Our week in Bundaberg

Sunday morning (7 November) we got busy in preparation for departing from Keppel Bay marina, so we got rid of the rubbish; conducted engine checks; filled up with water; flushed the watermaker; and headed out of the marina towards Great Keppel Island. We were being followed by Lynne and Andrew on SV Mischief. Well, it was horrible, really lumpy and bumpy and we were very grateful to get into the anchorage with our anchor set.

We spotted SV Begonia so got in touch with them – they were out walking – so Maryanne and Kyle came by for a chat after they had finished their trek. It was great to catch up with them after more than a year! We then headed to the beach to have sundowners with quite a big cruising crowd. Was a lot of fun.

Monday morning, at 11am, we picked up our anchor and headed out to sea. It was cloudy, grey and it started raining….so not great conditions….but the sea was completely flat and the wind was blowing pretty hard so we had a really fantastic downwind sail.

We had dinner in the cockpit around 5pm, saw the sun go down on a stormy day, and started our overnight shifts.

Thankfully the rain held off for a while but the lack of sun during the day meant that our batteries needed a bit of a boost so we motorsailed for an hour to top them up. We swapped shifts again and for the three hours between midnight and 3am on Tuesday morning it absolutely poured with rain, there was thunder, lightning strikes on the water and lots of tankers which certainly kept me on my toes. As Richard came on shift at 3am, as though someone had flicked a switch, the rain stopped. Typical! By the time I came up again around 5.30 am the wind had died so we ended up motor sailing towards Bundaberg. As we approached the river entrance the wind picked up to 9 knots so we enjoyed the last bit of our sail before turning into the channel. Of course, as we entered the river, the wind started howling and we had 20+ knots to get into our slip. Thankfully there was assistance on the dock and we made it in safely by around 10ish. Phew! Another 132 mile overnight passage successfully completed.

Our first job was to take the anchor chain off the boat – it had got a bit rusty in places, although still in good order – so we had decided to get it re-galvanised here in Bundaberg. So we sorted that out and took the chain to the chandlery who do a delivery / collection service to the factory. Very interested to see how it comes back. Later in the afternoon we headed to the Cruisers Cove area of the marina for fish and chips and enjoyed the company of Helen and Buddy (SV Desire) who had also done the overnight passage down the coast.

We then headed back to Morphie to catch up on our sleep. We then had a quiet night in, although it wasn’t that restful with torrential rain and thunderstorms all around us.

Wednesday morning Richard headed out to see the stainless guy taking with him the burner caps from our cooker. He left them there and we then had breakfast out in the marina’s Baltimore restaurant. And very nice it was too!

After a bright start, it turned cloudy and grey again and then the heavens opened. So we spent the rest of the day down below hiding from the rain doing some paperwork and generally just lazing around. Richard headed back out to see the guy only to come back with the finished product – amazing job! Very happy customers. We then had another quiet night in.

Thursday it continued to rain so we carried on with admin sort of tasks down below. In the late afternoon we met Buddy and Helen in the Cruisers Cove for sundowners and a few games of UNO – which they had never played before – but quickly got the hang and we had lots of laughs together. Oh yes, and my boat-made smoked mackerel pate went down a treat!

Friday morning we got the call to say that our chain was back in the marina. So we went to the chandlery to collect it – wow it looked good! We then laid it up and down the dock so that we could redo the length markings. Then we rethreaded it through the windlass and back into the anchor locker along with a new shackle.

At this stage we hadn’t finished the job but it started to rain again – with all this no worries about having to clean the salt off the boat LOL. We had a late breakfast out and then spent the rest of the afternoon keeping out of the rain. In the evening we went to the Friday night BBQ at the Cruisers Cove where the marina supply the meat and cruisers bring their own drinks and a plate to share. Was another fun evening with Buddy and Helen and others. And, of course, I completely forgot to take any photos!

Saturday morning Richard was busy splicing the rode to the anchor chain sitting on the edge of the locker. So I started the stainless steel cleaning and polishing avoiding the bow sprit to keep out of his way. Here he is hard at work….

By the time I had done both starboard / port sides back to the ‘gates’ Richard had finished so he did the bow for me. Here is Morphie looking all shiny again.

We then had a late lunch onboard before heading to the Lighthouse Tavern in Burnett Heads. They do a free collection in their minibus so we didn’t even have to walk there and back – result!

We had a nice evening (and used their superfast free wifi to do some more Netflix downloads). But were a bit surprised to find a full-on Christmas office party in swing in one of the areas with all the workers dressed in fancy dress. Seemed a tad early or what LOL?!?

Sunday morning we both carried on with stainless cleaning – this time from the gates back through to the arch and got this done.

We then rested up for a while before tidying up down below and then welcoming Helen and Buddy onboard for sundowners. Another really nice social evening with them.

This morning, Monday, we’re both sitting outside the marina office taking in the nice weather whilst the laundry is getting done.

I’m blogging whilst Richard is catching up with various online content. Since we’ve been sat here we have been joined a couple of times by our “neighbour” who is looking to keep busy as their boat has just been hauled out – her husband is still on board. The sad story is that they hit bottom – hard – in an anchorage called 1770 – and had cracked their catamaran hull / bulkheads both inside and out. Significant damage in that they were taking on water and none of the cupboards now closed. The purpose of the haul was for an insurance assessor to assess the damage. Of course they are liveaboards so she was worried about where they were going to be sleeping tonight or even where they were going to be living whilst the boat is being repaired. Well, we had a chat in the laundry and she has just now returned to confirm that the insurers have written off the boat. An absolute disaster in their first cruising season but it is definitely the right result as they can walk away and start another chapter. Absolutely devastating for them though and she definitely needed some support so glad I could be there to help her talk it through and provide a supportive hug. Our hearts go out to them.

We’ve just had some fish and chips – very naughty but nice – and then we are going to have a quiet night in once we have done our navigation / engine checks etc in preparation for tomorrow’s early morning departure. We are heading towards Fraser Island taking the opportunity to get a little further south before the winds switch again mid week and are hoping to anchor off Kingfisher Resort again and perhaps even a bit of beach time.

In the meantime, we continue to monitor the vaccination rates here in Queensland which are steadily improving and it is looking more likely that the border with NSW will be open for us to visit my family in January. The earlier opening is for people travelling by air only. But things change rapidly so keeping everything flexible crossed. Restrictions about to be introduced for non-vaccinated people are pretty draconian so reckon it is a carrot and stick approach to the situation here, although they haven’t gone so far as Singapore who have just announced that non-vaccinated people will have to pay for their own healthcare if they are taken ill. Will be interesting to see what happens next in Australia as more freedoms are introduced generally.

Anyway, that’s it for now folks. We are continuing to enjoy Queensland and looking forward to returning to our ‘home’ base at the Boatworks towards the end of the month. Take care of each other and lots of love and hugs. Today’s cutie is a Western Pygmy Possum – enjoy!