Now in tourist mode.
19 August 2008 | Pancake Creek
In the Brisbane river caught up with the previous owners of our boat, Tony and Jo from Hastings. We were moored right in the centre of Brisbane by the botanical gardens, within easy reach of everything. We took the time to complete the upgrades we wanted to do and the rest of the time was just being the tourist. In fact since Brisbane that is all we have done. There has been no bad weather other than a few days rain and there have been no problems with the boat yahoo!!!. We stayed in Brisbane for about 2 weeks before heading off to Tangalooma on Moreton Island. Tangalooma is famous for the maritime authorities attempt to create a harbour by scuttling old ships for a breakwater. It was a miserable failure as the anchorage is very uncomfortable and rocks and rolls in the slightest of wind. It was our intention to stay for a few days but we didn't want another night of disturbed sleep. From here we sailed out of Moreton Bay and into Mooloolaba where we anchored in the middle of the river, surrounded by luxury homes with yachts and power boats parked at the bottom of the garden. Once again we were in tourist mode and put the bikes together to see more of the area. It is always an interesting challenge putting the bikes in the dinghy along with a load of shopping, there is only just enough room for us to fit. Whilst in Mooloolaba we visited the Australia Zoo made famous by the late Steve (Crikey) Irwin. It was well worth the $50 entry which included the 45 min coach ride from Mooloolaba. There are not as many animals here as in other major zoos but the way they were presented was excellent. We stayed in the area for about 2 weeks, leaving at night to arrive at the infamous Wide Bay bar to catch the ingoing tide early in the morning. It is especially important to time the bar crossing correctly as the current can be very strong and conditions treacherous. We had no problems. The Wide Bay bar is the entrance to the inside of World Heritage listed Fraser Island and most cruising boats make this bar crossing so as to visit the island and the other quiet anchorages. The inside passage is however fraught with problems as the channels are both narrow and shallow as our friends Tony and Jo found out when they ran aground twice trying to join us in Garry's Anchorage and had to wait for the high tide again to float off. On Fraser Island there is the Kingfisher resort where you can anchor and use the facilities ashore, we stayed here for 3-4 days. During this time we hired a four wheel drive to see as much of the place in the shortest possible time. There are no made roads (except at the resort) all tracks are sand, it was great fun driving on the beach at 80km / hr. We only got bogged once when Jean was driving and decided she wanted more excitement. Luckily there were 15-20 young British tourists to push us out of the soft sand.
Bundaberg was the next stop, not the best of places but good for restocking the larder and for commencing the trip to Lady Musgrave Island and its coral lagoon. Lady Musgrave is at the southernmost end of the Great Barrier reef. It is a 50 nm offshore trip and took us 10 hours, the entry into the lagoon is via a very narrow channel that is bordered by shallow coral shoals, once again the timing has to be right to enter as the current is strong through the channel . This speck of coral in the middle of nowhere was quite crowded with about 10 to 15 yachts and power boats. The fishing here was very good, even I was easily able to catch tea . The water is just about warm enough to go snorkeling depending on how much of a cold water coward you are.
After 3 nights here we moved back to the coast into Pancake Creek, just south of Gladstone. This is where I am writing the update. Pancake creek offers good protection and there are a dozen or so boats here. Last night all the boat crews got together on the beach for a bbq and a sing song around the camp fire (just like scouts) we all had a great time except for nearly being carried off by sand flies which have left there itchy mark on most of us and finding the places we hadn't applied insect repellent.
As we move further North the wind is getting more consistent (and warmer) so we are able to sail for longer rather than switching on the iron sail ie diesel engine. We are also becoming more self sufficient, making our own bread, beer, yoghurt, catching the odd fish or two and producing much of our electricity from wind and sun.
As you can probably tell we have slowed down quite a bit and stay longer in places than we previously have.
Our next stop is Gladstone where we will stay for a week or two.
Photos will follow when we are in internet range.
That's all folks til next time take care. Dave and Jean WdtW
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