Our week back on the hook

Monday (4 January) we did some fruit and veg shopping and then headed into the marina office to say our farewells. We had really enjoyed our time in Sanctuary Cove Marina but our month was up. By 11am we had left our slip and was headed out into the Broadwater.

We had planned to go to Tipplers for our first night on anchor (which is only a few miles away) but when we had got there it was absolutely rammed. We had hoped that as this was ‘back to work’ day after the Christmas break it wouldn’t be too busy. We didn’t want to squeeze in and worry about swinging room overnight so we continued on north to the top of South Stradbroke Island, navigated the shifting sand banks at Jumpinpin and entered the southern end of the Canaipa Passage.

We decided to try Perry’s Hole which is an isolated anchorage between Crusoe Island and Short Island which meant navigating a narrow entrance and bar to enter. Luckily the tide was right for this and we were successful, having covered about 15 miles. We were treated to a wide open space with nobody else around apart from one trawler. We weighed our new anchor for its inaugural use and, OMG, it set so quickly I virtually had to hold onto the bow when it set and pulled Morphie around into the wind. We let out more chain and enjoyed a nice evening in the cockpit with our insect coil burning brightly to keep the biting midges away. Was very peaceful and we certainly slept well with no concerns.

Tuesday morning we decided to return back to Millionaire’s anchorage at the top of South Stradbroke Island. We found a great position in shallow sand and settled in for the day.

Of course then the wind decided to pick up to 25 knots. This is a pretty exposed spot but we held on whilst we waited to see what would happen – the predicted bad weather wasn’t supposed to arrive until Thursday. We sat on board and watched the tide change as there are very strong currents here to ensure we were set properly. Did you know that in Europe we tend to set our anchor on 5:1 ratio (eg chain to depth) but here in Queensland the norm is 3:1 so we always have to watch out for their different swinging radius. Anyway all was well and the wind died away as quickly as it had picked up.

So we dropped dink and went exploring the spit at Jumpinpin. We enjoyed watching pelicans, tiny crabs, bird life and even the surf as it came crashing over the bar from the ocean on the east side. This narrow sand bar between South Stradbroke and North Stradbroke islands is not really navigable and certainly should not be crossed except without local knowledge. It was certainly a nice place to explore….. We left dink on the beach and, as the tide continued to recede whilst we were ashore exploring, we had to walk him back into the water. This was like a creek with another sandbar. Once re -floated we went to the sand bar itself and had a quick bob in the chilly water which was certainly refreshing.

We returned to Morphie, got cleaned up and had a quiet night on board.

Wednesday morning we picked up anchor on a rising tide to return to Tipplers. We were delighted to find our favourite anchoring spot available on arrival and got a good set. Boats were coming and going all day around us but we were pretty happy with our positioning. Early afternoon we took ourselves ashore for a coffee and a cake and were treated to a visit by a huge monitor lizard who was sunning itself on a tree.

Back onboard we had sundowners on the coach roof watching all the late arrivals trying to find a spot in this busy anchorage. We had a trawler ahead of us and a houseboat behind so there really wasn’t room for anybody else to squeeze in. Sitting in the cockpit we suddenly heard a bit of a commotion and watched this orange fibreglass dinghy heading off down the river – clearly someone couldn’t tie a knot on one of the houseboats ahead of us. Most of the houseboats that ply these waters are charter vessels and the skill of some of the “captains” is a bit suspect at times! Anyway, the trawler in front of us very kindly shot off and rescued it for them. Later on we heard some shouting and screaming. Suddenly the trawler in front of us picked up anchor as the houseboat (which they had helped earlier) had swung too closely to them – we are not sure if they touched or not. Anyway, the houseboat then decided to move too….not sure why as he had loads of room now….and, of course, he dropped anchor alongside us. We were not happy!!! We kept watch for a while and, eventually convinced that it didn’t present us with any danger unless the wind switched direction (which was very unlikely) we retired down below. By now the wind was howling and it started raining heavily which gave us a stormy sunset.

Thursday morning it remained very windy with intermittent rain and the forecast was just horrible.

Early on a supply vessel came through the anchorage to offload some trucks – as there are only sand roads on this part of the island we were surprised to see the size of this ship and even more surprised that he found room to back up to the beach!

We stayed on board watching all the anchoring shenanigans again as people came and went throughout the day. Thankfully our houseboat neighbour left and another one came in to take his place but he couldn’t get his anchor to set (despite numerous attempts) so he moved off to try his luck elsewhere. Then a small sail boat turned up and anchored in front of us. We watched as he got himself settled and considered him a bit too close but, thankfully, he came to the same conclusion and picked up and moved forward to give us both a bit more room. And by now another houseboat had arrived behind us – but this time it was a liveaboard houseboat with two old ZZ-top type bearded men and one woman on board. This was a good result for us as, once again, we were well spaced with no room for anybody to join us. Although the wind howled throughout the night and the rain was persistent we had a pretty good night’s sleep.

Friday morning it was raining heavily and the wind was still howling. Our wind generator beat it’s own personal best record and produced 204 amp hours in a 24 hour period. So we didn’t have any problems with keeping our batteries topped up despite the lack of sunshine! Anyway we spent the day down below reading again….not much else to do…. By now the news had come in that Queensland had extended the closure of the interstate border to New South Wales in relation to specific Covid hotspots which included Greater Sydney and the Central Coast until the end of January. Well, sadly, that put paid to our plans to visit my nephew Jamie and his family again! Then the news hit that a cleaner in one of the Brisbane quarantine hotels had tested positive for the new UK variant so the Greater Brisbane area was placed under lockdown for three days while they undertook extensive testing and tracing which included banning recreational boating in Moreton Bay so we won’t be heading that way on Morphie anytime soon either. We had another quiet night on board with a Netflix binge.

Saturday morning it was still raining and it had poured heavily overnight. But come lunchtime it had cleared and the wind had dropped. So exciting!!! So we went ashore for coffee and a walk along the beach checking out the mangroves and a derelict wedding venue along the way (along with dead statues). Real shame that this stuff is just left to rot on the beach. Oh yes and even wallabies leave footprints in the sand LOL. Was nice, though, to stretch our legs for a while.

We got back on board just before the heavens opened again – phew! More anchor shenanigans were going on but we escaped the drama. During the late afternoon a police boat came through the anchorage and stopped at the Tipplers Cafe pontoon – we wandered who they were looking for but I think they were just after a coffee LOL. Later on we were treated to a lovely sunset once the rain had cleared. The wind died down considerably during the evening so we were hoping that this latest wind event was over.

Today, Sunday, and the wind is still blowing a bit stronger than expected. There are more comings and goings in the anchorage and, because the sun is trying to break through the clouds, the jet skis are back and buzzing around as this is a popular watering hole for jet ski tours from Southport. Richard is upstairs reading while I’m down below blogging. And that’s probably it for the day. Tomorrow we return to the Boatworks primarily for doctors appointments although there are some other things in the pipeline but I’ll share them next time. It is definitely time for us to give Morphie some loving care and attention again.

So, finally, just to let all our family and friends know that we are thinking of them constantly, especially as the news from the UK is so grim right now. So sending lots of love and hugs that you all stay safe and well.

Bye for now