Tippler’s anchorage, South Stradbroke Island

Monday (14 September) we were up early: topped up the water tanks; swapped out the tatty Ensign for a brand new one; did a route to our chosen anchorage Tipplers on South Stradbroke Island; stowed everything down below; did engine checks; ensured the Iridium Go! was tracking us; unhooked the power and we were ready to go. We had to wait for the tide so we went and had a coffee in the Galley and did some last minute internet stuff.

Then finally we were off. We motored slowly down the Coomera River admiring the houses and tucked away marinas until we came to the Broadwater which was very busy with speedboats, houseboats, jetskis and tinnies. They were everywhere and they didn’t adhere to any navigation rules (like passing port to port in a channel) so it was a matter of just keeping our eyes open and avoiding them all.

Three hours later and we arrived at Tipplers Passage and made our way through the narrow channel into the anchorage near Tipplers Cafe (which is only accessible from the water). We found a great spot in only 3m of mud and settled down for the afternoon / evening. Was a pretty spot and we had a very quiet night. In fact it was less rocky than in the marina LOL.

Tuesday morning we had a lazy start and had breakfast in the cockpit – it had been a long time since we had done that and it was lovely. The sun was out and the weather had definitely warmed up. Fantastic!

Later on we went ashore and walked the path across the island to the surf beach on the seaward side of the island. The beach was pure white silica and was beautiful and deserted. But it was very windy so we only sat there for a little while before heading back to the riverside anchorage.

We then spent a couple of hours on the beach admiring our girl who was happy to be back on anchor.

We then had afternoon drinks at Tipplers cafe and were fascinated by the birds and wallabies that turned up once the majority of the tourists had left for the day. Guess that’s why they have the logo in the cafe then?!?

We then returned for dinner on board. Followed by a gorgeous sunset. Felt so good to be back out there.

Wednesday morning Richard spent some time looking at the shower sump pump that decided to play up again….and fixed that. He also fixed the inverter but that meant removing power from some other instruments. Everything went smoothly but the AIS wouldn’t restart. Without it’s wifi capabilities we couldn’t do any resetting of the system either as you need to be connected to play around with it. So we were not transmitting or receiving and our anchor alarm was also now useless. All very strange. We did a bit of troubleshooting and then sent off an email to the technical support team for some inspiration. Not a biggie right now as we are not going to sea and have another anchor app so all good for the night.

Later on we went for a bit of a dinghy exploration up to the Dux anchorage where the Southport Yacht Club have some premises. Well the anchorage was pretty tight with lots of long-term boaters there and the SYC area was private to members only, no guests. So we turned around and returned to the beach for a couple of hours before returning for sundowners and dinner onboard followed by a movie night.

Thursday morning and we got a reply from Vesper which was not that helpful in that they suggested checking quite a lot of things but we really couldn’t believe that simply disconnecting the power could have caused the type of problems they were envisaging. Their only other alternative was to return the unit to New Zealand. Hmm….don’t think so unless we get really stuck. Richard then had a brainwave and isolated and disconnected the whole network from the batteries and then reconnected it. Well, the Vesper light (which had been solid red for over 24 hours by now) went orange, then green, and lo and behold the wifi signal started up again so the iPad could connect to it. I quickly turned on the chartplotter and checked that the AIS was working on the network as it should and yes, sorted. Not sure why this worked but so pleased that it did! We told Vesper and they were pretty surprised too LOL.

Mid-afternoon we headed to the beach and set up camp. Around 4pm Richard returned to Morphie to collect our cool bag and I cooked on the (free) gas supplied BBQs. At this point three wallabies came by and we had spare carrots so we treated them to a little munch. One was even brave enough to take the carrot from Richard’s hand….definitely friends for life LOL. We enjoyed our dinner overlooking the anchorage but the bugs descended as the sun went down and we were being bitten so we quickly packed up and headed back to Morphie for the night.

Friday morning it was colder and cloudy with rain that kept threatening – it had poured hard overnight. So we stayed on board for most of the day watching the anchoring shenanigans around us as people descended for the weekend. We went ashore for sundowners and stayed there longer than planned because the heavens opened. But it didn’t seem to deter the day trippers who were turning up in droves. Later on, under heavy cloud cover but thankful that we found a gap in the rain showers, we headed back to Morphie for a quiet night on board.

Saturday morning and it was madness!!! Lots of boats, jetskis, houseboats, ferries you name it they were there. We watched lots of people having fun and the comment of the week had to be from Richard when some stupid blonde woman hung onto the front of the speedboat and was dragged into the water as it reversed off the beach “Don’t drink on an empty head”. Hysterical…. We went ashore and had to queue just for coffees – it was mayhem. It was definitely a people-watching bonanza.

Back on board and we spotted a number of speedboats that had beached themselves and were now stranded as the tide went out. They tried to push the boats back in but couldn’t and, eventually, the rescue boat turned up. We just sat on the coachroof in the sun enjoying the craziness all around us until they had left for the day and we had a quiet and lazy night onboard.

Sunday morning we were up reasonably early and, by 10, we had weighed anchor and I spent quite a bit of time trying to get the thick gloopy mud off Morphie’s anchor / chain / topsides and me. Really gross! We were in slack water so there was no adverse current and we just enjoyed meandering back. By the time we turned into the Coomera River we were on a rising tide so had a bit of a lift from the current back to our destination. Check out a couple of the huge riverside properties in this area. Not sure about the second one…..

Having been in the marina for so long we had spotted a good anchoring spot with ample swinging room just up the river from the Boatworks so we headed there and thankfully it was clear of other boats. So we set our anchor and settled down to a quiet afternoon and evening on board. Was lovely and calm apart from the occasional wake of a tinnie or jetski just to keep us on our toes LOL.

Monday morning, very early, we weighed anchor and maneouvered back into our slip. We quickly hosed and cleaned down Morphie with fresh water and then emptied the anchor locker of all the chain onto the dock which also got a hose down. We had breakfast and restored shore power before I headed to the showers whilst Richard went into the anchor locker tearing out some marine ply which he is replacing with starboard. This plywood panel covers a panel of teak which is at the head of our bed inside the boat. It had rotted over the years because it had been painted rather than epoxied into position. Not sure that was such a good idea in a wet area! Hence replacing it with starboard.

I checked the phone (not sure why) to find that my dietician had cancelled which was very frustrating! We had come back into the marina specifically for that today and physio on Thursday. Never mind…. Apparently the dietician is going to phone me on Friday evening for a consultation instead – not sure how much good that will be as she has never met me. Sigh…. So I started blogging before picking up the courtesy car and heading out to the shops for some fresh provisions.

I’ve now come back, stowed the goodies, and wow it’s hot out there today! Richard has now got all the rubbish out of the locker and removed the solid teak board inside our cabin and has cleaned all the locker out and is now prepping the area for the new panel that he has cut and sized. Here is the man at work….

We had had a great time away from the dock and look forward to exploring properly again come Friday (fingers crossed). We are hoping for a much longer break next time. But I’ll enjoy being back here in the Boatworks for a short time and make the most of the access to the laundry; the internet; and the unlimited fresh hot water LOL.

So that’s it for now. Take care and please stay safe everyone – we are thinking of you all and sending lots of love. We feel very fortunate and lucky to be in an area with virtually no Covid transmission and so few ‘local’ restrictions although the interstate and international borders remain firmly closed.