Shaw, Whitsunday and into Hamilton Island

Thursday (22 July) the forecast had the wind turning north overnight so we needed to find shelter elsewhere as the anchorage on Shaw would be exposed in that direction. So by 10 am, we were underway towards Turtle Bay on the south side of Whitsunday Island. We picked up some pretty strong currents along the way and enjoyed the fast downwind ride – at one point we were doing 8.9 knots in only 9.7 knots of breeze.

We pulled into a large reef-fringed bay and set our anchor.

The wind was still blowing quite stiffly from the south so we were nodding a bit but we were the only boat and were situated in the middle of the anchorage so we had lots of anchor chain out and were holding steady. We were then joined by a charter boat who came in and anchored under sail alongside us – which is pretty unusual – and, literally within minutes of anchoring they had the BBQ on and were enjoying a sausage sizzle. Then a large rib came in – clearly a rescue boat from the charter company and it would appear that they had engine problems – before they were eventually towed away. So we were the only ones in the anchorage again.

The wind switched north right on schedule around 5pm so the nodding stopped and we were completely alone for the night. Absolutely lovely.

Friday morning we had a lazy start before going off on a dinghy exploration around the bay. We sat on the beach for a little while too before heading back to Morphie. The northerly wind had now picked up and suddenly there was this massive influx of boats with around 30 turning up within a few hours – but, funnily enough, everyone stayed well away from us.

During the afternoon we “unpickled” the watermaker and were relieved that everything was working as it should with no leaks after a seven month period of inactivity. So, once everything was checked and filters changed, we made some water to top up our tanks. We had sundowners on the coachroof although there was no sunset as the sun sank behind the hill but, instead, we were treated to a beautiful full moon and the anchorage glassed out for the night. The stronger forecasted winds had not materialised so we were considering where to move on next. Having been offline for a while (and no phone signal either) we hoisted the phone to the top of the mast so that we could check our emails etc.

Saturday morning we sailed around the corner to Whitehaven beach which is considered to be one of the best beaches in Australia due to its high silica content. It was blustery and the wind was still northerly but we had a great reach on the short seven mile trip and thoroughly enjoyed the sail although the eddies as we came around the bottom of the island were pretty strong and we had to be very careful as we made our way through the narrow Solway passage.

We anchored out a long way from the beach as the wind was forecast to go completely around the compass during the night before it settled back into the usual south easterly trades. We had a good anchor set and enjoyed a leisurely day on board. Over the last few days we have come across a number of large private superyachts which are available here for charter – around $250k per week plus fuel / food / alcohol / gratuities etc. Must be nice, eh?!?

Sunday morning we awoke to find a little red helicopter on the beach….presumably a luxury breakfast outing for someone.

We made some more water and, now that the winds had switched to the SE, we picked up anchor and moved in closer to the beach to reduce the chop. We went ashore for a bobbing session at 1pm but the water was absolutely freezing although it didn’t stop one young woman (or should I say “Influencer” these days?) doing a rather revealing photoshoot in the surf with her boyfriend taking each shot which she then approved before the next one was posed. This is not the first time we have seen this couple – Richard said he would recognise that arse anywhere, which you might just catch a glimpse of over his shoulder in our bobbing selfie LOL – and clearly they are minted if the designer outfit she was sporting to travel back to the mainland was anything to go by. Even the seagulls are chilled here watching the tourists having fun….

The tourists come and go all the time on the tour boats – some bigger than others – and there were even some who flew in by seaplane for a “lunch on the beach” experience. All great people watching for us so we had a fun time.

Back on board for dinner and we had another beautiful moon to light the evening – absolutely stunning!

Monday morning we made water again and headed back to the beach for the afternoon. It was much hotter and sunnier so we took the shade tent with us and set up camp… Another tourist-watching day, a bit of bobbing, lots of reading and even a bit of sleeping. Absolutely lovely time had by all. Back on board for the evening and a quiet night in.

During the night the swell picked up and started to come around into the anchorage so we started rolling from side to side. We ran the weather models at the Tuesday 5am update (via the Iridium Go! as we had no phone/internet coverage again) and we decided to move on. To avoid the worst of the eddies as we turned the corner at the bottom of Whitsunday Island we wanted to be going through there at slack tide which was around 7.15am. So at 7am we picked up anchor and got underway heading to another anchorage on Whitsunday called Sawmill Bay, which is part of the CID Harbour area. We arrived at 10.30 and had a leisurely day at anchor just enjoying our new surroundings.

Wednesday morning we headed out in the dinghy and checked out the ‘no swimming area’ sign. Apparently there have been four tiger shark attacks here (with one fatality) so swimming is banned. Scary stuff!

We headed over to the beach which had appeared at low tide in the corner of the bay. We chatted to some people who were enjoying the beach before heading up a steep path to take us over the headland. I managed the walk up but had to admit defeat and turn around. Never mind…..was probably a bit too ambitious to even attempt it. We then headed over to check out the Captain Cook monuments at the other end of the beach.

Back on board I started working on the blog while Richard sunbathed on the coachroof. We need to do a bit of provisioning, get a gas refill, get some diesel, get rid of some rubbish and some laundry so have booked into the Hamilton Island marina for a long weekend. This booking means we have access to the facilities of this exclusive private island – so pretty excited! And, hopefully, there will be good internet so we can download some more Netflix content and publish this blog LOL.

During the night the weather changed with the wind swinging all over the place so we had a pretty rocking and rolly night. This morning (Friday) we awoke to a cloudy miserable day so we were happy to be moving on. We phoned the marina to find out which side we would be tied to the dock so that we could organise our fenders and lines. All sorted, plus engine checks completed, we weighed anchor at 9am and made a slow motor into the wind and waves towards the marina entrance. We even managed to stay out of the way of the Jetstar aircraft as he came in to land too…..

Morphie is now tied securely to the dock and we have taken the gas bottle to the chandlery for a fill. We have had a coffee out and I’m now in the laundry multitasking with the blog while Richard is on board washing Morphie down as she is pretty salty! Today is for chores and tomorrow is for R&R so hoping the sun will come back out then.

As an update of what is going on out here in Australia, covid infections continue to spread through the community in a number of states so lockdowns continue and many interstate borders are closed. This has come as a bit of a shock to the general population who have been well isolated from the global pandemic and the restrictions that have become the norm elsewhere. At the same time, of course, the blame game continues with the slow roll out of the vaccination programme as well as the anti-vaxxers who continue to protest about the situation. We really can’t see this getting resolved anytime soon in terms of international borders reopening. Thankfully we remain legal here on bridging visas so we are just going to have to sit it out and watch and wait. Right now there is only one route home anyway and even that has changed in the light of the outbreak in New South Wales with Singapore toughening their restrictions. So we could be here for a while yet folks. We miss and love you all and are relieved that things appear to be returning to some sort of normality at home. To make you smile this week I give you another happy quokka These little critters are just so cute I thought he deserved the final spot this week.


Mackay to Brampton, Goldsmith and Shaw Islands

Wednesday afternoon (14 July) I winched Richard up the mast as he wanted to check out the steaming light which had stopped working. This was just corrosion so with a quick clean and a spray it came back to life. Whilst there he checked out the fixings at the top of the whisker pole as, when we had tried to deploy it the other day in light airs, it was firmly stuck in place. So a bit of cleaning following by a coating of sailkote on the track and everything was fixed. And just in time because as I was bringing Richard back down to the deck it started raining and the wind switched north as forecast.

So we spent a few hours down below before the weather eased again and Richard decided to service the windlass while I just chilled out. We had a quiet night in.

Thursday morning very early, the wind had died away, so we took the opportunity to pull out the main sail as it didn’t appear have to furled properly the last time we had put it away. All was good and yet another gym workout for my upper arms on the winches. We ran the weather models again and the forecast now had northerly winds until Friday night so we decided to stay in Mackay marina until Saturday.

We then had breakfast, showered, and headed out on the bus to Mackay. We got off at the Caneland Central Mall and managed to tick everything off our shopping list – including new flip flops for Richard and a haircut for me – except the Netflix downloads. We had taken the computer with us as Mackay marina appears to be in a ‘dead’ internet zone and it was pretty poor most of the time. Well the Mall wifi was equally as bad so we did get a couple of films downloaded whilst we had lunch out but that was about it.

Oh yes and, of course, Richard just had to try a Crocodile Dundee hat adorned with genuine crocodile teeth. Not sure this really suits him LOL.

Late in the afternoon, having been out for most of the day, we returned to the marina and stopped off in the on-site tavern for a couple of cold ones before returning to Morphie for a quiet night in.

Friday morning we got cracking with boat jobs again. Whilst I was at the laundry Richard changed the oil filter; the oil; and the primary and secondary fuel filters. Good job! He also did a tidy up down below and some general departure preparation. We then had dinner on board before being tempted back out to the tavern by the sound of live music. The ‘group’ were really good and we had a very social (late) evening chatting to some locals. A really good time had by all and a very nice end to our stay.

Saturday morning we waited for slack low tide and left at 10.15 am going slowly through the exit to the marina into the main harbour passing the huge ship that was tied to the wharf.

We sailed in very light airs towards Brampton Island. On the way we saw humpback whales. They were quite a way in the distance (and too far away for photos) but this certainly put a smile on our face. So happy!

We had our anchor down by 3.20 pm in Maryport Bay having covered 21 miles. Whilst on the bow dealing with the anchor snubber we were welcomed into the bay by a lovely big turtle – such a shame we didn’t get a photo of him. We then watched the sunset and had a quiet night on board.

Sunday morning and the wind was howling but there was good holding in this anchorage although it felt a bit chilly. We got the outboard off the rail, dropped the dinghy, and installed the outboard. We then waited for the tide to come up so that we could get across the rocky shoreline and head ashore to check out the beach and the deserted luxury resort which had been abandoned to rot. There are custodians living on the premises to ensure there is no trespassing and, apparently, it is up for sale with planning permission to develop a 7-star resort. That would be an expensive project! Was interesting to see the power of nature at work though, particularly in the way it had smashed up the beach swimming pool. What was sad though was that there was a sting ray inside the murky waters of the pool and we wondered how on earth he had got there as the remains of the pool are above the high water mark.

We checked out the beach and then returned to Morphie where we had another turtle visitor welcoming us back on board. We also had to chase the seagulls away as they seemed to quite like sitting on our bow. We then watched a small aircraft coming into land on the tiny airstrip behind the resort before settling down to watch another spectacular sunset before retiring down below for the night.

At 8.45 am on Monday morning we picked up anchor and headed out on a slow downwind sail towards Goldsmiths Island. And suddenly we were treated to a whale show of slapping and breaching. OMG just amazing!

We carried on towards Goldsmith Island and then another two whales decided to check us out as they swam parallel for a short time. The whale encounter rules here in Australia are that boats are supposed to stay 300m away from them but guess no-one told the whales that LOL.

We arrived into Goldsmith around noon having covered 13 miles and were met by another turtle. As the wind had dropped off it felt a bit warmer so we rested up and waited for the tide to clear the fringing reef so that we could go ashore. Around 3pm we headed into the beach and had a couple of hours just sitting on the sand and enjoying the surroundings. So beautiful…. Back on board we got ourselves cleaned up, had dinner followed by a movie night.

Tuesday morning we left Goldsmith planning to stop at Thomas Island. The wind was just strong enough and on a reach so we were able to get both sails out and we had an amazing sail.

When we cleared the headland and turned into Thomas we realised that the anchorage was quite crowded and with a bit of a blow forecast to come through that night we decided to abort. So we turned around and headed to the next island Shaw. At this point we came across a whale and her new baby calf – she was quite content swimming along but then, suddenly, she turned towards us so we quickly motored away in the opposite direction LOL.

We arrived at Shaw Island at noon having sailed 16 miles. We then spent the afternoon on our own private beach enjoying the sights and sounds of this beautiful place and its surroundings. But this time the high tide was at the wrong time so we had to beach the dinghy and, during the afternoon, Richard had to pull him up closer a couple of times as the tide flooded in across the muddy/sandy bottom.

Then it was back to Morphie for another beautiful sunset before turning in.

Today, Wednesday, the wind is howling and is supposed to strengthen even further overnight so we are staying put. So I’m blogging while Richard is reading. We are expecting an influx of boats into this large anchorage today because of the weather and we have already got three new catamaran neighbours. Luckily the bay is large so there is plenty of room to spread out – although they do tend to stick together! We plan to move on tomorrow to take advantage of the southerly winds to get to the Whitsunday Island where we have found a bay that we can stay at for a few days to sit out a northerly blow which is supposed to come through on Friday night. As we go further north we are in credit-card captain territory as there are large charter fleets in the Whitsundays so we’ll just have to assume that nobody knows the “rules of the road”.

Anyway that’s it from us and we hope you are enjoying the blogs as we explore some of the beautiful Great Barrier Reef islands. Hope you are keeping well at home and enjoying your new found freedoms. Please stay safe and look after each other. We love and miss you all. So today we have another Australian bird – this time it is a laughing kookaburra.


Middle Percy, Scawfell and Mackay

Sunday (4 July) we awoke to a flat calm sunny day. What on earth is going on?!? We ran the weather models and it definitely looked like Monday was going to be the best day to move on so we quickly got into departure planning mode. We realised that Mackay Marina (which wasn’t on our radar really as an intended destination) was only a two hour drive away from Airlie Beach (which is where our 2nd Covid jabs were scheduled for on Tuesday 13 July). By going there and driving to this medical appointment, we could spent more time exploring other islands on the way north rather than running past them in a hurry. So, decision made, we contacted Mackay and got ourselves a berth and booked a hire car for the day too. Result! At the same time, we cancelled our booking at the fancy Airlie Beach marina / resort but they kept our ‘flexible’ deal open so we can just rebook when we get closer. So everything came together nicely.

We got together a list of what we needed to do and started working our way through it. First, we headed into town on the bus and picked up fresh fruit, vegetables, eggs and bread. We then headed back to the marina and into the laundry; downloaded some more Netflix content; and filled up with water. We then had a relaxing evening onboard.

Monday morning we got up very early and moved the outboard off the dinghy transom onto the rail. This was only possible because our marina neighbours were out fishing so we listened out for their engines as they left their berth and got this done as quickly as possible. We then ran the weather models again to make sure they hadn’t changed and, yes, it was still looking good. So I prepared the overnight passage food before heading to the marina office to tell them we were leaving earlier than planned whilst Richard did the engine checks. On my return we worked out our overnight route to Middle Percy Island and programmed that into the plotter. At 10 am we motored away. Despite being there for longer than we planned we enjoyed our stay at Keppel Bay and may well revisit when we return south later in the season.

Initially there was little wind but it kicked in a couple of hours later and we sailed away nicely. We had dinner together before going into our overnight shift patterns. It was a really dark and black night with only a tiny sliver of moon so the star show was absolutely fabulous. The wind was a bit flaky at times but, because we knew we would definitely arrive during daylight hours we didn’t mind, and continued sailing even when our speed dropped down to 3knots. But, despite it being a bit slow and a bit chilly, the sailing was absolutely great and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The wind died as we got close to the Percy Islands so we motored the last few miles.

We had our anchor down in West Bay, Middle Percy Island, by 9am on Tuesday morning having covered 107 miles in 11 hours.

We had just got settled when another boat came in and, despite there being lots of room, he dropped his hook virtually over our chain and then settled back sitting directly in front of us. We were not happy and Richard informed him over the radio what he had done. Although the guy picked up and moved (having four more abortive anchoring attempts before finally settling on a spot) he was definitely not happy and both him and his wife shouted at us as they went around the anchorage looking for alternatives. Hmmmm…..great! Never mind. Other boats started coming in during the day and it became quite busy but everyone stuck with the ideal diamond formation when anchoring and we were all quite well spaced out.

We caught up with some sleep before getting cleaned up and heading ashore. We visited the famous A-frame of Percy Island Yacht Club and had a wander around. The A frame reminded us of an early Foxys and Ivans in the British Virgin Islands. We also had a quick explore of the beach and the lagoon where a couple of boats sit high and dry at low tide.

We returned to Morphie getting a bit wet as we negotiated dink through the swell which is a constant feature on this beach. Later on we came ashore again (and got wet again LOL) for sundowners where we met a lot of other cruisers, including catching up again with the crews of SV Gypsy Soul (Matt and Grace) and SV Jaraman (Kat and Jerrad). Was a very social evening and great fun.

Wednesday morning we had a lazy start before heading ashore. We had decided to try to walk to the Homestead (where the unpaid custodians Robin and Ann live) but after about 45 minutes on an uphill rough sand / dirt track I gave up and turned back. Richard pushed on but he gave up shortly afterwards when he turned yet another corner and was faced with even bigger hills to climb LOL. So we decided to chill out on the beach and explore the Tree House (which is available for rent if you really want to get away from everything) before returning to Morphie.

We did come ashore again for sundowners in the evening. We also met Robin and Ann who had come down to the beach to meet the cruisers – they were cruisers themselves before deciding to apply to be custodians of this island for the Marine Parks. A very interesting and passionate couple who have great plans but, as all material has to be sourced on the island and nothing is allowed to be imported, they have a lot of very hard physical work ahead of them. Ultimately they would like to be able to offer adventure camping / cabin trips to disadvantaged teens – really hope that they can pull this off. When chatting to them we told them that I wasn’t able to do the trek to the homestead but would like to visit and Robin offered us a guided tour on Friday in his truck – we were really happy about that. Check out the beautiful sunset and Morphie glowing in the red sky at night.

Thursday morning we had a lazy day on board and it was lovely and sunny for a change with light airs – Richard even took the opportunity to sunbathe on deck for a little while. We decided that today was the day for us to take our boat plaque ashore and install it in the A-frame. Richard had made this (with only a little bit of assistance) whilst he was bored on a rainy day in Keppel Bay Marina.

So we found a spot and got it installed out of the direct sunlight so that it wouldn’t fade. Very pleased with the output. Richard was so happy he went and shucked and broke open coconuts for some fellow cruisers to have at sundowners that evening.

Friday morning we awoke to a grey and cloudy day. We went ashore for 9.30 am and met Robin. Ian (from SV Zatara) joined us on the beach for the tour so Richard and Ian climbed into the back of the truck while I got the front seat. We drove up and over the hills admiring the valleys; thousands upon thousands of butterflies; white cockatoos flying; noisy crows; wild goats; kangaroos; views out to other islands and down to coves. Just absolutely wild and beautiful. So pleased we got to see it.

We were then taken to the homestead and met Ann who had prepared some home made goat pate for us to try and also some starfruit and chilli relish with cheese. So along with a cup of tea we had a bit of a taster session and both products were so delicious I persuaded her to sell her first attempts to me! This was followed up by an apple cake which quickly got demolished. It was very generous of them both to invite us into their home and to treat us so royally.

We also got to meet their pet cockatoo – he has a particular illness which affects the growth of his feathers and he would probably not have survived in the wild – but he was found and adopted by them and now definitely rules the roost! He is quite demanding, particularly when cheese is on the menu, and he even rode in the truck with me on the way back down to the anchorage LOL.

Robin and Ann need to earn an income from the cruisers during the sailing season so they are looking at opportunities to use up surplus crops and Ann is trying her hand at making stuff to sell. She has already (in the 10 months onsite) learnt how to manage the bee hives and is now producing very good organic sweet honey which is sold in the A-frame along with a surplus of fruit; eggs and other merchandise (on an honesty system). We decided to support this great couple by joining the 400 other boats who have already become members of the Percy Island Yacht Club so we now have another flag on board LOL. Such a great place and a very special day.

Back on board we ran the weather models again. The wind was switching back to S/SE in the early hours so it was time to move on and we decided not to go ashore again. The anchorage had thinned out in the last day or two but had filled up again during the late afternoon. We set our alarm for 2am hoping for a 3am departure but, when we woke up, we realised that the wind and tide shift had meant that we really couldn’t tell in the inky black night where our anchor was. It was also so crowded with surrounding boats it would not have been safe to pick up. So our departure was aborted, we reset the alarm for 5am and went back to bed. At 5am we got ourselves ready to go at first light and by 6am we were heading out to sea as the sun came up. Of course the wind was stronger than expected with gusts up to 30 knots and we had large and lumpy seas so it was pretty uncomfortable for the first few hours with the boat rolling from side to side and it was cold! But then, as we got further away from the pull of the island, the wind moderated a bit and the seas flattened and we had an absolutely amazing fast downwind run. We had anchor down at Scawfell Island by 4.30 pm having covered 65 miles.

We anchored in quite deep water (allowing for a 13 feet tidal range) in the most amazing bay with a fringing reef. Just wow! So we enjoyed sundowners in the cockpit watching the sun go down before turning in for an early night.

Sunday morning we had a leisurely start. The wind was still blowing at up to 25 knots and it was chilly in the wind despite the beautiful sunny day. So the wind generator was definitely earning his keep! Later on we headed ashore in dink and walked the beach and just admired the spectacular scenery. These unspoilt marine park islands are just absolutely stunning and we hope to go snorkelling here one day if we ever do find some warmer settled weather….

Monday morning, by 7am, we were pulling out of Scawfell towards Mackay. The wind was much stronger than expected so we had quite a feisty run arriving into the main harbour (dominated by the sugar processing plants) and into the marina by 11.15 am having covered 28 miles.

The marina had no staff to assist us on the dock so we had to do this unaided – which we managed – but really don’t understand why they run these places with just a couple of young girls manning the office. Anyway, we got ourselves sorted out, and went to check in. They gave us a “pay three get four” nights deal so we were happy with that. Now it was time to clean Morphie as she was totally salt encrusted and to get the shore power connected. Having done some jobs we headed to the Marina Village Tavern for some dinner before returning to the boat for bed. The tides here are quite big so the slope on the dock is quite a challenge!

Tuesday morning we picked up our hire care – a true ‘rent a wreck’ which we were surprised was even legal LOL. Check out the rust!

Anyway it drove OK so we headed north towards Airlie Beach around 9am. We enjoyed the quiet main roads and the mountainous scenery along the way before arriving into Airlie Beach around 11am.

We did a quick shopping run to Woolworths and the bottle shop before then going to the chemist to get our prescriptions filled. The day before we had received them via email from our GP in Coomera so printed them off and presented them. But this wasn’t acceptable according to Australian rules so there was some conversation about how we would get round this. The pharmacist, in the end, contacted Coomera and got the originals sent to her so she was able to give us one month’s supply but no ‘repeat scripts’. Oh well, at least we’ll be OK for another month.

We then headed to the Whitsunday Doctors surgery for our 2nd Covid jabs. There was quite a line of people waiting but they were pretty efficient and we had them done together, then sat outside for 15 minutes to check for no ill effects, then headed over the road for some lunch. We then returned to the pharmacy to pick up our medications before starting the drive back to Mackay. All done and Covid vaccination certificates in the bag – woo hoo!!! Back on board we had a quiet night in.

This morning, Wednesday, and we have treated ourselves to breakfast out in the marina village cafe and I’m blogging while Richard catches up with the news. The weather gods have decided to not play ball again with the winds turning north so it looks like we could be here until Saturday but we have a list of jobs to do, as always, so no worries.

Hope you are all well at home and enjoyed the football, despite the sad result. What great efforts from the team though – I think the tabloid headlines just sums it up perfectly.

Take care everybody and sending lots of love and hugs coming your way. So it must be time for another iconic Australian animal to make you smile – this time it’s a happy emu.

Bye for now, Jan

Our week in Keppel Bay Marina

Saturday (26 June) it rained all day….and all night…so we just stayed down below keeping warm and dry. During the evening the shore power tripped and, despite Richard getting pretty wet on the dock trying to sort it out it wouldn’t stay up, so we changed our fridge / freezer settings to maintain the battery bank overnight.

Sunday morning it was raining again….sigh….and it was very cold! Richard managed to get the shore power back on so that was good and, as a result, we were able to get the small heater out of the locker and sat down below keeping toasty warm wrapped up in joggers and fleeces. So another day of Netflix loomed. We had hoped to go to the marina restaurant to listen to the live band in the afternoon but, for obvious reasons, that didn’t happen.

Monday and it was still raining when we woke up. But by mid morning it had stopped so although it was pretty soggy we treated ourselves to lunch out at the Waterline restaurant. This on-site restaurant has Asian chefs so there is quite a range of food on offer – so Richard tried Malaysian and I had Vietnamese. And it was absolutely delicious. We were very impressed and, having been stuck on the boat for a few days, it made a really nice change. Later in the afternoon, as forecast, the wind picked up and was blowing a hooley so it was pretty creaky on board with all the lines pulling against the dock.

Tuesday morning and the wind was still howling through the marina. The sun was trying to break through but the forecast for the next week remained absolutely awful. So we extended our stay here in the marina again….sigh…. We were lucky, actually, as some boats that tried to extend were told they couldn’t as this place is pretty busy right now with people looking for respite from the unseasonal weather. Luckily no-one had booked our berth in advance. But this delay puts us under a bit of pressure to get to Airlie Beach where we have organised a berth in the local fancy marina and resort for a few days whilst we get our 2nd Covid vaccinations. Oh well, looks like more overnight sailing is in our immediate future LOL.

So another lazy day on board but at least the rain held off although we did lose our shore power again temporarily. Something for Richard to investigate more thoroughly at some point. During the day there was news of more Covid lockdowns here in Australia with areas both north and south of us involved. Luckily we had not been to any of the places listed so were unaffected by these new restrictions.

Wednesday morning we got the bus to Rockhampton (carrying facemasks just in case) to the large Stockland Mall were we did some banking. We had a number of old UK paper sterling banknotes on board (which will cease to be legal tender next year) and thought it was time we got rid of them so exchanged them for some more Australian dollars which topped up the kitty. We then returned to the marina for a quiet night in.

Thursday morning and we awoke to sunny skies. What?!? Had the forecast been wrong again? Could we have left as we originally planned? Then suddenly the winds died, the clouds built and the drizzle started, so we had another rainy day on board and we just lazed around after doing a little spring clean. In the evening we headed over to another boat where we had been invited to sundowners – was a really nice evening. But, trying to get photos for my blog and the camera whirred and died, so here is the last photo it will ever take!

Friday morning it was cloudy and grey but at least it was dry – so we had breakfast out at The Waterline (and I borrowed this photo as I had no camera!).

Afterwards we headed back on the bus again to the Stockland Mall to buy a new camera in JB Hi-Fi. We managed to get exactly the same model – in silver rather than black this time – so were very happy especially as we were given a discount because the display model was the last one they had of this camera.

The old camera had lasted three and a half years and with our heavy usage I guess that isn’t too bad for a point and shoot and the benefit of buying the same model is that we now have a spare battery for the new one. On the way back on the bus we played with the new camera so here is our bus selfie and a picture of all the fruit bats roosting in the trees near the Yeppoon river inlet.

Back on board and Richard investigated the shore power issue. It turns out that our transformer, which steps down from 220v to 110v, had got damp in its container and this is what had kept tripping the shore pedestal breaker. So Richard dried it all out and then fabricated a wood bracket inside the transformer’s box so that it is now elevated. Of course, it immediately worked when he reconnected everything together. Phew, that was definitely a relief! Overnight we had heavy rain again…sigh….but, thankfully the power stayed connected and Morphie is staying nice and clean too LOL.

This morning, Saturday, and yes it’s still raining. This is definitely getting tedious! We have decided to do an overnight passage from here to Middle Percy island which will take about 20 hours (at an average of 5 knots) and, so far, the conditions are looking favourable for a Tuesday late morning departure. So we are currently planning on that basis and keeping all things flexible crossed. And this is what we are hoping to find there!

As I write this, the short three-day lockdowns in Queensland have been lifted apart a short extension for those in the Brisbane and Moreton Bay areas. But New South Wales appear to be struggling to contain this latest outbreak so lots of residents are under strict ‘stay at home’ orders and interstate borders remain firmly closed for the foreseeable future. So while the rest of the world continue to roll out vaccines as quickly as possible and try to get some normality back Australia is taking a different path and is continuing to isolate itself. Interesting times or what?!?

Anyway, that’s it for now. Keep safe everybody and take care of each other. Sending lots of love and hugs, so here are a couple of Australian possum cuties to make you smile.