Photo shows Sundari in Scarborough marina. Saraoni is tied up back in Park Cove in the Gold Coast enduring a steady stream of fender kickers and uncommitted wannabe yacht owners.
We are in Scarborough marina with Sundari on the Redcliffe Peninsula in Moreton Bay. Sundari will be here for the next 6 months while we spend our time over the cyclone season / Southern hemisphere summer getting fit and healthy clambering over the South Island (NZ) mountains and doing a cycle ride from Wellingon to Whangarei. At least that's the plan for now.
Our Tekin GC stalled after dealing with the steady trickle of wannabe yacht owners coming for a sticky beak on Saraoni and counting their pennies (not enough of them!), while a steady trickle of nasty lows emanating from the unusual 2019 polar vortex cut across our route between the Gold Coast and New Caledonia. It didn't look much point so late in the cruising season bashing our way eastwards then hanging off a buoy near Noumea just doing more weather watching before the trip down south to NZ. The last straw and decider was when we did a close check on Sundari's 17 year old genoa. It revealed a rip behind the UV strip on the leech, and the feel of the sail indicated it was on its last legs. That means a new sail has to be ordered, costing anywhere between $2,500 and $4,500. Ouch.
We've hired a cheap car in Christchurch for 3 months and will do as much tramping as our 60 year old legs and backs will stand, then fly back to Brisbane to check out the 2 boats (assuming Saraoni hasn't been sold by that stage) in January. We then fly back to Wellington and cycle up to at least Auckland. We will check out the penguin pad in Tutukaka for measurements. We don't think that it will fit Sundari, but you never know. The marina manager said that he might do a swap with another berth in the middle of the marina to fit Sundari's draft.
We'll be back here on the boat early April, ready for the first weather window to New Cal. and / or Vanuatu. Depending on the Brexit result, that gives us 6 months in the islands before we need to sail down to the Bay of Islands in NZ.
Scarborough is no stranger to us. We left Corsair, our first boat, a 1933 kauri sloop, in Newport marina, just around the corner for a couple of months back in 1988 while we tried to make some money picking fruit in Victoria. It's a bit old-fashioned around here. Redcliffe seems to have hardly changed in 30 years and reminds us of a rather seedy, down at heel, English seaside own.
Not everything in Redcliffe is so English. There are always the raucous cockatoos and parrots to remind you are down under. Here in a quiet part of town is a darter, a little pied shag, seagulls and three penguins (eh?), or maybe they are supposed to be dolphins?
However, Moreton Bay is shimmering in the sun not far away and the sand hills of Moreton Island are only just over 10 miles away across the bay. There are as many dugongs, dolphins and turtles around as we remembered and humpbacks are now using the Bay to give birth and generally have a holiday away from their Antarctic feeding grounds.
We took Alison's sister, Susan, and husband, Nick, across the bay in 1988, a trip they still fondly remember. What they don't remember is the all night vigil we had over at Moreton Island when the wind suddenly turned and blew from the west most of the night, putting us on a lee shore. After bouncing around most of the night, the wind typically died and became a lovely sea breeze coming off the sand hills.
Before leaving the Gold Coast we made the second trip this year into the Brisbane CBD to take part in the international climate strike. Compared to March, the crowd was much larger and more diverse with an indigenous group leading the way down George Street. Coming just after the ravages of Hurricane Dorian you would think governments would be getting the hint by now. Unfortunately, ScoMo, Australia's Prime Minister is caught between a rock and a hard place, beholdened to both Rupert Murdoch's hold on the Australian media and the power of the coal lobby.
Climate strike posters in Brisbane CBD: ranging from the plain to the funny, witty, angry and frustrated.
Some of the 30,000 climate strike march in Brisbane
We caught up with old Sail Indonesia friends along the way to here. Rosie and Mike now live on Lamb Island in Southern Moreton Bay, but haven't entirely swallowed the anchor as they still have a yacht they bought in Trinidad. Catherine and Peter on "The Southern Cross" had just sailed back from Noumea and are on their way down to Sydney, contemplating their next move. Ralph, who we met up with last year as he was single handing "El Misti" down from Indonesia, has tied up to a mooring just out of the marina in Deception Bay
Much of Southern Moreton Bay is relatively free of the encroaching sand banks of the Gold Coast and we have at last had an opportunity to put Sundari through its paces.It is certainly a delight to sail.