06/17/2008, Brisbane, Australia
The city sparkles and we agree this is one of the coolest things we've ever done.
Staying out of the way of the little night ferries, we anchor just down from the bridge, in the light of the tall buildings right across from us.
We get to go underneath.
taking photos while steering.
06/17/2008, Brisbane, Aust.
As the sky becomes pink and the southeastern shore gets bathed in warm light, we start to see skyscrapers in the background, around the many bends.
We start keeping a heads-up for the City Cat Ferries, (catamarans), who run up and down and across the river taking people home from work or out to dinner at riverside restaurants...
We round one of the last bends and there is The Story Bridge, outlined with picturesque lights.
...and established palm-tree lined residences
06/17/2008, Brisbane, Aust.
The river narrows and starts to meander.
Around the next few bends we see some older homes mixed with new, climbing up the banks on both sides, and some impressive waterfront developments with walkways, restaurants, city ferry docks...vibrant and healthy looking neighborhoods. Our hopes of finding a well-planned and user-friendly city have been kindled.
Starting to see renovated warehouse districts
06/17/2008, Eastern edge of Brisbane
warehouses turned into multi-use developments.
At this point the river is fairly broad with a few bends.
not much traffic yet.
Trip up the Brisbane River
06/17/2008, semi-industrial section
So, as hesitating urbanites, we headed up the river.
We went into the channel at slack tide wanting to hit the river at incoming tide, with a current of two knots going with us. It was a little late in the day (winter here)... three o'clock by the time we passed the Port of Brisbane wharf near the mouth of the river. We were a little concerned we wouldn't get the anchor down near the city before dark.
We passed the Port and the industrial section, mostly concrete plants and oil docks, but still somewhat tree-lined.
We passed the light industrial area: boatyards, fancy yacht marinas, outlying airport property...
And after awhile we started seeing some redeveloped riverside neighborhoods; some modern apartment buildings...
Goodbye Manly Harbour
06/16/2008, Malou watching model boat races near Manly
Yesterday, we untied from pile moorings in Manly Harbour, motored through south Moreton Bay into the shipping channel at the mouth of the Brisbane River, and headed fifteen miles up the river to Brisbane city center.
Why leave lovely Manly Harbour? Because it only offered two out of the three following:
The economical pilings at Manly are being taken out this August as part of a harbour redevelopment plan, leaving only marina berths. Too bad.
We did hesitate leaving Manly Harbour and the pleasant shoreline towns of Manly and Wynnum. We enjoyed our five-day stay there, blending in with the locals and visitors, walking along the esplanades and parks, and shopping in the small three-square-block town of Manly, going to the Manly Sunday Market. The harbour is in protected waters, deep within Moreton Bay, and the towns have a very easy-going feel. The shoreline is undulating with alternating 'Points' and 'Bays' and you can't see the beach-front resort strips that begin twenty miles to either the north or south.
Anyway, we hadn't even known about Manly before arriving in AU. We had intended all along to go up the river to Brisbane to moor and leave the boat while traveling in the US. I especially, was reluctant to go to the city center. We had checked it out a few days ago, on Friday, and there was an available mooring in a location that seemed secure and fairly pleasant, but it was Urban, right in the middle of things. My first thought walking through the well-planned downtown, past pretty young people on their lunch break eating at outdoor cafes... was that we don't have the wardrobe for this anymore. We've become much more Eddie Bauer Outlet than 'Young Urban Designer'. Steen and I had both lived that lifestyle before; he in Copenhagen and I in Chicago. A long time ago.
Here is a normal breakfast conversation with Malou:
Dad, can I have the outboard? What? Can I have the outboard! You want the outboard? Yes, so I can play a song. The outboard? You want the outboard? Yes. For a song. Oh, the keyboard. Yes, so can play a song.
We are safe and sound in Suva, Fiji
10/03/2007, 18 07.50 S, 178 25.24 E
We arrived in Suva, (major port on the southern island), around one am this morning. Yes, we came into port in the dark, through a channel with reefs on both sides and inaccurate local navigation lights. We normally do not enter harbors in the dark, but beforehand when we looked at the paper charts, it looked like a straight forward approach with range markers.
We made it just fine, but had a difficult time locating the navigational lights, some of which were missing and some the wrong color per the charts; for example, the range markers which should have been 'fixed red' were actually blue.
Attesting to the fact that this harbor can be tricky is the faint outline of a sailboat out on the reef, tilted over, obviously grounded. Steen noticed it this morning, while surveying our new surroundings. The customs officials who came aboard Radiance this morning said the boat had been there for a few days.
As I write this, Steen and Malou have just returned from the local 'yacht club', mostly a restaurant with some outdoor access showers and a bulletin board. While there, Steen ran into a Finnish cruising couple we met in Tonga, who have been cruising for nine years; a very nice couple in their sixties, whom we were hoping to meet up with again here in Fiji. As Steen asked them how their trip went, they said it was pretty rough and that while trying to enter the harbor in the dark, the entrance lights didn't make sense, a rain squall had come up, their computer navigation had gone out and within a minute they had gone onto the reef.
Realization dawned on Steen and all he could say was "I'm so sorry."
The situation was bad; the boat was holed on one side and was completely flooded. While they were calling the Fijian Navy for help, the waves washed the boat even farther onto the reef. Their dinghy had fortunately been inflated on deck, so they were able to get it in the water, but the waves capsized them at least once while heading off the reef toward shore. They are now waiting for both insurance and salvage companies to take care of retrieving the boat. They were able to go back out and get some of their clothes and they've spent the last few days at the laundry mat washing out the sea (and bilge) water.
Most importantly, neither were hurt, and their insurance company has been good to them so far. It's a fairly small community, this cruising fleet, and although you don't want Anyone to lose their boat, it is heart wrenching when it happens to someone you know and someone you've spoken to and smiled at just a few days ago.
The fleet would be more than willing to help them with anything they needed, but since they were insured, they are doing alright and are in a hotel waiting to take care of the business portion. So, the rest of us will go on with our plans, hopefully remembering to take that extra precaution the next time we enter a new harbor, during the day or night.