Out and about in Moreton Bay

Tuesday morning (29 September) it was still pretty chilly and blowing quite hard in Jacobs Well (on the Pimpana River) but we had a good anchor set and weren’t being bothered too much by local traffic buzzing to and from the public boat ramp – so we decided to stay put.

Early afternoon we headed ashore (surprised by how hot is was when we got out of the wind) and used our new dinghy wheels for the first time by pulling him up the beach – much much easier. Very happy!

We wandered around the little town for a while and headed into the Jacobs Well Tavern for some snacks….well, we ordered two sharing snacks, and they were huge! But very tasty so of course we managed to finish them. We then headed back to Morphie for a quiet afternoon evening on board and didn’t need to bother with dinner….

For those of you unfamiliar with the area here in Queensland, Moreton Bay is about 80km from north to south and 25km at its widest point. It lies between the mouth of the Brisbane River and the barrier islands comprising Moreton, North Stradbroke and South Stradbroke. The bay narrows at South Stradbroke, where there is a cluster of islands that turn the bay into channels and passages.

Wednesday morning we were up very early as we wanted to head towards Russell Island with the high tide. But first, along the route, we had to navigate underneath some power cables….lots of headroom really but it always feels so close.

We were almost there and suddenly faced with lots of ferry and freight traffic, particularly between Russell Island and Karragarra Island. Anchoring space was at a premium because of the large private mooring fields and the few spaces left were very exposed to the strengthening winds. So we decided to continue on to Canaipa Passage instead which is between Willes Island and North Stradbroke Island. OMG such a difference. A beautiful and serene anchorage. We enjoyed sitting in the cockpit as the sun went down and we really thought we might stay there for a few days.

Thursday morning, however, when checking the weather forecast we realised that the wind direction will be swinging north which is the one direction Canaipa is not well protected from. So we decided to head over to Horseshoe Bay on Peel Island which has good shelter. There was no wind and the sea was like glass as we motored the nine miles there.

By 10 am we had the anchor down and were just looking around at the other boats when we spotted Calagorm in the bay. So later on we dropped dink and popped over to have a cup of tea with Hella and David – was so nice to catch up with them.

By the time we left them the tide was going out so we headed over to the beach and just left dink in the shallows while we enjoyed taking in the sights. Was very relaxing…. This island is uninhabited apart from the custodians and is national trust land. A very popular day trip spot so lots of people watching going on…..

Back on board we watched more boats come and go and also checked out the clouds forming around us. There was some CAPE activity forecast so there was the chance of thunderstorms but we hoped they would skirt us. Thankfully they didn’t develop any further.

Later on we checked the weather again for the following day. The wind was swinging south to south east which is not good for this bay. So at 8.10 on Friday morning we picked up anchor and headed over to Raby Bay (which is on the mainland near Cleveland). Again we had another glass-like day on the water dodging ferries and the like. Frustratingly though the wind doesn’t kick in until mid morning by which time we are usually already settled somewhere else – so lots of motoring going on right now. Although on the chart this area is supposed to be full of mooring balls it isn’t (thanks for the heads up David) so we anchored, and then once happy we were set, we got dink down to go ashore.

We meandered through the nice houses and docks lining the river until we reached the marina and found the public dock.

We wandered around the boardwalk area and thought it looked pretty nice, another possible spot for us to consider during cyclone season?? We then went to The Anchor and had some lunch which was very nice.

Heading back out to the anchorage we realised that Morphie had dragged so we quickly got on board, weighed anchor and reset her. On bringing up the anchor it was covered in lots of grass and ferns so obviously we had found the underwater garden – to avoid dragging again we put down a 7:1 scope of chain which held us very well. At this point Richard realised he had left his phone behind in the pub! And, of course, we had already lifted dink for the night. So we had to put dink back in the water and Richard rushed off to get his phone…..luckily the waitress had found it and had kept it safe for us. He came back just as the sun was going down and we could put dink back up on the arch. Phew….what a palaver….

Saturday morning the wind had strengthened and the direction was swinging again so we headed back towards Canaipa. What we forgot was that this was a Bank Holiday weekend and the world and his boat were out there – it was total madness!!! Calagorm were in this anchorage too when we arrived and they had to move because a motorboat anchored so close they could have touched them – Hella said that if they had sneezed she could have caught Covid! We decided not to stay….so weighed anchor and headed down the river (under more power cables) another five miles to The Huts anchorage (along the shore of North Stradbroke Island). We found a spot and anchored under the shelter of the hill next to us. Lovely firm sand underneath us and we got a good set straight away.

Although still busy with boat traffic we weren’t affected that much so we enjoyed a leisurely afternoon in the cockpit. Around 5pm the day tripper boat traffic was largely gone and it was lovely and quiet especially as the wind died down. Was a bit buggy as the sun went down so we ended up burning our citronella candle to tell the little biting beasties they weren’t welcome – not sure all of them got the message though LOL.

This morning, Sunday, and we haven’t moved (or needed to). Hurrah! This anchorage is lovely and we have decided to stay another day…..so Richard is reading while I’m blogging. We are absolutely loving being back afloat again despite being chased around by the weather. Looking forward this week we’ll continue to enjoy being out and about until Thursday when we return to The Boatworks for my next physio session.

Take care everybody, stay safe. Bye for now