Mooloolaba to Manly

Tuesday morning (23 November) we were picked up in the car by Mike and Karen (SV Island Girl) on a very cloudy and rainy day in Mooloolaba. They took us out and about to visit Noosa (where they live) and we had a lovely time exploring this beautiful area – despite the weather – and finding out a bit more about it. Such great tour guides! Check out the views out to the Noosa Bar – despite the rain this wasn’t even a windy day. Certainly wouldn’t fancy trying to navigate in through that narrow and shallow river entrance.

And what about the Tawny Frogmouths we came across up at one of the lookout points? They are so serene and laid back and we were transfixed having never seen anything quite like them before.

We decided to drop Dudley (the dog) off at home before we headed out for lunch and had a quick look around their neighbourhood. Now this has to be the most unusual fence you will ever come across – who would want or even need to make a driveway fence out of giant pencils? Just plain weird!

We have noticed here in Australia that building styles can be extremely varied and Noosa has an eclectic mix of properties scattered around the hills of this beautiful neighbourhood – which is delightful in that it does not allow high rise properties in the town. It was very strange for us to see so many different styles in the same place…

At Mike and Karen’s home we were completely blown away by the way in which their architect had designed the house to flow up/down the hill with the different areas being very distinct but discretely linked. Absolutely amazing job and brought to life by Karen’s stunning artwork and some fantastic design features within the decor. The whole place is just simply fantastic – they should be so proud of what they had achieved! I could live there in a heartbeat…

Moving on we headed back through the main street in Noosa – which has a very laid back village-type vibe to it. Destination was the Noosa Heads Surf Club where we had a lovely late lunch.

We then headed back towards Mooloolaba via more scenic routes and stops along the way – including picking up some fresh prawns for me and a spanner crab for Richard for tea.

Finally back at the marina we said our sad farewells and returned to Morphie – had been an absolutely fantastic day. That evening we had fun demolishing the seafood before having a quiet night in.

Wednesday we were getting ready to depart Mooloolaba so were doing usual jobs and checks – getting rid of the rubbish / engine checks / inputting route to the plotter / topping up water etc. We then headed out of the marina admiring the fishing fleet as we went through and headed out to cross the river bar at 10am, around slack tide. Thankfully it was flat calm with very little swell so no dramas as we headed out towards Moreton Bay.

As we continued down the coast we had a stormy sort of view of the Glass House Mountains, they look quite menacing in these cloudy and miserable conditions. There were a lot of ships about and a particular shallow-draft ship – The Brisbane – went outside of the official shipping channels so it could overtake a large container ship – so we had to keep our wits about us.

The wind was light but at least from the right direction (northerly) and we had to push hard to maintain speed to arrive before dark. At 5.30 pm, having travelled a distance of 38 miles, we had the anchor down just south of the resort near Tangalooma wrecks and opposite some people ‘wild camping’ on the island. We celebrated our arrival with dinner down below as the heavens opened yet again.

Thursday morning we had our anchor up by 6am and motored out in horrendous rainy conditions. Thankfully the rain eased and we ended up motor sailing with both main and genoa deployed watching out for rain squalls all around us.

And, of course, when it was time for fenders and lines to be deployed before heading into the marina the heavens opened yet again….sigh….

At 10.25 am we came through the leads into the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron marina (RQ) at Manly having covered 21 miles. RQ promised assistance on the dock (which we were sceptical about) and there was no-one there when we found our allocated berth. So Richard did a 360 whilst I got ready to lasso a cleat and then, suddenly, we had company and assistance so we went in and got ourselves tied up quickly. The wind had started kicking in by now at 15-20 knots and we were being blown off so was grateful for the berthing help.

Richard went to the office to check in but I stayed onboard. It was a long walk and by now I was seriously hurting from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. I believe it was a fibromyalgia flare up so I gave in, listened to my body, took some strong pain relief, and went back to bed. Richard returned from the office and joined me as he felt a bit weary too. And that was it for the day – with the rain thundering down on the coach roof above us – we just relaxed, rested, read and snoozed the day and evening away.

Friday morning we awoke to more rain and strong winds. So we stayed down below getting on with admin / banking / computer type jobs and I continued to be careful when moving around but was very pleased that I felt much better for taking some time out. At 6.30pm we headed out to meet Steve and Jo (SV Tamanu) for dinner at the Moreton Bay Trailer Boat Club. We hadn’t seen them since the Shaggers Rendezvous back in August. So we had a great meal (curry of course LOL) and lots of laughs.

Saturday morning we were up early and I was relieved to feel completely back to normal. So we decided to stretch the legs and walk into Manly. We were lucky to avoid the rain showers and enjoyed watching all the kids getting ready to go out sailing at RQ. We admired the views of the marinas as we walked along – there are four in this basin – and then arrived at Manly after about 25 minutes.

We had breakfast out at a local cafĂ© called Keiths on Cambridge. We didn’t have high expectations of the place but preferred the menu here more than the up-market Sea Vibes across the road. Well, we were very pleasantly surprised, this was the nicest breakfast we had had in a very long time. It could be our bias towards ‘fat’ toast being included though LOL.

After breakfast we did a little bit of shopping – just fresh fruit, vegetables and some bread from the bakery. Then we took the slow walk back. I did have to stop for a breather once we got back to RQ so enjoyed a soda water watching all the little ‘ducklings’ go out racing for the day. Lovely to see the kids having so much fun and wonder how many Australian champions are here in the making?!?

We rushed back to Morphie as the clouds started building again and wondered if we were about to get the thunderstorms that have been forecast for days. But we just got the torrential rain instead and some very strong winds. So we had a quiet afternoon and evening down below.

Sunday morning we were up at a reasonable time and I headed to the laundry having stripped everything whilst Richard cleaned and tidied the boat up down below. By the time I came back he had even re-made the bed and polished the teak. Amazing job…. At 5pm we had sundowners onboard Morphie with Steve and Jo plus Ed and Yvonne (SV SteeLee). So another Shaggers reunion! Was fun to catch up again and we had a really nice evening.

Monday morning, after a bit of a lay in, we checked the tides and weather in preparation for our departure on Tuesday. The wind continues to howl and is quite strong with gusts up to 30 knots from the south – which is exactly the direction we are heading. The forecast for Tuesday had the winds moderating slightly but a very heavy rain day so we decided to extend – we will be leaving here on Wednesday now instead. Oh well, never mind! ,

In the afternoon we were joined by Steve and his friends Ron and Annette for sundowners. They had recently sailed into Australia from New Zealand on their Tayana yacht (they are Australian citizens) and were forced into hotel quarantine (at their own cost) for 14 days on arrival into Queensland with no time allowed for their passage at sea. Queensland have been trialling home quarantine for double vaccinated returning citizens but, unfortunately, yachts (along with caravans / lodges etc) are not considered to be suitable places for home quarantine purposes. Again more examples of rules being made on the hoof that really don’t make much sense. Would have thought a double-vaccinated couple isolated on their yacht at sea was a much lower risk than someone who flies in on a commercial airline! Anyway, it was lovely to meet them and we had a good evening.

So what else is going on? Well the Australian international border was supposed to be opening soon to international students / visa holders and some ‘green list’ countries such as Korea and Hong Kong. But, of course, since that announcement we have the new Omicron strain and the whole border opening has been delayed by a further two weeks. So here we go again! Just hoping that we will be able to go to visit my family in NSW in January but know that it will not be a certainty until much nearer the time. Many people here in Queensland support the regional Government for their tough border stance – despite some heartbreaking stories – but the restrictions for non-vaccinated people that are due to be coming into play in December will certainly be contentious. Check them out below. Will certainly be very interesting to see how all this pans out!

Anyway, time to lighten up LOL. To cheer us all up I thought I’d stick with the Christmas animal theme from last week – so here is a cute but puzzled dog dressed as Father Christmas. Enjoy, it made me smile!

Bye for now, Jan

Bundaberg to Mooloolaba

Tuesday morning (16th November) we were up before the sun and, as promised, by 5am we were helping Buddy and Helen (SV Desire) slip away from their berth and head out to sea. We then returned to Morphie, got ourselves ready, and departed too. We were very grateful for little wind and a slack tide to make it a bit easier as the berth was quite tight. Thankfully we made it out OK and motored off down the Burnett River passing the mysterious anchored (tourist attraction) pirate ship; a prawnie coming home to offload his overnight catch; and, finally, the sun rose over SV Begonia in the anchorage – absolutely beautiful!

We sailed along in light airs with the pole out and it was fantastic…until the wind died completely so we ended up putting it all away…then the fickle wind picked up again and we pulled it all out again….

As we got closer to Kingfisher Resort on Fraser Island (now known as K’gari) we had to gybe so the pole was finally returned to the mast and we continued under genoa alone. We had the anchor down just before 4pm having covered a distance of 55 miles. As we anchored we were met with some strong winds and rumbles of thunder in the distance and it was a bit bouncy. Thankfully the nodding eased up during the evening as the storms moved away and we rested up in the cockpit.

Richard then spotted three sea eagles attacking something in the water and we assumed they were fishing. But we quickly realised that they were attacking a duck with two ducklings. The parent duck would rear up at the eagles as they swooped down and the ducklings would dive underwater only surfacing when the immediate threat was over. This struggle went on for quite a while and we didn’t think that the ducks would survive so were surprised when the eagles gave up and the duck / ducklings continued on their journey. What a drama to witness and we even managed to get an action shot! It is funny, though, that when we see a sea eagle swoop down and catch fish we admire their skill but when they tried to take a little duckling we think f*****g b******s!

After all this excitement we had an early night having watched the sky turn the most beautiful red as the sun set.

Wednesday morning we awoke to some grey clouds and then had a heavy rain squall (just after we had dropped dink into the water) so that put paid to our intention of going ashore.

But it had passed by 11am so we headed ashore, met Buddy and Helen, and then we all walked up to the main resort. We enjoyed the rest of the day by the pool; in the pool / jacuzzi; having some lunch; and playing a few spirited games of UNO. The horseflies were a real nuisance and were constantly on the attack – they hurt when they bite that’s for sure – but were surprisingly easy to kill. The upside to this was that the ducks turned up pool-side and they made quick work of eating all the large fly carcasses littered about. They certainly seemed to enjoy them LOL.

Later on we headed back to Morphie for another quiet night in after a stormy sunset.

Thursday morning we headed ashore again. We enjoyed some time in the pool and jacuzzi and decided to take ourselves inside the main hotel building for our afternoon card games to avoid the flies.

After another lovely day with Buddy and Helen we headed back to our respective boats for an early night. Was interesting to see a small cruise ship anchored off the island – that’s the first we’ve seen in a long long time.

Friday morning we were up at 5.30 am and had weighed anchor by 6.30 am. The timing for going through this stretch of water inside K’gari is crucial as we need to be going through the Sheridan Flats on a rising tide to get us through the very shallow area. Unfortunately there was no wind – with not even a ripple on the water – so we had to motor the 31 miles down to Inskip Point.

We had tried to anchor here once before but was thwarted by weather so was delighted to get a good spot this time and enjoyed watching the ferries take their 4x4WD passengers to and from the mainland.

We headed over to have sundowners on the spit with Buddy and Helen – particularly enjoying the seabirds – before returning to Morphie for a quiet evening sat in the cockpit watching the spectacular partial lunar eclipse before turning in for the night.

Saturday morning we had picked up anchor and were heading out through the Wide Bay Bar having got the new waypoint coordinates from the Coastguard the night before. It was serenely calm and we had a very good crossing.

Having got across the bar safely we headed south towards Double Island Point admiring the beautiful coastal scenery along the way.

As we arrived we made our way in behind the sand spit to avoid the fetch coming into the anchorage from the north winds. This sand spit had completely transformed since our last visit so we were delighted that we were going to be able to make the most of a lovely day having got the anchor down just before 11 am. We got ourselves organised and waited for Buddy and Helen to turn up – they had changed their mind at the last minute to come here instead of continuing directly to Moreton Island. They got anchored alongside us and we headed ashore to the sand spit. So the question is where do Australians go to have fun on a Saturday? Well it is this beautiful area with the main beach covered by 4x4WD vehicles and temporary camps with many of them setting up on the sand spit as well when the tide went out. So loud music, lots of laughter, bobbing, jet skis, and general noise levels were up there at times!

We bobbed in the clear shallow water and watched the paragliders flying around in the thermals clearly having lots of fun. And the bonus of this was that they captured and uploaded a photo of the scene and you can see Morpheus and Desire sitting side by side behind the spit – so very lucky to have come across this photo online!

After a couple of hours we said our final farewells to Buddy and Helen who were leaving at 4pm. We had a couple of hours snooze in the afternoon as we were heading out at 10pm for a slow overnight passage to cover the 51 miles to Mooloolaba. It appears a strange time to depart but this was to ensure that we were able to cross the bar at slack high water the following morning. We had an uneventful overnight passage and had to slow down at the end to make the timings work…. It was an absolutely lovely moonlit night and we both enjoyed our short passage.

Sunday morning, at precisely 9am, we headed in to cross the bar into Mooloolaba. The entrance to the river was semi-blocked by a prawn boat which was a bit strange – he wasn’t anchored nor was he stooging as his engine was off, so not sure what to make of it all we headed across his bow into the mouth of the river. We went close enough that he could have warned us off if he had wanted to but the guys on the boat seemed to be just going about their usual business. At this point we spotted an overturned and semi-submerged motor boat just the other side of the harbour wall and the Coastguard boat was out in the anchorage. As we continued into the river we were passed by a police launch so not sure what was going on – we have checked out the local ‘news’ but nothing has been reported so far. Anyway, after that bit of excitement, we were pleased to get into our slip here at Mooloolaba without any problems and, once Morphie was safely tied into her slip (with the kind assistance of our neighbour), we checked into the office and then went back to the boat to catch up on some sleep.

Later in the afternoon we tidied up and washed the salt off Morphie before heading into town – coming across the Aquaduck on the way.

We went to the Surf Club as this is one of our favourite places here. Last visit we had won a $50 voucher in the raffle so had some credit to spend – so we had a very reasonable dinner and a few drinks before wandering back to the Wharf where we had a final pontoonie in the Savy Squire which was pretty empty and completely lacking in any ambience. Oh well, never mind, we had had a good evening so we wandered back to the marina for the night.

Monday morning we were up early and did some more cleaning and tidying up before walking to the local fish market so that we could stock up.

We then returned to Morphie, cut the fillets to size and put them in the freezer, before heading out again to the Wharf where we got the bus to the Kawana Mall. First stop the chemist for a month’s supply of medication; then Coles for fresh fruit and vegetables plus a few other staples; then on to the food court for a recuperative milkshake; then the bottle shop for a box of beer; and finally to the taxi rank to return to the marina. Was interesting to see all the Christmas clothing on sale – clearly shirts / jackets / dresses / teeshirts of all shapes and sizes festively decorated appear to be all the rage. Really, it is not even December yet!!! All seemed much too premature for us….

Back on board we stowed all our supplies and had a quiet night in. There has been a lot of rain and some rumbles of thunder but nothing more than that, thankfully!

Today, Tuesday, we are meeting Mike and Karen (SV Island Girl) who live nearby, so that should be fun despite the rainy weather. Wednesday we are heading out of Mooloolaba to continue our journey south. Annoyingly the wind is turning south later in the week so we are going to pull into a marina in Manly for the weekend until the wind direction changes in our favour again and we can continue towards the Gold Coast.

Looks like the interstate border between Queensland and New South Wales is on target to open on 17 December. But there is negative commentary about QLD requiring negative Covid tests at a cost of $145 per person to enter or re-enter the state (taken 72 hours in advance). Covid tests are free and paid for by Medicare to those that are showing symptoms so wonder whether this announcement will mean that people will change their behaviours and claim to be symptomatic. After all, $580 for a family of four is a lot of unexpected cash to find on top of the cost of their trip. This requirement is out of step with other states although Northern Territories have just announced the same deal this morning. Anyway, it is looking good for our January visit to NSW but fingers remain firmly crossed for no further hurdles to be put in our way. Lots of news on international borders reopening but it is only to specific visa holders / students and not every state is agreeing with the Federal Government so still a pretty confused picture over here.

Anyway that’s about it for now. Another Australian cutie and continuing with the Christmas theme, here is a koala suitably attired but not sure he is looking too happy about it LOL.

Bye for now, Jan

Our week in Bundaberg

Sunday morning (7 November) we got busy in preparation for departing from Keppel Bay marina, so we got rid of the rubbish; conducted engine checks; filled up with water; flushed the watermaker; and headed out of the marina towards Great Keppel Island. We were being followed by Lynne and Andrew on SV Mischief. Well, it was horrible, really lumpy and bumpy and we were very grateful to get into the anchorage with our anchor set.

We spotted SV Begonia so got in touch with them – they were out walking – so Maryanne and Kyle came by for a chat after they had finished their trek. It was great to catch up with them after more than a year! We then headed to the beach to have sundowners with quite a big cruising crowd. Was a lot of fun.

Monday morning, at 11am, we picked up our anchor and headed out to sea. It was cloudy, grey and it started raining….so not great conditions….but the sea was completely flat and the wind was blowing pretty hard so we had a really fantastic downwind sail.

We had dinner in the cockpit around 5pm, saw the sun go down on a stormy day, and started our overnight shifts.

Thankfully the rain held off for a while but the lack of sun during the day meant that our batteries needed a bit of a boost so we motorsailed for an hour to top them up. We swapped shifts again and for the three hours between midnight and 3am on Tuesday morning it absolutely poured with rain, there was thunder, lightning strikes on the water and lots of tankers which certainly kept me on my toes. As Richard came on shift at 3am, as though someone had flicked a switch, the rain stopped. Typical! By the time I came up again around 5.30 am the wind had died so we ended up motor sailing towards Bundaberg. As we approached the river entrance the wind picked up to 9 knots so we enjoyed the last bit of our sail before turning into the channel. Of course, as we entered the river, the wind started howling and we had 20+ knots to get into our slip. Thankfully there was assistance on the dock and we made it in safely by around 10ish. Phew! Another 132 mile overnight passage successfully completed.

Our first job was to take the anchor chain off the boat – it had got a bit rusty in places, although still in good order – so we had decided to get it re-galvanised here in Bundaberg. So we sorted that out and took the chain to the chandlery who do a delivery / collection service to the factory. Very interested to see how it comes back. Later in the afternoon we headed to the Cruisers Cove area of the marina for fish and chips and enjoyed the company of Helen and Buddy (SV Desire) who had also done the overnight passage down the coast.

We then headed back to Morphie to catch up on our sleep. We then had a quiet night in, although it wasn’t that restful with torrential rain and thunderstorms all around us.

Wednesday morning Richard headed out to see the stainless guy taking with him the burner caps from our cooker. He left them there and we then had breakfast out in the marina’s Baltimore restaurant. And very nice it was too!

After a bright start, it turned cloudy and grey again and then the heavens opened. So we spent the rest of the day down below hiding from the rain doing some paperwork and generally just lazing around. Richard headed back out to see the guy only to come back with the finished product – amazing job! Very happy customers. We then had another quiet night in.

Thursday it continued to rain so we carried on with admin sort of tasks down below. In the late afternoon we met Buddy and Helen in the Cruisers Cove for sundowners and a few games of UNO – which they had never played before – but quickly got the hang and we had lots of laughs together. Oh yes, and my boat-made smoked mackerel pate went down a treat!

Friday morning we got the call to say that our chain was back in the marina. So we went to the chandlery to collect it – wow it looked good! We then laid it up and down the dock so that we could redo the length markings. Then we rethreaded it through the windlass and back into the anchor locker along with a new shackle.

At this stage we hadn’t finished the job but it started to rain again – with all this no worries about having to clean the salt off the boat LOL. We had a late breakfast out and then spent the rest of the afternoon keeping out of the rain. In the evening we went to the Friday night BBQ at the Cruisers Cove where the marina supply the meat and cruisers bring their own drinks and a plate to share. Was another fun evening with Buddy and Helen and others. And, of course, I completely forgot to take any photos!

Saturday morning Richard was busy splicing the rode to the anchor chain sitting on the edge of the locker. So I started the stainless steel cleaning and polishing avoiding the bow sprit to keep out of his way. Here he is hard at work….

By the time I had done both starboard / port sides back to the ‘gates’ Richard had finished so he did the bow for me. Here is Morphie looking all shiny again.

We then had a late lunch onboard before heading to the Lighthouse Tavern in Burnett Heads. They do a free collection in their minibus so we didn’t even have to walk there and back – result!

We had a nice evening (and used their superfast free wifi to do some more Netflix downloads). But were a bit surprised to find a full-on Christmas office party in swing in one of the areas with all the workers dressed in fancy dress. Seemed a tad early or what LOL?!?

Sunday morning we both carried on with stainless cleaning – this time from the gates back through to the arch and got this done.

We then rested up for a while before tidying up down below and then welcoming Helen and Buddy onboard for sundowners. Another really nice social evening with them.

This morning, Monday, we’re both sitting outside the marina office taking in the nice weather whilst the laundry is getting done.

I’m blogging whilst Richard is catching up with various online content. Since we’ve been sat here we have been joined a couple of times by our “neighbour” who is looking to keep busy as their boat has just been hauled out – her husband is still on board. The sad story is that they hit bottom – hard – in an anchorage called 1770 – and had cracked their catamaran hull / bulkheads both inside and out. Significant damage in that they were taking on water and none of the cupboards now closed. The purpose of the haul was for an insurance assessor to assess the damage. Of course they are liveaboards so she was worried about where they were going to be sleeping tonight or even where they were going to be living whilst the boat is being repaired. Well, we had a chat in the laundry and she has just now returned to confirm that the insurers have written off the boat. An absolute disaster in their first cruising season but it is definitely the right result as they can walk away and start another chapter. Absolutely devastating for them though and she definitely needed some support so glad I could be there to help her talk it through and provide a supportive hug. Our hearts go out to them.

We’ve just had some fish and chips – very naughty but nice – and then we are going to have a quiet night in once we have done our navigation / engine checks etc in preparation for tomorrow’s early morning departure. We are heading towards Fraser Island taking the opportunity to get a little further south before the winds switch again mid week and are hoping to anchor off Kingfisher Resort again and perhaps even a bit of beach time.

In the meantime, we continue to monitor the vaccination rates here in Queensland which are steadily improving and it is looking more likely that the border with NSW will be open for us to visit my family in January. The earlier opening is for people travelling by air only. But things change rapidly so keeping everything flexible crossed. Restrictions about to be introduced for non-vaccinated people are pretty draconian so reckon it is a carrot and stick approach to the situation here, although they haven’t gone so far as Singapore who have just announced that non-vaccinated people will have to pay for their own healthcare if they are taken ill. Will be interesting to see what happens next in Australia as more freedoms are introduced generally.

Anyway, that’s it for now folks. We are continuing to enjoy Queensland and looking forward to returning to our ‘home’ base at the Boatworks towards the end of the month. Take care of each other and lots of love and hugs. Today’s cutie is a Western Pygmy Possum – enjoy!


Having fun in the Keppels

Friday afternoon and evening (30 October) the wind was howling through the rigging and we were nodding up and down so decided this wasn’t the day to get the dinghy down and go exploring Great Keppel Island after all. So we had a movie night on board.

Saturday morning, after breakfast in the cockpit, Richard spotted a dinghy floating out to sea and realised that it had come off the boat behind us followed by a swimmer in the water who obviously thought they could retrieve it. Although the swimmer had fins on it he wasn’t making any headway into the chop and the other guy on board threw a lifesling out but it missed the mark. This was looking serious, so as fast as we could, we dropped dink and Richard sped off to assist. First stop was the guy in the water – who was so exhausted he need to recover before he could even climb into dink. Then, the guy safely aboard and him now resting in the bow of the dinghy, Richard sped off after the dinghy. Luckily he caught it as it continued to travel quite quickly out to sea. So secured behind, he towed the dinghy back towards their boat – picking up the lifesling on the way – and then depositing them back at their boat. The guy in the water had been in serious trouble and thanked Richard for saving his life! Phew, some worrying moments, but thankfully this international rescue ended well.

After all that excitement, Richard took a while to recover himself, before we headed over to the beach for the afternoon and had a lovely bobbing session in the clear and warm water keeping an eye on Morphie in the anchorage. Was a really nice way to end the day. Back on board we had showers followed by an early night.

Sunday morning we were up very early to weigh anchor and leave Great Keppel Island behind. We had been told by the Keppel Bay Marina that our berth was available at any time so we motored in light airs across a glassed-out sea for a couple of hours and pulled in around 9.30 am.

We slowly headed down the fairway towards our allocated slip to find that, despite assurances, the berth was already occupied so Richard had to do a very quick turn around which he managed really well. At this stage, we were both very relieved that the forecast strong winds hadn’t yet kicked in. We were then reallocated a berth – up by the fishing boats – and got ourselves tied up with some assistance from Andrew (SV Mischief) and Ron (marina staff). We then headed into the office and paid for our berth on a pay five, stay seven, night basis. We also booked our two hour courtesy car slot for Friday morning.

We quickly got some boat jobs done: washed down all the anchor chain with fresh water and renewed some of the chain markers; sluiced out the bilges; reinstalled the chain in the locker and then washed the boat down. Trying to connect to shore power we had some problems but a fisherman on another pedestal was having the same issue so clearly a general one rather than a Morphie specific one. Luckily we got it sorted out and, around 4pm, we headed over to the Capricornia Cruising Yacht Club (CCYC) where we met up with Mark and Marion (SV Zenna) and Andrew and Lynne (SV Mischief). The wind, by now, was howling and storm clouds were threatening with many waves splashing over the docks. Beyond the entrance to the marina we could see significant whitecaps so we were all pretty pleased to be sheltered inside. There was a live band playing which was incredibly loud so conversation was a challenge so we moved slightly further away to join a big table of cruisers and had a really fun evening with even a dance at the end! It turned out to be quite a late night too!

Monday morning we were up very early as we had arranged to meet Lynne and Andrew at 7.30 am for breakfast in The Waterline (the marina’s on-site restaurant). Andrew is currently working from his boat hence the really early start. After a lovely breakfast we headed back to Morphie still feeling pretty weary so just chilled out on our return.

In the afternoon Caitlin and Nick (SV Mahana) came by. Their autopilot course computer had died and they had raised the issue online as supplies of all sorts of goods (particularly from the USA) being shipped into Australia have been severely impacted by the pandemic. We had tried to get some spares from the USA ourselves in the few weeks to be told ‘no can do’ right now. So really felt for them especially as they were quoted the earliest date of arrival as January 2022 – that’s a long time to hand steer!!!! As we actually had a spare on board (kept when we upgraded our electronics in New Zealand) we offered it to them to see if it would be any good – it was compatible with their system so we agreed to part with it. They drove all the way from Bundaberg to pick it up (a four hour trip each way) and, having passed it over, we had a coffee with them before they headed back with their precious cargo. Obviously we were concerned that this might not be the answer to their problem but, have since heard, that it is working really well so very happy it worked out for them.

During the afternoon we had power problems again so turned the wind generator back on and relied on that and solar for the rest of the day. During the evening the wind really picked up and the lines on the dock were straining and we even heeled over at one point – very glad we weren’t out there on anchor! The winds were much stronger than forecast – in the mid 30s – so were pleased we had decided to come into the marina to sit it out.

Tuesday morning we had a late start and got ourselves ready to go out as we were going to Emu Park for the Melbourne Cup. Walking to the bus stop through The Waterline restaurant we were really surprised by how busy it was with lots of fancy outfits and hats – even though there isn’t even a screen here to watch the race – clearly it is an ‘event’ in everyone’s calendar LOL.

Anyway, we met up with Mark and Marion and after a short bus journey headed into The Pine Beach Hotel, known as The Piney. This tavern has the normal Australian set up of pokies / betting booths / TV screens etc. We were very lucky to get a table and had some pub grub for lunch before placing our bets for the race.

We failed to win anything but thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere…. Marion did manage to pick up a third place so she was happy LOL. We then headed back on the bus to the marina and had a pontoonie in The Waterline before saying our farewells. At this point Richard decided it was too early to return to the boat so we ended up going over to the CCYC for yet another pontoonie! Was such a fun day.

Wednesday we got up late and headed out to The Waterline for coffee before walking down the quay to the fish market. We managed to pick up some nice fresh fish for Richard and, for the first time in Australia, I managed to find some smoked mackerel so intend to make some pate with that at some stage…. And that was it for the day.

Thursday I headed out on the bus alone to Yeppoon. First stop was the pharmacy to drop off our prescriptions so that I could collect them later. Then I walked along the promenade – enjoyed watching the kids playing in the Kraken water park – before crossing over to find the hairdressers which was tucked away up an alley and above a fish and chip shop. I was quickly looked after and was very happy with the result of the cut and colour. I then walked back to the pharmacy, collect our medications, popped into the bakers and made my way back to the bus stop to return to the marina.

While I had been in town Richard and been cleaning and, on my return, we sat down and looked at the weather forecast so that we could plan our future anchorages. Well, this was not good news. There are a couple of lows moving around so bringing with them unsettled weather – with lots of rain, strong winds and the chance of thunderstorms.

Hmmmm…..what to do?!? Well, we wanted to get our anchor chain re-galvanised and we know that Bundaberg is the place to do that – which is just an overnight sail from here. So thought that maybe, if we need to sit out more weather, perhaps we should do it there because at least we can tick this job off the list….

In the evening we headed out to Beaches for dinner – this is highly recommended with great reviews so thought it would be really nice. Well, the service was lovely, and the company was great. The food was alright although not outstanding and quite expensive. Never mind, a fun evening had by all.

Friday morning we headed out in the courtesy car into Yeppoon and did some provisioning before returning to Morphie and packing it all away.

Then we started on our long list of things to organise and managed to get booked into Bundaberg for the week from next Tuesday. We also spoke to the company that does the re-galvanisation and they can accommodate us. So that was good news. On a roll, we booked into Sanctuary Cove for Christmas and New Year – having thoroughly enjoyed it last year – and booked a hire car to visit Jamie and his family in New South Wales in January. Fingers crossed! Obviously the border might not open but a ‘covid restrictions’ cancellation comes with no penalty and the deposit is carried forward to our next booking – so no risk. Apparently there is a lack of hire cars in Australia right now and the prices are spiralling, particularly in school holiday periods, so we felt very happy to have got this ticked off the list. We also did some other admin type things as this is the time of year that our annual insurances become due – house, car and yacht – so working our way through renewals of all these policies too. Phew!

In the evening we headed over to the CCYC and met the gang again – Friday night is dinner night there and the volunteers cook for the club. We had a table of nine and, without the live music, being seated on a round table we got the chance to chat. Was another really good evening.

This morning, Saturday, and we’ve stripped everything and done the laundry. We have had lunch out at The Waterline and are now back on board. Engine checks etc to be done later and we’ll have a quiet night in tonight in preparation for our departure tomorrow.

Tomorrow we’ll head over to Great Keppel Island for the night and on Monday we’ll depart for Bundy, expecting to be pulling into the marina around noon on Tuesday (which is slack high tide). The wind could be quite strong but it will mostly be a downwind run so should be fun! Let’s just hope the forecast is correct this time….

So that’s about it for now folks. Nothing much else to say other than we really look forward to having reunions with you all at home in 2022. Take care of each other and stay safe – this pandemic continues to be a serious threat to everyone – so please be careful. Lots of love as always. So today’s cutie is a really beautiful Fairy Wren which can be found throughout Eastern Australia.

Bye for now Jan