More adventures in Moreton Bay

Friday morning (20 November) we had breakfast at the on-site cafe in the East Coast Marina before settling our bill and casting off towards Sandhills, an anchorage on Moreton Island. We have been waiting patiently for a particular weather window to visit this place so were delighted that, finally, the conditions were perfect. It was flat calm as we headed over there and got a really good anchor set in sand on arrival. Amazing views of the dunes and back towards Brisbane. We just enjoyed being back out on the hook again. We were even treated to a flypast during the late afternoon followed by an amazing sunset. It doesn’t get much better than this!

Saturday morning it was flat calm again and we were up early to see the sunrise.

We then took ourselves off on a little dinghy exploration and spotted a small eagle ray and a bin-sized southern stingray on our travels. We pulled up on the beach (which is full of tread marks as people drive along here and get stuck often LOL) and even enjoyed a bobbing session in the shallow beautiful waters.

Afterwards we headed over to Big Sandhills, deciding against climbing the dunes despite more hardy folks giving it a go, and enjoyed the scenery. Heading back towards Morphie we then poodled along the coast to the Small Sandhills and checked them out too. Had been a lovely day.

Sunday morning, as the wind was clocking north, we headed back across to Peel Island and had a nice four hour run checking out all the birds who sit quite happily on the channel markers.

We hung at the back of the fleet looking for deeper sand and got a good anchor set. The weather then started closing in on us and the fetch picked up so we decided not to go ashore. We were surrounded by lots of boats out for the day and, as they left, they were replaced by liveaboards looking for shelter in the strengthening winds. Despite the conditions and the inevitable rocking and rolling we had a good night’s sleep.

Monday morning the weather forecast had deteriorated again….sigh… we decided to head back towards the Canaipa passage to get some shelter from the wind. There was a small craft advisory for increasing winds and uncomfortable short-interval swells so being back in the river made a lot of sense. For the first time in a long while the wind was coming from the right direction and the sun was out so we had an absolutely amazing sail south to the entrance to the Canaipa Passage although was quite upset to see our neighbour from Peel (who had left the previous afternoon) stranded in the middle of the sandbanks. Not sure how he missed the well-buoyed channels and ended up there…..

Arriving in Canaipa – now motoring into the winding river system – the wind continued to howl and we carried on towards another favourite anchorage the Huts. But when we got there it was too exposed to the choppy conditions so we decided to continue on to Tipplers. This change of plan brought with it some challenges as we were now on a falling tide and some of the channels are pretty shallow – we saw less than 1ft under the keel at one point! We also saw another yacht stuck in the mud along our route and Facebook lit up with sad stories of groundings and rescues in the area so obviously lots of people had been caught out.

Thankfully we were able to get a good position in the Tipplers anchorage and a solid set in mud (with lots of scope out) and hoped for the best in the 30 knot winds and higher gusts that continued to blow through. We didn’t want to leave Morphie alone so decided not to go ashore….

During the evening I received the terrible news that Caroline, a special friend for 40 years, had succumbed in her long battle with cancer. This was not completely unexpected as we were in constant contact but it still hit me hard. Here is one of my favourite pictures of us both at The Ritz enjoying afternoon tea in January this year when we had a long girlie weekend in London to celebrate my 60th birthday. RIP Caroline you will be sadly missed but the amazing memories of our times together will live on forever.

Tuesday morning and the strong wind warnings persisted along with an increased CAPE (thunderstorms). So we decided to return a couple of days earlier than planned to the Boatworks. As we headed up the Coomera river the winds died and we wondered what was going on but, of course, the minute we got near our berth we were hit with 25 knots of breeze which made docking a bit exciting! We were relieved to be back tied up safely. During the afternoon the clouds built and the sky darkened until eventually the storms appeared – pretty dramatic lightning strikes and thunder – so we were, once again, grateful to be surrounded by much bigger masts LOL.

Wednesday morning we awoke to a cloudy and gloomy day. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at the Galley, being welcomed ‘home’ by the staff. After breakfast we headed to the on-site chandlery as we had decided to bite the bullet and purchase a Rocna anchor. Although our Lewmar Delta anchor was still in good condition and had served us well for many years throughout our travels, here in Queensland we had struggled to find good holding when we came across any sort of vegetation on the bottom and had dragged a few times. So the time was right. We looked at the sizing guide for the Rocna and purchased a 25kg version just hoping that it would fit neatly on the bow sprit and the anchor rollers. So, it was purchased, and they delivered it to our dock. We prepared the chain for it’s arrival by chopping off the last two links as they are showing signs of wear. If you are wondering why we are using the generator rather than shore power to do this job, it’s because our tools (along with Morphie) are all American 110V so would not work using the 220V sockets on the dock.

Then we dropped the Delta into the water and pulled it across to the dock, unshackled it (this will be stored in one of the lazarettes just in case we ever need another anchor attached for storm conditions), shackled the Rocna up and pulled it onto the bow. And, thankfully, it fitted nicely and obviously Morpheus has had an early Christmas present. Doesn’t she look smart?

Our other spare anchor will be donated to a new home as we already have another of this type in the lazarette for when we use two anchors together (bow and stern) to hold us straight….seems a shame to dispose of it but we can’t store everything we take off otherwise we’ll need to raise Morphie’s waterline because of all the weight she is carrying LOL.

Thursday we spent a quiet day on board getting on with some administrative things making use of the good internet service. And that was about it although I did pop out for a short while for my latest physio appointment – he was very impressed with my progress and my hip is certainly giving me less grief after his intervention. So very happy with this.

Oh yes and the temperature was 33 degrees C during the day and a severe heatwave is forecast this weekend. Phew….might be spending some time in the air-conditioned cruisers’ lounge at this rate!

Today, Friday, we plan more of the same. We have a car booked for the weekend so will being doing the usual things like provisioning and propane refills. We will stay here in Boatworks until Thursday when we will move down the river to Sanctuary Cove marina where we plan to spend Christmas and New Year.

The best news this week, though, was that the borders between Queensland and New South Wales have finally opened so we are actively making plans to visit my nephew and his family in January during the school holidays. It is hard to believe that we have been in Australia since March but have been unable to see them until this point. So we have lots of things to look forward.

Take care everyone at home as you come out of lockdown and then have to cope with the new Covid Tier arrangements being put in place. Stay safe and look after each other.

Bye for now