Being social in Hope Island Marina

Monday morning (14 March) we headed over to A pier to meet Ernest on SV Crossbones where he made us tea and force fed us TimTams LOL. I returned to Morphie while Richard and Ernest headed out to the Gold Coast City Marina on a mission to buy some good quality varnishing brushes.

While Richard was away I removed the three dorades and started rubbing down the red paint which had started to peel and flake.

When Richard came back he did some varnish keepers on the rail. We then relaxed while waiting for them to dry before I removed the tape and reinstated the dorades back onto the coach roof. Jobs finished for the day we then had a quiet night on board.

Tuesday morning Richard undertook some sewing repairs whilst I cleaned the saloon fans. Then I cleaned the stainless dorades before removing the tape off the varnish keepers. Boat jobs done yay! In the afternoon we took ourselves off to the tiny Hope Island shopping mall and used the free wifi to do some Netflix downloads. And that was it for the day.

Wednesday I went shopping whilst Richard tidied up – then we chilled out and relaxed – before welcoming Ernest on board for a Mrs Mac’s curry night. It was a fun evening and, of course, I forgot to take photos….sigh…..

Thursday we didn’t do much either, just relaxing after all those weeks of hard physical graft. I did a bit of shopping and then in the evening we welcomed Barb and Russell (SV Happy Hour) on board for sundowners. Was lovely to catch up with them again although didn’t realise Russell was quite so evil until he beat us all playing Uno Flip LOL. Was a lot of fun.

Friday was a laundry and cleaning day. In the evening we met Maryanne and Kyle (SV Begonia) and had a Thai dinner sitting on the rail overlooking the marina. Was great to finally catch up with them properly.

Saturday we had a lazy start and then we were picked up by Maryanne and Kyle and driven out to the Mount Nathan Winery – which is family owned and run. We had a lot of fun with the tastings and to my real surprise I really enjoyed their blueberry honey wine. It is really a liquor so we didn’t buy any of that, just a nice bottle of Sauvignon Blanc plus a bottle of bubbles to come away with.

After the tasting session, which was very entertaining, we headed out to sit on the outside deck quaffing wine and eating cheese whilst admiring the gorgeous views into the valley. We chatted, watched the birds, and just thoroughly chilled. It was a really really nice way to spend the afternoon and it was lovely of Maryanne and Kyle to ask us to join then – particularly as they were driving LOL.

After a late start on Sunday we met Sandra and Nigel at the Blue Water restaurant and enjoyed a really good meal – I had the amazing ribs, just can’t get enough of those! There was live music and the young woman had a good voice which was enthusiastically clapped and cheered on by supporters so was a bit loud at times but certainly plenty of good people watching opportunities and a great atmosphere. After a leisurely lunch we headed back to Morphie and enjoyed the rest of the evening together.

Monday was spent relaxing until we headed up the dock to have sundowners with Clive and Ann on SV Ishara. Ishara is a Little Harbour 50 – another American-built boat – which is absolutely beautiful. If we were in the market we would definitely be interested in her as she is up for sale. Have never seen one of these before and OMG just simply amazing! We enjoyed sitting in their cockpit as the sun went down before returning to Morphie for a quiet night in.

Tuesday we did some errands and some paperwork that needed looking at and, again, Ernest very kindly drove us around. On return we just chilled for the rest of the day before heading back to the Blue Water bar and grill for our dinner. The sunset was absolutely spectacular with really calm flat water in the marina. We didn’t realise it was “two for one night” on both food and drink so that was even better. As we finished our dinner a guy turns up and starts to introduce a musical bingo evening. Free to enter and fun to play – a bit like “name that tune” but having to mark them off on printed bingo cards. Luckily the music was based in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s so we had a chance to recognise most of them LOL. And, of course, we didn’t win anything….

Today, Wednesday, not much going on although we are meeting Ernest for dinner tonight so looking forward to that. Tomorrow the excitement is building as we plan to return to the Boatworks (by dinghy up the river) to pick up some pieces at the chandlery so will take the opportunity to see some friends and just generally swan around LOL.

Oh yes and because we have had some settled weather of late, today, we find that the damn Australian weather is about to bite us again. The East Coast has been warned of another extended rain bomb coming our way – just what people need after the devastation caused from the last floods! Fingers crossed that it isn’t as bad as predicted….

So that wraps up this blog. At the minute, at home, some friends are dealing with the most shocking and devastating situation, so please just look after yourselves and each other. We love you all and send lots of hugs. So on that somber note, it is time for your Australian cutie to make you smile – this one is a pufferfish and one of my favourites to see when diving. How can you not love this really cute little face?!?

Bye for now, Jan

Leaving The Boatworks for Hope Island Marina

Friday (4 March) we received an unexpected call from the office to say that a UTE was available, having put ourselves on the waiting list for a weekend courtesy vehicle previously. So at 4pm we went along to pick it up. We then headed out to the shops quickly before returning to the liveaboard BBQ area for the evening.

Saturday morning Richard headed out to the chandlery at the Gold Coast City Marina (next door to the Boatworks) as he wanted some boot tape for the mast and the on-site chandlery didn’t have it. He also did a run to Bunnings…. While he was out I headed to the new Hair Works Barber and Massage place adjacent to Garage 25 and had the most amazing massage – after all the physical hard work we had been doing this was a great boost to my back and neck!

Later on we taped up the mast boot – we had ordered a custom sunbrella one when we had the rigging done but this had failed to materialise – so we had told the guys not to bother. So we cleaned up the original boot, cleaned out the drain hole, and then taped it up. And it looked pretty good so we were happy with the result. Afterwards we did a general tidy up and then had a quiet movie night in.

Sunday morning we met up with Kyle and Maryanne (SV Begonia) who we had originally met crossing the Pacific in 2017 and had been bumping into them ever since (not literally!). But this season we had missed them by days / hours on numerous occasions so made the effort to catch up over breakfast at The Galley….and very nice it was too. Of course I completely forgot to take any photos of our reunion but did manage to get a picture of this beautiful Mercedes in the car park LOL.

We quickly returned to Morphie to get changed and waited for Lester and Helen (SV Joule) to pick us up to take us to The Southport Yacht Club for the inaugural Down Under Island Packet Yacht Owners’ mini-vous lunch.

Attendees from back to front: Keith and Robyn (SV Segwun), Lester and Helen (SV Joule), us then Lee (SV Nautilee) plus her esteemed guest Rob Mundle, OAM. Rob is a well-known sailor here in Australia and his media background as a television and newspaper journalist has led him being recognised as ‘the voice of sailing’ in Australia. He is also a well known author of sailing books – in fact, Richard is currently reading his narrative on the 54th Sydney to Hobart Race right now….

Oh yes, we even had a raffle with the prizes kindly donated by Hayden and Radeen in the USA….and we even won a t-shirt! Thanks to Lester and Helen for organising – was great fun.

Arriving back on Morphie the heavens opened and we had a huge thunderstorm so sat tight for a while. Then the skies cleared somewhat, we were treated to a lovely rainbow, and we quickly got ready and headed to the BBQ area to meet Russell and Barb (SV Happy Hour) as it was our last night at The Boatworks. We had a great evening together watching the spectacular lightning show as storms continued to come through the area.

Monday morning we cleared the dock, got the cans back onboard, and returned our keys to the office and said our farewells to The Boatworks. We then moved to Hope Island Marina – literally 20 minutes down the Coomera river – and pulled into F10 dock where Ernest was waiting to catch our lines. We got ourselves tied up and headed to the office to check in and pick up our pontoon access keys before heading out to the attached shopping centre to grab a coffee with Ernest. We then did some shopping and returned to Morphie having first checked out the rather basic bathroom / laundry facilities. Definitely going to miss the Boatworks ensuites! Richard then reinstated the cans on the rail and we spent the rest of the day relaxing.

Tuesday morning I did a final sand and varnish of the sole in the forepeak before locking the master cabin door so we couldn’t walk on the floor by mistake! Richard cleaned, waxed and polished the cockpit while I did some modifications to some of my peek-a-boo blinds as a couple of them had come adrift in the very hot and humid conditions. Fingers crossed this will work. Whilst Richard continue to work hard in the cockpit I took myself off shopping to Coles for today’s dinner. As the supermarket is literally on the doorstep here we don’t see the need to have the freezer running as we can purchase fresh meat, fruit, vegetables and bread on a daily basis. We had another quiet night on board and slept in the stern cabin again overnight to avoid the varnish fumes….

Wednesday was another hot and humid day and I was delighted to see that the floor repairs were good so removed the tape and job done! I then took myself off shopping again whilst Richard installed a new fresh water pump to the fresh water head conversion. The conversion kit from salt water to fresh water had worked with fresh water now coming into the toilet but the flow wasn’t really strong enough so Richard added this to assist. This actually worked – woo hoo – good job! I was also pleased that my peek-a-boo changes had also survived the hot and sticky night so I quickly went round and adjusted all the others to match. Always feels so good when problems get resolved…

Thursday morning we did a spring clean / changed the beds etc. Later on Lester and Helen, picked us up to take us to the Paradise Point Bowling Club which had a roast dinner offering that evening. Had never been to a Green Bowling Club before – and certainly not one of that size – so was quite an interesting place. The roast beef was absolutely delicious, included a Yorkshire pudding, and we even had desert and a coffee too. Was a lovely evening with friends.

Friday morning we met up with Ernest and his friend Joe, who was visiting from Sydney. We all headed – in the rain – to the Westfield Coomera where Ernest had a specsavers appointment and we needed to go to the Commonwealth Bank. Jobs done we met up again and headed back to Garage 25 where Ernest and Joe wandered around the car museum before joining us to have a coffee. We then returned to Morphie via the shops for some provisions and spent the rest of the day on board relaxing.

Saturday morning I headed out early to do the laundry while Richard did some varnish keepers on the rail. He then did some spot cleaning of the stainless steel whilst I got on with sorting out some paperwork. The heat had dropped, thankfully, during the day and so our movie night on board was much more comfortable down below.

This morning, Sunday, and the weather is threatening rain so I’m blogging down below while Richard is cleaning and servicing the stern swim ladder as it is quite rusty. And that will probably be it for the day.

We are definitely coming home this year but, at this moment in time, we are just not sure when that will be. We miss you all and send lots of love and hugs. So today’s interesting and colourful Australian critter is a blue ringed octopus that lives in shallow coral reefs and rock pools. Normally pale yellow the blue rings appear as a warning when it feels threatened. Although not aggressive it carries enough posoin in its body to kill 25 adults within minutes. So a beautiful sea creature that definitely comes with a look but don’t touch warning!


A wet and wild week in Coomera, Queensland

Thursday (24 February) it rained cats and dogs for most of the day so we just took shelter down below although, in a quick break, the riggers turned up to tension the new standing rigging and replace the steaming light. Apart from that bit of excitement, we had a pretty lazy day keeping dry. Later on Russell and Barb came over for sundowners which was fun although they got a big soggy on the walk back to their boat!

Friday and it was raining again….sigh…. Further north there was news of bad flooding and we started to receive serious weather alerts for our area. Hmmm…. We had booked a courtesy car for three hours in the afternoon so we braved the elements and headed out shopping to Bunnings (of course) plus a trip to Coles etc before returning to Morphie. In the evening we headed up to the liveaboard area and joined in with the rest of the cruisers enjoying the complimentary meat on the BBQ from the Boatworks. Was another fun evening.

Saturday morning and it was still raining, the weather system had moved closer to us and the local news was horrendous. Most of the day it was white-out conditions in the river. So we just stayed below for the day.

Sunday the boat was really damp down below – not from leaks but from condensation caused by the boat being shut down with no air circulating – so we got the heater out from its cubby hole and had it running on full blast. We didn’t need the additional heat but it certainly helped dry the boat out somewhat! Watching the footage from the Brisbane River was un-believeable and distressing especially as reports came in about loss of lives; the main south / north motorway had been breached in many places so remained closed stranding people all over the place; and many towns were completely inundated and cut off. Just absolutely shocking.

Monday morning we were laying in bed when we heard a knock on the hull – around 7.30 ish. We had listened to the rain on the coach roof and having checked that the pilings, which hold the floating docks in position, still had some height left (they did at around 2m) we didn’t feel inclined to get up early. But it was Russell who had kindly waded down to warn us that the river was flooding! OMG we quickly got up, locked the boat up, and climbed up onto the walkway and then proceeded down into the flood water to wade across to get into the car park. It felt quite dodgy because, at this stage, the water was still rising and there was no way of telling where the river ended and the footpath started. Once safely back on terra firma we walked around the Boatworks and checked out the flooding…and this was before high tide! We found out later that the only damage here had been a houseboat which had broken free and had hit one of the Boatworks docks – sinking the houseboat and damaging the dock as it was pinned beneath….

Now off the boat, we decided to have a leisurely breakfast at The Galley, keeping an eye on Morphie tied securely to her berth, whilst we waited for the water to subside. The river was moving really fast and there was lots and lots of detritus floating down the river…. Luckily we were tucked into a berth that was relatively protected from the worst of the flow. Later on, once we could see the edge of the river again, we waded back to Morphie and settled back on board. Funnily enough, by now, the sun had come out and the wind had dropped off significantly. So we took the opportunity to play with the main sail now that the new standing rigging had been expertly tuned. And, yay, it all worked smoothly. I pulled the main out and refurled it on my own – then Richard had a go. We were both very happy that this issue had been resolved. Phew!

Oh yes and during the afternoon a wedding party turned up – by now the tide had gone down, the paths were clear of water and had been hosed clean of all the river mud – just in time. Didn’t get a photo of the bride and groom but check out their fancy wedding car!

Richard had, by now, decided to attack the fresh water head conversion again – he was not completely happy with it and having now found a specialist marine plumbers who had supplied some superior fittings he had decided to take it all apart again. This meant that the whole boat will be in chaos again so I decided to take myself off to the cruisers lounge to do more laundry and caught up with the local TV news. Absolutely awful scenes and terrifying stories being reported….. Just very grateful and thankful that both Morphie and ourselves were unharmed in all this mayhem. Later on we headed to the BBQ area again and, as we left the boat, the heavens opened. Please, no more, we have had enough! But it didn’t stop us having a nice social evening despite getting soggy on the walk there and back LOL.

Tuesday morning I tackled the forepeak sole again as it needed further coats of varnish whilst Richard continued to work on the plumbing. At 1pm we had a courtesy car booked and noticed that they were all parked up around 12.30pm so cheekily picked ours up early. We had to go to Centrelink to get our Medicare cards renewed – not something that can be done online for tourists eligible under the reciprocal health arrangement. Well, this office in Southport is always mega busy and we just hoped we could get back within the three hour car slot! We parked up, walked in to find only one person in front of us in the queue – but lots of people sitting around waiting to be called for an interview. So we weren’t sure what would happen but, as it turned out, the completed form I submitted was correct (having done this in advance), the guy checked our visas and we were done in about 10 minutes! Unbelievable. Just have to wait the two or three weeks for the renewal to be processed now. As we are on a bridging visa with no end date right now not sure how long they will renew it for – so it is a bit of a guessing game.

So, having more spare time than we thought we would have, we headed back to Bunnings (sigh, not again….) and then to Oxenford to do some shopping. Back on board we had a quiet movie night down below and, finally, the rain stopped.

Wednesday morning we awoke to a hot and sunny day. Yay! The riggers came by and fixed the steaming light (again) that was being temperamental and so, finally, job finished we paid their bill. We then concentrated on the topsides and cleaned, waxed and polished them. Was physical hard work but pleased to get this finished – the “To Do” list is definitely declining now LOL. And doesn’t she look shiny?!?

During the night we had more rain and thunderstorms with severe thunderstorm warnings issued early in the morning. Here we go again! Welcome to sunny Australia LOL.

Thursday morning, the river was full of debris and, because the flood current had abated somewhat this was being carried into the marina berths with the flow of the incoming tide so poor Morphie was sitting in very nasty water surrounded by lots of flotsam and jetsam. Oh well, what can you do?!?

The water levels in the river started rising with all this new rainfall but, thankfully, did not flood again. Phew! In the afternoon I left Richard working on the non-skid areas of the coach roof whilst I popped out shopping for a few days supplies. We had tried to get a courtesy car for the weekend but ended up on a wait list so thought I should get food in just in case. In the evening we headed to the liveaboard area for a BBQ and had another social evening. Seems like the place to be after a day of boat jobs LOL.

This morning, Friday, and I’ve just put another coat of varnish on the forepeak sole whilst Richard has worked hard waxing and protecting the anti-skid on the topsides. Luckily we have another dry day but, you won’t believe this, just north of us they find themselves clearing up from the floods but are now struggling in a heatwave. The weather here is just plain crazy! Anyway, that’s about it for the day. Tonight we are heading to the BBQ area again for another social evening with fellow cruisers.

It has been quite a dramatic and challenging week but thankful we made it through OK. This ‘rain bomb’ was apparently a ‘once in a decade’ event and trust us to be here for it. Sending our love and hugs to everyone at home. So it’s time for more weird Australia critters – these are called Cotton Harlequin bugs and are a pest to both the cotton industry and to gardeners more widely. They exude a pungent defensive fluid when threatened which repels birds but is one Australian critter that actually isn’t a danger to humans LOL. Not sure what I would think about meeting them in the flesh, but think they are actually rather pretty with their metallic armour….