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Cruising on Water Music
Cyclone season rest period
Nick / Wet - again!
18.02.2013, Tin Can Bay Marina

29 October onwards
We recommence our story in Bundaberg Port marina where we had arrived on 20 October and were enjoying resting, relaxing and meeting many of the cruisers arriving from overseas on the Port Vila to Port Bundaberg rally. The locals try to entertain the visitors with events like the Beerfest (we did not go), the Lighthouse Festival (we did go) and the Melbourne Cup lunch (we did go) held at the nearby Burnett Heads Boat Club. The Cup lunch was a disappointment particularly after the great event we attended in Grafton last year. There was also a "Pirate"get together for all the cruisers, having found a Spotlight, we bought the appropriate accessories and I won the prize for the best dressed male, mainly due to the yellow crested cockatoo pinned to my shoulder.
We departed the marina on 8 November and headed to the Great Sandy Straits Marina at Urangan where we stayed for a week. During our stay another Catalina Morgan 440 arrived and tied up to the same dock. We had met the owners of "Kachina" (hull number 58 built in 2008, we are number 5 in February 2012 when we were visiting Sydney. They keep their boat at Middle Harbour Yacht Club near the Spit Bridge. We knew they were near us on the Queensland coast, as I had spent a few hours with them when I went to Mackay to sail on "Shamali". The locals were a bit confused seeing two of us and as far as we know, the only two in Australia.
After saying goodbye, we cruised south through the Sandy Straits and stayed at Garry's Anchorage in strong northerlies. Unfortunately, as the weather warms up so do the bugs and after three days we could not stand it no longer and headed south to Inskip Point where we had a few days of good weather. I even went for a swim, the main purpose was to have a look at the condition of the hull and propeller as we had been in the water for just over a year since we last antifouled the bottom. All went well until I was bumped by one of the numerous blobber jelly fish which I thought did not sting, I was wrong! Ouch, a big red welt on my side which stung and then itched, we tried vinegar without success and then ice which Susie found on the internet as the correct treatment. It took a week to subside and really did not improve until I scrubbed at in a hot shower. Susie has now bought me a full body suit complete with mitts, feet and helmet so if I ever need to go back in when there are jelly fish around I should be safe ..... at least from stings!
We arrived at Tin Can Bay Marina on 2 December and booked in for a month. We soon settled in to marina life and regular visits to other boats such as "Reliance" (Chris and Trish who we had met in Port Macquarie).
For Susie's birthday we hired a car and took our liferaft to Mooloolaba which is 144 kms away for it's 3 year service together with our lifejackets for testing. When we were at Inskip Point I had also noticed we were getting water in the dinghy and found the joint between the floor and the tube on the starboard side had opened up a 60 mm long gap, so we sought the liftraft service guys' advice and left with a jam jar containing a 2 part contact adhesive already mixed which had to be used in 24 hours. The repair went well until the re launch when we found water again coming in but this time around the drain. After removing and applying silicone goo this ceased leaking but then I found another leak on the port side.
During our visit to Mooloolaba we had a look at some new bikes. The shop owner said he had some second hand ones at home which we could see next time we were in town. The old blue Dahon bikes havded 16 inch wheels and limited gears, we wanted 20 inch wheels to make riding a lot more comfortable.
All in all December was a busy month. We had guests on board before Christmas, John & Sue Hall came armed with photographs of their new boat and a new pump for our A/C which they picked up in Brisbane for us. It was a year ago that they visited us in Pittwater and we had a lot to catch up.
We had planned to spend Christmas with Chris & Trish but some locals, Len and Pam invited us to their house along with 14 other people. They also extended their invitation to Chris and Trish as well, which was very generous. Our hosts had sailed their boat "Kapalua II" from the UK several years ago and also knew many of the people we have met. Our contribution to Christmas lunch was a chook which Susie stuffed (was supposed to be a turkey - never mind - it was very good) Susie had also cooked a Christmas Pudding in November which we took along together with the brandy cream. Len's home brew was well sampled and a great time was had by all.
After Christmas, we had a visit from David and Lesley Caruana, who also brought our mail. They took us by road to Inskip Point, where we watched 4 wheel drives getting bogged in the soft stuff. They saw the dolphins being fed at Norman Point and stayed with us for New Year's Eve. After dinner at the Black Cockatoo Restaurant we went to the 10pm fireworks in the park were very good for a small town.
During December Max had not been well, he had blood in his urine. We took him to the Vet in Gympie in a ute loaned by someone in the marina. He did not enjoy the ride as it was 37 degrees and no A/C. A course of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicine (which made him vomit) did provide some relief but not for long as a couple of weeks later there was even more blood was in his urine. He did not enjoy walking anymore and seemed to be in pain. Non-invasive investigations were inconclusive, the Vet suspected either cancer of the kidneys or kidney stones and with a grade 4 heart murmur, his age nearly at almost 14yrs, he had had a good innings. It soon became apparent that his time was up. Our son, Alex and his girlfriend drove from the Gold Coast to see Max, which was good for him. It was a sad day in the middle of January when we took him to the vet for the last time. We both miss him terribly.
As part of our post Max therapy we hired a car and drove to the Gold Coast to undertake a job on the garage door at home where the furniture is stored. We stayed with the Kershaw's and caught up with as many of our friends we could during our limited stay. As usual a long list of bits kept us busy, including anti fouling paint and new flares. On the return trip it had begun to rain and we managed not only picked up the liferaft, some more dinghy glue but also 2 second-hand bikes for the price of 1 new one.
By now the rain was becoming heavier, fortunately I had stored the dinghy on deck under the awning so with the help of a lantern I did some serious glue sniffing and hopefully have fixed the leak in the dingy. We had to take the hire car back to Gympie on the Friday morning and then wait for the only bus back to Tin Can Bay. It was still raining and beginning to get even heavier and with more wind. Once back from Gympie awnings were removed, lines doubled up and checked for wear regularly.
Australia Day brought more rain and by now the wind was averaging 40-45kts in the marina, with gusts well over. By Sunday, the wind was fierce with gusts up to 122 km/h at Double Island Point which is our nearest BOM weather station. We survived with no damage, but some of the older marina pontoons were damaged and a few boats broke their lines, and a dozen or more broke their moorings in the creek and hit the shallow sand banks. The power went off and then Telstra, so no phones or internet and only SBS as most of the TV stations went down. We were lucky, should we had chosen to spend the cyclone season at Maryborough or Bundaberg we would have been in serious trouble.
"Water Music" is scheduled to come out of the water to be antifouled soon and we will get the boot topping line adjusted and repainted, we are sitting low in the stern and have a slight list to port despite our efforts to even the boat out, which was exacerbated by a mal-alignment of the original mark up of the boot top on the port side (by 2inches). We are back in the water and finally all cleaned up inside and out and it's raining again with 100-200 mm forecasted.
The haul out was a mammoth task aggravated by a number of factors such as the rain (what do expect if you haul in February!) and the size of the travel lift. Tin Can Bay Marina is a great place but only has a 30 tonne crane, it's not a weight issue, it's the height of the crane. It's also very narrow. We had to undo the backstay together with the HF antenna, remove the boom vang and lower the boom. After successfully lifting us out and placing us in a cradle the crane was unable to travel backwards because of all our antennas on the antlers. With help from Chris on "Reliance" we managed to lower the antlers astern of the boat by pivoting them on the base fitting. We worked three metres above the yard and no safety!
The local boat builder explained the process of marking a new water line, so we set about sanding and prepping, six hours of marking profile lines later we were able to start applying the masking tape for the first line. The next six days were spent sanding, painting, polishing and getting wet. The Marina manager let us have the use of one of their villas for the time we were out which was really great, especially as Susie has a phobia about ladders and heights.
While we were on the hard, we had the local upholsterer do some reinforcing and re-stuffing of the saloon seats. The foam had died and we were sitting on the frames. He also made us some big bags for the new bikes, so we are all set.
Friends, Len and Pam have taken us to Gympie a couple of times to see a movie and then to have a curry, We enjoyed "Les Miserables", "Hitchcock" although good, had some overly long pauses but the curries were good. We also attended their combined birthday party (150yrs) which was fun, particularly as we had met most of the crowd at Christmas time or at the local sailing club. The crowd at Tin Can Bay have made us feel very welcomed.
In between our other social activities we have had dinner at the local RSL hall which while not haute cuisine it was still good, the Snack Shack near the marina has provided fish and chip dinners. While we were out of the water and we had pancakes on Shrove Tuesday thanks to Chris and Trish.
What next you may ask!
The cyclone season generally peters out in March although we were in Garry's Anchorage in 2009 on "Next Chapter" for cyclone Hamish (March 7). We plan to leave Tin Can on 2 March and head up to Urangan so Susie can fly to Canberra on 5 March. After that, we will slowly head northwards, aiming to get to Townsville in early June to meet up with Ashley and Brenda before probably sailing in company with them to the Louisiades in PNG for a few months.

18.02.2013 | Steve and Andrea Weber
Hi Nick and Sue,

So very sorry to hear about Max, we had to put Mindy our boxer down last May and know the heart ache you felt. Tough love doesn't make it any easier for you though after having their company for so many years.

Sounds as though you both still have plenty to keep you occupied.

Andy and I are in Geelong at the moment staying at my step Mums place on our way to Tassie on Thursday.
We have a new travel blog, , if you would like to read our trials and tribulations to this point and into the future. We plan to be away for around two years as we have leased our house for that period.

Keep the mast pointing at the sky.

Steve and Andy
19.02.2013 | Jill & Dave Heptinstall
Awwwwww Maxie, RIP little man. Was great to catch up in the Gold Coast. Happy sailing off in March.
19.02.2013 | Alison Gabel
Oh, cute little Max! So sorry -- I will always get a smile remembering his tail. And, of course, the rest of his sweet little self. Big hug to you both. Now the blog will have to be named "Cruising in Honor of Max"?
20.02.2013 | Ross J
Nick/Susie - sorry to hear about Max. 14 is a pretty good innings (nudging 100 in human years). There are a lot of quality batsmen who never made a century. Sounds like the fun continues, it's just that there are now only two of you know. Keep up the posts.
Chang of plans
29.10.2012, Bundaberg

16 September onwards
The plan was to stay at Keppel Bay Marina for 3 weeks which would include Susie making one of her trips to Canberra for DVA, whilst allowing for occasional visits to Great Keppel Island if and when the weather was suitable.
With this plan in mind I decided to finish a project which I had started in January - complete varnishing to the teak toe rail which is attached to the sides of the boat. When I started the project we were on a swing mooring in Sydney Harbour and I was only able to do the bits accessible from the top, this time we were tied to a dock which made the work easier. The first step was to unscrew the D shaped metal strip. I'm still wondering why they used different sized screws in different places! Susie catalogued where all the long and short screws were used and labelled all the pieces of stainless steel including the nylon backing. As the timber had be varnished a couple of times with the stainless steel in place there were big ridges of old varnish to be remove, plus the cleaning of the stainless prior to re-installation. Lots of work! We managed to complete the starboard side before the marina asked us to move to another berth. Fortunately the strong winds had eased and we were able to move tying up with the port side to the dock this time.
Having moved, I got stuck into varnishing the port side teak rail when we had a call from our friends David and Jill in Mackay. In the meantime DVA postponed there planned meeting which meant that we had a much easier timetable to get back to Keppel. and then DVA cancelled Susie's meeting in Canberra.
David and Jill have recently purchased a 37ft Prout catamaran in Cairns called "Shamali" and were in the process of slowly delivering it to the Gold Coast with a few stops on the way to entertain friends and family. Jill decided to take the opportunity to fly home for a few days, so I volunteered to help bring the boat from Mackay south to Keppel Bay Marina, leaving Susie behind to finish the varnishing.
I caught the bus from Rosslyn Bay via Yeppoon to Rockhampton and then the Greyhound bus to Mackay. The bus left Rosslyn Bay 20 minutes late, I explained to the driver that I need to get to Rocky to catch the Greyhound, he made up 10 minutes in less than an hour, good bloke! Standing around at the bus depot we were told that the Greyhound was running 20 minutes late, ho-hum. When it arrived at the Rocky depot was a huddle at the back end with much pointing in the engine bay. The driver thought he had broken a fan belt, but no, he had lost the whole pulley! Fortunately there was a spare bus at the depot so after shifting all the freight we set off an hour late.
Poor David had to meet me at the marina gate at 1:30 am. Next morning the wind was strong and directly on the nose, so we stayed in the marina and enjoyed the beer and fish and chips. The following day, Saturday 6th October we left Mackay Marina and headed south in light winds and anchored at Cape Palmerston near Sarina. The next day we covered 65 miles, some motoring but mostly sailing with the wind abeam. We anchored at Calliope Island just south of Poynter Island, putting out a stern anchor due to the swell creeping around the island. By dawn we were pitching into a 0.75m swell and still at anchor! We left as soon as we could see where we were going and made it to Island Head Creek that night.
The defence forces were undertaking military exercises in their Shoalwater Bay area. We saw helicopters and grass fires which had probably been started by the fun and games. It's beautiful spot but as the northerly winds were forecast to continue, we moved on the following day to Port Clinton, utilising different anchorages to the ones we used on "Water Music" because of the wind direction. On Wednesday, we sailed into Corio Bay. It is a barred entry which would normally be too shallow for "Water Music" but "Shamali" being a cat and with a much shallower draft was able to enter easily. Another beautiful spot! After a quiet night we sailed on to Keppel Bay marina the next day to be met by Susie and Jill arrived back from the Gold Coast that evening.
Next morning David, Jill, Susie and I used the marina 2hr courtesy car for the shopping expedition into Yeppoon fetching adequate supplies for a three week trip.
Having replenished supplies, we set off for Great Keppel Island together. As usual the bay rolled and we had to set a stern anchor, "Shamali", being a cat was luckier. While we were there we had a call from Ashley in Townsville, telling us to look out for a boat with Tasmanian Ham radio operator aboard, but unfortunately he had just left the anchorage, heading towards Pancake Creek.
Next day, in a very light north easter we headed south across the entrance to the Fitzroy River and Rockhampton, passed Port Alma and anchored in the waterway between Curtis Island and the mainland waiting for the tide to change and for "Shamali" to catch up before motoring a further 8 miles to anchor for the night at Badger Creek. Monday 15th October we commenced our carefully planned trip through the Narrows. Not only is it narrow and winding it is very shallow in places, in fact the shallowest part is 2.1 metres below land low tide! Fortunately we had tides in excess of 4 metres. The idea is to motor southwards on the last of the incoming rising tide, transiting the shallow spot at high tide, then continue southwards in deeper water with the ebbing tide because the water shed is at the shallow spot. The plan worked well, we never had less than a metre below the keel and we had the added safety of being able to follow the shallow drafted "Shamali".
If dealing with the tides and the laws of nature was stressful enough, then transiting Gladstone Harbour with all the construction traffic, dredging, barges and shipping, was really quite scary. We anchored at Observation Point on Facing Island, from where we could observe the harbour traffic from a safe distance.
The following day in NE winds of less than 8kn we set off across the main channel towards Pancake Creek. As luck would have it three big ships lined up behind us, the first and largest was 984ft, doing 8.3 knots, no wonder Susie asked me to steer! After motoring at 6 kn we made it to Pancake Creek before half tide and were able to enter the inner and more protected area.
This is one of the best and prettiest places on the east coast and is one of our favourites. We all went for the walk up to the Bustard Head lighthouse and were very fortunate to be met there by Stuart Buchanan who was the last light house keeper to have worked there and together with his wife has been instrumental in getting the light house restored. It will soon be open to the public but as a special treat Stuart allowed us in. Susie chose not to step out on to the circular verandah and because of my height I was asked to remove a crow's nest which Stuart could not reach without a ladder. We spent several days enjoying this lovely anchorage. We even caught up with John VK7ZZ from Tasmania who was helping deliver Duncan's yawl "Coel Mar" to Bundaberg. It's great to meet face to face after talking to people on the radio. David decided to give "Shamali" a bit of a bottom scrub on a sand bank so we all got mucky, even Max had a bit of blue on his back. "Shamali" left for 1770, which is too shallow for us.
The following day with a favourable forecast we left Pancake Creek for Port Bundaberg, "Shamali" later leaving 1770 following behind. As usual we trolled a line, ever hopeful! Then bang, the line went off and there was Susie hand over hand hauling in a blue marlin! The big fish bent the hook and spat it out, which is just as well, as neither of us could kill such a beautiful looking fish.
We covered the 65 miles from Pancake to Bundaberg in just under 12 hours. Max was his usual stressed self, even his with medication which does not appear to last very long. The wind had reached 25 knots by the time we arrived, which made the option of anchoring in the basin a safer option than trying to get into the marina and our allocated berth was not accessible due to the low tide. We moved in the next day without any trouble and were soon surrounded by boats arriving from Port Vila as part of the Port 2 Port race / rally. Busy time for the marina and we were very lucky to get a berth.
The forecast southerly blow came through and coated the boat with fine grit and dust, inside and out, ho-hum. We hired a car and visited the Hinkler Museum in Bundaberg, very interesting. While we had the car we did some shopping and toured some of the local attractions such as the turtle colony at Mon Repos and the lovely local towns of Bargara and Burnett Heads with it historic lighthouse.
We have enjoyed meeting several of the boat crews who are part of the Port 2 Port race. One of the boats, "Aurora B" with Mike and Liz, from UK, Mike is the the Roving Rear Commodore for the Ocean Cruising Club (OCC), we have been members since our Atlantic crossing in 1984. You can only be a member after completing a 1000 mile non-stop ocean passage.
We are planning on staying another week as Max is relaxed and the stress of going sailing with him is hard on Susie. I think they should both be on valium! The "Shamali's" have headed south towards Fraser and the Gold Coast. Hopefully we will see them next year when the head north again. In the meantime we are enjoying Bundaberg, it's the Lighthouse Festival today and the Beerfest tomorrow - tough life!
Susie made a few notes while I was away on "Shamali" so I have pasted them on the end for a different perspective.
Friday 5th October 2012
Nick left last night, taking the bus into Rockhampton where he is to then catch the Greyhound bus to Mackay to help David on "Shamali" to sail down the coast to Rosslyn Bay. Jill having taken the opportunity to fly back to the Gold Coast to spend time with her Mother on her 86th birthday, Jill will then fly to Rockhampton and then the bus to Rosslyn bay to meet up with David and "Shamali".
So, I am all on my lonesome, well almost as I have "stressed to the max" Max for company. We began the morning with a long walk along Kemp Beach. Max was very reluctant at first without his best buddy but as soon as we reached the beach he was in his element. It was quite windy but sunny and the seas very messy after the gale conditions of the last two days. We came upon a smallish turtle (the carapace would have measured approx 20" x 14") up on the high water mark and as it was low tide it would have suffered in the sun. I lifted it while it flapped flippers indignantly while taking it down to the water and then I released it into the sea where it recovered finding its way into the waves, it was such a thrill!
My mission today has been to do a number of jobs, some delegated by Nick and others I have added to the list. Nick had removed the port side rubbing strake stainless and stripped the timber back and he and I had masked up, he also had put two coats of varnish on, leaving me to do more. Today I manage to apply two further coats. Not easy while trying to deal with "stressed to the max" Max (he's missing his best mate).
While I varnished, the washing machine was on, so that will mean some ironing tomorrow. I also whipped an untidy rope end (he will never notice). Another job he has left me to do is too clean of the stainless rubbing strake while it is off and I have begun this too and should complete it tomorrow.
Saturday 6th October 2012
Not happy with Max, who peed on the carpet this morning - he really is losing the plot. I removed the carpet and water blasted it, then hung it over the boom to dry.
Nick and David stayed in Mackay yesterday and left today for either Sarina or Cape Palmerston. We spoke briefly while they were off Hay Point, underway using the "iron foresail". I had another brief call from them letting me know that they were at anchor at Cape Palmerston and all was well on aboard.
In the meantime I managed to get the final two coats of varnish to the port side teak rail and clean a bit more of the stainless rubbing strake, by cleaning, I mean, scrapping all the old varnish off. It is bloody hard yakka!
Sunday 7th October 2012
Max is just so stressed, I went outside to do something - had only been gone a couple of minutes and he's peed on the small piece of carpet tin the master cabin. Another carpet washed.
I texted Nick to say there was a lovely 10+kts of wind from the north east, just a gorgeous day.
The remainder of the day Max spent on his lead by my side shaking and panting as I worked, cleaning and polishing the stainless rubbing strake. I had to rig and awning as it was fairly warm in the sun as neither Max nor I can take the sun, so there we both sat under my little awning working my fingers to the bone.
Just before lunch the owner of the boat in the next pen came and once his guests were aboard he started the motors up and I could not believe my eyes he proceeded to drift down onto "Water Music", then he tried to power out, catching us aft of the beam. There was nothing I could do. Nick had only just finished the starboard rubbing strake varnish and now this! When I saw him coming back in, I quickly tied the dinghy along our starboard side as he appeared to be having trouble coming in astern, not easy with so much windage in 15kts NE. Eventually he chose to come bow in. The guy came to see me later, he was most apologetic. I don't think he has had the boat long and he really does not know how to handle it. When I had a good look our rubbing strake, we have only two relatively small bits to re-varnish, but the other boat has an extensive and expensive scratch about 6 metres long and 3 mm deep in his gelcoat.
Back to my work! I managed to get the two shorter stern to amid ship pieces stainless "D" strips and packers on by myself, but eventually had to avail the offer from John off "Carno" to help with the remaining longer forward pieces. Off we went to find John, and two large dogs unleashed on the dock bounded in our direction, I quickly scooped up Max but one of the dogs latched onto his right rear leg, Max yelped in pain. I was not amused to say the least and complained to the owner that the dog had bit my dog. The retort came back, but she has no teeth. Still not amused I told the owner that regardless of no teeth their jaws are quite strong had bit mine and he was hurt. They apologised, but Max limped for the remainder of the day and into his walk the next morning.
I'm absolutely buggered!
Monday 8th October 2012
The forecasted northerly picked up to a steady 15kts and is expected to freshen later this afternoon, which it did indeed to 20-25kts. "Shamali" and the two guys will be having some fun. I wonder where they are? There was talk they may head to Curlew, then the Percy's, followed by the Dukes, Cape Townsend, Island Head Creek, Port Clinton, Corio Bay, Great Keppel Island, then Rosslyn Bay. I suspect they may be at the Percy's heading for the Duke's today.
Even after the morning walk with Max, which usually perks me up, I remained pretty knackered today after yesterday's big day of cleaning and polishing then replacing the stainless rubbing strake. But eventually I decided to pick myself up and have a tidy and clean up. My goodness, I must be nuts, because I then did the ironing.
Had a call from Jill this afternoon, she is arriving on Thursday afternoon and I will meet her here at the Marina. Have not heard from "Shamali" but that was expected and is not a concern as there is little mobile reception in the area.
During our afternoon walk I noticed "Wizard of the Wind" had left the marina, 42ft this is the Catalina which would have been the one we would've bought if "Water Music" had not come on the market..
Tuesday 9th October 2012
After a long and reluctant walk along Kemp beach, I've given Max his usual dose of Prozac and 2.5mgs of Valium, then had breakfast while the Valium took effect. Waiting that period of time meant that he appeared less anxious while I washed the decks down and cleaned the brite work with a chamois, with load of washing in the machine. He wandered about the deck getting a little wet in the process and seemed to like going under the foredeck awning (I did keep a very close eye on him, while on deck, but he appeared okay).
I did some touch up varnish to the damaged varnish on starboard, first sanding it back very lightly.
My next big job for the day was to clean out all the lockers forward of the mast. Chucked a bit of stuff away that had not seen the light of day for one year, yes it is almost one year since we moved on board.
By this time I needed a shower!
Wednesday 10th October 2012
The owner of the flybridge cruiser in the next pen came to turn his boat before the wind came up early this morning. He has lost his confidence driving the boat and he was most apologetic. He thanked me for being nice and gave me a bottle of Moet Chandon and a bottle of very good red wine for the damage caused.
Had a call from Nick, they are heading to Corio Bay for the night then Rosslyn Bay tomorrow. I'll be good to have him home.

30.10.2012 | David & Jill Heptinstall
Thanks Susie & Nick For the assistance and advice during our time with you and on behalf of Shamali, "cheers Big Ears !". Happy days to you both and Dave says woof woof to Max ......
30.10.2012 | Alison Gabel
Great keeping up with your adventures, and Max's too, such as they are. We are about to become caretakers of Allan's dad's Catalina 36, which relocates to our marina next month, so we can be sailors again! Carry on, Happy Halloween!
Black Snow, Brown Dust, Blue Skies and Brown Slime
Nick / Fine
16.09.2012, Rosslyn Bay

16 August onwards
Susie returned from Canberra safe and sound, she mentioned how bitterly cold it was down there! In the meantime we have become permanently attached to a marina pontoon (4 weeks and counting) but it has had its benefits. We have had very cold nights, some chilly windy days but mostly dry and sunny, having said that there has been heavy dew on the decks in the mornings.
Whilst here in Port Bundaberg there have been a couple of things attended to. Susie's Dyson vacuum cleaner was returned for repair under warranty, as it had a dodgy switch. Dyson were very prompt in the repair and the return. We also took the opportunity to get the local canvas man to make us a big awning to go over the foredeck which we hope will allow us to keep the forward hatch open when it's raining. It will also keep the sun off the forward cabin when it's hot and hopefully catch rain water when it's raining. The canvas maker also made us two side screens of mesh for the cockpit, these are to keep the afternoon sun off, they are not made for use while we are under way, but will make life more comfortable when we are at anchor or in a marina.
In between visits to Bundaberg by bus or hire car we have had a good time socialising. We caught up with other cruising boats including Allan & Marg also SYC members on "Tranquility" on their way to the Whitsundays, Bruce and Jenny with Muppy on another Seawind 1000 "Second Wind" heading towards Bowen. One evening we had a lovely dinner aboard "Sea Harrier" invited by Bruce and Desley, SYC members. Peter and Lizzie kindly fed us the night Susie returned from Canberra with an amazing dinner aboard "Windana", our neighbours in the marina, a fun evening with lots of laughs. We were treated to a roast dinner aboard "Yaraandoo II" with Mike and Sue who we had shared Christmas lunch with on Pittwater. And we also had a return overnight visit from Lori and Arnold en route back to the Gold Coast.
The cane crushing season is in full swing after a late start due to rain. Generally, they don't fire the cane before cutting but some farmers like to burn the leafy trash that is left behind after cutting, hence the black snow (some said the burn off is to reduce disease), it gets into everything and of course it always happens when you've just washed the decks!
The Gladstone Port Authority, who control Bundaberg Port are beautifying the parklands, building pathways and providing seats, it has made a great bike ride to Burnett Heads, unfortunately the machines stir up the dust which then joins the black snow on deck. To compensate for this we have been having beaut winter weather, cold nights but lovely days with clear skies, although the wind has a definite chill in it.
I have had an ongoing itch to confirm the angle of our boom. The manufacturer's recommend an angle of 87 degrees between the mast and boom. With the aid a jig made from a timber batten bought at "Bunnings", I managed to create a 90 degree triangle which was then adjusted by 3 degrees. The net result was that the boom angle was correct, why did I ever doubt it Allan!
19 August Departure Day
After 30 days at Port Bundaberg it was time to go. At 04:20 we motored out of the Burnett River and headed north for Pancake Creek. It's a 66 mile trip which meant we had to keep up a reasonable average speed to get in before dark. We ended up sailing about halfway, motor sailing the rest against against the current which seemed strongest opposite the Town of 1770. Eventually we rounded Bustard Head and then rounded Clews Point where we anchored at 16:40 for the night. Next morning we moved into Pancake Creek proper with a number of other vessels on the rising tide. Max enjoyed the extensive sandbanks which were visible about 4 hours either side of low tide. The beach was always accessible but is National Park and therefore a no go zone for Max, it is also prone to sandflies as we found out on a our first day. After 10 minutes ashore, we escaped back to the boat and both looked like we had the measles. Next time we went ashore we were better prepared!
Together with the crews from "Sea Harrier" and "Wakado" we went ashore to do the 2 1/2 hour round trip walk to the Bustard Head lighthouse and Jenny Lind Creek lookout, where we met the caretakers at the time. Volunteer caretakers stay in the old lighthouse keeper's house on a 5 week roster to ensure the beautifully restored lighthouse does not get vandalised - great spot! This is a lovely walk through a diverse bushland setting with flowering Grevillia's, little honey eaters and kites flying above.
After 8 nights at Pancake Creek we decided to move on, it is a fantastic place and, with the benefit of hindsight, we should have just stayed there!
Anyhow, we set off across the entrance to Gladstone Harbour motor sailing between the anchored ships, having checked in with Gladstone Harbour control which is mandatory. One of the ships was a heavy lifter that is used to transport boats across oceans, weird looking vessel! Unfortunately the only ship that was due to take on a pilot or move was happening an hour after we passed through them so we did not see the pilot arrive by helicopter. However we did see a ship moving and were able to track it on AIS.
Our original destination was a small bay at Cape Capricorn, which is supposed to be okay for a stopover. However, "Yaraandoo II" came over the VHF and said they were going to Hummocky Island and with a good sailing wind, we decided to continue on and join them. Hummocky was rolly. To get out of the roll we moved inshore where the wind and tide held us bow to the swell in 7mts but too close to the land for comfort. We ended up taking turns doing anchor watch all night. At 4 am we had had enough. Later the crew of "Blue Musketeers" said Cape Capricorn was rolly but tolerable. Moral of the story, always do what you set out to do.
Both "Yaraandoo II" and us left Hummocky, setting sail well before dawn, making for the anchorage at Svensen's Beach on Great Keppel Island (GKI). The wind which had provided the good sail increased and gave us a swell which crept around 2 headlands and made us roll! I deployed a stern anchor which worked well and kept us stern to the swell but getting off the duckboard at the back was hard as Max found out, when a bigger wave hit the stern and squirted up from under the duck board and wet his tummy. Interestingly only "Yaraandoo II's" and us, put out a stern anchor, such little effort for so much more comfort. We watched a large 60ft British yacht roll through 60-70⁰. In the middle of the day there had been 30 boats in the bay, by night there were 20, most having departed to anchor at Fisherman's Beach where the resort is.
We spent just the one night at GKI and headed into Keppel Bay Marina at Rosslyn Bay and stayed five days. The marina provides a courtesy car for 2 hours to help with shopping in nearby Yeppoon (just the once during your stay but if you share with another yachtie, you can get 2 trips on separate days). We also hired a car for a day and drove into Rockhampton, Emu Park and Yeppoon. The three of us (Susie, Max & I) in the Chery with a load of groceries and other supplies made it struggle up the hills. I had done the oil and filter changes on the motor and generator aboard "Water Music", so we needed more oil, filters as well as a new plug for the top of the gearbox - the old one, which was a combination plug and dipstick (plastic and steel) broke when I was tightening it up (I must have strong fingers). Autobarn in Rockhampton provided an 18 mm sump plug which fittted perfectly, they also had the cheapest oil and filters for the engine. Yanmar use the same filter as some Toyotas but unfortunately I cannot find a cheap alternative for the generator filter. The photo attached of the Singing Ship in honour of Captain Cook was taken at Emu Park. It really makes a noise when the wind blows hard!
We left the marina after 5 nights with a favourable forecast for winds to get us to our next destination which was Port Clinton 42 miles north. We sailed most of the way and anchored safely in calm water having seen plenty of activity from whales and dolphins. Port Clinton did not look at all familiar to either of us, as we had spent 3 or 4 days there during a blow on "Peta Lynne" in 1987. The name is misleading, as there is no port, although they did load cattle out from there many years ago. Unbeknownst to us, both "Sea Harrier" and "Wakado" were anchored a mile or 2 away in the southern arm. It's wild country and is used mainly by Defence as a Military Exercise area which gets closed periodically to boats. Exercise Wallaby 2012 is due to start on 21 September this year but they are keeping to Shoalwater Bay only.
The following day we sailed north another 24 miles to Island Head Creek, which was as far north as we had planned to go. On our way over the Port Clinton bar we saw a mother whale and her little calf in less than 8mts of water.
Some may like Island Head because it appears less open and it is pretty but the anchorages are either deep and can be troubled by swift currents or shallow. They say you can get phone coverage in 1 or 2 of the anchorages in Island Head Creek but we had no mobile phone coverage, no internet and only occasional VHF, definitely no TV and no AM/FM radio. What it did have were sand flies! The fishing and crabbing are reportedly good, particularly further up into the creek where the mangroves are. We discovered that when we went exploring in the dinghy, we could travel at 15 knots, the sandflies could not keep up! After a couple a days we returned to Port Clinton.
A favourable forecast picked up on the HF radio for 7 September gave us the incentive to head south and back to Port Clinton. We sailed through amazing amounts of floating coral bloom or algae, like an oil spill in long ribbons causing discolourations in the sea, mostly yellowish-brown, but some was fluorescent green with patches of mauve, quite fishy smelling too. See photos.
Going back into Port Clinton we believe we saw the same mother whale and her calf in almost the exact same spot. Then we noticed another mother and her calf on the other side of the bar. This place must be a nursery like Hervey Bay.
We spent five or six days in Port Clinton. As we entered the anchorage the number of sandflies increased to plague proportions and shortly after we anchored they disappeared - great! (Probably as the winds increased during our stay and kept them away). Both of us felt we were coming down with colds and Susie's did develop into a nasty cold. At least in Port Clinton we had internet coverage and were able to keep in contact by email and Skype. We spent our days reading, playing scrabble and doing the usual chores including doing a couple of loads of washing and Susie cooked a delicious Spiced Dutch Cake, recipe courteously given by Sue from "Yaraandoo II. However we did not do much more than that. The great Port Clinton "Scrabble Wars" ended up as a draw, despite Nick scoring 128 on one move! One thing we did do, just to see if we could get mobile phone reception, was to put the phones in a bag attached to a halyard and hauled the bag to the top of the mast - least to say of no avail, except when we brought the bag back down from the mast head, we noticed the stitching on the bag was rotten (circa 1983), and we were very lucky not to have lost both phones. We know there were other boats well into the southern arm but we did not see them. The commercial crab fishermen were the only people we chatted to on occasion. We saw quite a few dolphins, turtles but no dugongs. The birdlife is terrific, particularly the White-bellied Sea Eagles.
Another break in the relentless south easterlies was an opportunity for us to make the 42 mile trip back to Rosslyn Bay and the comforts of the Keppel Bay Marina. We had a good trip with only a couple of hours motoring to get out of Port Clinton and around Cape Manifold. Rain squalls and showers in the distance caused the wind to increase to a point where had to reef the main and genoa for a short while, at least we were going fast. Eventually the showers disappeared and we had a lovely beam reach sail in clear skies.
Unfortunately our lovely sailing was marred by Max as his levels of stress continue. Max appears to be becoming more stressed the more we put to sea. The daily Prozac appears to have little effect and the Valium given prior to sailing appears to be less effective and for a shorter duration than before, as a result one or other of us has to be with him all the time. We hate to watch him struggle. However he did achieve another major milestone and successfully visited the "poop deck" for a wee whilst underway in the ideal calm conditions (he did have his lead on).
We were lucky enough share the courtesy car with "Tranquility" (SYC) to go into town to re-stock with fresh food after 11 days away. It was good to see Alan & Margaret again and also Peter & Chris from "Honey Bee" for sundowners who had followed us southwards into Rosslyn Bay. Susie showed the girls from the office the misspelling on the bonnet of the car, no one else had spotted it! See photo.
I bought some RCA connectors to try and hard wire the Media Player I had purchased in Rockhampton. After another visit to Yeppoon by bus and several hours of pulling and pushing wires I can now operate the Media Player by juggling all or most of the four remote control devices we now have to operate our sound, TV and video. The Media Player allows us to play AVI files (videos) through our TV screen instead of having to watch them on the laptop. It proved useful in Port Clinton and Island Head Creek where there is no TV reception and we felt like a break from reading or playing Scrabble. Now we are back in the marina and have free to air TV where the programming is so underwhelming, it is better to watch videos and not have the ads!
I am slowly installing and learning how to use Winlink on the laptop as our recent experience with total absence of Telstra 3G left us without internet and email which we rely on for weather etc. Winlink creates an interface between the laptop and the HF radio when we are out of Telstra range which, by the way is grossly over exaggerated. Both of our mobiles remained out of range until we were 10-12 miles north of Yeppoon. Other people appear to get better reception, maybe we need to investigate alternative mobile phones.

21.09.2012 | Ross J
Some great shots and some very familair territory having spent time around the coast between Agnes Water & Port Clinton in the mid 80's - a great part of the world. A mate once competed in a sailing race in April 86 from Yeppoon to Mackay and ended up "marooned" in Port Clinton on the first night. Two of the three crew walked about 40Km through the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area to Byfield (N of Yeppoon) to get assistance. They then had to arrange special (military) access for 4WD into the Training Area to get their trailer-sailer out and towed back to Mackay. It was a very interesting story for one novice sailor.
21.09.2012 | David and Jill
Great wildlife photos guys and little Maxie. You have given us some food for thought for our trip South. Relate to your not having ISP etc. at times, especially as all our families are following us n facebook. Look forward to a catch up soon.xx
Winter cruising
Nick - Winter
04.08.2012, Bundaberg Port

26 June onwards
In the last blog we were at Tin Can Bay Marina sheltering from the wind and rain but still enjoying ourselves. On one morning, our stroll took us to the boat ramp near Barnacles Café, where the dolphins sometimes come in to feed, but no dolphins appeared, however we had breakfast and planned to come earlier the following day. After a wet and windy day and night the rain appeared to be easing, so off we set. We stood in the cold and wind with increasing rain for an hour, still no dolphins. Susie and Max left and I stayed on for a bit enjoying a bacon and egg burger. In hindsight, it was unlikely that the dolphins would appear at their usual time of 7ish, as it was dead low tide.
Following a pleasant stay at Tin Can Bay, we headed northwards for the 21 mile trip to Garry's Anchorage on Fraser Island. Good sailing for a change but care was needed as it was low tide. Previous visits to Garry's have been good including the 8 days we spent sheltering from cyclone Hamish in 2009. But this short stay will memorable for us as Max has overcome an major obstacle, he is now weeing on the artificial turf on the stern scoop. Hurray!
We have been carrying around this piece of artificial turf for months, which he steadfastly refused to use except for this day. This takes a lot of pressure off us especially in National Parks and Maritime Parks where dogs are not supposed to be in the dinghy let alone ashore. No more late night beach visits to squeeze the dog before bed. Over the next few days he has improved his skills even further using the turf at least twice daily but not to the extent of number twos. Our thanks to "L' Evasion" and Tiger's 4 days' worth of wees on the mat in Scarborough, which made it pretty smelly enough for him to get the message and the fact that we did not go ashore at Garry's.
Garry's was pleasant enough but due to the times of the tides we decided to press on the following day heading north. However, because of the tides and concern for going aground we did not leave until after 2 in the afternoon, and also did not even gamble on escaping via the northern route. Instead we took the longer, safer route back the way we had come in from the south. Susie recorded our track on her new Ipad using the Navionics app. Great new toy which we are both still learning to use.
We anchored south of South White Cliffs, at Yankee Jacks just on dusk, having come through Sheridan Flats without touching bottom! Next morning we motored the few miles to North White Cliffs. We tried to sail but the breeze waned to nothing and the water became glassy. Once again we caught up with Chris and David and the beautiful Tiger on "L' Evasion" for a lovely brunch in gorgeous weather. They were thrilled to hear of Max's accomplishment.
When we were in Sandy Straits in 2009, we had planned to go up the Mary River to Maryborough but cyclone Hamish disrupted our plan. This time we took the opportunity to tag along in company with "L' Evasion" on the trip up river (approx 21nm). We anchored just beyond River Heads in fierce tidal streams and in hindsight we should have anchored in the Susan River. Early next morning on the flooding tide we set off using the rise to get over the shallows and had a good trip up stream being careful to dodge the debris. We anchored downstream of the town using the public jetty, not such a good idea as it is not a floating jetty and it is really muddy.
The following day, my birthday, we arranged to leave the dinghy at the marina for a fee, great idea! We started the day with a guided walking tour of Maryborough, lasting an hour and half with a lady from the local historical society. It was very good and thoroughly enjoyed. After a stop at a café where they make fudge (yummy) we eventually settled for lunch at the Post Office Hotel sitting outside. Together with Chris and David we toasted Nick's health and sat in the sun enjoying the warmth. The overnight temperatures had been down to 7 degrees, 11 degrees in the cabin - ouch! We enjoyed our lunches, Susie and Chris had lamb shanks which were enormous and beautifully done. Later in the evening, Barry and Jenny, "Second Wind" invited us aboard, where we once again toasted Nick's health and to finish the day, Barry played "Happy Birthday" and "Amazing Grace" on his flute!
We farewelled "L' Evasion" as they headed off to Urangan, while we rented a mooring from the marina which allowed us the use of their facilities and a place to leave our dinghy safely.
Somehow I managed to cause Susie's laptop to malfunction and fortunately was able to have it repaired in downtown Maryborough. In the meantime, I managed to contact Bob (VK4WRB) who I have been talking to on the ham radio on and off for 20 years. He picked us up the next day and took to us to see another mutual friend, Ted de Villa "Ho Hoc", who we first met in Mahon, Menorca in 1984 and were amongst our group crossing the Atlantic that year. Unfortunately all these people are all getting on in years and are not as active as when we first met them.
Rain, rain and more rain, windy and cold - yuk! I spent a couple of days trying re-install software onto Susie's laptop, even with the help of Barry from "Second Wind", but no luck. Eventually I gave up and took it back to the shop. I think some of the required disks may be safely packed at home.
Ted and Barbara picked us for lunch at their house, which was lovely. Barbara is a great cook and Susie has been making her recipe for Zucchini slice for years. Ted and Barbara provided us with an armful of wonderful citrus from the neighbour's property, including a fabulous pineapple, a newish type called Queensland Gold.
Driving back into town and into mobile phone reception, Susie's phone started receiving messages. To our dismay they started with "your boat is taking on water", then another: "your boat is adrift heading for the Granville Bridge", followed by: "your boat is secure but you have lifted the mooring". During the night we had shortened up on the mooring because of a metallic knocking on the hull. As the tide had come in, we had lifted the mooring. Little wonder the boat was bow down with 2 tonnes of mooring hanging off the bow cleat! At the top of the tide we motored slowly downstream and returned the mooring block to its original position - roughly. A big sigh of relief as the bow lifted and the boat sat level again.
Wednesday evening was a special event. Bob and Faye invited us to "Flicker Fest" at the Brolga Theatre to see a dozen short Aussie movies. The local arts society had wanted a good turnout but they had not expected to have drawn a crowd of perhaps 600 people or more, the 900 seat theatre appeared very full, even on this cold midweek night with the mist/fog all round. It was great fun, some were very funny and some were thought provoking.
As Thursday is market day, we stocked up with fresh fruit and veggies and also had a ride on the steam engine before the rain once again set in. We did a lot of socialising and enjoyed our time in Maryborough, meeting some interesting people such as; Barry and Pam of the cat they built "Minx"; David & Sue off "Mischief" built in 1957. Neville and son who looked after us at the Marina.
When the tides were favourable, we headed back down the Mary River, anchoring once again at Yankee Jacks, catching up with "L' Evasion". Our last night with them, as they head south and we head northwards.
We had a good sail to Urangan. At one stage doing 9 knots on flat water with just a bit of tide using only the genoa. Fish and chips for lunch - yummy!
Much of the following day we spent washing and cleaning, trying to remove the effects of being in the muddy Mary River for two weeks - the red/brown staining is very adherent. We caught up with another Catalina called "Wizard of the Wind", we had bought a transformer from them in Sanctuary Cove a year before, and they bought the boom brake from us in Urangan. Small world!
It was a long sail to Bundaberg in light winds at first, fading to nothing and then returning from the same direction at 25 knots, the sail was pleasant in flat seas. Max had 5mgs of Valium, which appeared not to help, so we gave him another 5mgs, 3hrs later. But he just hates the sailing and it is very trying for us.
We booked in the Port of Bundaberg Marina which is near the mouth of the Burnett River. Going towards our designated berth we went aground. There is still a lot of silt from the floods of January 2011. It was very soft and did not hold us for long, but it was a bit disconcerting at the time, as manoeuvring in the tight confines of a marina with a bit of a breeze blowing and the tide running out puts the pressure on one.
Having given the boat a good clean in Urangan you would think we would not need to clean again for a while, but that Mary River mud is very difficult to get rid of and top that with the amount of rain, the interior of the boat was starting to sprout mould. After a day of washing, cleaning with vinegar and oil of cloves and airing the boat in readiness for guests to arrive, imagine our distraught to see black snow fall al around (soot from cane burn off).
It was great to see Bob and Joan ("Cats Away") and to hear all the news from SYC. They had driven from the Gold Coast and brought a generous amount of essential supplies, including a delicious homemade curry including bringing the poppadoms and a homemade veggie soup. We are fortunate to have such good friends, as they also offered to take our anchor chain to the galvanisers in Bundaberg just before they closed on Friday afternoon.
Saturday we went on the tour of the rum distillery, very interesting. Their top shelf product is exceptionally good but too dear for our budget! ($90). We had hoped to go to the cooperage as Bob had his cask (made at this cooperage) in the car for a replacement cork, but it was closed. The Mid Town Marina looks in poor shape following the floods in January 2011, and they only have for' and aft moorings available (this is the marina we were nearly thrown out of, for making too much noise while playing Pictionary with friends in 1987).
Bob and Joan took us visit Agnes Water and the Town of 1770, what a difference 25 years makes to roads and house prices. The last time we had been in Bundaberg in 1987 we did the same trip in a hire car with Col & BJ from "Shiraz" on dirt roads. After a pleasant lunch overlooking the boats anchored in the inlet at 1770, including seeing "Mischief" at anchor but we were unable to gain their attention.
Joan and I very nearly said no to Bob's suggestion of a different route back, but we were pleased to have continued as we headed back via Deepwater Conservation Park. Great scenery, through a designated 4 wheel drive track. Just as well we were in Bob's Land Rover, sand tracks, river crossings, gravel roads, amazing fun!
At one or two of our stops I noticed the distinctive perfume of diesel eventually we crawled under the car to find a small leak which was dripping fuel. Next day Bob took the car to a repairer in Bundaberg who found the return fuel line broken above the tank. Apparently this was nothing to do with our little 4WD adventure, just wear and tear.
It was sad to see Bob and Joan loaded up the car to return home. Just before they left, they met Arnold and Lori in the marina car park as our next set of guests arrived. Hot bunking its called.
Lori and Arnold arrived en route to Bowen to visit friends. They stayed two nights, as the long drive was more taxing than they expected. The bonus for us was drive to Bargara and Elliot Heads followed by a trip to the galvanisers to collect our anchor chain.
The chain looks good, now the time will tell when we see how well it performs in salt water! When Arnold and Lori left we painted and marked the chain before stowing it away and once again, life on "Water Music" returned to normal.
Susie wanted a bit of a break from daily travelling and we think the break may be good for Max, so we have decided to stay put for a while, anyway the wind and rain have returned again and it's been very cold too. There is a good walk to a new IGA at Burnett Heads for provisions and a courtesy bus available for the return to the marina if needed. All in all, it is very pleasant here.
When the wind eased, we moved to the fuel dock and filled up with diesel ($1.40/l) following which we moved to a different and quieter berth. It was interesting being next to the spanner crab boats for a few days as they were not crabbing during the strong winds but as the wind eased they noisily started work at 4 am followed by the roar of crushed ice being tipped out at the ice plant at about 5 am .
We caught the marina courtesy bus into town to do some shopping and also left Susie's Iphone at the phone doctor (3km walk out of town) for repair. The button that turns off the ringer stopped working and was permanently in silent mode. One shop in town told us a story about having to heat up the phone to melt the glue and remove the face and that it was not worth the effort. Then a chance conversation via Skype with David Caruana put us on to a website where I discovered that the model of phone which Susie had been given (thanks Tony) has screws which permits opening and repair. The process is too complex for me to attempt.
On the first morning of the Olympics we awoke early, as it was cold and clear outside I suggested watching TV in bed with the AC on heating mode. Strange rattling sounds emerged and while Susie watched the games I disconnected the salt water intake to discover a small puffer fish blocking the intake. The rattling noise was caused by a loose magnet inside the pump. I have never taken one of these induction driven pumps apart before. They utilise two rotating magnets to transfer the torque from and electric motor to the pump vane and one of the magnets had worked loose, it probably nothing to do with the puffer fish, just luck!
We had lunch with Julie and Greg Dietrich (Julie was at Watpac and Prolog in a previous life). It was great to see them again and hear about their fishing trips and adventures around the Sandy Straits and places further north.
In the meantime, the bikes have resurfaced from the depths of the hold, even Max has been in a box on the bike! I'm also getting a couple of cockpit side shade curtains made and an awning to cover the bow hatch for times of rain. Just when things were coming together, the vacuum cleaner packed it in and had to be sent away, hence the ungainly parcel tied to Susie's bike and the black snow continues to fall and we continue to clean! Susie is flying to Canberra on 13 August out of Hervey Bay airport, so we shall be staying around this area for a little longer after which we head north again.

04.08.2012 | Jill Heptinstall
What a great read for me. Especially now I'm about to join the "yachting fraternity". Hope to catch up soon. Will keep in touch. Dave is in Port Douglas. I join him on the 11 th August.
04.08.2012 | Alex Halsey
Great to hear your having such a good time!

It seems you can teach an old dog new tricks, (Max)

What is this talk of Susie having an iPhone and iPad? I'm generation y and don't even have an iPad I thought you baby boomers thought such things a waste of money and that you should play board games (bored games) or read a book!
As always an entertaining read, enjoy yourselves and stay safe!
04.08.2012 | Alison Gabel
Yay Max! You'll be a real salty dog yet. Tell your humans I'm glad the boat wasn't REALLY taking on water, just hanging on a mooring, literally! Quite an adventure that must have been! Carry on, we love to read your adventures!
05.08.2012 | Gay
Seems to be a lot of food enjoyed, and lots of fun as well. Just when everything seems to be going well, we boaties know that it is an omen that something else will happen. I thought it was only us that it happed to. Thanks for writing, it's really interesting. Stay safe, and we look forward to more tales!
06.08.2012 | annie
Wonderful stories, Watermusic, but time to come home - I have used the last of the cumquat marmalade! The last scrapings, along with some garlic and rosemary, contibuted to a beautiful marinade for some lamb rump. Thank you.
Love to you both, A
Off again!
25.06.2012, Tin Can Bay

1st June 2012 to 25 June - Depart Southport
1st June, after 5 weeks at SYC it was time to head off again and move north (he's got marinaitis). There were heavy rain squalls at times and with fresh wind gusts made for a damp start while refuelling (he failed to mention that we were soaked to the skin). We motored to Dux, meeting "L'Evasion" en-route, they went to Runaway Bay to get their fuel, 7 cents per litre cheaper than I paid, even with my SYC members discount - ouch!
Dux was deserted, Larry, the caretaker, mentioned we were the first visitors for a while. Little wonder as the weather has been atrocious. We made the pilgrimage to the beach on the eastern side to the island with David and Christine. The sand dunes have moved even further north and have flattened out more. The good news is that Max is now allowed ashore on a lead below the high water mark, it seems that someone challenged the Council ruling about dogs on South Stradbroke Island and common sense prevailed. We spent two nights at Dux, on the second afternoon we were all invited on board "Cadeau" for drinks, very nice ($4M and about 20 metres long)!
The next day we headed out with our friends taking up the rear, taking them through Whalleys Gutter and McKenzies Channel heading towards Canaipa Passage, unfortunately we left late and found the cross over at Slipping Sands too shallow and on a falling tide, so we had to anchor overnight and await a rising tide and daylight to get over the hump. Susie did anchor watch as the westerly wind was quite fresh and with a full moon, very big tides, causing a tidal flow of 3 knots. "L'Evasion" followed us through the winding channel however they continued to Manly while we anchored at RQYS Canaipa.
We had five nights at Canaipa, once again the weather was miserable, therefore not many other boats around. We spent most of the time reading and doing some maintenance. One of the folding bikes emerged from the hold and I went off to get some fresh bread, otherwise we were self-sufficient and as an east coast low battered NSW we were happy to stay safely where we were.
By Saturday we had had enough and set sail across Moreton Bay for the flesh pots of Manly. As per usual the wind increased to coincide with our entering the marina at Moreton Bay Trailer Boat Club. With the much appreciated assistance from the crew of "L'Evasion" who took our lines in a strange marina.
Chris Cresswell visited us bearing an Ipad and cover which we had ordered and had sent to his home nearby (my new toy). It was good to see Chris and note that he has lost none of his enthusiasm for all things boating. We spent some time playing with the new toy before going for a walk to explore Manly and Muir's Chandlery which is always full of goodies.
After showers ashore and sun downers aboard "L'Evasion" we ordered a Thai take away and relaxed aboard "Water Music".
It was a short one night visit to Manly, but I was keen to get to Scarborough Marina on the Redcliffe Peninsula. Again, miserable showery weather, we sailed with genoa only crossing the main channel into Brisbane Port, interesting seeing a variety of ships at anchor while others entering or leaving the port. The AIS is wonderful for this, however we still have gremlins plaguing our new AIS unit which spits out error messages now again, about low battery power or a VSWR fault. It would not be too bad except every time an error occurs the thing emits a piercing squeak which upsets Max.
Scarborough charge less for a week than for 5 nights, therefore I paid for a week and we explored the area taking Max for long walks. On Wednesday we went to the local shopping centre at Kippa-Ring by bus returning by taxi loaded with groceries etc. Our lady taxi driver convinced Susie to use her services for her planned trip to Brisbane Airport and return for her flight to Canberra for her meeting.
While Susie was in Canberra, I had arranged for the local representative for the water maker to pay a visit and give our machine a service and try to stop a couple a leaks, which continue regardless of my previous efforts to prevent them by replacing O rings and seals. The temporary solution which had been in place for several months (a drip tray made from a 5 litre plastic bottle suspended under the leaking joints). The "techo" discovered a fine layer of calcium build up on the internal pipe which the O ring fits over. After carefully sanding this off with emery paper and cleaning up the high pressure flare connection, he re-assembled the whole thing and all the leaks were gone. He also made some minor adjustments to the pressure and salinity settings then pronounced the unit fit and well.
Susie's car has been on the market for several weeks and as each week has gone by with no enquiries we have reduced the price each week. Finally we had an inquiry, then several more, with Susie explaining that there would be no further negotiation on the price. We had overlooked the Queensland requirement to have a Safety Certificate before putting the car up for sale so a mobile inspection company did the job on Arnold's driveway. Many thanks to Arnold for allowing us to leave the car at his house and taking the "tyre kickers" out for drives. The first enquiry were the ones who eventually bought the car. Susie spoke with the Transport Department who were adamant that only originals of their forms would be accepted, not scanned versions, so we decided to hire a car and do a quick visit to Benowa to sort out the paperwork.
It proved to be a useful journey as we not only got pies for lunch at Yatala, we also picked up replacement rowlocks for the dinghy in Helensvale (Susie got these fro free after giving the Zodiac rep an earful at the Boat Show about their poor design). We also managed to catch up with new boat owners David and Jill and give them their first Log Book. We made a quick stop to our mail managers for our mail, once again our many thanks to Rebecca and Tony. Finally, we set off back to Scarborough - what a day!
Sunday looked like a good day to leave Scarborough and we set all sails for Mooloolaba. We managed to sail part way when the breeze picked up at times to 8 knots, but mostly we motor sailed. The entrance into Mooloolaba is a mess, the channel had recently been dredged but the storms of the previous weeks have caused the sand bank to move again. Fortunately, there is a longer route in via the town beach inside the line of breakers forming of the sand bank. A strong drink was needed after that little escapade (it was hairy).
We had dinner at the now re-open Mooloolaba Yacht Club, it is good to see it up and running again after such a long closure. Early to bed then off at 04.40am for the trip to Fraser. After exiting the harbour by reversing our inbound route this time in complete darkness, we both breathed a sigh of relief and motored sailed north in calm seas while watching the waning moon rise at 05 30 and then the sun rise at 06 30. It was spectacular but very cold. We managed to get a couple of hours sailing without the engine when on occasion the wind picked up. We even put up the MPS to get the best out of the light winds. The Wide Bay Bar crossing was without trouble (supposed to be one of the worst on the East Coast), it was a bit lumpy but with the aid of waypoints provided by the Coastguard, it is safe in good conditions.
We anchored at Inskip Point and re-introduced Max to one of his favourite places, the big fine white sand island just off Inskip Point., It is a lovely spot, we had anchored here in 1987 on "Peta Lynne", again in 1996 on "Giselle", again on 2009 in "Next Chapter" (the year of cyclone Hamish when we were stuck in Garry's Anchorage for a week).
Chris and David ("L'Evasion") had not anchored here previously and they enjoyed it before heading towards Garry's Anchorage and Urangan Harbour to meet their grandchildren. While at Inskip, we met Bruce and Jenny on "Second Wind" with their Tenterfield Terrier, Muffy.
After three glorious days at Inskip, we headed into Tin Can Bay Marina to collect the mail. The fish and chips at the Shack were great for lunch! Initially we booked for just a couple of days but Susie wanted to spend time in the marina to just chill out, so we are here for a week. Just as well, as the weather is once again miserable. Having had two days of rain, we have played a lot of scrabble and even had the heating on as it has been quite cold (and there is more to come).
On the upside, the bikes have been unpacked and used to go to the shops and we had a pleasant dinner at the Black Cockatoo on the Friday night. The planned visit on Saturday to the RSL was washed out. But never mind, Susie has cooked and baked, it's all good.
We met Greg and Colleen and their daughter Tracey of "Liberator" a Catalina 42. A very interesting couple with lots of local knowledge, and lots of previous sailing experience on the Eastern Australian coast. Then much to our surprise we saw Greg & Natarli arrive on the large catamaran "Le Tigre", who we had first met in Tuncurry. Small world!

25.06.2012 | Chris Cresswell
Great to see you both. Hope you enjoy the next leg of your voyage. Give me an update on the pad esspecially the navionics app.
25.06.2012 | David and Jill
First up NOTE new email address.
Great more interesting than ever for us. Thank you so much for our Yacht Log we really appreciated the lovely gift.
Happy sailing, catch up soon.
26.06.2012 | Greg S
Gidday Guys, good to hear you are back on the water and heading north. Hopefully the weather improves for you. Talk soon
28.06.2012 | Kelly
Hey guys! Love reading about your sailing! Reminded me of when you took me out to south stradbroke on Giselle back in 1996 (yes it was that long ago!!). Happy sailing xx
Return to the beginning

1st April 2012 - Marmong Point, Lake Macquarie
Max and I had a nice quiet day while Susie was in Melbourne; I took apart the fly screen and hatch trim to the forward hatch, cleaning up the dribbles of mastic which had appeared after we had a very hot day. To say I took it apart is wrong, as it fell apart as several screws broke, the heads just fell off. After cleaning and removing some rust stains I managed to get the remains of the screws out and reassembled the screen. I hate those spring loaded things, just when you think it's going back together something slips and whizzz, all the tension unwinds. Then it's retrieve the bits and start over start again.
Susie arrived back as expected after the overnight trip to Melbourne.
2nd April 2012 - Marmong to Belmont
I took Max ashore leaving, Susie to try and catch some extra zeds. Max did what he had to do and as my back was turned as I headed towards the rubbish bin, he headed back to the jetty. I am not sure what made me look around but Max was nowhere to be seen, he had fallen in! I don't know why he fell in. I found him standing up to his tummy in the water under the jetty. I washed him down and gave him a good rub with a towel. He seemed to get over it after Susie warmed him up with a cuddle and a play. We left Marmong for the 5 mile motor in glassy conditions to Belmont, and were quickly joined by a pair of dolphins who accompanied us for a couple of miles, playing on the bow wave and diving under and around us.
Everywhere we go in Lake Macquarie I scan the boats with the binoculars looking for our old boat. We had last seen her in 2000 at Yorkey's Knob outside Cairns. The then owners told us they were from the Lake. Incredibly, Susie spotted her first, even without binnos, recognising her lines immediately. She is now named "Dream Catcher". Our old "Peta Lynne" is now 30 years old looks in need of some TLC as the seagulls had settled in! A radar and wind generator have been added, the wind vane has gone to make way for davits and solar panels. The hull had been painted & the Tred-master on deck had gone. Over the years someone had spent some money on her. At the time however, it appeared a shame she had been left to deteriorate. We left a note on board asking the owners' to contact us if they wished. We also made enquiries at the Lake Macquarie Yacht Club, where we had lunch.
It's weird being anchored so close to the old boat, seeing her out of "Water Music's" windows. She was such a good bluewater boat, and even today her lines show her pedigree having been designed by Laurent Giles.
3rd April - Belmont
Following our usual walk and breakfast routine, we had a call from Joe and Helen from "Dream Catcher" who had come to the boat to clean her. They rang to see if we were still in the area, and were surprised when I told them we were approx 100 metres to their starboard, shortly later they came for coffee. They were the same couple we had met in Yorkey's Knob.
Since our meeting all those years ago, Joe and Helen did a couple of trips doing the usual circuit of the SW Pacific which then eventuate in a circumnavigation over several years, wow! They had only returned from their circumnavigation in November 2011, having had to leave "Dream Catcher" in Newcastle for a couple of months until the dredging of the channel into Lake Macquarie was complete in January 2012. Since their return they had been busy settling into their house and visiting relatives including taking care of elderly parents and returning to a land based life.
We were invited to their house for dinner, which has wonderful views of Lake Macquarie, unfortunately we missed the setting of the sun! Helen is the most amazingly clever quilter - her design and flair for colour is extraordinary. They made us most welcomed and we had a lovely time and Max was spoilt. We wanted to ask them, where to from now - what will they do with "Dream Catcher", but the question was too hard to pose.
4th April - Belmont to Secret Bay
We sailed across the Lake with the MPS (multipurpose spinnaker). Susie reckons she was doing 4.4 knots in 8 knots of breeze. Once again the dolphins came to play. We into Secret Bay for a look, then onto Wangi Wangi (pronounced Wonji Wonji), which appeared a bit exposed to present conditions, so we went back to Secret Bay and had a quiet night.
There are Catalina yachts in every bay here in Lake Macquarie, it is no wonder they had there January 2012 rally here on the Lake.
5th April - Secret Bay
A quiet day spent doing chores etc. and Susie baked a batch of biscuits.
6th April (Good Friday) Secret Bay to- Toronto to Bolton Point
This morning we motored in windless conditions to, again in the company of dolphins, we have many photos of them. In Toronto, we caught up with Bruce & Thelma on "Tui of Opua" who were setting up for the Wooden Boat Festival which starts on Saturday. Later in the afternoon we moved to Bolton Point Bay for flat water so that I could service the outboard motor (first time for me as Alan did it at Sanctuary Cove more than a year ago - oops!).
7th April - Bolton Point to Toronto - Wangi Wangi
The Wooden Boat Festival was good, there were several works of art, others were just old and wooden, but in particular the steam driven launches were very special.
We have been expecting a Southerly bluster to blow up the coast, so with this in mind we set the MPS up for the sail to Wangi Wangi, we should have left earlier as the wind eased away to nothing and then the southerly change arrived very quickly. Fortunately, we were motoring and had no sails up when the front hit. It was quite a spectacular sight, seeing boats scuttling everywhere trying to shorten sail and seek shelter.
We spent well over an hour visiting William Dobell's house (famous Aussie artist who won three Archibald portrait prizes). We found it very interesting, as it depicted not only his life but that of his sister.
8th April - Wangi to Swansea
Up early (not that early really means anything to us, unless it's earlier than 05.00) to make the 8 am bridge opening at Swansea and transit the Swansea channel near high tide at 09:10. After about 15 minutes of motoring, I told Susie we could slow down as I had scaled the chart with a ruler and made the first leg to be 5 miles, when I re-checked the chart, the scale was in kilometres (divide by 1.852!) I have never seen a marine chart in kilometres before, that's my excuse!
We briefly touched the bottom at 1.7m in the Swansea channel, a very light grounding somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd starboard marks on the Lake Macquarie side to the channel. Once over this area the channel deepens, we then pushed on and made the 7 am bridge opening.
On the other side we picked up a courtesy mooring. We spent the day on the boat just pottering, but this is not a comfortable place because the tide rips through so fast and wind over tide can make it quite ordinary, hence an uneasy and restless night.
9th April - Swansea to Port Stephens
We departure at 06.30, crossing the bar at the wrong time but it was okay as the wind was from the west and the seas were calm. We had a good sail past Newcastle and 18 ships waiting to go to the coal loading docks. As we were approaching Morna Point and heading towards Point Stephens the wind dropped and we motored in the last hour into Port Stephens continuing onto Salamander Bay to drop the anchor and take Max ashore. Beautiful fine white sand beach and very clear water, Max loved it.
Max hates these trips, particularly the longer trips. We now try to get in the habit of giving him 2.5 mgs Valium at least 30 minutes before departure, then he goes into the flight cage with water, treat and comfort toy. Usually he settles, and we generally let him out after a couple of hours and we spend some time with him on the cabin floor, which he loves, giving him another 2.5 mgs Valium 2 ½ -3 hours or so after the 1st dose. Sometimes the Valium does not appear to work, he can be very artful at spitting out the tablets, therefore we have to be sure he takes it.
10th to 14th April - Salamander Bay, Port Stephens
We are presently experiencing very strong S and SW winds and have had continuous winds of 25 knots with frequent gusts of 30 knots with the forecast unlikely to change for a day or two which makes leaving difficult. Not that we are really in a hurry, so sitting it out is our option.
Our mission today is to catch the bus to Nelson Bay, to collect our mail from the Post Office (thanks to Tony for forwarding it on).
We also walked to the industrial area of Soldiers' Point to pick up some spares for the Honda outboard, in particular new zinc anodes which I will install immediately as they are overdue for a change.
14th April - Port Stephens to Tuncurry
We left the anchorage at 03.45 (that's early for us), in perfect conditions aiming to get to Crowdy Head by late afternoon. Having cleared the heads of Port Stephens we were able to sail and had a good sail in flat conditions then the wind disappeared. As we only had a 1 metre of swell and no waves and with ideal tide conditions to cross the bar, we decided to divert at Forster/Tuncurry instead. Our last attempt to enter this harbour had been aborted due to breaking seas and the sun in our eyes making it difficult to see the leads to cross the bar, this time it was much easier as the tides were just right.
Having attempted to anchor in the channel with slippery bottom conditions, we went alongside one of the pile berths owned by the fish co-op. The charge of $25 a night was a bit steep for no facilities, ho-hum! The decision was made to have fish and chips for dinner as we had previously been told Tuncurry has the best fish and chips but the choice of NZ fish or crumbed (frozen) whiting, I cannot understand as this in a fishing port. Very disappointing!
15th April - Tuncurry to Port Macquarie
Up and off early at 05.00 and over the bar safely. At first we had a really good westerly breeze which fizzled away to nothing after about 1 - 1 ½ hours. Although we had expected light westerly to south westerly winds but rather hoped for a little more and after 9 hours of motoring we safely crossed the bar into Port Macquarie.
We picked up a marina mooring, heading over to the office next morning to be knocked with a 33% increase to $30 per night in mooring fees since November. At least they have hot showers.
As usual Max hated the trip, except for the periods when one of us would go below and give him our undivided attention. We have also noticed that the electric halyard winch causes him some distress. However, it is amazing as soon as we have anchored, he recovers and is bright and squeaking with delight to be taken to ashore.
16th to 23 April - Port Macquarie
We are enjoying the flesh pots of Port, doing the laundry at the "Willing and Able" laundromat, trying to keep dry during the relentless periods of rain. Why is it when we are in Port it always rains, buckets of it, poor Max he gets wet at least 3 times a day and he hates it. Susie bought him a rain coat and a warm winter coat from the RSPCA.
We caught up with fellow yachties Chris and Trish "Reliance" for drinks or dinner several times which was great fun and relaxing. We met them last time in Port and will meet again when they come up after their new generator is installed. We also met Chris and Caroline sailing on little "Kaleuha", and Greg and Natali on the large catamaran "Le Tigre", both heading north. Another couple Mike and Beverley, sailing their newly acquired boat ? to be renamed "Eleanor", heading towards Brisbane and beyond.
Time is marching on and Susie is booked on flights from the Gold Coast to attend the APNA conference at the beginning of May. With that in mind there is the need to look at contingencies. Fuel at the dock is very dear, so I decided to fill the tank with enough fuel to get back to Southport. Using 2 jerry cans I filled up with fuel and saved $0.40 a litre in the process thanks to Woolworths nearby servo.
While Susie was baking a boiled Fruit Cake she noticed an Osprey on the masthead of the yacht nearby clasping a rather large live fish, which the predator then proceeded to eat. Amazing sight as I managed to get some photographs.
Susie had her first visit to a hairdresser since leaving home (humph - he can't give an opinion about how much nicer and fresher and looked it makes me appear!).
We also had the bicycles out, to pedal around Port. Susie also took Trish for a ride. Both feel they are only suitable for short rides as they can be uncomfortable.
The weather is beginning to look suitable for heading north. With the anticipated long days, Susie has made a fresh Minestrone soup - yummy!
24th April - Port Macquarie to Coffs Harbour
Up early, the boat was drenched with dew, I had to wipe the dodger inside and outside so we could see our way through the harbour, we crossed the bar at 0615, the timing was not perfect, neither was my position, a bit too far to the south, we had a couple of short steep seas to go through before we got into deeper water. We managed a couple of hours sailing until the wind dropped too far to make progress so the engine was started as we watched heavy clouds form ahead of us and swell increased from the south east. Fortunately for us the internet was still working and we were able to see a band of rain just north of Coffs receding northwards. Smoky Cape - yuk! Even motoring we seemed to looking at the thing for hours, the south setting current runs at about 1-2 knots generally but increases anywhere up to 3-4 knots near major headlands, it also increases the swell near the headlands.
About lunchtime, Susie went below to give Max some out of flight cage time, she reappeared not too long after clutching the bucket. A combination of lunch and swell.
We entered Coffs Harbour at 8pm and after a snoop around looking for a berth we tied up the fixed marina dock and took Max ashore. Soup and toast for late dinner then off to bed.
25th April - Coffs Harbour to Gold Coast
After an interrupted night (getting up every couple of hours to adjust the length of our mooring lines because of the falling tide) we left at 06.30. Our plan is to head into Yamba.
Four hours of motoring with the winds increasing and we were able to sail. The wind increased progressively reaching 25knots and we were doing 6 - 7+ knots over the ground with a known counter current of at least 2 knots. Lurching off an increasing easterly swell and waves developing from the west was decidedly uncomfortable. As the boat and conditions dictated we reefed the sails to calm the boat. As soon as the reefs were put in and the sails trimmed, the wind eased for a wee while, and then returned veering and gusting 30 knots.
We got to the point where we were supposed to turn and head towards Yamba, while at the same time the wind had decreased and shifted to the northwest, with this we thought that the entry to Yamba may be dangerous particularly as we would be crossing the bar at the wrong time, tide wise, so we diverted to the Gold Coast.
By 4pm, we had the reefs back in the sails, by 8pm the wind was up to 25+ knots at times but dropping to 15 knots, fortunately it was an offshore wind which was still warm, with waves to 1 metre making it uncomfortable because of the underlying easterly swell. We passed Cape Byron at3 am after gusts up to 35 knots, from 4am the wind started to ease and by 6am we were under full sail, at 9am on went the motor again so we motored the last 17 miles on glassy smooth calm water.
We did 1 to 2 hour watches depending on the amount of traffic and wind. The big ships tend to be a bit further offshore but still passing within a couple of miles. Thank God for AIS! For some reason that had stopped working after leaving Coffs but I was able to use an alternate antenna and got it working again.
We telephoned SYC and also Bob & Joan from "Cat's Away" who made a quick dash to see us coming through the Gold Coast Seaway and then with their help tied, up in berth C21. It was a bit tight and fortunately with no wind and the top of the tide, we manoeuvred in to our allocated space. The next day, I received a call from the marina office, we were supposed to be in B21! We moved to the new berth which is much easier to get in and out. I am not sure who made the mistake, probably me but excusable after 26-28 hours at sea.
During the 28 hours, Max had a total of 7.5mgs Valium, it should have 10mgs but he is so artful at spitting doses, I missed one he chucked. It was a horrid trip for him and he had about 3 "accidents" in his flight cage while we were either reefing or un-reefing. We are still amazed as to his recovery as soon as we are moored or anchored.
Bob and Joan kindly gave a lift to the house to collect the car. RACQ was called to replace the battery, then we had wheels!
26 April - onwards at Southport Yacht Club
We spent the next few days working in the garden at home and cleaning up after the geckos who have been the only occupants in our house for 6 months. Alex has moved out of the little house to share a house with friends.
Nick and I have both had sleepless nights about what we should be doing next and in what order the approach should be made. We have decided to rent out our house, as it is better than leaving it empty and will give us an income stream which will be great.
It's strange to be back - actually I have quite mixed emotions.
Reflecting back on the trip, we have enjoyed many aspects but it has been very restrictive with Max and also of great concern for his wellbeing during the trip. On one side, we hate seeing him becoming so distressed when underway but on the other hand he is quite normal within seconds of the mooring the boat. All in all he is happy on the boat as long as we are stationary and he has us to dote on him.
On another matter, neither of us are as young as were when we sailed from England and the long trips seem to take us more time to recover.
With those points made, my intention is to slow our trips down and spend more time with each community we visit. I also would like to try to get some locum work in some of the areas we visit.
We arrived back in good time for me to go to the APNA conference in Melbourne, as this was my final obligation as a Member of the Board to end my 2 year appointment to the Board.
We plan on heading north, chasing the sun late in May after the Boat Show at Sanctuary Cove, there's always a wish list.....!

06.05.2012 | Stwvw and Andy
Welcome home.
Your trip sounded wonderful for a couple that love sailing. Pity about Max and his sea legs while under way, still if that's the only worry you have with him we're sure that his company makes up for the odd accident.
Now for the post trip repairs and maintenance. :P

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Ship's blog for SV Water Music out of Southport, QLD
Who: Nick and Susie
Port: Southport, Queensland
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