We are anchored in the passage between Lamb and Macleay Islands to the North and Karagarra Island to the South in a well protected part of South Moreton Bay near Brisbane. We are now only 25 nm from Southport through the maze of shallow waterways that lie behind North and South Stradbroke Islands but are not heading south yet, as Christmas and New Year are almost upon us. Anyone with a boat of some kind - big, small or ugly - gets out on the water after Christmas, making it awfully busy!
Saraoni in the sheltered passage between Macleay and Karragarra Islands in Southern Moreton Bay
We have made good progress since the Sandy Strait. We first had to cross the Wide Bay Bar that acts as a shallow entrance and exit point at the southern mouth of the strait. It can only be safely crossed when the swell is down at around high tide on a flood tide. It was pretty bumpy but only the same as the last 4 crossings we have made. A pleasant overnighter under a full moon brought us down to Moreton Bay.
Waiting for the tide to rise near Inskip Point before crossing the bar south of Fraser Island.
The coast of Queensland to the North of the Tweed River is composed of a series of huge sand islands - the Stradbrokes, Bribie, Moreton and Fraser. They are built from sand swept up from New South Wales and dumped as Australia makes a left turn. To the north of Fraser lies a gap before the first of the Great Barrier Reefs begins in fits and starts. It's that gap that makes it an easy target for yachts making it to Australia. Moreton Bay is full of sand banks and shallow water and can be treacherous when summer storms greet the offshore visitor.
Three of the rather weird Glasshouse Mountains, Beerburrum, Tibrogargan and Beerwah, old volcanic plugs, rise above sandy Bribie Island on the Sunshine Coast north of Brisbane.
Saraoni running before a north easterly wind off the west coast of Moreton Island
We've met up with old yachtie friends on this trip. Ralph has been bringing his catamaran, El Misti, back from South East Asia where we last saw him and his partner, Jenn, eight years ago. He's had to do it all single-handed as Jenn is recovering from a foot injury.
Ralph is bringing El Misti back to SE Queensland after a single handed marathon from Timor - seen here off Rainbow Beach after crossing the Wide Bay Bar safely.
Meanwhile, Rosie and Mike have also just arrived back from South East Asia and by coincidence have a home perched a half kilometre from us on Lamb Island with their yacht, Shakti, on a mooring, conveniently just below them in the channel. We last saw these two on their old boat, Jemimah, in the Andaman Islands.
These South Moreton Bay islands have become a resting place for yachties who have taken advantage of cheap land prices and sheltered water. Cheap and frequent ferry services between the islands and the mainland where Brisbane can be reached as well as increasing services make them attractive places to swallow the anchor, or keep it stowed until the next adventure. We might use this area as a base if the Beneteau passes inspection next month, if only to get our stuff transferred over from Saraoni and get Saraoni ready for sale, but for the next couple of weeks we are looking for some cleaner water off one of those big sand islands.
As for New Year resolutions, humanity collectively has some pretty challenging hurdles to jump. Can the planet remain habitable for all of the present generation's kids and grand-kids? Can the current rapid loss of biodiversity be arrested? Can democracy survive? Can the trend towards ever increasing levels of income and assets inequality be tackled? Good Luck, Planet Earth. You need every bit you can get! Perhaps, thousands more Greta Thunbergs
might swing it!