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Pancake Creek

4/17/2012 Our weather window opened and we left Bundaberg Port Marina at 6 am. With a light SE trade wind blowing we followed our friends, Mike and Ann of S/V Calisto, out the river mouth and turned north. Serenity was so happy to feel the seas moving past her hull again. How did we feel being at sea after six months ashore? We were a little anxious, but we soon fell into our groove. Plus, going up the east coast of Austalia involves hopping from anchorage to anchorage without doing an overnighter--all within the Great Barrier Reef--minimum swells. We had to motorsail the fifty miles up to Pancake Creek the next secure anchorage. We decided not to visit Lady Musgrave atoll as we had heard that the atoll is low and waves come over at high tide making a rough night at anchor. We had visited numerous atolls on our Pacific crossing, so we opted for a super calm night at Pancake Creek. After some sphincter clenching due to the shallow sand bar crossing, we anchored in 16 feet of murky water. The holding here is so-so due to the silt bottom, so we spent only one night--but, I'll tell you, it was dead calm. A short note on paranoia; one of the crew on Serenity is deathly afraid of all the poisonous, noxious, deadly, vicious, and nasty creatures that abound in Oz. It does seem that God put all of his nasties on this continent. There are crocodiles (big, man eating ones), snakes, spiders, jelly fish ( including the faltal and near invisible Irukandgji and box jellies), sharks, sea snakes... the list goes on. While at Pancake Creek we elected to avoid going ashore as there were swarms of mosquitos (they are really nasty and very attracted to that certain crewmember). Every water swirl could be a croc (salty they call them), or other nasty coming for a visit. We just can't wait to get further north where there are more crocs than people--"Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep...".

Uninvited guest

We were very happy to find the interior of Serenity 'critter free' after being shut up for five months. We did find this fellow asleep on the foredeck--although how he got there while Serenity's deck was fifteen feet above the ground remains a mystery. What was hilarious was me trying to get him off the boat and into the bushes without him touching me. I figured that all living creatures in Oz are poisonous, leathal, or otherwise nasty--so I did not want him to touch me. I picked him up in a clear plastic cup and started to carry him down the stairs to the bushes outside the gate. He woke up and started to climb out of the cup--I started to swirl the cup to keep him in. But as I got to the yard gate he crawled onto my hand--at which point he became a flying green frog and landed in the bushes--a little dizzy but unharmed. I did not suffer harm or halucinations either.

Our home--the mess

When we got back to Serenity after she had been locked up for five months, we were happy to find that she really was in good shape. Of course, we had stuffed everything from our decks, including our two head sails, down below. We had a long cleaning time ahead!

Ketchup (or catch-up)
04/20/2012, Bundaberg Port Marina

Well, a lot has happened since we landed here in the 'Merry old land of Oz'. Just a brief summary; we arrived in Bundaberg on october 14, 2011. We were going to sail down to Sydney, but decided to put Serenity up on the hard (on Land) in Bundaberg after talking to the nice people of the Bundaberg Cruising Yacht Club. Note to cruisiers: If the BCYC offers to sponser the Port 2 Port Rally again--do it! They are a great source of local nowledge and a fun bunch. After getting Serenity tucked away, we took the train down to Brisbane (or Brissy as the Aussies call it--they always want to shorten a word and add --y to it?), and flew to Perth on the west coast. We rented a small motorhome ( a mini-winnie) and toured south and north of Perth. We then flew to melbourne and stayed for four great days. Melbourne is brilliant and we got to visit the MacDonald family that we had met in Resolution Bay on Tanna Island. We then flew to Hobart on the island of Tasmania where we rented a car and drove all around the island. We saw Tasmanian Devils and wombats up close and hiked some awesome trails. Up to Sydney via jet and stayed two weeks in a hotel right on Darling Harbor - beautiful and full of life. We toured the Blue Mountains above Sydney. We then flew to Adelaide for four days then boarded the 'Ghan' an overnight train to Alice Springs. We spent one night in Alice which is in the heart of the Australian Outback. We took a bus to Uluru(Ayer's Rock) and spent three nights there and did five tours. Our favorites were the hike around Ayer's Rock with a guide who explained the Aboriginal Culture and stories of the rock - and the King's Canyon hike. Uluru turned out to be a highlight of our travels in Oz. We were off - flying back to Sydney for one night in a hotel at the Rocks, then a long flight back to the U.S.A. We spent three months recharging our family batteries and flew back to Sydney on March 10,2012. We rented a car in Sydney and drove up the 'Gold Coast" to Brisbane. Surfer's Paradise (the name of a town) was a surprise on our road trip as it had multiple high rises, casinos, and tons of people. We spent ten days in Brissy and that was great fun! We then took the train back up to Bundaberg and got Serenity cleaned up and back in the water. After maintenance and repairs we waited for a good weather window to head up north-- up inside the Great Barrier Reef to Darwin in the Northern Territories.

Brisbane's Street Art

My favorite piece of art in Brisbane may not be a piece of art at all--but I thought it was too cool! The sign says "No Standing" and is permanently in water--what the heck? And it is kinda out of the way--we found it while on one of our city treks. But I realised that the best part of the art in Brisbane is that Sherry and I had the time to enjoy it. That is one of the best parts of the cruising lifestyle--you have the time to really enjoy your destinations.

Brisbane's Street Art

Even the light sconce in our hotel was artsy.

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