2019 Brisbane to Mackay

How slack have I been in not updating the blog!!!! It’s now August and more than a year since we started our journey on CDI from Sydney, we are now back in Townsville.

Needless to say a lot has happened since the last blog entry, when Stu helped Bob bring CDI back from Mackay to Scarborough in Brisbane. Emily was working as a flight attendant Jan-Jun and Bob did some remote work for COVA. We enjoyed a bit of house sitting while in Brisbane – it helped break up the live aboard life and we got to look after some lovely pets for their owners while they were away. Also had some visitors and visits around the Brisbane area.

Bob did a few jobs on the boat, including:

  • replace the house batteries
  • fitted the new 140% genoa (had to trim length a tad at North Sails)
  • try to fix the bow thruster with limited success (still ongoing issues…)
  • cleaning teak & stainless steel
  • make packers for the swim ladder so it’s not vertical and easier to climb
  • made a fly screen for the saloon door
  • replaced toilet joker valve
  • new jib sheets from Tamar Marine
  • had the boat lifted out for cleaning and replacement anodes
  • new stickers for the stern

We also bought a hammock two kayaks, which are getting a lot of use.

liftout stickers

In June we had a road trip to take the Subaru back to Tassie and catch up with lots of wonderful friends and family and see the Dark MOFO.

We departed Scarborough on 27 June. The week thereafter was spent around Moreton Bay, as there were some quite big swells on the ocean side and the timing of the tides didn’t yet line up for our arrivals and departures at Maloolabah and Wide Bay Bar. We enjoyed anchorages at Moreton Island and in the Brisbane river, where we set up opposite Eat Street at Hamilton Wharf. The day trip motoring up the river to Brisbane CBD was pretty nice and definitely one to cross off the to-do list of experiences. We also saw lots of military ships, here for war games up the QLD coast. Included aircraft carriers from the USA, Japan and Australia as well as the US nuclear submarine that follows the Ronald Regan around.

brisbane

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We anchored at Tanglooma on 7 July, for an early getaway on the 8th so that we could get in to Maloolabah on the high tide. We met up with fellow Tasmanians Dave, Gabriel and ‘Captain’ off Elegant Gypsea for drinks and dinner. Seems we are heading North at the popular time this year and it is nice to be able to compare notes / sail in generally the same locations and schedule as other like-minded cruisers.

Departing at first light on 10 July with 0.1 clearance over the bar (who really needs more?) we made it to the Wide Bay Bar for the high tide that afternoon. The anchorage at Hook Point was full, so we kept on to Snout Point for a long day and anchored on dusk. The next morning was spent waiting for high tide (kayak and stroll on the beach), then motored through the shallows to South White Cliffs. I toyed with the gopro time lapse and made a 2 minute video of our 4 hour journey through the inside of Fraser Island.

12 July was a short day cruise following another “Carpe Diem” on the AIS, who we had first seen in the Brisbane River. Later we met up with Rosy and Steve in Mackay and found out that their boat is actually “Adina”, but incorrectly shows on the AIS as its old name. Climbed the hill next to the Kingfisher Resort for a nice view.

13 July and a brief sail inside Fraser Island, with a lunch stop at Coongal Creek, then headed to Hervey Bay Marina for 2 nights to re-provision.

Monday 15th was departure to Bundaberg with a nice sail for most of the day. We had a Honeyeater as a hitchhiker for 2-3 hours during the day (blown 10km offshore – the poor chap was exhausted and needed a rest). We anchored in the river near the Port and rode bikes into town the next day. Did the tour of the Ginger Beer and Rum factories. Unfortunately a few sugar field fires around covered our boat in ash  from burnt cane.

Wed 17th had us up early again and a quick refuel at the marine before departing to Pancake Creek. Had to anchor just inside the creek entrance as the inner creek was full with 20+ boats. This is becoming a common theme, with all the anchorages full at this popular time of the year for cruisers. Had a rough night with wind against tide and the anchor chain wrapped around under the keel in the morning. This gave us a few scratches on the hull but luckily we managed to pivot the boat and the chain was not caught on the keel bulb, so it dropped off. Next day was a motor sail into Gladstone.

Bob flew out for a 2 day site visit for work Fri & Sat and Emily caught up with our friends Vanessa and Randall who are living in Gladstone. We stayed for 4 nights in Gladstone.

Monday 22 July was a later departure on the high tide through the channel between Curtis and Facing Islands. We were going to anchor inside Facing Island, but nearly ran aground while scoping the channel for the morning exit. So, decided to just go through to Great Keppel and arrived at 8pm for a night anchorage. We then had a couple of nice calm days around Great Keppel at Monkey Beach and Svendsens Beach.

Leaving GKI on 25th, we made it to Pearl Bay. Saw our first whales, saw a shark while kayaking around and met some locals who were camping on the beach and diving. Swapped some cold beer for crayfish. We awoke a little late to help Helsal IV off the rocks in the morning (oops!), but they appreciated a bottle of Bangor wine to drink while waiting for the afternoon high tide to float off.

With SE winds this year, there are a lot more island anchorages available between Gladstone and Mackay than we had last year, when the winds were from the North. Next stop was at Hexam Island where we had a Dufour 450 “Mim” next to us and the water so clear we could see the anchor on the bottom in 9m of water.

Sat 27th was anchoring at Middle Percy Island. This is a mecca for yachties and the ‘A’ frame shelter is chockers full of boat ‘shingles’ and other named memento items. We put up a Carpe Diem Infinity timber that Bob engraved with the soldering iron (thanks for the idea Darren). Saturday night is Goat stew night, so we donated a bag of spuds and some rice and had a very sociable dinner ashore, cooked by “Shipwreck”, and made more new friends Denise, Peter, Coco and Chanel from “Sea Kestrel” and Peter and Brenda “Lilac Wine”.

midd percyshingle2

Some more good sailing with wind from the rear quarter. Next night was Digby Island, where we had a hike up the long grass for phone reception and shared the anchorage with another Tasmanian boat “Josida”. Unfortunately our kayak “Bluey” managed to slip it’s rope during the night and ran away.

digby

Into Mackay was the next stop as we were running out of water and needed to resupply and do laundry. We spent 3 nights there and got a replacement kayak for poor Bluey. Had a couple of sociable nights with other boaties we had met at the Islands on the way up from Great Keppel. Starting to get rather crowded with boats everywhere now, with peak season in the Whitsundays and race week in Airlie Beach, Hamilton Island and the Shaggers Rendezvous all in August.

Until next update, keep on smiling!

sailing fun

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