Shonandra North and South

23 March 2019 | Bundaberg
18 March 2019 | Bundaberg
17 March 2019 | Fraser Island
14 March 2019 | Brisbane CBD, Qld
13 March 2019 | Brisbane CBD, Qld
12 March 2019 | Horizon Shores
07 March 2019 | Runaway Bay
05 March 2019 | Southport/Gold Coast
03 March 2019 | Coffs Harbour
02 March 2019 | Coffs Harbour
27 February 2019 | Port Macquarie
25 February 2019 | Pittwater
24 February 2019 | American Bay
23 February 2019 | Refuge Bay
21 February 2019 | Broken Bay, NSW
19 February 2019 | Sugarloaf Bay
18 February 2019 | Pantry Bay
17 February 2019 | The Spit
16 February 2019 | The Spit
15 February 2019 | Rose Bay, Sydney


23 March 2019 | Bundaberg
Virginia MacRobert | Hot and humid
A quickie to let you know what we are up to and our intentions. John has been nose down in engine room basically. There have been a few things needed attention not the least of which was the bracket holding the exhaust system. My son-in-law welded and reinforced the broken bracket which will be bolted on tomorrow. It need longer bolts as welds make it thicker. I have been to mother's group, swimming lessons, parks and shopping centres chasing a two year old mostly. Fun!

Remaining jobs include putting a radar reflector up the mast, attending to an LED light on mast which when on, interferes with VHF transmission and reception. Putting new jib sheets (lines) on, tightening the backstay to tension the forestay, and then before we leave notifying various agencies, insurances etc. Lots to remember to do. We still haven't heard from Hong Kong as to whether or not we have official MARDEP permission to skipper our own yacht in HK waters. The RHKYC will probably provide a mooring at Kellet Island in the middle of HK. Smelly, noisy and busy place but very convenient.( now no longer an island but still called island)

Sleepy time now. John has had it from working in the heat and humidity. Good night all. Ginni


18 March 2019 | Bundaberg
Virginia MacRobert | Very hot and humid
Two days and two nights of constant noise. That's what it felt like. Imagine leaving the tractor running in your lounge room and trying to sleep through it. I lie actually. For a period of about 4 hours of shear bliss we were able to ditch the motor when the wind behaved. No complaints, as we are now safely arrived in Bundaberg.

For the last night we had passengers. At dusk three things happened at once; dolphins came alongside to check us out, I caught the two fish and three boobies landed and sat on the bow railing. They stayed all night but at some stage one flew off. Two sat all night rocking away. I guess they were sleeping. They are the most endearing birds, reminding me of a child dressed in Mum's shoes and clothing. Their 'shoes' are way too big but colour coordinated with their beaks. They seem unafraid of humans, and cats and dogs. Coco just sat near them watching while the boobies watched back. They stayed for about 70 miles all the way to the river mouth when we shooed them off. There were lots of other boobies sitting on the guiding beacons on the way in, one a high rise version of booby land with boobies nesting on each rung of the ladder up. The lazy birds knew where we were headed.

Bundaberg is a sprawling small city on flat land by the Burnett River. It was the centre of the sugar industry but I dont think that's their major business any more. The river must have once been extremely busy judging by the number of now collapsing wharfs and rusting sheds along the river banks.

My youngest daughter, Hoi-Yan lives here with her partner and two year old son. We caught up this afternoon and will spend a couple of days together starting tomorrow morning. Their 3 acre property is right at the edge of the town in a convenient location. Just as well as they run quite a menagerie, with dozens of hens, four dogs and two cats.

John has some routine maintenance on the engine and of course wheel repair to do. He will spend time doing that while I go and play with my grandson. Lucky John.

We are very tired and will sleep like logs tonight. Until later. John and Ginni

Fraser Island

17 March 2019 | Fraser Island
Virginia MacRobert | Light breezes, fine
By 1200 yesterday Brisbane was becoming a hazy view in the distance. We upped anchor at 0830 in the city and fairly raced down the Brisbane River with the outgoing tide. We even kept pace with a 'CityCat' moving around early morning commuters. It had to go from side to side to deliver and collect, while we sailed merrily downstream. At the River mouth we filled with water and fuel and were then on the way to Bundaberg.

We sailed by way of Moreton Island which was a busy place yesterday morning. A cruise ship was at anchor and passengers were being ferried to and from the shore. There were sailing craft, fishing boats, and lots of people enjoying the beach despite a few showers.

The night seemed to pass slowly as little sleep was had owing to the noisy motor shoving us along. Until this afternoon winds have been light, and variable in direction which is plain annoying. This afternoon we turned the 'donk' off for about 3 hours and sailed silently. Ahhh...what relief. Our speed dropped to 1.7 knots a couple of times and top speed was about 7.2 knots. Tropical sailing can be like this. There have been thunderstorms and lots of rain at times through the day, but now at sunset the wind is pleasant but not strong enough to give us a push, so motor back on. Perhaps the night may bring some relief from the noise.

Later this afternoon I pulled in two small tuna. One for the animals and a half hour later one for the people. I haven't killed and filleted fish for some time so I made a bloody mess. Coco and Hunter cheekily stood in the cockpit leaning towards the kitchen mewing and barking telling me to get on with it. The smell of blood was to much for them. Hunter barked enthusiastically when I pulled the larger fish in as it jumped and tried to dive. He barks at dolphins as well. We've only seen a few passers by this stretch.a

All is well, apart from the wheel which has either worn or broken something inside and wants to work itself out! An impolite shove puts it back in place but we dare not leave it unattended for more than a minute or two. John's next in port repair/maintenance job. We are pleased to announce the autopilot has done its job without fault since leaving.

We will arrive at Bundaberg tomorrow morning late as we hope hope to catch the early morning ebb (going in) tide. Until then, John and Ginni


14 March 2019 | Brisbane CBD, Qld
Virginia MacRobert | Thunderstorm
We spent the day pottering. First to Big W looking for a specific cleaning product for the watermaker, then found that store didn't have it in stock. John Uber'd to a brewers shop to buy it. This afternoon we took Hunter and went for a walk along the waterfront and back via the Botanical Gardens. It's a beautiful, well kept garden with all kinds of exotic tropical plants and trees there. The most impressive are two massive Banyan trees growing just by QUT. One of them covers 1.5 hectares. They are breathtakingly beautiful and huge.

This evening we have just experienced a fierce thunderstorm. Hunter usually takes them in his stride but not tonight. One loud crash and bright strike which seemed almost right above us sent him running to hide on our bunk.

We may move downriver tomorrow to the river mouth and are planning to leave Brisbane and sail north towards Bundaberg on Saturday. We will decide where to stop, or not, on the way up there. We are keeping an eye on a cyclone which is forming in the far north, which may affect our passage north.

More tomorrow. John and Ginni


13 March 2019 | Brisbane CBD, Qld
Virginia MacRobert | Fine and warm
Our day began at 0730 when we upped anchor at 'the swamp'. We were so glad to get out of there having been feasted upon by mozzies and melted in the heat and humidity. The passage north was quite fascinating as it wound it's way around islands and sandbanks. There were numbers of water birds wading in the shallows and miles and miles of mangroves. A moment's inattention in steering could have spelled disaster by going aground on a bank. The shallow patches sent the heart rate up a little with the lowest patch momentarily recorded at 1.9 metres. Our draft is officially 1.8 metres but loaded as we are we allow 2.0m. We had a great chart on the chart plotter which has a line shown down the middle of the main channel. Never-the-less sticking more or less exactly to the line, using discretion, was the name of the game. In some places the channel doubled back on itself with sharp turns of more than 200 degrees. Turning exactly at the right time was required....or else. The channel emptied into Moreton Bay which this morning was quite windy. Fortunately our timing was perfect and we had both wind and current behind us, pushing us along to the mouth of the Brisbane River. The wind in Moreton Bay reached 31 knots at times. As we passed Wellington Point some old friends from Hong Kong who now live there watched us sail by, through their telescope.

We are now 18nm upriver in the Brisbane CBD. We are anchored almost opposite the Botanical Gardens. It is a bit bright and noisy here but we are enjoying the action, and so far no mozzies have been seen or heard. We have been ashore and faced the rush hour traffic. Hunter was freaking out at all the activity and noise. A sensory overload for him. He hates bikes and scooters and there are plenty around here.

There is another cyclone forming up north which may delay our stay here, but we are anxious to keep moving.....

We go to sleep now, or try to, to the sound of the nearby disco. Ginni and John

On the move

12 March 2019 | Horizon Shores
Virginia MacRobert | Hot and humid
We enjoyed Southport and the crazy shenanigans of the locals and tourists. Sundays are plain crazy. Every kind of water craft takes to the water and watching it all is breathtaking - that is, gasping as you watch people take on near death experiences. I don't believe anyone on the water there has a license or any training of any kind. No bodies floated around after they all retreated come dark. Phew!

We left Southport about 1300 today and proceeded north via the convoluted inland waterways. We concentrated on going from beacon to beacon as straying a short way would mean running aground. The waterways are shallow but the path through is well marked. The islands' shores are lined with mangroves and occasionally there is the odd resort or marina in a seemingly remote spot. Bird life is abundant and I presume fish are too, given the environment.

We are currently anchored just off the main channel in an area called Horizon Shores. Anchoring looked simple but the first attempt meant that we would have been stuck in the mud for the night when the tide went down. We moved a short way to the side and thought we were secure. I walked up the front to check with John but when we looked back we were about to crash into the boat behind us. Unusually the anchor didn't hold at all and the strong wind took hold of us. Fortunately, I had left the motor running in neutral and moved faster than greased lightning to the helm. I gunned it and steered away from the potential crunch. Luckily no crunch - it was a steel vessel we almost collided with! We went in a circle and tried again. This time the anchor grabbed, and we haven't moved. That was three and a half hours ago. We'd like to sleep soundly - mosquitoes and all.

Tomorrow we will leave early and make our way to the Brisbane River. There will be an anchorage waiting for us somewhere.
Sometime later. John and Ginni
Vessel Name: Shonandra
Vessel Make/Model: Roberts Mauritius/Norfolk design ext to 14.37 meters
Hailing Port: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Crew: John Casey, Ginni MacRobert
About: John has extensive sailing experience around Tasmania and the East Australian coast. Ginni has sailed in Hong Kong waters and has circumnavigated the globe in a catamaran 1 1/2 times.
Extra: SV Shonandra has had a serious revamp in the last 18 months (2017 & 2018) with most of the work done by John, who is an engineer. All boat systems including keel, rudder and prop shaft, and the rig and sails are either brand new or renovated.
Shonandra's Photos - Main
No Photos
Created 10 January 2019