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!