Enjoying the City of Townsville

Thursday (16th September) by 9.35 am, we had all our fenders and lines ready as we had confirmed our berth configuration over the phone, so weighed anchor, and headed out away from Magnetic Island towards the Breakwater marina in Townsville. There were a few ships and ferries around but we were able to stay out of the proper shipping lanes as we entered into the dredged channel to the marina but found the channel markers a little confusing as the green pole was actually red with just a little green triangle on the top to denote its status – we worked it out in the end – but had a few moments virtually at a standstill whilst we debated what to do!

We arrived into our slip at 12 noon having covered just over 12 miles and were met by a marina guy plus Chris and Sharon from SV Watusi who we hadn’t seen for a long while so that was a lovely welcome. We had a little chat with them and arranged to meet them for dinner later. We then got busy – Richard cleaned Morphie down to get rid of all the salt whilst I stripped everything and headed to the laundry. Finally, jobs done, we met Chris and Sharon and walked down The Strand (which is the sea-facing promenade here) and had dinner together at the Sea View Hotel. Was a lovely fun evening.

Friday morning we headed out in the opposite direction into the central business district to find the doctors clinic where we had appointments. Once we had located it we had a quick breakfast out before returning to the medical centre.

We duly completed our ‘new patient’ forms and sat down to wait (our appointments were back-to-back at 10 and 10.10). When Richard returned to hand his form into reception (having to queue yet again – this was a very busy place) he was informed that the doctor we had booked in for wasn’t actually in the clinic that day but they had scheduled us in with another one. Well, they did, but we had about another hour’s wait until we finally got seen and came out with new prescriptions in hand. That will sort out our problems in getting medication each month while we continue travelling. So very happy in the end despite the frustrations. We then headed to the nearby chemist warehouse to get the medications dispensed whilst we went shopping.

We then went shopping for fresh meat and fish as I always prefer to get these items frozen down whilst on shore power to save the drain on the house batteries. Jobs done we walked back to Morphie and had a couple of hours rest before heading to the marina BBQ area for the weekly cruiser get together. We were surprised by how many other cruising couples we had already met on our travels and had a nice evening, although I completely forgot to take any photos!

Saturday morning and I headed back into Townsville to have my hair cut and coloured – first time in a salon for quite a long while – and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. This brand new salon was tucked away on top of a few bars and restaurants in Flinders Street, so was quite a find!

Whilst I was out Richard had cleaned the boat down below so we were all spick and span again. We had a leisurely afternoon before getting ourselves cleaned up and headed out to meet up with Chris, Sharon, Steve, Jodie, Alan and Danielle at the end of the dock. We then walked into town, crossed the river, and headed to an Indian restaurant called Aalishan which had been recommended to us. The food was very good (and very reasonably priced) and we had a great time despite the somewhat at times chaotic service.

Walking back we decided to go to the pub to round off the evening and headed across the road in Flinders Street with Sharon and Chris (the others having decided to return to their boats) and, as we were checking in (which is mandatory at all venues in Queensland) we were then asked for a $10 per head cover charge. So we declined and walked away and went to Flynn’s Irish bar instead. This was a very loud venue with a poor sound system (which didn’t do the live band any favours) and there was, surprisingly, about 50 women (of all ages and sizes) queuing up to get in when we left after a single drink. Lock up your sons LOL!

Sunday morning we had a lazy start and headed out down The Strand around lunchtime. We enjoyed watching the kids playing in the free-to-use waterpark for a little while – with lots of families out and about having picnics etc in the beautiful surroundings.

We were actually looking for some lunch but, after the excesses of the night before, we didn’t want anything too heavy so ended up settling for a toasted sandwich at the local coffee shop. After our late lunch we headed across the road to the Longboard Bar which sits over the beach – chosen because they had advertised a live music session for the afternoon. So we took a seat and waited for the set to start. It was a single guy on a guitar who looked uninspiring so we didn’t really have any high expectations but he had both a good repertoire and a great voice which we thoroughly enjoyed listening to.

Suddenly, late afternoon, a lot of large muscular young men had taken seats at the bench next to us. Richard quickly worked out from some small visible logos and their distinctive accents that that they were the South African Springbok rugby team (the current World Champions) who had arrived into Townsville to play against the New Zealand All Blacks on Saturday night in a double header at the Queensland Country Bank Stadium as part of the Rugby Championship. On the same day the Australian Wallabies also play the Argentinian Pumas. We chatted to them for a little while and, as we have always wanted to see the All Blacks in action (having tried a couple of times and failed in New Zealand) we decided we’d look into whether it would be possible for us to get tickets to this event – although we tried not to get too excited as it was probably much too late in the day. Here are just a few of the Springboks who very kindly posed for me as evidence LOL.

Early on Monday morning we asked the marina if we could extend our stay (as we would need to be in the marina to get to the rugby). They are very busy but were able to accommodate us until the following Monday morning. Yay! Very excited we then booked our stadium tickets online and we are now going to the rugby on Saturday. Not the best seats in the house but OMG what a treat to look forward to – definitely something on our bucket list of things to do.

After we had all that sorted, we picked up the marina courtesy ute to go pick up our ‘click and collect’ order from Coles.

But on the way we headed up to the Castle Hill Lookout which gave us great views over the city (including the stadium), down to the two marinas (we are in the bigger of the two) and across to Magnetic Island. Then we headed off to Coles, collected the shopping, and returned to the marina where we unpacked and stowed everything. Then we took advantage of the marina wifi to download some Netflix content. After a mad social few days we had a quiet night in.

Tuesday morning I was up early as I was going shopping with Sharon (as Chris is working) so left Richard snuggled up in bed while we were dropped off at the Stockland shopping centre which was huge. So first stop was for some breakfast then we walked our legs off (and managed to get pretty much everything on our lists) until we arrived back at the coffee shop for some more refreshments whilst we waited for Chris to pick us up again. Had a really nice time.

When we got back to the marina Richard was getting ready to move Morphie to our new slip as another boat was waiting to get into our current slip. So I quickly jumped on board and helped whilst Chris and Sharon walked down to our new dock to help us in. They are quickly becoming our professional line handlers LOL. We then had a quiet afternoon and evening on board. During the evening and overnight the wind picked up and we had reports of up to 50 knots nearby but all was well here in the marina despite some creaking and moaning.

This morning, Wednesday, and I’m blogging whilst Richard has just come back after filling up our petrol cans on the fuel dock. And that will probably be about it for the day.

Things remain stressful at home for many of our friends and family so we just want to send more love, hugs, prayers and kisses to you all. Miss you all and here is another cutie to hopefully make you smile. FYI seals are native to South and West Australia.

Bye for now, Jan