Another week on the hook in Moreton Bay

Friday (26th February) we moved up the coast of Moreton Island from the Sandhills anchorage to Tangalooma Wrecks which is just north of the Tangalooma Island Resort. This resort is private and doesn’t allow visitors (other than registered guests) to their facilities so off limits to us and definitely seemed pretty busy with the amount of times we saw the little helicopter take off for a short scenic trip around the bay.

The wrecks are 15 ships deliberately scuttled by the Queensland Government between 1964 and 1984 to provide a safe anchoring spot for boats on the eastern side of Moreton Bay. Coral is now starting to form around the wrecks and it provides a haven for a variety of species so is a popular spot for snorkellers from the nearby private resort. This anchorage is only tenable with an easterly element to the wind so we were delighted to have the right conditions to finally make it there.

We found a good spot near enough to the wrecks to go exploring but far enough away not to be in the way of the huge amount of boats that come through here bringing day trippers. There are also people camping on the sandy spit across from the wrecks who come over on the ferry in their 4WD campers. It was pretty busy and we hadn’t seen so many tourists having fun in a very long time with lots of people bobbing in the crystal clear shallow water, it was the closest we had come to being back at Jost van Dyke, just without the bars! Oh yes and check out the tourist playing with a motorised surf board…

We quickly got dink down and enjoyed dinghying around looking at the wrecks (although a bit concerned by the absestos signage on one) and, despite lots of warnings about the dangers, of course lots of people decided to climb on them too.

We then headed ashore and went bobbing ourselves. After a few hours we were back on board being rocked and rolled around by the huge ships as they pass by in the nearby shipping channel – which is the main deep-water channel into Brisbane. But wasn’t bad enough to make us want to move on.

We just enjoyed being there and particularly watching the ships go through against the backdrop of a beautiful sunset. And, of course, in any popular tourist spot we had the usual anchoring shenanigans and it was clear that one particular charter catamaran didn’t have a clue about how to go about it. Thankfully they gave up and moved away from us – phew! During the evening in the cockpit we also watched one of the 4WD vehicles (that trippers drive along the beach to the campsite) get stuck in the sand… lots of people watching going on.

Saturday morning it was raining….seriously….here we are in the most beautiful anchorage and it’s raining again. Not happy! Thankfully it cleared up quite quickly and we just floated around over our anchor as there was also no wind. We were then furiously tipped from side to side from the wake of a bunch of jet skis going through the anchorage at top speed. They definitely do this deliberately….oh well….never mind. Again there were more anchor shenanigans as the day trippers arrived. We went ashore and bobbed in the crystal clear water and talked to a brother and sister who were out for the weekend. While we were chatting we noticed a catamaran getting too close to Morphie which made the people on board panic a bit but, before we could even get in our dinghy to get back out there, they had picked up anchor and left. They were clearly embarrassed by anchoring too close to us which proved to be their undoing when the wind picked up and we all swung in different ways. Thankfully they didn’t touch.

We had another evening in the cockpit watching the sunset. Later on we checked out our emails and we had received one from AmEx about a possible fraud. So I quickly phoned them (as it was now eight in the morning in the UK) and, yes, someone had tried to use this card at Argos. Luckily Amex spotted this transaction and it was declined, the card was immediately cancelled, and another one ordered to be delivered to Australia in due course. Really great service. Does make you wonder though where the card was cloned.

Sunday morning it was raining first thing and we were rocking and rolling even more with large numbers of ships moving through the channel. Then the trippers started arriving and we decided enough was enough, so picked up anchor and headed back to the Sandhills anchorage where we were completely on our own. Was really lovely so we enjoyed the peace and quiet just sitting in the cockpit watching the birdlife after the hectic madness of the last few days.

We then received the terrible news that my Mum’s friend, Anne McCafferty, had passed away (from Covid). Was really upset by this, especially as Anne and her husband Charlie had been so supportive to me when we lost Mum and they had both been part of my life for almost 50 years. So was quite a tearful evening. RIP Anne, you were taken far too soon, but hope that you are enjoying your reunion (not to mention a cup of tea and game of scrabble) up there with Mum. We will miss you greatly and send lots of love and our deepest condolences to Charlie and the rest of the family for their loss.

Monday morning first thing it was rather cloudy and grey so we spent the time below and submitted our completed visa applications. We also received the news that our Federal Police Checks had been completed and our certificates were being posted to us. We then received our bridging visas, almost by return, with news that the process of issuing visas was currently taking 5-7 months but at least we are now legal when our current 12 month visas expire on 13 March. It’s unbelievable that we been here in Australia for almost a year.

Later on we moved anchorage from Sandhills to Horseshoe Bay, Peel Island. Still grey, cloudy and no wind and it was officially the first day of Autumn. Let’s hoping Autumn weather is more settled than Summer LOL. As there was no solar gain nor wind we had to run the generator – for the first time for a long time – to top up the batteries. We had a quiet night on board.

Tuesday morning and it was lovely – we picked up anchor and headed back towards Canaipa to time our arrival with high tide to get through the winding shallow passage. We arrived at Tipplers and got a really good spot. There was an Australian catamaran behind us – SV Bonafide – so, when we dropped dink, headed over to say hello and to let them know that we had deliberately anchored in preparation for the expected wind to swing us away from them. They were comfortable with our position and then invited us for sundowners that evening. Smashing, thank you very much! We headed ashore for a quick snack and, of course, an essential wallaby visit. Headed back to Morphie we got ourselves cleaned up, packed some goodies, and headed over to see Andy and Bec – who are both British but have lived in Australia for decades. We had a very enjoyable few hours with them while a thunderstorm raged around us but thankfully didn’t come too close.

Wednesday morning it was raining, it was cold, it was grey and again no solar input so we ran the generator and chilled out down below. We got word from the Australian immigration that we needed to have visa medicals so I organised those for next week. We also needed to go to a Centrelink office to get our Medicare card validity extended so started getting the documents together in preparation for that. Later on we heard from Tom and Diane (SV Avalon) that they were camping at Tipplers and had just spotted Morpheus out in the anchorage. Fantastic news! So we invited them for sundowners later and were also joined by Andy and Bec. We had a fun social evening on board and it was great to see Tom and Diane again.

Thursday morning we weighed anchor early and, by eight, we were heading out of Tipplers on our way back to the Boatworks. Despite the horrendous conditions of 30+ knot winds and torrential rain enroute we made good time and arrived to find a small motorboat in our allocated berth. So the marina guys quickly jumped onboard and moved it to another place while we did 360s in the river. After about 10 minutes the slip was ready for us and we went in gingerly as the wind was pushing us away from the dock and towards another boat but we made it in successfully with no drama. Phew!

We quickly washed Morphie down, got the electricity plugged in, put the canvas back on and headed to the showers. After getting ourselves cleaned up we went to pick up our courtesy car to drive to Southport to visit the Centrelink / Medicare office. Well, my last experience of this place was horrendous with queues out the office and up the street to then meet the most unhelpful woman I have ever had the pleasure to meet! I had pre-warned Richard but, of course, the reality this time was very different. No queues anywhere and a very helpful woman who told us we had to reapply for another card. Wow, what a difference. Anyway, we took a seat and completed the new forms and then returned to the desk – the woman checked the form was completed properly; took photocopies of our passports, current live visas, bridging visas; and that was that. She would now send them off to be processed and the new cards should be in the post within a couple of weeks. What a difference to last time. So very grateful this happened so easily and quickly so we headed back up the M1 to the Boatworks and treated ourselves to a celebratory coffee and a cake in the Galley after we had returned the car. We also picked up a couple of parcels that had been delivered and one was Richard’s new replacement (free of charge) Balmar products. This made Richard very happy indeed! So guess that is one job for the weekend while we are here.

We then had a quiet afternoon and evening on board – feeling a bit weary – and enjoyed the peace and quiet of the marina as we are surrounded by boats for sale with nobody on board so it is just us on the dock.

This morning, Friday, I’m blogging and Richard has just been to collect his new Yanmar fresh water coolant pump for the engine. He’s very happy with his shiny new acquisition.

This afternoon I have a doctor’s appointment – just to pick up prescriptions – so will get a few things whilst out and about and that will be it for the day. We have a car for the weekend so we can get ourselves provisioned up in preparation for returning to Sanctuary Cove Marina on Monday. Really looking forward to it.

News from home seems to be about the same with some nervousness over new Covid strains and the efficacy of the vaccines against them. Plus, of course, tax hikes in the latest budget to pay for it all. We just hope that the lockdown programme will continue on track and you will all be able to have more freedom at home soon. So sending more love, hugs, and another Australian cutie to make you smile. This one is a sugar glider which is a tiny lemur-like tree-dwelling flying marsupial that feeds on wattle gum and eucalyptus sap.