16 February 2017
Much needed holiday
It was decided we needed a holiday and booked tickets to Germany to have Christmas with Gerds mum, Heidi. Our trip back to Germany was for 5 weeks. It was a long trip there, not arriving to Heidi’s, in Bietigheim-Bissingen until 48 hrs after leaving Bundaberg. We had a 4 hour drive to Brisbane airport with a 4 hour check in wait, then 3x7 hour flights, with no lengthy transfer time in-between flights, then a 2 hour train trip to Bietigheim-Bissingen. Heidi was not aware we were arriving, so a knock on her door at 1030pm was quite a surprise, to say the least.
It was the start of winter so we had hopes for a white Christmas. This we didn’t get however we did get a white new year’s making the surroundings beautiful. Coming from temperatures of 36-40 degrees we were now experiencing -12 degrees. We embraced this climate change, enjoying wearing a winter wardrobe, eating winter foods and drinking Gluhwein (mulled wine).
On arriving the Christmas markets were in full swing. These were great to go to. The effort the stall holders went to to decorate their stalls to set the scene and create the Christmas atmosphere was amazing. The highlight for us was the food stalls and Gluhwein. With many snacks/meals had of traditional German foods, not to mention the Gluhwein which when the weather is really cold one really appreciates.
Not only did we embraced the weather, we 200% embraced the bakery’s; bread, buns, sweet pastries, pretzels, these are all to die for, not to mention the beer & wine, and sausages, yum yum yum, hence our waist circumference grew a little.
We had several visits to the thermal saunas. These were just magnificent. Once again really appreciated in the cold weather/snow. Great for detoxing after Christmas and New Year indulgences. In fact after bakery, beer & wine indulgencies. In other words our daily indulgencies.
We made good use of the train system, however the train stations were bloody cold to stand around in waiting for ones train.
The last few days of our trip we spent in Biebergemuend-lanzingen, near Frankfurt with friends Fuch & Mel and their 8 husky dogs. Beautiful dogs who each roam the house like it’s there kingdom, well I guess it is their kingdom.
From Frankfurt we flew home to Bundaberg to find Kestrel still safely afloat in the Marina. On inspection she had held up well being locked up for 5 weeks.
So one might ask where to from here………….. It was decided I would have a 3 month working stint to top up our travel kitty, so as I write this blog I am in Derby, WA working in Derby Renal Unit for 3 months. On finishing this contract we have a trip booked to NZ to meet our first grandchild which is due to Scott & Laura any day now. OMG so exciting, can’t wait.
After our NZ trip we plan to set sail again and continue cursing south down the east coast of Australia.
Port Bundaberg Marina
04 February 2017
Port Bundaberg Marina.
On arriving to Port Bundaberg Marina, on request, we were greeted by 2 staff members to help us catch our lines and guild us into our berth. This was greatly appreciated as on arrival we were both rather tired & exhausted (read previous blog).
The first 4 days were spent recovering, not only physically but mentally as our dream felt like it had come crashing down. With the last two passages feeling like a journey to hell. I guess you have to take the good with the bad.
Our first impressions of the Marina have been all good. The staff are friendly and helpful. The prices they charge are ok and we are paying for and have the berth size required for Kestrel, not like the previous Marina, we were charged for a 13 metre berth, however placed in only a 10 metre berth.
The Marina has a lovely social area ‘cruisers cove’, which has loungers, TV, fridge, BBQ, notice board and free Wi-Fi. The grounds are kept lovely (see pictures). They offer a daily courtesy ride to town and Sunday morning courtesy ride to the farmers markets. Both of which we have taken advantage of as we do not have a vehicle.
We have caught up with friends Olga & Pete as they are living in Coral Cove, not far away. Was great to see them both again after many years.
The area is known as the 'Southern Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. South of Bundaberg is Fraser Island. We are yet to explore these waters.
After 1 week in the Marina we had a trip to town on the courtesy bus. What we thought was a trip to town to pick up a few bits and pieces, resulted in the purchase of return tickets to Germany to have Christmas with Heidi, Gerds mum.
Yay, we are off on holiday for 5 weeks, leaving kestrel berthed safely in the Marina. This also giving us time to re-visit/ re-think/ recover and re-dream our sailing plans.
Heaven and Hell
12 December 2016
Heaven and Hell 13/12/2016
Heaven and Hell, these are my (Julie's) words to describe our sailing adventure. HELL explains our last 2 long passages during which it felt like I was in hell due to experiencing bad motion sickness on both long passages. Despite wearing Sea Bands, eating ginger, earplugs and taking motion sickness drugs.
Heaven, is all the great time we have had and there has been many, many moments.
The story goes as follows........
We departed from MacKay Marina knowing we had a long passage ahead of us due to northerlies, and no sheltered anchorages along the way. After 162 nm/43 hours motor sailing we reached North Keppel Island. Arriving 2000hrs, thus having to anchor in the dark, something we try to avoid if possible.
The wind was variable, up to 12 knots only with horrible rolling swells which played havoc with my sensory organs, sending mixed messages to my brain causing motion sickness despite taking my tablets, add a migraine to this and I was incapable of functioning. Leaving me curled in the cabin praying for this misery hell hole I was in to end. Which it did, after 12 long, agonising hours.
The anchorage at North Keppel Island was lovely and calm allowing us a recovery period. The next morning we lifted anchor and motor sailed to Great Keppel Island which was only 8nm away. Once underway, Gerd on the helm I lay down to continue my recovery. We spent 2 nights anchored at Great Keppel Island. A lovely Island, however as still recovering, I didn't have the physical or emotional strength to get out and about and explore. It took me all of 2 days to recover. While at Great Keppel Island/Yeppoon we were able to reunite with Lyn and Gary, fellow sailors we meet along the way earlier in the year.
After this passage it was time to rethink our sailing adventure plan, I had been feeling miserable. We made the decision to motor sail to Yeppoon Marina, only 9nm away. We spent 2 nights in the Marina, contemplating what we wanted to do, throw in the towel, sell the boat was on the list. My mind was in a body not handling the sea conditions very well causing some very unpleasant moments on Kestrel, adding extra pressure for Gerd as when I was down, I was down, non-functional.
Still wanting to undertake this sailing adventure I ordered some recommended motion sickness tablets from US (as not sold in Aus). "Stugeron". I had read about these in several different articles/ sailing forums. After talking to our sailing friends, they swear by them. So, an order was placed. As postage cost was high, I ordered 200 tablets. Here's hoping they work. They were going to take 7 days to arrive.
Not wanting to sit in the marina paying $53 per night we headed back out to Great Keppel Island. On waking the next morning anchored at Great Keppel Island and looking at the weather forecast, and having by now recovered fully, I was all geared up to continue sailing. Feeling confident knowing I had yet another motion sickness tablet I had not yet tried (Paihia Bombs, from NZ. Also highly recommended by different fisherman) up my sleeve. So I popped a pill and we set sail. Yet again, we knew we had another long passage.
This passage was another visit to Hell. This tablet was to be taken every 24 hours, however after 12 hours, motion sickness was starting to creep back upon me. Having no choice, as not wanting to suffer in hell again I took another tablet 12 hours into our travel. This kept me semi functional. We had winds 15knots/gusts up to 20, which was fine, however we has swells abeam for a good part of the passage. These were horrible, as we were rocked from side to side for a good 15 hrs.
That's it, after a second visit to hell, I was calling it quits with my sailing adventure. I had had enough.
On arriving into Bundaberg Marina we were both willing to walk off the boat. We were both very tired and exhausted after our second long shitty passage. This adventure was no longer fun.
However, we have been 1 week in the marina and all is well. We have made no knee jerking decision and plan to sit the cyclone season (until March) out here in Bundaberg Marina. My new tablets are due to arrive this week. This gives us plenty of time to hash out different options.
Stuck in MacKay
22 November 2016
Stuck in MacKay 23/11/2016
What was supposed to be a one night stay in MacKay Marina resulted in 10 nights due to the low weather system on the east coast causing rough seas with S/SE winds. We decided some things are worth paying for. It cost us 50.00 per night to stay here. This ate a little hole in our travel funds. However after walking on the shore line and watching the rough seas, we were very pleased to be in this sheltered Marina. MacKay doesn’t offer much in the way of anchorages. While in MacKay I was able to catch up with Joy, a friend I met while working in Mount Isa. Was great to catch up.
On two occasions we caught the bus to Caneland shopping centre for provisions & booze. We pickled the water maker while in the Marina as we didn’t want to use while berthed. Gerd made another batch of beer. We did a few small jobs on-board. The sewing machine came out and I had a morning mending and making a rag & bag bag to store these items.
Our early xmas present arrived, an inflatable kayak. Yay, there has been many anchorages that I have often commented to Gerd, “if only we had Kayak” “, “kayaking is such good exercise” “ are you sure we don’t have room for one”, ………………………
Hmmmm is guess he must have been listening to me after all. The kayak has had good use while we have been in the marina as paddling around the marina would be about 1 km. Doing two laps , with the tide & wind against you, is a good workout. I have also taken advantage of being onshore and got back into my walking and it has been nice to do my yoga on still ground beneath me.
We plugged into shore power while here. Allowing us to run the freezer at -18 instead of -11 degrees, which we normally do when running off the battery. The TV has also had a run, allowing us to catch up on all the rubbish viewed. We have taken total advantage of running hot showers and the laundromat. Not to mention a couple of feeds of hot chips.
Today, Wednesday 23 Nov, is spent preparing for departure tomorrow morning.
My list goes as follows:
Write Blog and post it.
Deflate kayak and stow.
Last load of washing, cost $6.00 per load and $1.00 per 5 minute to dry. Not a cheap exercise.
Prepare easy travel meals and snacks, as we think we may do 2 overnights, with the plan on reaching Frazer Island Saturday. Cooking list; green chicken curry, bolognaise, yoghurt, bread, boil eggs, prepare easy reach snacks.
Secure all deck items/prepare inside for cruising.
Remove and clean Hull speed reader.
Check weather report again and hope it hasn’t changed for the worst.
Then, have a long hot shower.
Cruising the Whitsunday Islands
16 November 2016 | MacKay Marina
Cruising the Whitsunday Islands. 17/11/16
Firstly let me say, “What a magnificent, beautiful picturise place the Whitsunday Islands are”. Pictures and words can’t do it justice. If you get the chance this is a piece of Australia you must see.
Our timing for cruising these water couldn’t have been better. As along with any spectacular, beautiful spots, comes tourist. We were here in November, which is this off peak season for the Bareboats. The weather we had was great, although, a bit more wind at times would have been better for sailing.
We spent 8 days sailing these water, island hopping. One could easily spend weeks here getting lost in its beauty. But with the cyclone season approaching we are at some stage needing to get some serious nautical miles behind us, with the hope to be in Sydney for new year’s eve and catch the spectacular fireworks display from Kestrel II anchored in Sydney harbour, well that’s the plan at this stage.
Our anchorages in the Whitsunday Islands were,
1 night, Nara Inlet/Hook Island
1 night, Whitehaven Beach/ Whitsunday Island
2 night, Plantation Bay/Lineman Island
2 nights, Oyster Bay/Brampton Island
2 night, Victor Bay/Keswick Island
From Victor Bay we sailed to MacKay Marina, with the plan to spend one night in the Marina, Refuel, Re-provision and pick up our parcel (my xmas present), then carry on our merry way. However, the weather had other plans for us. The northerlies turned to Easterlies/ South Easterlies, wind up to 30 knots, with stronger wind gusts. Grrrrrrrrr not what we wanted at all. We decided to sit out this patch of weather. Unfortunately MacKay doesn’t have much options for anchoring other than up the river, which requires a high tide for entering/exiting and requires local knowledge. So as I write this blog we are in the Marina with the comforts of hot showers and a laundromat. At this stage it is looking like we will be sitting in the marina for a week
Magnetic Island to Airlie
08 November 2016 | Airlie
Magnetic Island to Airlie 5/11/2016
Our trip from Magnetic Island to Airlie Beach took 4 days. Our first anchorage was at Cape Bowling Green after 9.5 hrs motorsail covering 35 nm. The winds were Easterlies, Up to 10 knots, not enough to sail only. We had a good calm anchorage, shared with 4 other boats, one of which was Warren, off Enchantress II, who we met in Dunk Island and has been cruising with us. Once anchored we dinghy ashore and walked the sand bar too discover a large dead turtle, was rather sad to see.
Next morning we lifted anchor at 0530hrs and motor sailed to Cape Upstart, covering 35 nm in 7.5 hrs. Much better time frame than the previous day, due to wind direction and an improved course over ground. The winds were north easterlies, up to 15 knots. We did turn the motor off for a short period and had all sails, 2x jibs, main, mizzin, out. However we didn’t sail for long due to lack of wind. Engine was soon restarted, and motorsailing recommenced. Our starter switch malfunctioned at this point, and a screw driver was required to start the motor. Job first on the list once in Airlie. Once anchored at Upstart, we dinghy ashore to stretch the legs. We got talking to a local lady who filled us in on the history of the Bay, which included, The monument erected June 1988, to commemorate the Bi-Centenary of The Northbound Passage of H.M.Bark “Endeavour”. James Cook.R.N as Captain 6th June 1770, having sighted and named Cape Upstart on the previous AM. This was another nice anchorage, once again shared with 4 other boats.
Another early rise the following morning, motor started with the screw driver and anchor was lifted at 0515. Once again Easterly winds, up to 15 knots. We motored sailed, covering 45nm, over 10 hrs to Squally Bay, Gloucester Island. Fishing was successful, resulting in an 80 cm Tuna Mackerel. Yum. However, as instructed by my chef, its best to refrigerate for two days before eating. So, this we did. Last night was our first taste of the tuna. With Gerd preparing/cooking it in 3 different ways. First up was Sashimi, then BBQ steaks, then for the main dish an Italian dish, with diced tuna, tomatoes, olives, onion & garlic, served with rice. Was all very nice. I’m looking forward to tasting the rest of Gerd’s creations with remaining Tuna.
From Squally Bay/Gloucester Island, we motorsailed to Pioneer Bay/Airlie, 27nm, over 7 hrs. Once again winds easterlies, up to 10 knots, with wind gusts up 15 knots. Dark clouds hovered above, threating. With quieter winds this gave us the opportunity to play around with the main sail and get the reefing of the main sail right. We were anchored by midday. Had a bite to eat and our anchor beer then headed ashore to have a look around.
We spent 3 days anchored at Airlie. Gerd replaced the starter switch. We went to Woolworths, topped up our provisions and got our fresh fruit and vegs from the Saturday markets. It was lovely to discover our friends from Cairns, Chris & Gilli, who are also sailing south had arrived in Airlie. It was lovely to catch up with them again.
This morning, Sunday 6 Nov, we lifted anchor and are heading off to explore the Whitsunday Islands.