Saturday, April 30, 2011

We are in Bundaberg at a marina. We decided to splurge and stay in comfort and safetly and have ready access to water. I wanted to clean and oil the teak and that takes a lot of water, thus we are staying at the dock. Patricia is supposed to be driving up here later today so we have are waiting for her to arrive to we can have another visit. We had some good sails getting here. We came up the Great Sandy Strait and found some nice anchoring spots. One of the spots was on Fraser Isalnd, apparently the largest sand island in the world. We wen ashore and found this old peer and these tress that were painted by the aboriginals of the ares.

We had some drama the day we decided to cross the bay to come to Bundaberg. It was blowing 20-30 knots but it was from behind so no problems. It was great until it started to rain and then it got really socked in and we couldn't see very far. We found the entrance to the river and turned on the engine and lo and behold we had no water coming out of the engine. Barry disappeared down below to change the impeller and I sailed around waiting for him to reappear. He did and the engine purred away and we headed in and Barry made a perfect landing at the dock and we have been here ever since.

The marina has a courtesy bus into Bundaberg most day, town is 6 km away. We have gone in a couple of days and yesterday I stopped into the local art gallery. They had an exhibition of photos taken during the floods that were here in late Dec. and Jan. It devastated quite a few businesses and homse in the area. I am glad that we were not here to experience it. Friends who were here at the time said it is the worst thing they have ever had to deal with.

We will be here unti Tues. and then we hope to make our way further north. I want to stop at Lady Musgrove Island, an atoll abotu 50 miles from here that has nice coral that we can snorkel around and enjoy. We are both looking forward to seeing Trish, Graeme, Quinn and June.

Friday, April 22, 2011


We are in the water heading north. We made it to Mooloolaba last night and enjoyed our brief stay there. We are now headed for the Sandy Straits on the west side of Fraser Island. We plan to do an overnighter in order to get there in the morning when the tide is right to enter the Wide Bay Bar. We will then go to Tin Can Bay to anchor. I guess that means we will have our Easter in Tin Can Bay and join our friend in Yellowknife that will be having their Easter on Tin Can Hill!!

We thought a sailing race that goes from Brisbance to Gladstone, about 300nm, would pass us by yesterday but they went across Moreton Bay and then went off shore whereas we are hugging the coast so we did not see hide nor hair of the boats. I was a bit disappointed, it would have been nice to see them screaming by.

Barry has a subscription to the Yellowknifer, the twice weekly Yellowknife newspaper and our youngest daugther, Heather, just got a job as a reporter there. We have really been enjoying reading her articles, she does a great job, with nice descriptive phrases and snappy endings to her stories. Keep up the great work Heather.

I have to note that in the Scrabble wars that take place regularly on our boat I am on a 5, I repeat FIVE game winning streak. This is unprecidented and I would like to say to Barry that I think I have "kicked your ass".

Happy Easter to all or friends and family. I hope the Easter Bunny is good to you, he plan on visiting Cat's-Paw IV and leaving a small contribution.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

We are on the hard in Brisbane and despite the not favourable weather we have managed to get two coats of bottom paint on. It rained cats and dogs, or as my buddy Mike might say, Siamese and Dobermans, on Monday but we sanded down the gouges we had created in Vanuatu and made sure the bottom and hull were really clean. On Tuesday the rain was spotty and we put on coat along the water line while I filled up the gouges with Epifill, five hours later I sanded the fill to near perfection and we start painting. The weather held until almost the last and then it sprinkled a bit. It was not ideal conditions but it seems to be okay. We put the second coat on this morning, one more coat at the waterline late this afternoon and we should be good to go.

The boat yard is pretty spiffy and we are paying a pretty penny, but it was the only spot that could get us in on short notice, we aren't the best planners. One of our friends suggested that we cancel out because it was going to be rainy but we are glad we didn't. I had visions of us being here over the Easter weekend but unless their equipment breaks down we should be going in Thur. around noon. Oh yeah, the spiffy marina, notice the steps, we don't have to clamber up and down a ladder. I wanted to do my impression of "Here she come, Miss America" down the steps (Notice the very nicely painted bottom in the background). The other very impressive thing about this marina is that the laundry is free, OMG, it is so hard to believe, you walk in and there is nowhere to put your money in the machines, I was flabergasted. As a result we are washing and drying, I might add, everything we can think off, today it was the covers for the fenders and the cockpit cushions. I will probably wash all our dirty clothes again tonight so we can set of clean tomorrow.

The other thing we have managed to accomplish while we are here is to change our chain (it is rather hard to do that when you are at anchor with a 4 knot current rushing by you). Barry never did like the link we had to put into our re-galvinished chain in New Zealand so we ordered new stuff and here it is. We marked it in meters, flourescent green and pink, hoping those colours will last awhile. This to a yachtie is a wonder, beautiful new chain, when Barry pulled it up it slipped through the gypsum without a catch and tumbled obediently into the chain locker. I hope there was some ohhs and ahhs out there from our cruising buddies because this is definitely a high light.

Just about to be hauled out

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I have added the Indonesian Rally site on our links which are listed to the right of the blog. This shows the route we will take, we have chosen to go the eastern route. At the moment there are only about 8 boats going to eastern route and about 40 going the other way so we are quite pleased about that as we do not wish to travel with a huge number of boats.

Yesterday I bought a ticket to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, caught a bus and spent the day being educated about the strange and unusual Australian animals. Barry didn’t want to come because he had seen koalas with Bob and Barb, boy did he miss a great day.
I got to hear about koalas and their two opposable thumbs, the reason why they are so lethargic and the fact that babies hang about with their mothers for over a year, they don’t even come out of the pouch for about 6 or 7 months. They also had a talk about snakes, the fellow had a black headed python wrapped around himself as he explained the 2 most important things to do if you are bitten by a venomous snake. The first thing is to not move around to much and stay calm (I think the staying calm part would be extremely difficult!!, the second is to bandage the limb that was bitten with a tensor bandage. Apparently when you go bush walking in Aus, you should always have a tensor bandage in your pack, I did not know this and will add a bandage PDQ.
I think my favourite thing beside the talk on koalas was the raptor show. The people brought out about 4 different raptors and had them flying through the crowd and catching food that they threw up in the air. They brought out 2 kinds of owls, a huge eagle and a kite. There were also 2 very large eagles in the trees that could not fly that we got to have a look at. The biologist who gave then talk had some very interesting facts about owls and when they brought out the eagle she explained that he only weighed about 3.4 kilos, not much weight for a bird that size. One fact she mentioned is that if you find carrion in the middle of the road, stop and move it to the side because the big eagles which feed on it are not that swift at getting off the ground or hopping out of the way so lots of birds are killed by being hit by cars while they are eating on the highway. I saw a platypus swimming about, it was very small and agile in the water. It is a mammal that lays eggs, very odd. Just like the wombat and the koala they are a marsupial but their pouches open toward the back, so the babies don’t get hurt, interesting adaptation. A WOMBAT

They had some beautiful birds there and the first activity I did was to feed the lorakeets. I also saw a coccuburro that was just flying around free, we hear them calling most days here on the river.
I am so glad I went, it was a fabulous day. I got to pet the koala and feel the snake, it was very smooth, the koala was a little bristley. Hope you enjoy the pictures. I will have to think up a new mission, that one was so interesting and so much fun.

Barking Owl

White Bellied Sea Eagle

Wedged Tail Eagles (Australia's largest raptor)


Southern Cassowary

A Very Contented Koala

Friday, April 08, 2011

A very poor picture of the Gold Coast

We are slowly working our way northwards. We had an unpleasant trip from Iluka to Southport which is in the Gold Coast. We had thunder and lightning for about 3 hours followed by buckets of cold rain. It is indeed fall here, it is colder and raining much more frequently. Our blood has thinned out considerably, we need sweaters when the temperature gets below 20 degrees. We were sailing along the next day with only wind, waves and beautiful long sandy beaches for company when up rose miles of high rises, the Gold Coast. We had an easy entrance through the breakwater and anchored just opposite Seaworld. We spent 3 nights there, the 3rd day waiting out bad weather before moving on. The next 2 days were spent slowing sailing down the intercoastal waterway. It was nice protected water although quite shallow in many places. This is one of the private homes along the waterway!!
We stayed one night in Tipplers Passage, went ashore and walked across the island to the ocean beaches and had a picnic. It was amazing to have the never ending beach with the dunes all to ourselves.
We continued on down the passage and came to an area that had confusing signage. It was confusing mostly because our binoculars have both gotten water in them and are not very clear. I got outside the main channel and went aground. Thankfully it was on a rising tide so we just sat there and waited for the water to rise. There was a heavy current pushing us further into the sand/mud so Barry had the motor in full reverse trying to get off. After a harrowing half an hour, we could feel the boat starting to bounce a little. Barry tried motoring forward, reversing, spinning the wheel and occasionally we would pivot slightly but the mud would not let us go. Finally Barry told me to roll out some head sail and the extra push from the front of the boat pulled us free. My heart did not stop hammering for about forty five minutes.At the entrance to the river this boat was having trouble with his main sail. He is sailing along in the lee of a freighter, do you see the guy up at the top of the mast trying to fix it???

We continued on the next day even though it was threatening rain. We covered the 20 miles to the Brisbane river amid thunder showers and sudden squalls. We only had the genoa up so we would just roll or unroll it according to the conditions and did not get ourselves in any trouble. It took us about 3 and ½ hours to come up the Brisbane River against the current. We probably should have waited except that would have had us coming up the river after dark, something we weren’t interested in attempting. The cruising guide said there were hot running showers available ashore so I was looking forward to that. One of our mates was anchored hear and came over to inform us that the shower facilities were washed away by the floods they had a few months ago so that wish will go unfulfilled. We are anchored right downtown just beside the botanical gardens. I am anxious to go ashore and find a laundry and then discover how to get to the animal sanctuary. I have not seen a koala bear yet and I have heard they at this place. I am afraid if I wait until I am further north the trees where the koala’s live will not grow there and there will not be any and I will leave Australia without a koala sighting, so this is my Brisbane mission!!

We had to go under two bridges but none of them opened this time

We are anchored just downstream from here.

Friday, April 01, 2011

We are on our way north on the long trek up the east coast of Australia. Today we are hoping to get to Southport the beginning of the Gold Coast, about 60 miles south of Brisbane. It is a beautiful day for a sail, sunny, light winds and a gentle swell. Last night Patricia packed up the Land , Cruiser, putting all the bikes back in and this morning we hauled her up the mast to change the pesky wind instrument before we bundled her and the kids off the boat to make the 0830 tide. I told Quinn before they left that I was sorry I didn’t have time to play balloons with him again because the tide waits for no man.
Bob and Barb showed up again on their way north and we had a super day at the beach with them. We found a rectangular structure of logs stuck in the sand and we able to cover it with blankets, towels and cover ups to give us some much needed shade. Bob, Trish and I boogie boarded while Quinn and June hunted shells and crabs supervised by Grandpa and Gauntie Barb. The waves were not good enough to surf but we had terrific fun body surfing and using the boogie board to fly into the beach. We went again the next day and I forgot my bathing suit and went in wearing my underwear. The waves were so powerful the second day they were knocking my panties right off of me.
There was a rocky headland and we all walked down there and explored the tide pools. We spotted a sea cucumber, numerous hermit crabs, minnows and Barry found a huge crayfish shell on the beach. Quinn and June hunted in the pools catching the hermit crabs and picking up some great shells. We had peanut butter sandwiches, fresh pineapple, almonds and water to keep the hungry monster at bay. Bob and I went for a bit of a swim and Bob went on a run down the beach in his bare feet. Barry sat and read his book and was green with envy. It was a super Australian Beach day, the beach was ten miles long and we had it to ourselves!!!!