A wet and wild week in Sanctuary Cove

Saturday (12 December) after I blogged, in a break from the relentless rain, we popped out for showers and a coffee. Richard also serviced the Whale bilge pump (only accessible from the lazarette) so he spent quite some time down the hole with me passing tools as required. Eventually, after a bit of huffing and puffing, he managed to get this done and it all worked beautifully. Fantastic job!

In the evening the downpours continued and the wind picked up so, before we retired for the night, we checked all our lines yet again. The forecast is really rather bad…. Here’s the wind forecast for Sunday.

Sunday morning and it rained hard all day. The gusts of wind were significant and we were glad that we had taken time to put some extra wraps on our genoa and staysail just in case. But while Morphie was fine (as we had prepared) the boat next door wasn’t! The guy had been on board the day before but had not done anything other than put out some more (unsecured) canvas so, of course, this promptly blew off but we were able to save it. Then the support pipes that are sewn into his cockpit canvas started to come out and were threatening to launch themselves at our hull so, once again in the pouring rain, Richard climbed on board and tied these in situ so they would stay put. Later on the neighbour’s top life lines broke under the pressure of the boat being pushed onto the dock by the wind. But Richard managed to re-secure all the fenders to the lower line to save the boat bashing against the dock. Very annoying when people don’t bother to prepare adequately for this type of weather event and it was not fun to end up having to deal with it by default in the terrible conditions. It’s not as if it wasn’t forecast!

Thankfully the Coomera River didn’t flood as we were worried about the forecast King Tide and, although the docks came closer to the top of the pilings than we had seen previously there was no risk that they were going to come uncoupled.

By now it was clear that this was an exceptional weather event and we just ended up having a Netflix binge session with occasional checking outside to make sure everything was OK. The noise down below from the torrential rain was really quite loud….just thankful we didn’t get the threatened thunderstorms too!

Monday morning and it was still raining and the winds were howling. Check out the rain forecast below.

By now reports were coming in of power outages; damaged boats; flooding; landslides; exceptional surf and sea foam conditions; dams inundated; and we were just thankful that we were OK. We didn’t record the actual wind speed that came through here – 50+ knots were forecast – but some others nearby recorded 72 knots, so definitely not an insignificant event. Check out these images from various local sources of conditions here in Queensland.

Tuesday morning and the rain started to clear in the late morning. Again there was another King Tide forecast so there was some concern over the river flooding on top from heavy and significant rainfalls further inland – to the extent that some of the dams were at full capacity. We took the opportunity to dry ourselves out, get some laundry done, and do a clean up. And that was about it for the day.

Wednesday it rained for most of the day so it was another lazy one down below. In the evening we headed out to the local Chinese restaurant for dinner but sadly it wasn’t that good! Never mind it was nice to be off the boat.

Thursday and it was still raining….. I braved the elements to head to the on-site supermarket to pick up some fresh fruit and vegetables. And that was about it again for another rainy day on board. Phew getting a bit fed up of this! But we shouldn’t complain. This is cyclone season here in the South Pacific and the first major storm of the season was barrelling towards Fiji as a massive Category 5 storm so we were concerned about the impact that would have on these lovely islands and their people. So all our thoughts were with them at this difficult time.

Friday morning and it was cloudy but dry. Woo hoo! So we got ourselves cleaned up and headed over to the Intercontinental Hotel lagoon pool for the day. Was lovely, especially bobbing around in the water, although we were concerned about a helicopter that kept circling and circling around low over the river….so wondered if this was some sort of search and rescue operation. And then the relative peace was broken by a man shouting that his baby had stopped breathing and he needed a doctor. The fear and anxiety was obvious from his voice. OMG. We stayed away from the main area as people were now running around and then we saw three police cars as well as an ambulance turn up to the back of the hotel. We just prayed that the outcome was a positive one.

On the way back to Morphie we stopped off at the Tavern for a snack supper and a couple of drinks. At this point we found out that there had been a large Covid outbreak in NSW which involved community transmission. So we are now waiting to find out what the Queensland Premier’s response will be to this – already Tasmania have closed their borders completely to NSW – and the Northern Beaches area have been declared a Covid hotspot. And on top of all that our local area back home in the UK is in a Tier 3 lockdown situation and it looks like a No Deal Brexit is probably on the cards….. What a year 2020 has been for everybody – don’t think anybody will be that unhappy to bid it farewell in a couple of weeks time!

So we just want to take this opportunity to wish everybody a very Happy Christmas! We’ll be thinking of all our family and friends so many miles away and will raise a glass to you all on the day. Take care and stay safe.