Our week in Manly, Queensland

Tuesday afternoon (20 October) we walked into Manly Harbour Village to check out the facilities and did a bit of shopping. We encountered these very skittish birds along the promenade strutting their stuff and then went and checked out the local pool. It’s certainly very pretty around the streets with all the trees in flower right now.

Back on board we applied online for a renewal of our Australian Control Permit (due to expire end October) and within a couple of hours the new one was issued so Morpheus is legal here now until end October 2021. So that was great news.

Then we got the disappointing news. I was told by my doctor and physio to keep phoning the hospital to find out the status of the referral regularly. I was informed that I had been put on the non-urgent list meaning they could offer me a consultant’s appointment in two year’s time (at the earliest) which would then be followed by around another year of waiting time on the elective surgery list. I was really upset and definitely did not expect that. The GP had indicated that the scan results necessitated urgent attention and he was going to try to escalate me up the list. His view was that it would definitely be less than 12 months. So I guess my ‘visitor’ status must have been the final decider rather than the severity of the problem. I have to say, we do feel like we’ve been led astray a little bit. So the bottom line is that I’ll have to get this fixed at home. The dilemma is when?!? Lots of variables we need to get our heads around. Should we abandon Morphie without a known return date as international borders are closed until around the end of 2021 (although gives lots of time to organise surgery and recuperation)? Return home to a Covid lockdown which means we can’t even see friends and family? How long will it be before my mobility is restricted to the extent that living on the boat becomes difficult? We need to get our heads around all this and will let you know what we decide, so watch this space!

Anyway, moving on, the weather was very windy and cold, so we were happy to be tucked up securely in the marina and enjoyed a quiet night on board.

Wednesday morning it was a nice day but severe thunderstorms were now being forecast for Friday onwards. So we decided to stay in the marina where we would be protected / surrounded by lots of tall masts LOL. Thunderstorms here in Australia are powerful often with large damaging hail and very strong winds so definitely shouldn’t be underestimated. Anyway, decision made we decided to start trouble shooting the Balmar charging system which appears to have developed gremlins in recent months. We first attached the Gateway to the system so we could download updated firmware to the battery monitor. That’s worked perfectly in the past but, this time, the iPad couldn’t connect via bluetooth to the Gateway. So we thought maybe it was an Apple bug so we downloaded the app to an android phone and tried again. Again wouldn’t connect. So we just had to reset all the values and alarms on the monitor and see what would happen with that and, thankfully, it worked. But the loss of ability to download updates is annoying and these pieces of kit are not inexpensive, so we have sent an email to Balmar to see if they can advise what to do next. We purchased these pieces of equipment quite soon after their release onto the market so we do wonder whether the early units have bugs that have since been ironed out by further developments. Never mind, it works for now, fingers crossed it will continue to do so.

In the afternoon we went for a walk and watched some of the boats out racing in the bay before returning back for a quiet night on board. It rained really heavily overnight.

Thursday the rain started to clear but then clouded over and rained again. The batteries were struggling with very little solar gain and we kept tripping the breaker on the dock (which took out all the posts) so we didn’t want to plug into shore power and upset our neighbours. In the end, we just decided to run the engine to top up the batteries later in the afternoon. Then the heavens opened and we had a thunderstorm all around us although it never really threatened to come too close. So we just relaxed down below for the day.

Friday was another miserable cloudy day with a fickle wind and a bit chilly so we lazed around most of the day. But we did manage to fix the wind generator monitor – woo hoo! Annoying though that it had taken this long to get the information for a factory reset from the manufacturer’s helpline and, having gone through the manual cover to cover, I can assure you the required sequence of pushing buttons doesn’t appear anywhere! Later on it warmed up – was such a nice evening so we had both sundowners and dinner in the cockpit.

Saturday morning we were a bit more industrious filling up with water; flushing the watermaker; scrubbing the walls in the heads; defrosted the freezer; and then took ourselves off to the marina cafe for coffee enjoying their over-the-water dock. Whilst there we used the marina wifi to download some more things to watch offline later. Quite like the lighthouse type lights here in the marina too – guess they might be original sea markers or something.

When we got back we had a charging fest as the wind generator was keeping our batteries topped up nicely. We had planned a trip into the village but check out this storm coming! So we got overtaken by events when the heavens opened and we had thunderstorms around us yet again. Thankfully no hailstones again. So we ended up with another quiet evening on board.

Sunday it looked like it was going to be a nice day. Sadly, the freezer problem had not gone away – sometimes it gets too iced up and the restricted airflow around the plates causes problems with it staying at temperature, so defrosting is often all that is needed to be done. Sadly that hadn’t worked! So Richard put some more gas into the system to give it a boost. We then had a nice breakfast in the cockpit and, as it remained dry, we decided to head off to the village’s Irish Pub for a late lunch.

So we were sitting on an outside table on the pavement when the sky went black, so we moved to another table with a bit more cover and the heavens opened. OMG the rain was biblical so we quickly moved inside for cover.

The thunderstorm was very close and the noise from the thunder was teeth chattering with the powerful lightning strikes something to be in awe of. Richard thought it was exciting I thought it was just simply terrifying! Anyway, we sat and had a couple more drinks waiting for the rain to ease, before we quickly headed back to Morphie with our fingers crossed that she had fared OK. Thankfully she was, phew! Lightning strikes on a yacht is something to be feared, that’s for sure.

Monday morning and it was time to leave. We had breakfast in the cafe then slipped away around 10am dodging this strange tug / barge combination en route.

We arrived at the Huts anchorage at noon and it was peaceful and calm with nobody else there. So we had a lovely afternoon and early evening in the cockpit before the bugs drove us below.

This morning, Tuesday, and we picked up anchor early so by 6.45 am we were underway to head to Tipplers, our final destination before heading back to The Boatworks on Thursday. The wind was howling and it certainly wasn’t a nice day to be out on the water although the pelicans didn’t seem to mind too much. Even the sand dunes looked a bit miserable in the gloomy morning light.

We had our anchor down by 9.30 am and, unusually, there was nobody here. So we picked our spot and had breakfast in the cockpit listening to the weather forecast. Again there is a thunderstorm warning but not as severe as being shared yesterday. We have just had a dolphin visit, which was nice, although sadly they didn’t stay around to play. Not sure we’ll go ashore today as it is so miserable so fingers crossed for a nice day tomorrow!

So not a lot happening really just more curveballs to contend with not least the weather here in Queensland. Thought this was supposed to be the Sunshine Coast LOL. Anyway, bye for now folks, please take care and stay safe. Thinking of you all.


More Moreton Bay adventures

Tuesday morning (13 October) it was a bit chilly as the wind was picking up so we just had a lazy day on board watching the comings and goings in the Tipplers anchorage. Overnight there was really heavy rain.

Wednesday it was cold, cloudy and raining hard most of the day so we just kept ourselves warm down below reading and relaxing.

Thursday morning – Richard’s 63rd birthday – we woke to a brilliant bright and sunny day. Yay! So incredibly grateful that he survived his heart attack in April and that he has recovered so well. So lots of things to be thankful for on this special day. We had a lazy morning and then went into Tipplers’ Cafe for a late lunch.

We enjoying watching the birds stealing leftovers and more wallaby encounters. One of them was very keen to chat to me – thought he was going to kiss me at some point – obviously made a friend here LOL.

And, of course, there is always a naughty one amongst them…. The staff certainly have their work cut out trying to clear tables before the critters move in LOL.

Afterwards Richard dinghied back to Morpheus for supplies while I found a nice spot on the beach. We enjoyed a couple of beers on the beach for a few hours before returning to sit on the coachroof and enjoy watching the sunset. It was so warm we even spent the whole evening in the cockpit which was lovely. Had been a great day.

Friday morning we were up very early and weighed anchor to head to the Huts anchorage up the Canaipa passage. As before it was serene and even the bugs weren’t biting this time. We had a quiet and peaceful night.

Saturday morning we weighed anchor but as we moved towards the channel the autopilot decided to get stuck in ‘auto’. After some manic pressing of buttons to disengage it we turned around and dropped the anchor again. A complete reboot of the whole navigation system and it was working fine – not sure why it threw a wobbly – but thankful that it appeared to just be a glitch. So off we headed again towards Peel Island which was very busy so we anchored at the back of the fleet and got a good set. Calagorm were already there and heading out to the beach in their dinghy so they came by and we made arrangements for sundowners later. At 5pm Hella and David came on board and we had great fun, was so lovely to catch up with them again.

Sunday morning the forecast continued to threaten strong northerly winds and there was a strong wind warning in place. We were experiencing a bit of fetch in our position so, as the boats thinned out, we decided to move closer in. But not before we had watched this catamaran drag swiftly through the anchorage thankfully not hitting anyone else while the person left on board just stood there. Then suddenly a dinghy came zooming out from the beach and the captain climbed back on board, started the engine, picked up the anchor and reset elsewhere. Was surprised that the skipper would leave someone on board that didn’t even know how to start the engine or respond to the VHF.

After all this excitement we picked up and moved closer to the beach. We couldn’t get set initially and it took a couple of attempts before we were happy. But at 3pm, without any warning, the anchor let go and we dragged so we had to start all over again. At this point we decided not to go ashore or to join Calagorm for sundowners – very sad about that – but it didn’t feel prudent to leave Morphie especially as there was a strong wind warning again although at this point it wasn’t too bad. So we just waved and messaged David and Hella on Calagorm sitting alongside us while we waited for the wind to arrive.

We sat in the cockpit waiting for the wind and, of course, it didn’t materialise when forecast. By 9pm it was blowing strongly and we were holding steady but still felt unsettled by what had happened early. So we decided to stay up and anchor watch… The winds did get quite gusty during the night and there was a huge thunder and lightning storm south of us. Of course these storms meant that the wind direction changed so a few times we turned around and nodded into the fetch….but, thankfully, we held firm and there was enough swinging room for everyone to stay apart. We snoozed in the cockpit and watched the show….including lots of people illuminating their decks and checking anchors….so guess not that many people slept well either.

Monday morning we checked the weather and, again, another strong wind warning but this time from the SE which would mean running back into the river system for shelter. We really wanted to avoid that as we will be doing that on our return to the Boatworks later in the month. So we waved Calagorm off as they picked up and we debated what to do. As I mentioned earlier, we are checking out marinas here in the Moreton Bay area to see whether they would be suitable for cyclone season so Richard decided we’d try out East Coast Marina in Manly for a couple of days. The biggest advantage is, of course, that it is not prone to flooding which the river-based marinas are. They were happy to accommodate us, we found the marina map online so we could identify where we were heading, and then worked our way towards Manly….we even got the sails out at one point! There were nice cloud formations over the mainland along the way.

We found the entrance to the marinas (there are three of them here behind the breakwater) and worked our way to our slip where there was a guy waiting to assist us. We made it in, despite the 18 knot breeze pushing us off, and got tied up. The Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron marina is across the way which is full of more expensive boats – we are definitely in the cheap seats here LOL. But for a few nights who cares?!?

Once we were happy we got ourselves cleaned up and went to the office to check in. All sorted and, at this point, we realised that the dock hand had actually been the manager. Wow, that was generous of him to help us! We paid up for a couple of days and gathered the information about monthly stays. Although the monthly fee looks reasonable (just a tad more expensive than back down the river) they wack on a $62 a week liveaboard fee so it quickly becomes a much more expensive option and, of course, quite a distance from our medical appointments. So perhaps not for us for longer stays but certainly a nice place for a few days here and there when we feel the need for a break from being chased from anchorage to anchorage by the constantly changing weather. Speaking of weather the storm chasers here in Queensland are predicting the next couple of weeks of significant thunderstorms and heavy rain so looks like it could be fun!!

We left the office and walked through the most stunning canopy of flowers that cover the walkway to the main road. The smell was absolutely beautiful.

We then wandered down to Manly Harbour Village enjoying the sights from the foreshore along the way. We had a coffee and then went to the small IGA supermarket for some fresh provisions…. We wandered back and stowed our goodies then took the opportunity to flush the watermaker and fill up our water tank and then wash all the salt off Morphie. She looked so much better afterwards…..

We then had a quiet evening and an early night to catch up on our sleep. Of course, the strong winds forecast disappeared during the evening leaving a flat calm night.

This morning, Tuesday, and I’ve been up early to avail myselves of the facilities. The small shower and toilet block is exceptionally clean and well maintained – was quite impressed – particularly as this marina seems to house a lot of liveaboards and was busy with people getting ready for work. Back on board and Richard is still in bed while I’m blogging. Not sure what we are going to do later but I think another walk back into the village might be on the cards.

So bye for now and take care everybody. The news from home is awful we know that we are very lucky to be out here but do worry for you all. Please take care and stay safe.


Still out and about in Moreton Bay

Monday (5 October) and we decided not to move on as it was a Bank Holiday and this anchorage was serene and beautiful away from all the madness. Only downside was the amount of sand fleas that managed to bite us LOL.

Tuesday morning we weighed anchor and headed back through the myriad of channels and islands past the (not navigable) Jumpinpin Bar which separates North and South Stradbroke islands. And on the beach was this couple from one of the anchored boats – guess they just want to be alone?!?

Got a great spot in the Tipplers anchorage well away from the narrow channel. We went ashore and had a couple of drinks in the licensed cafe and, of course, said hello to our Wallaby friends once again. And then the day was rounded off by another lovely sunset.

Wednesday we stayed put at Tipplers. First thing in the morning, however, we spotted something odd with our charging system. The Balmar controller said 0% State of Charge! What the hell??? So we checked the DC panel and it said that the house bank was sitting at 12.4 volts and the engine battery was at 13 volts. Didn’t make any sense and we definitely had concerns as our batteries are AGMs which have a memory – if they get depleted too far they never fully charge again. So we needed to get on top of this. Before doing anything, however, we decided to test the actual batteries themselves directly. Thankfully they were both in the 13 volt range (which is fine) but both monitors were going crazy. We decided to link all batteries together just in case there was some problem somewhere we couldn’t identify. We then went through the schematic and found fuses associated with the DC volt meter so we pulled it, cleaned it, and reinstated it. Low and behold the problem was fixed. Yay….

Leaving that behind we had a lovely afternoon on the beach watching over Morphie in the anchorage. And we both had a beer – yes Richard decided he fancied one – over six months after his heart attack – and he enjoyed a couple with no adverse effects although he is obviously limiting his intake.

Was fun to watch all the comings and goings although, thankfully, it was pretty quiet. Some great boats moving around though, check this one out, do you reckon he wants to be a tug boat when he grows up!?!

Had been an emotional day for me as it would have been Mum’s 90th birthday but we raised a glass in her honour so I know she would have smiled down on us that day. We made friends with the solitary duck in the anchorage and then finished the day by sitting on the coachroof as the sun went down.

Thursday morning, very early, we were up and started to weigh anchor. We have rigged a submersible pump in the anchor locker that I throw over the side to give me wash down facilities….but this morning, I turned on the power, and nothing! Damn….never mind….back to the old fashioned method of bucket and chuck it until we manage to purchase a new one.

As the chain started to come up there was something strange about the way it behaved and when I got the anchor to the bow I found out why! Was very surprised to find an old water heater firmly attached and wrapped around the anchor. What drongo (Australian for idiot) would dump something like this in such a beautiful anchorage?!? Anyway, I took the helm and left Richard battling to untangle it as we worked our way very slowly out into the channel. Eventually, covered in nasty black mud, he got it off and dropped it back in the drink in the channel so at least nobody else was going to get their anchor caught up in it. Yuck!

We then meandered up the river system to return to the Boatworks. You can see our little trips around the area by checking out our tracker (which shows our current position at Tipplers).

By 10am we were back in our normal slip and quickly got Morphie hosed down and cleaned up, even emptying the anchor locker again to clean up all that nasty mud we had managed to pick up in the morning. We then got ourselves cleaned up and enjoyed a leisurely afternoon in the cockpit enjoying the sight of Boatie McBoatFace (not it’s real name of course) coming up the river. What a fun vessel, it even has a hot tub on its top deck, but don’t reckon it would fare too well in a strong wind!

At 4pm I picked up the courtesy car and headed off to the physio. This time he was much more personable than before (guess he must have had a bad day last time LOL) and gave me some different exercises when I explained the difficulties I had had after our last session. Fingers crossed….. He also was OK with a three week break before the next session so, hurrah, we can head off back out sailing on Monday once we have done the rest of our chores.

Friday we were going to be busy but made time for a leisurely breakfast in The Galley first…that’s always a treat when we return to the marina. Richard filled the water tank, topped up the diesel tank, and some general cleaning (including the bilge) whilst I did computer stuff (largely finishing off and submitting our travel insurance claim in relation to out-of-pocket expenses when Richard had his heart attack with fingers crossed for a speedy and painless resolution). We had lots of laundry to do so (making the most of the numerous machines) so spent some time doing that and taking refuge in the cruisers lounge utilising the Boatworks high speed internet. Managed to download some things to watch off line and also updated all our apps etc. In the evening, it was lovely and warm, so we enjoyed a couple of cold beers in the cockpit before retiring down below for dinner.

Saturday morning we were up pretty early. We had compiled a shopping list and set off on a mission to Oxenford. First stop was BCF where we stocked up on some strong Bushman bug spray to deal with the pesky biting midges! We also got a propane fill and some petrol for dink. Then it was off to the main village centre and we picked up some items in the pharmacy; some meat from the butcher and I got my hair cut whilst Richard started the Woolworths shop in my absence. I caught up with him in the aisles, we completed the shopping, and then came back to Morphie and spend a while stowing it all away again. We then had a leisurely and quiet evening on board.

Sunday morning and again we headed out to the shops – this time to Coles in Coomera – to finish off the shopping list for fresh fruit and vegetables. Heading back to the marina we popped into The Galley for a coffee then back onboard and stashed all our goodies. Then it was just a range of normal boat jobs to be done prior to heading out again the following day like engine checks, water top up etc. We are also checking the weather closely and deciding where to go. Strong winds and the risk of thunderstorms later in the week are forecast right now but that will probably change on a daily basis… We had a quiet night onboard.

This morning, Monday, we were up early and returned the car keys to the marina office. We then got ourselves cleaned up and ready and, by 8.15 am, we were slipping away from the marina and was underway down the river. At 11.05 we had our anchor down at Tipplers and here we stay. At 11.40 I finally had a telephone appointment with the dietician so that was another thing ticked off my list. So Richard is now relaxing in the cockpit while I’m down below blogging. Both of us are glad to be back out on anchor once again.

News from home is pretty grim and we hope you don’t all get locked down again. Please stay safe everyone and take care. Sending virtual hugs your way. Bye for now


Out and about in Moreton Bay

Tuesday morning (29 September) it was still pretty chilly and blowing quite hard in Jacobs Well (on the Pimpana River) but we had a good anchor set and weren’t being bothered too much by local traffic buzzing to and from the public boat ramp – so we decided to stay put.

Early afternoon we headed ashore (surprised by how hot is was when we got out of the wind) and used our new dinghy wheels for the first time by pulling him up the beach – much much easier. Very happy!

We wandered around the little town for a while and headed into the Jacobs Well Tavern for some snacks….well, we ordered two sharing snacks, and they were huge! But very tasty so of course we managed to finish them. We then headed back to Morphie for a quiet afternoon evening on board and didn’t need to bother with dinner….

For those of you unfamiliar with the area here in Queensland, Moreton Bay is about 80km from north to south and 25km at its widest point. It lies between the mouth of the Brisbane River and the barrier islands comprising Moreton, North Stradbroke and South Stradbroke. The bay narrows at South Stradbroke, where there is a cluster of islands that turn the bay into channels and passages.

Wednesday morning we were up very early as we wanted to head towards Russell Island with the high tide. But first, along the route, we had to navigate underneath some power cables….lots of headroom really but it always feels so close.

We were almost there and suddenly faced with lots of ferry and freight traffic, particularly between Russell Island and Karragarra Island. Anchoring space was at a premium because of the large private mooring fields and the few spaces left were very exposed to the strengthening winds. So we decided to continue on to Canaipa Passage instead which is between Willes Island and North Stradbroke Island. OMG such a difference. A beautiful and serene anchorage. We enjoyed sitting in the cockpit as the sun went down and we really thought we might stay there for a few days.

Thursday morning, however, when checking the weather forecast we realised that the wind direction will be swinging north which is the one direction Canaipa is not well protected from. So we decided to head over to Horseshoe Bay on Peel Island which has good shelter. There was no wind and the sea was like glass as we motored the nine miles there.

By 10 am we had the anchor down and were just looking around at the other boats when we spotted Calagorm in the bay. So later on we dropped dink and popped over to have a cup of tea with Hella and David – was so nice to catch up with them.

By the time we left them the tide was going out so we headed over to the beach and just left dink in the shallows while we enjoyed taking in the sights. Was very relaxing…. This island is uninhabited apart from the custodians and is national trust land. A very popular day trip spot so lots of people watching going on…..

Back on board we watched more boats come and go and also checked out the clouds forming around us. There was some CAPE activity forecast so there was the chance of thunderstorms but we hoped they would skirt us. Thankfully they didn’t develop any further.

Later on we checked the weather again for the following day. The wind was swinging south to south east which is not good for this bay. So at 8.10 on Friday morning we picked up anchor and headed over to Raby Bay (which is on the mainland near Cleveland). Again we had another glass-like day on the water dodging ferries and the like. Frustratingly though the wind doesn’t kick in until mid morning by which time we are usually already settled somewhere else – so lots of motoring going on right now. Although on the chart this area is supposed to be full of mooring balls it isn’t (thanks for the heads up David) so we anchored, and then once happy we were set, we got dink down to go ashore.

We meandered through the nice houses and docks lining the river until we reached the marina and found the public dock.

We wandered around the boardwalk area and thought it looked pretty nice, another possible spot for us to consider during cyclone season?? We then went to The Anchor and had some lunch which was very nice.

Heading back out to the anchorage we realised that Morphie had dragged so we quickly got on board, weighed anchor and reset her. On bringing up the anchor it was covered in lots of grass and ferns so obviously we had found the underwater garden – to avoid dragging again we put down a 7:1 scope of chain which held us very well. At this point Richard realised he had left his phone behind in the pub! And, of course, we had already lifted dink for the night. So we had to put dink back in the water and Richard rushed off to get his phone…..luckily the waitress had found it and had kept it safe for us. He came back just as the sun was going down and we could put dink back up on the arch. Phew….what a palaver….

Saturday morning the wind had strengthened and the direction was swinging again so we headed back towards Canaipa. What we forgot was that this was a Bank Holiday weekend and the world and his boat were out there – it was total madness!!! Calagorm were in this anchorage too when we arrived and they had to move because a motorboat anchored so close they could have touched them – Hella said that if they had sneezed she could have caught Covid! We decided not to stay….so weighed anchor and headed down the river (under more power cables) another five miles to The Huts anchorage (along the shore of North Stradbroke Island). We found a spot and anchored under the shelter of the hill next to us. Lovely firm sand underneath us and we got a good set straight away.

Although still busy with boat traffic we weren’t affected that much so we enjoyed a leisurely afternoon in the cockpit. Around 5pm the day tripper boat traffic was largely gone and it was lovely and quiet especially as the wind died down. Was a bit buggy as the sun went down so we ended up burning our citronella candle to tell the little biting beasties they weren’t welcome – not sure all of them got the message though LOL.

This morning, Sunday, and we haven’t moved (or needed to). Hurrah! This anchorage is lovely and we have decided to stay another day…..so Richard is reading while I’m blogging. We are absolutely loving being back afloat again despite being chased around by the weather. Looking forward this week we’ll continue to enjoy being out and about until Thursday when we return to The Boatworks for my next physio session.

Take care everybody, stay safe. Bye for now