Saraoni obviously likes a nice, safe marina berth!
We are back in Scarborough marina, near Brisbane, on Sundari. Australia has always been a land of extremes, getting worse, of course, because of CC, but it always surprises us when the weather suddenly changes so quickly. We landed at Gold Coast Airport in typical hot, humid summer weather and drove back to Scarborough just before a 300 mm deluge that flooded Gold Coast and Brisbane streets - more in one day than we saw in NZ in three months, (probably because we avoided the South Island west coast!)
Fires are still raging down south, but here in SE Queensland, the drought is definitely broken, although farmland and the bush out west beyond the coast is still only just recovering from being bone dry. Hopefully, with the Indian dipole returning to neutral territory and the arrival of the northern monsoon, a tad late, bringing more moisture into the continent, the worst of the bush fires are over for this summer.
Saraoni is unsold at present, but looking good. Obviously it likes sitting doing nothing in a secure marina berth! Everything was as we left it a few months ago but there has been some marine growth on the unpainted propellor which will need cleaning off before we shift the boat anywhere. Every time we drop the price a bit, we get a flurry of interest, mostly fender kickers.
We drove 200 km west to Bunya Mountains, through parched farmland and patches of gum forest. We got overtaken by huge thunderstorms and had to stop and pull over because of the ferocity of the rain. The Bunyas is a lovely area, 1,000 metres up. with one of the last patches of bunya and hoop pine rainforest left in Australia. Unlike the rainforest on the Border Ranges further south it was saved from the 2019 spring bush fires that swept through rainforest last year.
Bunya pines are weird looking Araucarias, in the same family as Chilean monkey puzzle trees, Caledonian araucarias like the Caledonian pines and kauris. The last time we were up this way was 2007, after teaching in and around Bundaberg. It was reassuring to see and hear so many birds around and watch the campsite filled with wallabies as the daylight faded.
We won't be finally leaving Scarborough with Sundari until April and have to fit another trip to NZ into the time between now and then, but we may still look for weather to do some diving across at Moreton Island or sail up north to Lady Musgrave at the bottom end of the Barrier Reef or into the Sandy Strait.
Sundari, looking good too!
Red necked wallaby - note the green grass on the campsite - tasty tucker for dozens of wallabies as daylight fades.
Personal stories bring the recent bush fire drama to life. We first heard Harry (pictured) on the HF radio net in the Med. when he was on his boat, Malua. We caught up with him twice recently in Noumea, still on Malua. He was on his boat on his berth in Bermagui, Southern NSW, when one of the big, recent, bush fires came close to the town. He had a heart attack, he thinks, because of smoke inhalation, but survived because of drugs on board. He then drove all the way up to Canberra before the highway was cut off, where he has a second house, and was admitted to hospital. He is pictured here at home in thick bushfire smoke in Canberra after being released. Harry's home in Bermagui and boat are O.K.