Fireworks explode by the Brisbane River at New Year's Eve. We were anchored at New Farm, around the corner from the main viewing points near Eagle Street and South Bank, so we didn't get a full view of the display. We did get an ear full of drunken yahooing from each bank, though!
We are anchored off the west shore of South Stradbroke island, just up from the Southport Spit in the Broadwater. The tall skyscrapers of the Gold Coast are close by to the south of us and the sheltered passages between here and Moreton Bay are buzzing with boats of all shapes and sizes, mostly small motor boats and jet skis. It's not the best time to be on the Gold Coast as the area goes crazy with boat activity, but the survey of the Beneteau is now only a few days away.
In amongst the growing human presence, migratory birds find quiet places to grab a takeaway feed. This lovely little Rainbow bee eater was seen catching flies on St. Helena Island, in Southern Moreton Bay. St. Helena was once Queensland's Alcatraz, but is now a peaceful refuge for birds and wallabies.
We made a diversion up the Brisbane River in time for New Year's Eve. Brisbane was our 'home city' during the many years we spent teaching in Papua New Guinea, Queensland's closest neighbour to the north. We had lost our NZ permanent residence status while in PNG and England was just too far to go when we had time off, so we used to fly down to Brisbane (or Cairns) for some R and R from time to time.
A year before we ended up, rather accidentally, in PNG, we had spent several months moored in the river by the city's Botanical Gardens, right by the Brisbane CBD. We had been working in the city while sailing our old kauri yacht, Corsair. When Alison's older sister, Susan and husband Nick turned up on their backpacker jaunt around the world, we took them down the river and across to Moreton Island. The trip was memorable as we went aground (for the first time) just past the Gateway Bridge - with full sail up and the engine on! We had to wait for the tide to come up before continuing, something that Sue and Nick always remember!
Passing the Brisbane CBD near the public moorings located by the city's Botanical Gardens. They used to be the cheapest way to access Brisbane, but the city council is now removing half of the pile moorings in favour of providing better facilities for kayakers and other small boats.
Between Moreton Bay and the Gold Coast, the meandering shallow channels need constant attention to the chart and the location of the beacons, green,red and yellow! It's well charted, with the beacons occasionally moved when the channels move around, but it's easy to go aground if you get the tide wrong. This area is somewhat scenically challenged with its low,mangrove covered banks, but is enormously valuable as a breeding ground for fish and feeding area for birds, dugongs, dolphins and turtles. No crocs, yet!
It's the fifth time we've made this trip and every time we have passed by it seems as if it's getting more and more (over) developed. Fortunately, the sand islands are hard to build on and have been left as national parks in the main, with their wilder side, the ocean beach, forming a 'road' for 4WDs at low tide.
Saraoni anchored just off the beach near the Gold Coast on the sheltered side of South Stradbroke Island. One wonders just what will happen to this whole area and its hyper active development as climate change continues to bite unabated. It ain't much of a barrier between the ocean and all those fancy McMansions on the mainland!
All roads don't necessarily lead to Rome! Here on the ocean side of Stradbroke, the 4WD tracks are all headed south towards the Gold Coast high rises looming out of the haze from the surf. These long ocean beaches are marred by constant busy 4WD vehicle traffic, although the high tide removes most of the traces.
Motoring the last few miles down the Broadwater. Skyscrapers in Southport to starboard and the Gold Coast beaches to port. Thousands of boats everywhere!
The Southport Spit anchorage aka "Bums' Bay." We are anchored just outside popular but crowded Bums' Bay, within spitting distance of the Spit and just across the water from Southport. Main Beach and Surfers' Paradise just down the beach
The next blog should be after the survey. If all goes well, we should be the owners of 2 boats, which is going to be an interesting and challenging experience! If not, we might revert to another boat of the same type that we originally put an offer on near Sydney, or do something different altogether!