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….