not return for 60ish days. The 'authorities' turn a blind eye if boats anchor at Bum's Bay for 6 days and then anchor off Wavebreak Island for 24hrs and then return to Bum's. Easily complied with!
Manatee snug at Bum's Bay
The community at Bum's Bay was great, sun downers on the beach on Sunday afternoons and folk looking out for each other. Great company in an idyllic location. Sue and Greg from SV Lupari, neighbours from Brisbane were also there. It was great to be able to call on them when we arrived at the jetty late at night after work to find our outboard stolen. Thanks guys!
The public jetty at Marine Stadium
While we were there we had visits from 'the twins', Victoria and Phil along with Marion and Ipona came up for Vic's birthday, Peter and Michael dropped in and Steph came for the day. It's great to catch up! We also headed south to the Lismore area to celebrate another of Jan's significant birthdays.
Celebrating Jan's birthday in style
We were safely snug in Bum's Bay when the floods hit, luckily our friends still on the river were safe, none remaining on the pile berths, although Michael and Ex lost their mooring. It was amazing to see the community spirit of Queenslanders with a daily shuttle bus leaving Southport for Brisbane filled with clean-up volunteers. Thanks to everyone who rang/text to check on our safety and offer accommodation etc if needed. What great friends we have!
Early in the year we became restless and Manatee needed a tart up so we upped anchor and headed for Monty's which is at Beachmere, North of Brisbane on the Caboolture river. We had a fantastic time heading up to Moreton Bay, this time through Canaipa passage, which runs along South and North Stradbroke Islands. We were on holiday again!
Bushwalking on South Stradbroke Island
Picture perfect South Stradbroke
We spent a few days around South Stradbroke walking, relaxing and enjoying the scenery and........ changing fuel filters (we topped up our fuel at the Gold Coast) after we broke down in the channel to Tipplers on our first night. Not the best place to break down but easily fixed!
Checking out Jumpin Pin - the channel between
North & South Stradbroke
We anchored in some fantastic spots, 'Shifting Sands' on North Stradbroke a favourite, although we probably wouldn't have done so much swimming if we'd known it was a favourite spots for sharks!
'Shifting Sands'-wonder how it got that name!
We had to work the tides travelling through Canaipa, it is very shallow in spots, although we only kissed the bottom a few times! We found another great anchorage off Russell Island where Marg did a bit of fishing and we found a sandy spot of North Stradbroke where we could walk the girls at low tide. No swimming here as the sharks were obvious!
anchored near Russell Island
Once in Moreton Bay we headed for Horseshoe Bay at Peel Island which has crystal clear water and is a turtle breeding ground. The weather report was for light NE winds so we anchored and cracked open a champers on deck. Thinking the other boats were filled with workers, hence pulling up anchor for work the next day, we toasted our good fortune. After dark, a massive storm front moved in unexpectedly from the south, creating a lee shore and a swell that would make a surfer very happy. Not so us. We were smashed and struggled to remain upright on deck. Our dinghy with new outboard broke free after gouging Manatee's sides and all we could do was remain below to keep dry. Needless to say we didn't get much sleep.....we rang the water police to report the footloose dinghy in case she was spotted with crew missing and a search instigated........lucky we weren't ringing for assistance as the call went to message bank! They did ring back a few days later. Speaks volumes for being self-sufficient and checking BOM more than once per day!
At daylight AK jumped in the kayak and found the dinghy high and dry on Peel. Yay!
Sue and Greg on SV Lupari experienced a similar storm about a month later in the same location, their dinghy 'Puff' ended up much further afield. The story of Puff's adventure is on their blog -
After securing the dinghy to Manatee we headed further North where we were joined by some of Ruby the dolphin caller's friends.
The dolphin on the left is eyeballing Ruby
In March we were lifted onto the hard at Mont's where we scraped and sanded and painted the topsides. She looks gorgeous red! We then headed on a road trip south for cousin Denise's significant birthday party where we caught up with Marg's family. On our way back North we stopped to see Aunty Joan before heading back to the hard slog of Manatee's tart up.
With Aunt Beryl at Denise's party
Marg worked for a nursing agency to keep some cash flowing while AK continued working on Manatee. The diesel generator was removed to make working on the Perkins motor easier as neither of us are into extreme yoga. Thanks Tony for showing us how to use a block & tackle to move machinery. The saloon windows were replaced and portvisors placed over the opening portholes in the galley and head to stop water ingress (it doesn't just rain up here it pours). Water damaged lining in the saloon was replaced. Marg sanded and varnished the bow sprit to a beautiful finish. Solar panels were repositioned on the davitts as they were getting damaged due to our low freeboard. Things were varnished and painted. The head was re-done. Boo to Jabsco as we put in our third electric toilet...the first two died just after warranty so we are trying a TMC. Rigging was checked. We had new covers made for the wheelhouse. Rust work was done which was thankfully minor. We now have new solid rails which replace stanchions with rigging wire. Thanks SV Najac for the idea! It is great. The bilge was cleaned and a holding tank installed. We had a new hatch made for the front deck along with a storage box. We re-built the aft cabin hatch. Most of the work we did ourselves. 4 months went very quickly. Yep 4 months and we worked 6 days per week, but we found the longer the projects went on the less energy we had. We still have projects to complete!
On our days off we toured the country side.......the Wineglass Mountains, Woodford, Eumundi markets...there are some beautiful spots up here.
Sadly on May 21st Captain Idgi died, and we all greatly mourned her passing. She was over 18 and lost some of her strength after her fight with the tomcat at Monty's 2 years earlier. She still ruled the roost on Manatee but would not venture far from the boat. She is sadly missed by us all.
Vale Captain Idgi
We are back in the water and awaiting favourable winds for Moreton Island. Stay tuned.