Exploring Mooloolaba, Queensland

Monday afternoon Richard attended the heart clinic, which included a physiotherapy session. They were all pretty happy with his progress and just wanted repeat blood tests done in a week before they increased the dosage of a particular drug (which is the plan). Whilst there we had copies of our passports ‘certified’ by the doctor to send to Medicare to try and get that finally resolved. We then headed back to Morpheus via the shops.

Tuesday morning we headed over to Australia Post to send the certified copies to Medicare. Fingers crossed this works!

On our return we also popped into the machine shop to see what was going on with the outboard. They were waiting on a particular part to fix the tiller arm and they had since found that the shaft had corroded so more work than expected but at least it is fixable. So we left it with them and will check next week on progress.

I then organised a hire car to be delivered the following morning so we started looking at places to stay. We decided on Mooloolaba as this seemed like a nice seaside town for some R&R. We found an apartment block called Sailport which was opposite the Wharf and the marina so were able to book ourselves into a one-bedroomed unit for five nights. So with all this organised the next job was to do the laundry and get our bags out and pack. Woo hoo….

Wednesday morning the car was delivered at 7am.

We did our final packing and drove about 100 miles north. We put ‘avoid tolls’ into the satnav so that we would go the scenic route and enjoyed the drive which included going through some of Brisbane’s northern suburbs. Arriving at 2pm we checked in and were very pleased with the size and facilities within our apartment. We even had our own personal garage, so no worries about parking.

We then walked the promenade admiring the lovely beach which sweeps around the bay with rocks at one end looking north towards Noosa Heads. We came across a Steve Irwin commemoration statue on the seafront too amongst the nicely manicured gardens. Taking a closer look we spotted lots of huge spiders between the bushes so gave them a wide berth!

We stopped for coffee on the way back to the apartment and then enjoyed sitting on one of our balconies as the sun went down. Sadly no sunset views here with buildings in the way but was nice nevertheless. As the chill set in we snuggled up on the sofa in front of the TV with the heating on. Bliss LOL.

Thursday morning we walked out to the spit, checked out the bar entry into the harbour, and looked at the fishing fleet.

Mooloolaba is famous for its seafood so we headed to the seafood markets and purchased fresh swordfish and some beautiful fresh local cooked and cleaned prawns (medium in their sizing chart but king size in ours!) and then continued our walk (and yes, those prices are per kg). We came across another guy selling fish direct from the boats to the public so purchased more local fish fillets….yes, primarily for Richard as I’m not so keen.

Having dropped off our shopping we headed over to the beach and spent a lovely afternoon just relaxing and reading in the sun. We did try the water temperature but, despite lots of people swimming, we thought it was a bit chilly so decided not to indulge. As the wind picked up later in the afternoon we headed back to the apartment for another quiet night in after we had enjoyed the remainder of the day’s sun on our balcony.

Friday morning and it was lovely and sunny again so we headed to the beach for the day. It got chilly mid afternoon as the wind picked up so we walked back to the wharf and found a nice bar on the waterfront which enabled us to remain in the sun but out of the wind so we sat here for a while just enjoying being out and about people watching. Then we headed back to our apartment for dinner and a movie.

Saturday morning and the forecast was for 60% rain so we decided to explore the area a bit more. First place we headed to was the Wild Horse Mountain which had a lookout perched on top. We found the car park easily and then attempted the very steep walk to the top – this was a real test for Richard and his recovery. We made it to the top (with a few stops on the way) with no ill effects (apart from being a bit hot) so that was a great start to the day.

We enjoyed the spectacular views over the huge plantations of pine trees plus other fruits like pineapples and vineyards. And this gave us our first glimpse of the Glass House Mountains away in the distance. These craggy peaks tower above the surrounding landscape and are intrusive plugs, remnants of volcanic activity from around 25 million years ago. This area is also spiritually significant to the First Nations People and many ceremonial sites are protected here. The wood plantations were originally planted in the 1930s and now supplies about 85% of all Queensland timber to the industry (worth $1bn). The plantations themselves have buffer strips along the watercourses within them to protect water quality, prevent erosion and provide corridors for wildlife. It is a truly beautiful place. But despite our efforts we did not manage to spot any of the wild horses that are supposed to roam this area LOL.

Moving on we drove through the plantations and ended up at the Glass House Mountains lookout cafe. We enjoyed a lovely coffee and cake here looking out at the scenery. Just plain wow!

Refreshed we then headed to the Maleny Botanical Gardens and Bird World. We parked up, hired a golf buggy, and drove around this huge estate. Spectacular grounds and beautiful flowers although, obviously, winter is probably not the best time to visit.

We then headed back to the huge aviary near the main entrance and waited for our tour to begin. We walked through and were immediately swooped upon by a variety of birds. They seemed to enjoy the company of the humans although some were a bit naughty and they certainly frightened a few of the kids when they landed on their heads. We had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed this up close and personal encounter with such a variety of birds. Was great fun although I wasn’t so impressed when one pooped on me from a great height and one parrot showed Richard that he had a better head of hair LOL.

Back in the car we returned to base, parked the car in the garage and rested up for a little while. Then we got changed and headed along the spit to Pier 33 for dinner. This place was huge and had socially distanced all the chairs and tables but the noise echoing around the high ceilings from the group of (very) loud young women situated nearby was a bit off putting. So not great ambience for a romantic dinner for two but to make up for it the food was absolutely fantastic. So good, in fact, that we even had three courses….

Sunday morning and we awoke to heavy rain. Hmmmm…..never mind. So we had a leisurely start to the morning and just chilled out in front of the TV. Late morning it started to ease a bit so we headed out again in the car and drove north to Noosa Heads. This place was rammed with holidaymakers (it is the start of the three week school holidays here) and people were queuing everywhere – so we didn’t hang around. We did walk to the beach though just for a look…..

Driving back towards Mooloolaba we drove the coastal road and saw the huge rollers coming in along the coast. There were a few places where lifeguards were on duty (and surfers were in the water) but most of it was just absolutely wild. Great views despite the weather.

We then headed back to the apartment and had another quiet evening in.

Monday morning we were up early so had breakfast, packed up and cleaned the apartment before departing at 10. We then drove back down the motorway (using toll roads this time) towards Morpheus. She was waiting patiently for our return so we dropped our luggage off and then headed straight out again, this time to Southport for Richard’s blood tests. Afterwards we did some food shopping on our way back and then collected some parcels from the Boatworks office that had been delivered in our absence. Was really nice to be back onboard.

Today, Tuesday (30 June) I’m blogging while Richard is swapping out all the old stainless steel cabin lights. These new LED lights are individually dimmable so will be much better, particularly for reading at night. So another present / upgrade for Morpheus this season.

So that’s it for now folks. Hope you are all safe and well and enjoying the relaxation of restrictions wherever you may be. Sending lots of love.


Finding jobs to do in Coomera

Monday afternoon (15 June) while I blogged Richard installed the new chain protector boards on the bowsprit. We then removed all the masking tape and cleaned the stainless around the stern which meant we were then able to reinstall our helm seat, dodgers and lifebuoy.

Tuesday morning it was quite a nice day. Early on the riggers came by and with some tweaking here and there we managed to get the main sail furled properly. With the new bearings we can now pull out the sail by hand although making sure the vertical battens are correctly in line requires a bit more stopping and starting so we tend to winch it back in. But very happy that we got this puzzle finally resolved! We continued cleaning stainless steel – including me climbing up to those difficult to reach places on the arch. As we were now stern to, we cleaned the port side lower rub rail and waxed/polished the hull between the main rail and rub rail as we could reach it from the dock. So both sides finished now – phew!

Wednesday we cleaned inside the rail to remove any sticky residue from the masking tape. Then we got ourselves cleaned up so that we could head down to the hospital for more blood tests. As we were just getting ready we received a phone call from Medicare to give us our number…..so relieved to receive that news….had been a long and frustrating road. Anyway we took ourselves off down to Southport and while Richard was in the queue for his blood test I went to the pharmacy to pick up the next month’s supply of prescription medication. And, of course, the Medicare number was incorrect as it was a digit short. And I had repeated this back on the phone after I had written it down so knew that what I had written down was all that the operator had given me. Bloody hell, here we go again! Anyway, medication in hand I returned to Richard in the pathology department and made the call. Only about a 30 minute wait this time to speak to an actual person, and yes there was another digit to add to the end. Pleased to reach the end of this Australian bureaucratic nightmare LOL.

Bloods taken we headed to the mall to get some shopping so I took the opportunity to have a quick ‘dry’ Thai back massage (which means it is all done through towels so no skin to skin contact) and Richard did the shopping. He also purchased a blood pressure machine while he was at it as he needs to keep this under daily review.

Job done we returned to Morphie. We put away our supplies and then I stupidly decided to try and download the Medicare app so that I could claim refunds for our medical expenditure to date. Hmmmm, this requires a unique number from the issued physical card. So I rang them again, trying very hard to be polite, and was told they would not be issuing us a card (or an access code to the system) as we didn’t have our identities verified at Centrelink. What?!? This is madness – Centrelink told me to apply on line because of Covid and well, you know the rest of the story. Bottom line is that they are happy to give us a temporary number (and no card) valid until early September but, in the meantime, we have to get our identities verified and submitted to them before cards can be issued. Until this happens we can’t access the online system or claim any refunds, although we can at least now access GP services without charge. I didn’t dare check my blood pressure after this latest setback LOL.

Oh yes and, on Facebook, we came across someone saying that their distinctive dinghy had been stolen from Russell Boating Club (NZ). And, guess what, it was our old Dink!!!! So we asked Abi how she came to be the owner of this dinghy as we had given it to Calum (for free, to make his dream ‘come true’). We were told that Calum’s dad Bill had sold them a boat which didn’t have a dinghy so they were given Dink for free. Disappointed by this news but what can you do?!? Anyway, Dink is now affectionately called Sinky (for obvious reasons), and was recovered without the new outboard the following day. Here’s the story below.

Thursday we went around the topsides and cleaned off more sticky residue and some other bits and pieces of varnish we had managed to get in various places. Strange how you don’t notice doing this at the time but can find it quite easily after the event. Anyway, it was a miserable day and torrential rain stopped play three times. So we called it a day, relaxed down below with a good book and the heater on and had a hearty stew for dinner. Yes, it was that cold!

Friday morning and it was cloudy, drizzly and cold again. So we did a few jobs down below and headed over to the laundry and once we had done that we relaxed again for the day. We are both getting a bit fed up with the weather and, to be honest, our list of boat jobs is getting a bit thin. So we are feeling a little stir crazy especially as we weren’t able to get a courtesy car this weekend to break up the week.

Saturday it was raining again and it was cold. Later on the sun tried to come out so Richard managed to get the new boards installed on the rail in preparation for the cans to be reinstated just before we leave here (they are currently very happy locked onto the dock). They look pretty good.

Sunday and it was a much nicer day, thankfully. So we made the most of it and took the covers off our hatches and scrubbed Morphie down as she was a bit grubby in places from the rain run off. We scrubbed her down, chamoised her dry, cleaned the hatches inside and out and then recovered them. She is certainly looking very sparkly and clean right now!

Afterwards we headed to the Galley for a late lunch which was nice. Then we came back and relaxed onboard. Oh yes and we received a large medical bill for the emergency ambulance ride to the hospital which, bizarrely, had been sent to our home address in the UK. There is no reciprocal arrangement for ambulance services so we’ll have to pay this one (the service is only free to Queenslanders) but we do have insurance cover to reimburse us once we return to the UK.

This morning, Monday (22 June) Richard has gone walking to the marina next door as he is looking for some new stainless steel screws while I’m blogging. This afternoon he has a two hour heart clinic appointment so we’ll see what comes of that. If they are happy and there aren’t any imminent medical appointments over the next week or so we think we are going to take ourselves off for a short road trip up the Queensland coast now that hotels and resorts etc have reopened. Chasing better weather and a change of scenery. But we’ll have to wait and see for now. Fingers crossed!

Stay safe everyone. Thinking of all our family and friends constantly. Bye for now


Another week in Coomera

Monday afternoon after the sun had evaporated the heavy dew on the decks Richard taped up the rails (again) and started the final sanding down (again). I rested up for a while as my old bones were complaining about the dampness of the weather. Later on we moved all the lines away from the rail in preparation for varnishing. By mid afternoon rain had stopped play so we just both lazed around and read books.

Tuesday morning it was very damp with a very heavy overnight dew again. But the sun came up and by 9am was hot enough to dry everything off. So Richard continued sanding. I started doing a spring clean down below. We then had to stop to get ourselves cleaned up and headed into town for a doctor’s appointment as the specialist heart nurse (Imogen) wanted the GP to check Richard’s blood pressure and, if OK, to increase the dosage on one drug as blood test results showed no adverse effect from medication thus far. The GP didn’t agree so, on our return, Richard emailed Imogen to bring her up to date. She wasn’t happy with this outcome so contacted the GP directly and, as a result of this collaboration, Richard was told to start taking the higher dose that evening. Glad that this was resolved easily. Later on rain stopped play and it rained really hard throughout the rest of the afternoon and evening.

Wednesday morning it rained on and off all day so Richard was constantly popping outside to do more sanding of the rail between showers. He did actually manage to complete it. Woo hoo! I managed to finish scrubbing floors, cleaning ceilings and polishing the wood too. Later on we headed over to the laundry and as there was about 20 minutes left on the dryer timer I popped into the ensuite next door to have a quick shower. Suddenly I heard one of the dryers making a horrendous row and I heard running feet coming to investigate. So I quickly finished up and hurried out to find them taking the dryer off the wall as it had managed to wobble its way lose from one of its fixings. So that the guys could take it away to investigate I emptied it of our clothes and, when folding up, I realised that one of my bras had lost an underwire wire. So I informed the guys (somewhat embarrassed) and, yes that was it, somehow it had managed to get loose, find its way through a tiny hole in the back of the drum, and was stretching and shrieking every time it went round. Oops! Luckily they were able to get it out without too much problem.

We braved the rain to get back onboard and it felt really cold. So we turned the heater on and had another quiet toasty evening down below listening to the heavy rain landing on the coachroof above us.

Thursday morning and the threat of rain was 60% so again not a good day to varnish. So we had breakfast out at the Galley. Getting back the clouds didn’t look too threatening so Richard took the chance and varnished under the rail on the port side and stern. After that we re-checked the weather and it still threatened rain all day. And, of course, the clouds cleared later and it didn’t actually rain at all….grrrr….we could have varnished after all. Never mind, there is always another day.

Friday morning and we were up early to a bright and sunny day. So we quickly worked our way around the boat varnishing the rail. Hopefully this time for the final time! She looks pretty nice…..

Task completed, after some breakfast, Richard headed off to the store to get some black marine-grade high-density polyethylene sheet (starboard). We have both been frustrated over the years by the strange layout of the pieces of board on the bowsprit. Not quite big enough to protect the wood from the chain when the anchor is being deployed or when we are sailing in a big sea (despite the anchors being tied down). Purchase made, Richard took the measurements and found a guy who could cut it to size for us and chamfer the edges. They came back within hours – we just need to fit them now – much happier than with the original configuration. Here is the old (top photo) and the new (second photo) placed in position.

Afterwards Richard decided it was time to give the outboard some love as it had been locked onto the rail since November 2019. It was seized in place and despite best efforts the motor refused to turn. So Richard found an outboard mechanic on site, removed the outboard into a dock cart, and delivered it to the shop for some specialist care and attention. We’ve agreed to get it serviced while it is there too. That should come back next week – most of the the tradies don’t work here over the weekend.

Later on we had more conversations with heart clinics and pharmacists etc – some more blood tests were organised and another heart clinic visit was also scheduled. So I sorted out the car bookings for those. Luckily we had a car again for the weekend so at 4pm we picked it up and parked it near our dock for the night.

Saturday was going to be the better of the weekend days, weather wise, so we headed out and about. First destination was Mt Coot-Tha which is a lookout over the city of Brisbane all the way out to Moreton Bay. Sadly it was a bit cloudy and gloomy so the views weren’t as good as they could be. It was pretty busy up there but, thankfully, we managed to get parked up OK and enjoyed the views while the kookaburra kept an eye on us…..

Moving on we headed north to Scarborough Marina and popped in to see John and Stella on Exocet Strike. Was a nice marina and, unlike the Boatworks, wasn’t subject to swell from tinnies and jetskies although they do have a fishing fleet so they get some swell from them when they headed out to work. We had a cup of tea and enjoyed catching up, was really nice to see them again.

Moving on we headed into the nearest town of Redcliffe and found the Bee Gees Way. This is a commemorative 70m walkway that honour’s Redcliffe’s most famous young residents. Was fun to listen to the tunes and read some of the lesser known facts as well as posing with them LOL.

Afterwards we headed to the prom and enjoyed the views out across the bay. Was a nice day to be out on the water. The sea gulls were waiting to be fed and soon lost interest when it was clear that we didn’t have anything for them.

We headed back south to Morphie and the heavens opened. It had been pretty dry all day so we were glad to return and get ourselves warmed up down below for a quiet night on board.

Sunday was always going to be a rainy day and boy did it rain! Very glad we had been out and about the previous day. So we just headed out to BCF (stands for Boating Camping Fishing) and got a propane refill. We then headed to the Westfield Mall in Helensvale and I got another pair of yoga pants which I have found to be incredibly comfortable wear for lazing around on the boat in the evening. The mall was absolutely rammed so we decided to leave there and return to the Westfield Mall in Coomera for our food shopping as at least we know the layout of the store in Coles. So we headed there, spent another fortune on fresh fruit and vegetables, and then headed back to Morphie. When we arrived in the marina it was raining cats and dogs so, before we unpacked the car, we headed into the Galley (on the takeout side) for a coffee to sit it out. Was horrible! Eventually it let up a little bit so we able to unpack the car and quickly get on board.

Was certainly a nasty wet day – we even had to dodge the rain again to go and get showered before we locked down for the night.

This morning, Monday (15 June) and Richard is putting the stainless steel rub rails back on top of the new varnish while I’m down below blogging. The forecast is better for the first half of this week so we should be able to get all the tape off and get Morphie cleaned and polished (again) now that we actually have finished varnishing.

Anyway, that’s all for now folks. Hope you are all staying safe and well.

Bye for now


Keeping busy in Queensland

Tuesday (2 June) we got up early and started work. We removed the masking tape off the inside of the rail around the whole boat (which wasn’t easy as it had been on for longer than the recommended two weeks) and cleaned off the adhesive residue. Then I removed everything else on the starboard side. Richard installed the new stainless rub rails which involved a lot of drilling and filling of original fixing holes. I then worked on the starboard side under the capping rail (which I could reach from the dock) and cleaned all the stainless stanchions followed by cleaning and waxing the hull between the capping rail and the lower rub rail. We were then able to secure our dock lines properly through the cleats rather than using our winches to keep the ropes above the varnish. Richard also assembled the new boards / footman loops / webbing straps in readiness for the spare fuel cans to be re-installed on the rail when we have finished everything else. Was a long day for both of us and we were pretty shattered by the end of it but were pleased with how Morphie was looking.

Wednesday and Richard had to have more blood tests done so we had a lazy start then picked up our courtesy car and drove to the hospital in Southport.

We parked up easily and went to the pathology department to find it absolutely rammed with a ticketed numbering system. This was the first time we had seen lots of people in the hospital so clearly they are returning to some sort of ‘normal’ service. Well we ended up waiting for over an hour until eventually Richard’s bloods were taken. We then headed back towards Coomera and did a quick shop for fresh fruit and vegetables. This was pretty rushed but we managed to make it back just in time to return the car (which had been booked for a three hour slot). By the time we unpacked and stowed everything away we were pretty tired so rested up the rest of the day.

Thursday morning and we got assistance on the dock to help with catching lines so that we could turn the boat around. It is pretty shallow here so we timed it for just after high tide and Richard reversed out, spun us around, and reversed in. Good job! We got dink off the arch and pulled ourselves close to the dock so that the guys could work on the solar panels on the arch. Here’s Morphie waiting patiently for the next instalment of her upgrades….

Safely tied up I then headed to the laundry while Richard informed the solar guys we were in place and ready. Chris came down in the afternoon and started the new panel installation.

This wasn’t without its challenges as some of the fixings had to be modified but it all went very well. The old panels were clearly failing as you can see from the close up. Here’s Richard modelling the old and new side by side.

Overall, we were very happy with the new panels and the installation – we just need to wait for some sun to see what a difference they make.

Friday morning, Richard sanded and varnished under the rail on the port side and the stern now that he had access to this side from the dock. Although it wasn’t a particularly sunny day the solar gain was significantly higher than what we had got used to. I took some time out to colour my wild lockdown hair in one of the cruiser ensuites and then returned later to clean the stainless on the arch (now that dink had been reinstated giving me something to lean on when I’m up there). The riggers came by again to look at our main (which refuses to furl properly within the mast despite numerous attempts) so are going to return next week to help us out. Now that we have turned around in our berth the wind is on our stern so we need to wait until the wind blows from the north again. Fingers crossed we’ll get that resolved sooner rather than later.

At 4pm we headed over to the office to collect the keys for our courtesy car as we were lucky enough to have one for the weekend again. Car picked up and parked near our berth we headed down below for another chilly night wrapped in blankets. We were pretty disappointed with the response from Sanctuary Cove who said that we were welcome to go to their marina but they would only sanction one month living aboard maximum. So we have decided that we’ll stay here until end of July (and will probably do some land travel within Queensland now that we are allowed to stay overnight away from ‘home’) and move to their marina for the whole of August after which, fingers crossed for good news from the medics, we’ll be able to go sailing.

We have never really been long-term marina dwellers so this life is a bit different to what we are used to but, having said that, the courtesy cars here do give us freedom to get out and about. We are thinking we might do a road trip in July and are really hoping that we can cross into New South Wales and join my nephew and his family for a week of their school holidays. At the minute they are saying the border may open around 10 July but the Queensland premier has also said it might not be until September so we just have to be wait and be patient. But considering what our friends and families are going through back in the UK we feel very fortunate to be here in Australia.

Saturday morning and I headed out to the mall to get a hair cut while Richard sanded and varnished under the port rail and stern. On my return, thankfully now without the mop of lockdown hair, we had a look at the completed varnish job as it had rained a few times and left some marks. We have decided that, actually, we are not completely satisfied with the final coat and are going to do it again. More work (especially with all that taping up) but it seems a shame not to finish it to our own exacting standard LOL.

After brunch in the Galley, we headed out towards Helensvale and the large Westfield mall there.

We were on a mission to get some ‘leisure wear’ as, of course, we took most of our warm weather gear home in December and left it there. Task accomplished. Next stop was Good Guys for a fan heater and an extension lead so that we can plug it directly into the shore power on the dock. Found a small one and hurried back to eagerly try it out.

That’s when it all started to go wrong! Richard plugged in the heater and it didn’t work, although the extension lead (which is an exterior rated one) had a red light showing so there was definitely power. So I got out the instructions and despite there being nothing on the outside of the box this heater will not work on an extension lead. To check it out we plugged it in directly and yes it was fine! Damn……so Richard headed off in the car to swap it out. While he was out I tried on my new stuff only to find that my hoody had a security tag still attached as we had gone through a self-service till and hadn’t spotted it. So Richard came back with the new heater and, woo hoo, we now had heat down below. We then drove back down the motorway to the mall to get my hoody un-tagged and, of course, this left a hole in it. So over to customer service to swap it out for a new one making sure that the tag was removed this time before I left the store!

Finally we got back and everything was as it should be. We were very warm and toasty and, you’ve guessed it, we didn’t actually need the heater that night.

Sunday morning we headed south towards Danger Point which is the furthest southerly point in Queensland.

Spectacular views across the ocean and down to the beach to admire the waves where lots of surfers were enjoying the water. Funny to think that they were actually in New South Wales as the border cuts straight through the top of this hill, so these images are looking south.

Was great to watch for a while and we kept an eye out to the blue for humpback whales (who are now on their annual migration north) but sadly didn’t spot any.

Later on we found out that a surfer had been killed that morning by a great white shark just a little bit further down the NSW coast. Here’s a lifeguard trying to get others to safety. If sharks threaten humans they can be killed but they failed yesterday. And today it’s been spotted again – see the breaking news below. Scary stuff.

Here are the views looking north towards Southport and the Gold Coast.

Heading back up the coast we stopped in Coolangatta and walked the fabulous white sandy beach.

We then walked along the promenade admiring the cars (and a few bikes) which belonged to the Scarab club. We chatted to one of the members and Scarab isn’t named after an Egyptian beetle at all but for Still Cruising and Rocking and Boozing LOL. Fantastic watching them all cruising around. They weren’t officially allowed to congregate in large numbers so they were in groups of 10 so that they could enjoy their day whilst still socially distancing.

Leaving this behind we drove to Burleigh Heads looking for a place for some lunch. But although we wandered around for a while we really didn’t find anything we fancied so continued on up to Southport. We thought we’d try out the Yacht Club as it gets great reviews. But as we drove into the car park we came across unfriendly signs saying that you had to be a member or have prior permission to park, or the car would be towed. Hmmm….perhaps if we had a reservation we could get a parking permit….but without one we didn’t want to risk the car, especially as it doesn’t belong to us!

So we parked near the Marina Mirage which has some fancy waterside eateries but they were all closed. We didn’t fancy the pub that sat over the water either – the menu basically was pizza or burgers or fish and chips – so headed instead across the car park to the Hog’s Breath Cafe which also gets good reviews. We took a seat and ordered steaks and jacket potatoes to be told no spuds – so I ended up with chips anyway!! So much for trying to be good…..sigh….. Was a treat but, sadly, the whole experience didn’t live up to the hype.

On the drive back to Morphie it started to threaten rain as the clouds continued to build and we just got ourselves tucked up down below before the heavens opened. Was lovely to be warm again!

This morning, Monday (8 June) I was up very early to return the car keys to the office. It is really cold and damp and the forecast is for rain for most of the week (see, that’s what comes of wanting to do more varnishing). There is certainly a very heavy dew on the topsides. I’m blogging and once it gets warmer and a bit drier we will probably tape up and hope to sand the rails down again….but will have to see how the day pans out….. Richard has heard from his heart specialist nurse Imogen this morning that his blood results are good so they may increase one of his medications again as he is tolerating them so well. But up to the doctor in a couple of week’s time.

Anyway, that’s about it folks, stay safe and take care. Bye for now


Boat jobs and more exploring in Queensland

Monday morning (25 May) we had a leisurely start and picked up our courtesy car at 10. We then went to the Westfield shopping centre in Coomera and purchased some fresh provisions. After that we headed to the doctors for another check up. The GP was pleased with progress especially as Richard is not having any of the ‘usual’ side effects from his medication. So onwards and upwards. We then drove back to the boat, stashed our shopping, and returned the car. We were relaxing down below when the rigging guys came back with the new bearings and worm drive. They fixed and fiddled with it – they thought it was like a tetris puzzle deliberately created to frustrate LOL. Eventually they had it installed but, by now, the wind had picked up in strength so we decided to reinstall the mainsail another day. But at least we could now sleep without the continuous banging of the foil inside the mast when the fisherman go out around 6am in their tinnies….

Tuesday morning we were up early and sanded down the whole rail and underneath the rail on the starboard side and then Richard sanded the new boards in preparation for more varnish. He also drilled all the holes into the boards so that they could be filled with varnish to ensure that the sealing of the wood is complete prior to constructing the whole thing. Steve and Jo on SV Tamanu arrived back into the river during the day so we had a chat with them by phone although they were too busy to come ashore.

I also did battle on the phone (again) with Medicare which, on average, takes over an hour to get through to a real person. This time I was told they still couldn’t find our application / email. Then they asked “what did you call your e-mail in the subject line?” I told them what I had written only to be told that it would be rejected (without any type of acknowledgement) unless I used their exact format which, of course, doesn’t appear anywhere on their website so how the hell are people supposed to know?!? OK, continuing to be pleasant through gritted teeth on the phone, I emailed it again (this was actually the fourth time) and was told to call back in a week.

In the afternoon one of the riggers returned to help us reinstall the main – with Richard putting the vertical battens in while I fed the sail into the slot and the guy manned the halyard winch. Once hoisted we then tried to furl the sail but, for some obscure reason, it wouldn’t furl properly although did actually go away.

The wind was picking up again by now so we left it at that to be revisited another day. We had a quiet night onboard wrapped up in blankets as it was pretty damn chilly.

Wednesday morning we varnished the whole rail (penultimate coat) underneath the rail and the final coat for the boards. Thankfully it was a lovely sunny day again.

Steve and Jo had lifted out of the water onto the hard during the morning and David and Hella had also returned to the marina onboard SV Calagorm. So I popped round to see everybody and made arrangements for sundowners later in the BBQ area. We rested up for the afternoon and then joined them all there later – it was lovely to catch up again and we had such a good time that we stayed out a bit later than planned.

Thursday we rubbed down the rail for the last time (phew!). We then hosed the whole boat down to get rid of the majority of the dust before then going round wiping the rails down. After that we chilled out on board before meeting the gang again for sundowners.

Friday morning early there was little wind so we unfurled and furled the main a couple of times. Hmmmm. Something is definitely not quite right despite it being relatively easy to pull in and out so we left it alone. The riggers already know that they have to return to resolve this issue but we wanted to try it for ourselves anyway so we’ll call them back when we have finished varnishing.

The weather forecast was for 50% rain on Friday and we definitely didn’t like the look of the heavy clouds so we decided not to risk varnishing as we wanted to take our time over the last coat. Instead we treated ourselves to breakfast in the Galley restaurant and then did the laundry. During the morning the solar guys had come to see if we were ready to turn the boat around and get the new panels installed. Not quite yet so we promised to be in touch when we were ready next week.

At 2.30 pm we headed over to the launching area and, along with David and Hella, we watched Tamanu get splashed. We then said our sad farewells to Steve and Jo again and waved them off as they headed north. Having picked up our car for the weekend we met with David and Hella for our final sundowner with them as they were leaving with the tide early in the morning. Another nice evening. Oh yes, and you’ve guessed it, it didn’t rain during the day at all – very frustrating!

Saturday morning and it was supposed to be rainy and cloudy but the skies were blue and cloud free. So we decided to varnish the rail and by around 11 we were finished. Had been quite a job so very pleased that we had finally got this done.

After getting ourselves cleaned up we drove down to Sanctuary Cove. They had recently built 300 new marina slips and were offering great deals on them so we thought we’d check it out. We had hoped to talk to someone in the office but they told us to email our questions in. The great deal here in the Boatworks (50% discount) is coming to an end and so it may be worthwhile moving on for July / August while we wait for the all clear to go cruising from the medics. This is a very upmarket marina village which is also attached to golf courses, country clubs and a 5-star hotel so would definitely make a nice change. But although the slip price appears very reasonable to attract people in there are probably lots of add-ons which could make it too pricey. There is also the possibility that they might not allow people to liveaboard either – so sent the email and will just have to wait and see.

After leaving Sanctuary Cove we headed south to Burleigh Heads. This is a very popular surfing type of place with lots of quirky stores and eateries. As we approached the main town it was rammed with people and cars – no chance of getting parked up there to explore. So we continued up the hill and found another car park on top of the cliff. I drove in and, surprisingly, someone pulled out of a space so I got parked up straight away. We then admired the views back down the coast and decided to follow the headland walk through the rainforest. Was a lovely walk although pretty busy and we had to dodge lots of large groups out for a stroll.

Coming around the headland we came across a small swimming area which was protected by some pretty big waves surfing into the gap. We crossed the road bridge and then walked out to the other headland and enjoyed the views….with some crazy kids virtually flying over the surf in their boats…. The beach to the other side of the headland was long, pure white sand and absolutely stunning.

We sat and people watched for a little while before returning to the car via the same path having done a round trip of three miles. Richard managed this with ease and only had to slow down because of me and my dodgy hip.

We returned to Morphie via the coast road and took it slowly. We had enjoyed being out and about again and definitely want to return to Burleigh Heads another day. Perhaps a weekday might be preferable to a weekend?!? Back on board we watched the movie Contagion which perhaps wasn’t the best choice in the current climate LOL.

Sunday morning we woke up to heavy rain and it took a while for it to clear. Thankfully the varnish was fully hardened so we just had lovely rain bubbles sitting atop the shiny new finish. Really pleased with how it had all ended up.

We then headed off in the car to Jacobs Wells as we thought we would check out this popular anchorage. Well, it was rammed, with cars, bikes, jetskis, tinnies, fishermen and all sorts plus, of course, a couple of pelicans. We enjoyed just sitting down with ice cream watching the world go by.

Continuing north we headed to Cleveland through the huge fields of sugar cane. First stop was the ferry terminal as this is where we could take a car across to North Stradbroke Island which looks like a good trip when restrictions are eased. We also had a glimpse at another anchorage we fancied near Peel Island. By the time we got to the main town it was pretty much closed up with few people around which was a shame but not surprising for a Sunday afternoon. It was chilly and rain kept threatening so in the end we returned via the shopping centre to pick up some more fresh fruit and vegetables. Had been another full and tiring day.

This morning, Monday (1 June) and Richard did the final varnish coat under the rail while I did battle with Medicare again. This time I’m told that the email address (which I had double checked via their ‘contact us’ link on their website) meant that you had to have capital MES at the start with the rest all lower case…..hmmmm……really?!?!? The guy wasn’t interested in talking to me at all and said he couldn’t search the system for my email either, despite other operatives being helpful and trying to do that last week. Well, you know, I’m fed up with all this. So I decided to do what I probably should have done back in April and I’m trusting Australia Post instead. Luckily there was a car available this afternoon so that I was able to get to the post office to send it by registered mail so that I can track its arrival. Fingers crossed this finally gets it sorted.

So in between all that I was blogging while Richard purchased some stainless steel screws so that he could start installing our new rubrails. So we are definitely keeping ourselves busy.

The last bit of news from here is that Covid restrictions have been significantly lifted today with overnight stays now allowed anywhere in Queensland so people can holiday / travel as they like within the state. We certainly expect a mass exodus of cruising boats to start heading north imminently. But the state border remains closed so Queensland is only open to Queenslanders (and those of us who just ended up here).

Stay safe and well everybody. Hope lockdown isn’t driving you all crazy. Take care of each other. Lots of love and bye for now.