Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Eve

Well it is a quiet one on the boat, but is blowing like crazy outside! we are still at Keppel Bay marina, but may head out to GKI on Sunday.
An update on the flood situation. The rain has stopped for now, but the threat of flooding continues in this area as the water makes it way from the highlands, and Emerald to Rocky. Yesterday the roads into Rocky closed and held up the delivery trucks to the grocery stores. We went to the shops about 10:30 and the shelves were all ready empty. We did manage to get what we needed by shopping at all 3 of the stores in town. We went back later in the day and there wasn't any produce left at all.
I went into town today and was please to see that Woolworth's was restocked. They had a truck come through. Bruce said the highway is open again, but that may change on Tuesday when the river is meant to peek.
I had a major clean up day in the cockpit. Tired of all the mildew on the netting and cabin top I took everything out of the cockpit and gave it a big clean. Now we are all clean, restocked, refueled and ready for the New Year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Floods

We did good to get back when we did as the following day roads were closing. Today the rain continues to fall, rivers continue to flood, and some roads are closing. We watched the news tonight (not something we usually do), but we need as much information as we can get. Our trip South will involve anchorages in some of the flooding rivers. Looking at the news it will be weeks before the flowing flooding rivers are going to ease. there are towns out west of here being evacuated. The only way to go to avoid the rivers is out to the reefs and around the outside of Fraser Island, and with lows spawning up out of nowhere that could be an issue. Looks like we will sit tight for now.
Today there has been a strong wind warning issued for our area and South. 30kts SE.

more Christmas photos

Rita's gingerbread house
painting by Jo
Jo not sure about gift
Peta happy

We spent all of the day at Chris's. Eating and playing games mean while it poured down rain all day long. Bruce jumped online a couple of times to check the weather and it wasn't looking to good. the low is now a cyclone and making land fall in Cairns. Boat is secure the cyclone Tasha was only cat 1. What it did have was heaps of rain falling just North of Yeppoon. Which means more water moving into the already full rivers. We decided that we should get on the road boxing day to make it back to the boat before roads start to get cut off. We left out of Brisbane around 8:30 am, and made it as far as Beerwah just South of the Sunshine Coast when a car crash just ahead of us closed the roads! Turns out there was a fatality. We sat in bumper to bumper traffic for 3 hours! Shit it was frustrating!
Finally on the move again with rain showers on and off we made our way back to Yeppoon. The rivers we crossed swollen and flowing hard and fast. When we got around the Bundaberg area we started to see more water coming along the side of the roads and heavier rain. Creeks overflowing and in one area water over the road. One of the road side stops was cut off from the road with flood waters surrounding it.
We stopped in at Miram Vale for fuel and Bruce asked the clerk of road conditions, and she said her daughter made it home to Yeppoon not long ago. Knowing that things can change in just minutes we were still on high alert.
It was when we got between Mt. Larcom and Rocky that the water was becoming a huge issue! By now it is dark which was making watching out a bit more of an issue. At one point we had to go on the other side of the road to avoid water on our side of the road.
Back home by 10 pm and unpacked the car in just a light drizzle. Glad to be back. A hot shower and our bed was really good.

Christmas in Brisbane






Well there has been some wild weather for sure. I should say our Christmas plans were yes and no for a couple of days. We did our shop, for presents and food. Then we had news of this low forming just North of us and we were not sure what was happening. We even called Jo to tell her we didn't think we could come due to the weather. This upset her which upset us!
We watched the weather reports online, and I even spoke to the meteorologist from Rocky met on the VHF to ask him a few questions about the upcoming weather. After further research we could see that the major concern will be just after Christmas, so we decided we would go after all and keep an eye on how things developed.
The drive wasn't to bad and we were able to make a few stops in Mooloolaba on the way down.
Dropping more things into storage, and only getting out one bag (my yoga gear for upcoming yoga classes next year). Also stopped into the marina where we ran into Bruce, Peter, and Margaret fellow cruisers. Weather has been just as miserable there! We got a sheet of their berthing rates and were told not to even think about coming in until after Jan as they were totally booked out!
Finally to Brisbane and finding the traffic was very light. Arrived just before Jo & Mitch. We went to go get Peta at her work Grilled and had a burger for dinner. Yum!
Christmas day was spent at Chris's place, and was GREAT fun!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas shopping

Well must have been the full moon and the coffee yesterday, that I didn't sleep but about 2 hours last night. By 4:00 I was up out of bed and about 4:30 started doing my yoga. We had some breakie and then headed out to start on my list. We had to finish our Christmas shop today.
Also took the laundry and did that while out. The weather is still cloudy and rainy. Ended up in Yeppoon then in Rocky to finish at spotlight. Tomorrow we will go out to do the food shop for Christmas. We have asked Liz and Dave if they would like a lift in to do their shop so we bringing them in with us.
We ran into Drew of Lick-a Dee Split at the Yeppoon shops. Jo is just back from Ft. Lauderdale, and Key West. We will catch up with them before we go. The Big W had empty shelfs from all the merchandise they sold out of and probably not getting enough stock coming in to refill due to Mercury Retrograde, and some flooding.
Tomorrow we are planning on giving the boat a bit of a clean up and retie of dock lines to make sure she is secure in her pen. At the moment there is a Low brewing up North of us and the winds are starting to blow pretty strong. Some wild weather indeed.

Keppel Bay Marina

We had a GREAT sail into Keppel Bay Marina. Winds SE 20 kts, with the seas whipped up due to the wind against a very high spring tide. The sky is looking quite tropical as if something is brewing. Tides are running ver high at the moment with the Full moon, and eclipse!
We didn't see the Eclipse was to cloudy.
As we were leaving Svendson's beach Bruce saw a boat he thought he recognised to be Morning Stars. He gave a call on the VHF and it was them. Thought for sure they would be way down South by now, as they were heading for Tassie. Turns out that they are also going into the marina. They sailed in behind us, and Bruce was able to assist them in their tie up.
They came over to say hello and suggested we have a meal together. We met up at 6 to go for chinese, whuch turned out to be closed so we went to Y. Yuck it was absolutely horrible! U guess the clue should have been when we walked in and there wasn't any customers, now we know why! Before we left we had a chat to Salva from Sokle ( and Tora Tora). Nice people that will catch up with for a sundowner before they head off. After dinner we came back to the boat for after dinner drinks and coffee. Was a very enjoyable night.

Monday, December 20, 2010

sunsets & Rainbow




Well we have had a relaxing few days here at GKI. Apart from the storm that came through two nights ago. We had some really rough seas whip up out of the south, although our weather wasn't too bad it must have been from something that spun off south of us. We were riding waves at anchor. Last nights storm was mostly lightening and some rain, but no seas or wind.
We spent 3 days at Long Beach, and today moved around to Leeke's beach as the winds were out of the SW this morning and meant to go SE tonight, but it is a glass out. Tomorrow we head to the mainland (Keppel Bay marina) to prepare for Christmas. We will be driving down to Brisbane to have Christmas with Jo & Peta.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hunter Island to GKI

wicked sky
big storms down south
pink seas
eerie sunset
sunset at Hunter Island

We decided to continue South, as we didn't like the look of the NE anchorage on Hexham Island. We were going to go into Island Head Creek, but got there around 1:30, and with the lovely weather we decided to continue on to Great Keppel Island. There aren't too many places I would feel okay with traveling into in the night, but we got to know this area pretty good last summer. We also knew we would have a bit of a moon in the sky which helped. The sunset was a beautiful one, but also a bit eerie as it looked very stormy. As we sailed down there was lightening going off along the coast to the South.
We had a bit of dulldrums between 2/3 in the afternoon, so we just had a lunge on the trampoline and let George (our auto pilot) steer for a while. once the winds picked up again we had a beaut sail with 15/18 kts of wind behind us.
Got into GKI around 11:15 and anchored at Long Beach. Check out these photos from yesterday. There is some really wicked weather happening around, and I think it has something to do with the full moon coming up on the 21st, and with the full moon is the lunar eclipse.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Curlew Island to Hunter Island

Eagle in the tree.
Beach at the NE anchorage of Curlew Island
balancing rock
cave
Bluff taken from the beach on SE anchorage.

We left Curlew this morning. Motored for a couple of hours until the breeze picked up and had a nice sail into Hunter Island. Sitting at NE/SE anchorage at the moment. Was a very pleasant sail. Can't believe we have internet! moving on tomorrow to Hexham Island. Here are a couple of photos from our circumnavigation around Curlew yesterday. Love the Eagle in the tree.

Monday, December 13, 2010

More photos of Curlew

turtle nest
creek behind sand dunes
Curlew Island as we moved around to SE anchorage
The very top looks interesting

Coming into the SE anchorage from the NW anchorage

2 days of BEAUTIFUL sailing

Curlew Island SE side
Turtle tracks
Cid Harbor glass out
Whitsunday passage glass out

We've had 2 beautiful days of sailing. Left Cid harbor in a glass out. See photos. Traveled up the passage towards Brampton Island our destination. Around 10:30 the winds picked up out of the N/ NE and we raised all sail. We were making good time by the time we reached Brampton and were enjoying the sail so much we continued on to St. Bees since we've never been there before. Anchored for the night in NE anchorage.

Yesterday we woke to thunderstorms coming to us from the NW. I was up at 4 am, and finally woke Bruce around 5 as they were getting closer and I wanted to be prepared. Nothing but some heavy rain and some lightening, thank goodness now strong winds. We waited until the heaviest of them passed and made ready to travel further South to Curlew.

Forecast is a bit confusing as to where to anchor. With NW blowing on arrival, and NE in the forecast along with S/SW change due in the afternoon. Came into the S anchorage, but no way it is to rough to anchor, so we decided to check the NW anchorage. Once around it was much better, and did provide some protection from the S/SW, which we figured would blow in lightly sometime in the early morning.

After a walk on the beach on that side of Curlew, as you wouldn't get a chance to do that that often due to the prevailing winds, we moved around to the Se anchorage. On our walk a shore we found 3 sets of turtle tracks and nests. One of them looked liked it was laid last night. There was also quite a bit of timbers plastics, and of course shoes!

We now sit in SE anchorage doing a few chores around the boat, and will go a shore in a little while.

Friday, December 10, 2010

ready to go

Well the engine mounts were fitted today. All is good. We are ready to travel South now.
Yesterday after sailing into Muddy Bay we had water in the bilges again! Determined to find out where it is coming from we popped open the engine compartment and studied it together, and thats when we got the idea to look in the compartment behind the engine, where the rudder sits.
BINGO water in all the compartments back there!! Turns out that the caulking in the last step was just about gone. took us a 1 1/2 hrs to clear the back compartment as there is no bilge pump system there. It was cup to bucket, and our handy little vacume pump. Once again we have dry bilges! Today after the mechanic left Bruce scraped out what was left of the old caulking, dried it, and re-caulked it. It was flat calm when we motored across to Cid Harbor so it wasn't much of a test. It will be something we will have to keep an eye on.
Looks like we have some traveling weather until Tuesday maybe even a bit longer. Not sure where we go from here we will be getting the charts out next to have a look. I will post along the way when I can.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bait reef photos

Saddler Butterflyfish was playing with me swimming away then towards me this shot is his face looking at me.
Sandperch
School of Hump head parrot fish
Cod under a coral ledge

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Finally Bait reef!

We made it out to Bait Reef yesterday. Was a bit daunting as the stake that marks the entrance was missing and in it's place is a buoy, but there are several buoys here. Not to worry Bruce says it will all get clearer as we get closer. I'm on the helm and Bruce is on the bow. One of the things we learned last time was communication, so I mentioned to get out our headsets. We put them on and I went up to the starboard bow, and we find our way into the lagoon.
We picked up the middle mooring in the 3 that were vacant, as we never been to this one. Once settled in we have some lunch enjoying the absolutely still calm day. The only thing really missing is the sun, it is hazy out with thin clouds across the sky. We got ourselves ready and went for a snorkel in a few different spots. Is so good to be on the reef again.To top the day off we had an beautiful sunset.
Today was totally different then yesterday. We got the sun, but we also got some wind. Blowing 15 kts most of the day, making the area very lumpy. We were planning a dive for today and it is a good thing as it is too rough to snorkel. I had a bit of trouble once in the water my mask didn't fit properly ( I was trying to use the photo mask), and was filling with water. Still on the surface I'm trying to adjust it when I cop a wave in my face and swallow a heap of salt water. Cough cough I need my other mask please. Bruce pulls himself over the side of the dingy and gets my mask. By now I'm not exactly calm and Bruce tells me to relax. It takes me a while, but I finally calm down and get into the rhythm of my breath. We are on our way and I realize I don't have my camera, but didn't want to turn around to go back. It was a good thing as there were times when we were down as deep as 30 feet, and my camera is only rated for 10 ft. We made it back towards the dingy just as the air was starting to get hard to draw. We dove for about 1 1/2 hours on one battery so that is why it was getting harder to breath, and the fact that we were diving so deep at times. It was good to give it a go again, and we decided this next year we try and use it a lot more to get more comfortable with it.
We will head back to Airlie Beach tomorrow and anchor in Muddy Bay. We made arrangements to have the engine mounts installed on Friday morning, after that we should be on our way. Signal too weak to upload photos so will load them up tomorrow.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday 6th of Dec

Yesterday was an even hotter day. The heat so intense I didn't have the energy to walk to town to sit in the pool. We did a few more little chores on the boat. Dried the sails, repaired a small catch in the mainsail, fan repair, and a bit more cleaning.
It's Monday now and it turns out the engine mounts haven't even left Melbourne yet. I couldn't bare another minute in the marina, so I talked Bruce (wasn't to hard) into heading out for maybe the reef tomorrow if weather still permits. We thought we would go to Stonehaven to sit for the night, and leave from there out to Bait reef. It was 1 before we got the news on the part, so we didn't have time to go to far. It took us about 15 minutes to ready the boat and we were off. Just out of the channel making our way, Bruce checking the port engine to hear, see feel the difference in the new engine mounts on that side, and he was just back up in the cockpit when a bilge alarm started going off. Starboard side Bruce quickly lifts the floor boards and we have water just about to overflow the bilges. He checks the engine and sees water flooding in through a hose, and we quickly shut down the engine. I'm at the helm just keeping her into the wind, which was blowing from the North about 15 kts. For some reason Bruce can't get the main bilge pump to operate. The emergency pump was doing ok keeping up with the water, but the main pump was needed to empty it. Hand pumped for a bit to remove the massive amount of water until he finally got it apart to find twine was wrapped around the impeller. Once remove the pump worked fine. Bruce repaired the hose clamp that had come loose. (thinking it must have been kicked or bumped when they were in there the other day checking the engine mount) We started the engine up again, and all was going good. We had a big mess to clean in the bilge once again!
By now I had us on course making our way into some rough bit of water with spring ebb tide against the 15 + kts of wind. Bruce is trying to cool off in the breeze as it is stinking hot, and he has been down below with the hot engine. With the strong ebb tide helping us to make a better track with the North wind I asked Bruce once he caught his breath if we can raise the sails. We were having a beaut sail out to Stonehaven when Mackay weather comes on with a severe thunderstorm warning coming our way. I'm beginning to wonder if my impatience is going to turn into a BIG problem after all we are running with a broken engine mount that could have the potential of causing a huge amount of damage if further damaged. We are just about there when we hear more on the radio that the storm is approaching our area and we can expect 50 kts of wind. We started the engines and decided to bring down the sails to motor into the moorings. We spot a couple of moorings in the SW corner and head in. We tied up and began getting the boat ready for the storm. Still sweltering in the heat both of us dripping sweat we went about our jobs. Once she was all stowed away we decided to get the bilges all clean out AGAIN! This is the 3rd time in 2 months. Between the two of us we had it finished in about an hour. Showered and had a cool drink on the bow.
Nearly 6 hours later and we never did have the storm probably because we were all prepared. We did have a few spots of rain, and a bit of a wind shift that cooled things down. YAY at present it is back to calm winds not enough to turn the windy stick. Here's to more adventures in paradise!!!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Markets

We are enjoying our time here at Airlie Beach. The sun came out today, and it turned into a nice day, very hot!!! We strolled down to the markets, had a lunch out, and then sat in the lagoon pool for a while cooling down. Once we walked back to the boat we were so hot again. We got the hose out and wet ourselves down, and while we were at it we cleaned the cockpit. The weather is so calm at the moment in hurts to be sitting here in the marina!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Ca Ching

We did really good. By the end of the day we had all of our chores finished, and even had a mechanic organized to fix our broken engine mount Friday morning. To celebrate we went out to dinner at Fish D'vine. Highly recommend this place. The food was so fresh and tasty! They also have a RUM Bar which sells 300 different kinds of RUM! We tried a couple of really nice rum liqueurs.
We are now in Abel Point Marina. CA Ching that is the sound of more money spending. We were scheduled to leave this morning. We found out this morning that we don't have a broken engine mount......we have 3 broken engine mounts, with only 2 in stock. The others aren't arriving until Monday. We will replaced the 4th one as well. The port side is fixed now. Bruce says we were so lucky it didn't do any damage to the sail drive with both mounts broken it is a possibility. I did come up with the idea of sourcing them in Mackay, and driving down to get them it would be cheaper then sitting here all weekend. They have what we need in stock, BUT turns out the road between here and there is closed. For some reason unknown to us we are meant to sit here. We trust in that, so we will just go with the flow. I might even get some Christmas shopping done today!!!
That is all for now.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dec 1st

Approaching Olden Island

TS at acnchor with the mainland behind her
Storms in the passage

First day of summer! We have had a bit of a rest day today. We have been going since we left Orpheus island on Saturday. We left Maggie early on Sunday for cape Upstart. The last 4 hours was a fantastic sail!!! Sailed right into the anchorage. We had a bit of a problem with the bottom bat car. The one that Bruce has repaired had come undone, and since it is glued to the batten, we will have to wait until we can get a new batten to change out with a new car. In the mean time we repaired that one again. We didn't sail at all on the way down, so it should have had time to dry and set in.
Don't know what happened to the predicted NE winds?? They never came. We were punching into SE 15 kts all day. Some of the time it got quite lumpy! NE were predicted again yesterday & today, but once again SE all day. Which doesn't matter to much for us at the moment because we came into Olden island which is protected from SE & NE. We had a bit of a rest day today. Was nice to have a couple of morning to do my yoga as I haven't had time since we left on Saturday. We did get a shore between showers and had a bit of a walk along the beach.
We are moving on in the morning.
It is a lovely spot, and we have really enjoyed the solitude of the anchorage. Tomorrow into Airlie for some groceries, fuel, and some laundry. We want to be ready for Friday in case these NE winds do come in!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Out into the big seas

We left Orpheus this morning and by the time we were clearing Palm Island we were in some decent swells. We decided that we would just make a straight line into the seas and wind and slowly make our way to Magnetic Island. Took us almost 9 hours to go 38 nautical miles. The seas finally flatten out a bit around 2 this afternoon.
Once anchored we went ashore for some horchattas and a plate of nachos. Also picked up some salad fixings. Coming back to the boat we noticed the cat Alexia (Ray), whom we met at Lizard. We stopped by for a little chat. Ray is alos leaving out tomorrow for Cape Upstart. By the time we left his boat Sea Piper anchored so we went over to say hello. They had a bit of a rough go at it today as they had stronger winds then we did and a bit more sea. They are happy to be here and look forward to exploring Maggie. they are only going as far as Townsville at the moment.
Early start to tomorrow with 71 nm to cover.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

rain clearing






Well the rain has finally let up enough for us to venture a shore for a walk. We didn't get a chance to walk up last time we stopped here earlier in the year due to weather conditions. The walk was something we both wanted and needed very much. It has been 2 weeks since we left the mainland, with only a small walk on Normanby a week ago we were quite ready for this walk.
I have to admit the first time last year we did this walk with Jerrica I huffed and puffed my way to the top. This time I was breathing a bit hard, but didn't find the need to stop and rest. We power on to the top. It was quite pleasant.
The photo of the group of rocks is one of my favorites I call them the 3 sisters and it always has a very spiritual feel to me. Like they are the guardians of the island.
Looking at the weather we have a few more days of strong winds before we can move on.
After our walk today we got some cleaning, and chores done to get the boat ready to go. transfered some fuel to the main tanks, finished the screens I made for the front windows, cleaning the cockpit. Now that our weather is drying we are drying the boat out as well.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Beaver reef






I noticed that I didn't post about my fish while on the way out to Beaver reef. I hooked up twice the first hit sang some line out, but the line broke. Figured it has been sitting on the back of the boat so it is getting sun damage. Bruce rigged the line for me, and out it went and wasn't very long before the line sang out again. It was quite a fight, and it didn't help the matter to see that somehow the line was caught around the eye of the rod, and there wasn't anything we could do about it until we finished bringing the fish in. I'm telling you this fish is huge, and it was wearing me out. I would be holding the line tight, and it would just bury further into the water. Until finally the fish tried out and came to the surface. It wasn't until I got the fish to the boat when I saw it wasn't because it was getting tired that it came to the surface it was because a shark took a big bite out of it. Bruce thinks I was fighting the shark for a while. we threw back the rest of the fish and I called it quits. What we caught wasn't good eating really. Tuna mac.
Here are some photos from Beaver reef.