Our return to Coomera

Monday (11 January) we were up very early as we wanted to make the most of the rising tide to push us towards the Boatworks on the Coomera river. At 6am I picked up the anchor and started washing off the glutinous black mud as the heavens opened, so I got pretty wet! By 6.30 am we were underway and heading across the Broadwater to the river checking out some more casualties of the last wind event along the way. The forecast was for the wind to drop by now but this didn’t happen so we were getting buffeted around a bit as we motored along. Luckily the wind was pushing us onto the dock when we arrived at the Boatworks so we made it into our berth, tied up, and all with no dramas.

We quickly rinsed Morphie off with fresh water and then got ourselves cleaned up before heading to the laundry. Once the washing machines had started we headed over to the Galley for breakfast and very nice it was too. Having completed the laundry we were back onboard by lunchtime. At 4pm we picked up the courtesy car and headed out to Westfield for our medical appointments. Doctor was happy with both of us (which is always a relief!) and we then headed into Coles for some fresh provisions before heading to the great Thai restaurant for dinner. As always, the food definitely didn’t disappoint. So Happy Birthday to me!

Afterwards we headed back for a quiet night on board escaping from the showery weather down below. Back on line we found out that the Brisbane three-day lockdown had been eased as there had been no community transmission of Covid. We did feel for those people stuck in quarantine though who had been moved swiftly to another quarantine hotel and were having to restart the whole 14 day process – one guy was only an hour away from being released. That must have been tough!

Tuesday it was raining so we had a lazy start. The rain continued and I needed some girlie pampering so I managed to get another car and, leaving Richard on board, I headed out to get my hair cut and a facial. Such a treat! Returning to Morphie we had another quiet night on board bingewatching a couple of Netflix programmes.

Wednesday morning the weather improved slightly although it rained on and off all day. Richard took the opportunity, when the sun did occasionally break through, to clean out our anchor locker; cleaned the anchor chain properly; and swapped out the bow roller as the old one had cracked. Jobs done we, again, sheltered down below. I was having a bad pain day so spent most of it reading and relaxing. This week we were supposed to have been going to New South Wales to see my nephew and his family and was very disappointed this couldn’t happen again because of border restrictions. We had been looking forward to some time away from the boat too so had already booked into the Boatworks until the end of January expecting to leave Morphie safe and sound in her berth.

So we made the decision to book another short road trip within Queensland. First stop is to Mon Repos which is the only ranger-guided turtle encounter available on the east coast. They are instrumental in turtle conservation research, especially the endangered Loggerhead turtles that frequent this area. It is turtle season right now so we are very excited about the prospect of seeing hatchlings emerge, but, of course, nothing is guaranteed!

On the way back south we are stopping off at Caloundra which is a 30 minutes drive from Australia Zoo so we are going to visit there plus spend some time relaxing on the beach. We were easily able to get a self-contained apartment booked as holidaymakers from NSW had cancelled.

Really looking forward to this six night trip (starting next Tuesday). So that was it for the day apart from organising a hire car plus online shopping for some spare boat parts from the USA (as they are not available here in Australia).

Thursday morning I defrosted the fridge and that was about it for the day. We stayed down below to try and keep cool as the weather had turned very hot and humid. We did, however, manage to pop to the Galley for coffee and a cake during the afternoon followed by another quiet night on board.

Friday morning we had a lazy start as again it was very hot and humid which certainly zaps our energy levels. Late morning we headed out for lunch before getting ourselves cleaned up and picked up our courtesy car for the weekend. We then headed out to see the Australian Outback Spectacular’s Heartland show which was my birthday present. We arrived, picked up our tags (for free drinks and photo) and were given cowboy hats and then headed into the bar. Don’t we look smart!

We then entered the arena which is set up on three sides around a sandy floor and a backdrop. All seats have tables in front of them as our tickets came with a served three course dinner and complimentary premium drinks. So we settled in and enjoyed our vegetable and feta tart starter and the live music.

Then the lights dimmed and the spectacular began. Basically the story is about the current five year drought where crops are dying, cattle are being sold for next to nothing and this show depicts the generosity and warmth of a community as it rallies around its central characters (Marge and Reg) as they face the tough conditions head on as the drought threatens their future. As all hope is fading the rain finally falls and the whole town can rejoice. The stage effects were amazing with rain, thunder, helicopters, flowing rivers, canyons and some aboriginal sights. The animals were live and there were lots of cattle and even some ‘wild’ horses.

During the show they managed to serve us a steak meal and a chocolate desert along with copious amounts of sparkling wine. Was a great show and we were amazed by some of the horse riding skills and acrobatics. It finished with the guy getting the girl, getting married, and a celebratory line dance from the cast. Absolutely fantastic and we thoroughly enjoyed the whole production.

Saturday morning we had breakfast in the Galley then went shopping including picking up some prescription medication. Arriving back, we stowed our goodies, and then did some more laundry combined with Netflix downloads in the cruisers lounge. Thunderstorms had been forecast and the clouds certainly were building. Then the warnings started of severe thunderstorms coming to our area and to take cover. We are in the marked red zone.

We managed to get the laundry back on board just before the heavens opened….and the wind blew…and the hail started and the thunder and lightning was very close….with a whiteout looking down the river and the storm drain overflowed into the river behind us from the road. The noise was incredible! We did try to sit in the cockpit for a little while but the horizontal driving rain drove us down below in the end. Phew thankfully we came through unscathed with no damage from the hail.

Sunday morning and Richard wanted to check the head hoses as we had a blockage so he started early taking everything apart, thinking it was the usual joker valve that had failed. But, of course, it wasn’t. By now there were tools everywhere and a pretty fed up Richard as he struggled to access things. Why would you put a serviceable item near the ceiling of a bilge locker and then install a tiny access locker more than an arm’s length away in the floor?!? Here it is partly reassembled only after a lot of swearing, and cursing. You really need to have very long arms, small shoulders and flexible joints to work on certain parts of an Island Packet!

We did have a list of things planned whilst we had the car for the weekend so I decided to leave Richard to it and get on with the jobs as I was more useful than being in his way onboard. So I headed down to Southport to visit the Volunteer Marine Rescue to pick up our membership card; then on to Charis seafoods in Labrador for some fresh fish; then back to Oxenford for cash and some provisions from Woolworths that I couldn’t get in Coles the other day; before finally returning to the boat. Richard was still huffing and puffing so we took a break over a cold drink and then I headed back out to Bunnings to get some bits and pieces that Richard had now found he needed. Back on board and it was obviously not going to be resolved that night, so we cleaned the place up, and had sundowners in the cockpit. Richard had a couple of beers and he certainly deserved them! We then had dinner down below followed by a movie night.

This morning, Monday, and I’ve taken up residence in the cruisers lounge to blog leaving Richard on board using acid to clean the remaining hoses through having swapped out the more accessible ones yesterday. The weather is closing in again, the clouds are building and the threat of thunderstorms continue.

However, at least we are not in NE Queensland as Tropical Cyclone Kimi is threatening to come ashore as a Cat 2 storm soon. Hope everyone comes through that OK.

Anyway, that’s about it from me. The news from home remains grim but at least the vaccination process is gaining ground and we just hope that everyone is able to stay safe and keep well. Take care everybody, sending more Australian hugs.

Bye for now