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