Tied up in Keppel Bay Marina for next 3 nights. Our friend Hong from Wellington arriving tomorrow through Rockhampton. Also catching up with Kay and Steven who are staying a few nights in Yappoon.
Anchored off North side Great Keppel Island. Great anchorage, sandy bottom with crystal clear water. Nice gentle 3 hour motor sail up this morning. SW wind slowly dropping as morning progressed. Little wind by time we anchored. Plenty of other cruisers in this stretch. Took run about around to the west end of Island and went ashore to explore. Number of private houses, a backpackers, chalets, glamping and camping sites plus bar/cafe, pizza place and shop.
Anchored in sheltered north side of Hummocky Island after a day sail from Pancake Creek. Departed at daybreak and got in several hours straight sailing before having to resort to the support of the motor again as winds dropped off.ailed through 25 large tankers and various cargo ships from many overseas destinations anchored off Gladstone. All waiting to be loaded with various mineral cargoes. Heard there was a big backlog. Listening to the VHF there are certainly ships there with no dates for berthing, could be weeks. Got into Hummocky well before dusk so enjoyed some sun while anchored. Sthly swell makes itself felt in here a bit.
Stop off in Pancake Creek anchorage on way North. Departed Manly marina with nice SW breeze, sailed up Moreton Bay and out into open sea heading up the East side of Frazer Island. 370nm mile trip lasting some 50 plus hours. Two good nights sailing with various wind changes. Motor had to be used most of the way to ensure we kept moving forward. North end of Fraser Island saw us going through a number of whale pods, including mothers with young and individuals. Had a great close up view of a whale engaged in tail slapping for 10 minutes at 100 meters. Pancake creek a great calm anchorage, lots of boats using it over the time we are here - up to 25 boats.
Left St Helena at 1200 and motored to East Coast Marina, Many. Lots of yachts of all sizes out racing, passed through a couple of dinghy fleets. Manly an easy place to get into and easy to navigate around given its size. In spite of wind in the bay, very calm in the marina. Great service from the marina staff, came out to meet us in their runabout and helped direct us in to berth. Great facilities here. Easy walk into village for shopping at IGA. Will spend next 3-5 days here replacing diesel heater before heading North.
Departed dockside marina heading for NW side of St Helena Island to wait out the SE blow for a few days. Great motor down the Brisbane river and out into Moreton Bay. Short hop to anchorage and settled down for 4 days. Good anchorage, great holding, some minor swell at times.
Motored across to the Brisbane river and up into Dockside Marina. Great trip and arrived on slack tide. Will spend the next week or so here. Mark & Jude left on the 16/6/19 after a days sightseeing and out to dinner a couple of times. Has been a fantastic week with them aboard doing boating things these yachties don't normally do - inland waterways. Now looking and planning the next phase of the adventure.
Moved down to The Sandhills after doing a round of the wrecks and going ashore for coffee at the resort. Signage makes it clear that only resort dwellers and those from cruise ships are welcome. However never got stopped or questioned. Mark and Ian walked up the big Sandhill mid afternoon for some exercise. Had to anchor the dingy a considerable distance off and walk to shore due to shallow depth. Great views from top.
Moved to Tangalooma today. Tried sailing but had to revert to motor assist after a couple of hours. Glorious day on Moreton Bay. Anchored by 1600 abnd had a quick swim before doing an early evening round of the wrecks in the dinghy.
Left Jacobs Well at 0800, motored all the way to Peel Island. Lunched in Horseshoe Bay after a swim. Anchored for night back in Lazarette. Glorious night with lights of Brisbane twinkling in distance.
Did the Tipplers run and walked across Sth Stradbroke to ocean this morning. Fantastic day on the beach. Left anchorage with 2hrs to run to high tide to get through to Jacobs well. No hickups but depth did hit 0 a couple of times. Anchored just St of the VMR in good depth. Went ashore for quick walk around and then a visit to the local watering hole. Great overnight stay.
Mark and Jude on board last night. Out to dinner in Main Beach. Motored from Mariner Cover this morning and up the broadwater including swinging by Sanctuary Cove for a quick look. Anchored off the end of Tipplers passage. Doing a run into Couran Cove to show M&J and then up to Tipplers Cafe in the morning.
Moved into Mariners Cover to wait for arrival of Mark and Jude Aldridge. Rented car for 24hrs on 8/6/19 to do airport run as well as some shopping. Met up with Christine Bird, ex Busfields, staying with her brother Kevin and his wife Lucy.
Moved from Hope Island to Southport this morning and anchored off beach near Australia Fair. Will stay here for a couple of days before going into Mariners Cove Marina to set up for Mark and Jude from Four Seasons, Waikawa SI, who are flying and with us for a week. More Party Time!!!!. This is as far South as we come this time around, now going to head North for the winter.
Moved at 8.30am to catch tide and move up the Coomera River to Hope Island Marina. Passed Sanctuary Cove on way through, lots of large boats being moved around after the boat show. Mooring here for a few days. Caught up with John and Beth Borsboom for her birthday on 29th. Spent the weekend with them at Merrimac.
Moved into this tight anchorage early this morning while tide was still up. Tight passage to get in with some very shallow areas again, but great once in - very sheltered. Went ashore to the Paradise Point shopping centre for some supplies. Neat little location. Rob & Caroline from Gallivanta joined us for dinner, great catch up.
Spent 2 nights at Never Fail Island before coming down to this anchorage just across from Paradise Point. Visited Couran Marina for a sundowner last night, not great, like having a drink in a morgue. Checked out Tipplers passage on the way this morning, narrow and shallow not much room for us to anchor, but will drop into Tipplers Cafe on the way north.
Left Peel Is. at 10.00am and motored down to the entrance of the main inland passage heading for Southport. Not unlike Fraser Island but a few more twists and turns. Had hoped to anchor up just North of Jacobs well but nothing that really took our fancy. Made the call to continue through as high tide had not long come through. Some very shallow readings - like 00mts - under the keel a couple of times but didn't seem to touch. Ended up anchoring to side of the channel just north of Courans Cove. Great overnight spot, quiet, still, but when daylight comes along this stretch of water is like the M1. We covered 20nm yesterday so have got ourselves into the Southport area a day or so ahead of our intentions.
Left Dockside today and motored down river and out to Peel Island. No sailing as wind right on nose. Great to be out anchoring off again and enjoying the quiet of an anchorage. Dropped the pick in the Lazerette gutter off the North side. Spent 2 nights here in beautiful conditions. Lots of distant night lights from the city and suburbs. This a definite return location.
Motored from Newport to Brisbane port and then up the river to the CBD. Coming in up the river is such a great way to see this city. Tied up in the Dockside Marina just along from the Story Bridge. Spent a week here exploring the sights of Brisbane and learning about its history. Great location with the free city hopper ferry stop only 40 mtrs away. Brisbane is such an easy city to get around with lots of interesting things to see and explore and some great restaurants. We are coming back here before we head North later in June.
Tied up in Northport Marina. Came in for a few days and ended up almost 2 weeks. Really enjoyed the area and people. John & Beth stayed for a couple of days, very enjoyable, checked out some display homes and got in a mornings sailing out from Red Cliffs.
Sailed across to Bribie Island today and parked up just of Bongaree in Pumicestone. Great days sailing on Moreton Bay. Beautiful calm anchorage here. Heading for Newport Marina for the weekend to catch up with John and Beth Borsboom who will be staying on board. Really enjoying the Moreton Bay area and looking forward to exploring more of it.
This afternoon moved South to the Sandhill anchorage off Moreton Island. Beautiful motor sail in 12kts down the coast. Now anchored up in a lovely bay with a slight easterly breeze coming across the Island, 4 other boats anchored across the bay and fantastic view of the sandhills this location if famous for. Will attempt the big sandhill climb in the morning. Just saw four people part way up through the bino's, and given how small they look this climb could a bit of a haul. Across the other side of Moreton bay we can see high rises of Brisbane.
Moved to Tanaglooma yesterday and anchored close to the wrecks. Lovely spot, southerly swell had cleared during the day so nice calm night. Get a great view from here of the ships heading in and out of Brisbane port. In the distance we can see the high rise towers of downtown Brisbane and at night the skyline is well lit up.
Motor sailed south from Moolooaba across the top of Moreton Bay. Took three hours to get to the channel, lovely gentle swells with nice breeze. Changed just as we got to the channel entrance, wind moved SSE and several heavy showers came through with associated gusty wind. Sea became confused and quite bouncy until we hit the NW corner of Moreton Island. Lovley passge down the island to Cowan Cowan. Anchored for night, small swell kept us moving about but manageable.
Now moored up in Mooloolaba at the yacht club marina. Left Tin Can 2 days ago, parked for the night inside Inskip point. Lovely calm anchorage. Left yesterday morning and crossed the infamous Wide Bay Bar at 8.00am. Just over an hour to get through the set waypoints. Bit of a washing machine affect for good part of it, really glad of our Karori rip experience over the years crossing Cook St.
Once through into beautiful calm long gentle swells with 8kt offshore wind. Motor sailed down the coast until 1700hrs when we reached here. Great day on the sea. Here now until after Easter. Looking forward to some exploring of local waterways and some land based places.
Arrived here in Tin Can Bay Marina yesterday after motoring down from anchorage at Figtree Creek - just South of Gary's anchorage. Great little marina, very clean and helpful staff. They provide a vehicle you can borrow for up to one and a half hours to do shopping or other bits. Cheryl went to doctor over ongoing stomach bug problem. Could be here for up to 2 weeks until all tests etc worked through.
Anchored South Whitecliffs in Yankee Jacks anchorage. Motored from Kingfisher bay during morning. Very calm here and hot. Surrounded by mangroves on various sandbars interspersed with channels.
Anchored just off the North end of King Fisher Bay next to the wharf. Spent the last week off South Point, Big Woody Island. Cheryl not well so spent some down time. We are now slowly making our way down through the straight heading for Tin Can Bay in 4 days time. All well on board.
Anchored South Point, SW corner of Big Woody Island. Left Hervey Bay marina 2 days ago. Anchored fist night at Sandy Point, anchorage a bit rolly with winds and slight swell from North plus effects of tidal flow. Motored down channel yesterday to current location. Great spot. Thunderstorm passed over last night, bit of rain and westerly winds for a couple of hours. Heading for Tin Can Bay marina over next 10 days - South end of great sandy straights about 50 miles away. Slowly working away at various boat jobs. Crew and boat all well.
Currently tied up in Hervey Bay Boat Club marina, Urangan. Motor sailed here from Bundaberg two days ago just as wind turned to light northerly. Monday picked up part for water maker from engineering shop in Hervey Bay. Spent today in Maryborough, place with a very interesting history, including the connection to Mary Poppins. Off on a driving tour of Fraser Island tomorrow.
After almost 4 months enjoying some land adventures and activity we arrived back in Bundaberg a week ago and moved aboard Silver Light 3 days ago after some cleaning and TLC for the good ship. Great to be home again. Will look to head South into Hervey Bay and into Urangan later this week.
Silver Light - Tonga - The Friendly Isles
Captain Cook must have been an amazing man. I can't imagine what it would be like for Captain Cook or the Tongans to meet each other 250 years ago. Tonga has me really confused: the towns and villages are basic; Nuku'alofa has a main street that resembles a town. Everything is betwixt and between. One or two shops for the tourists are emblazoned with western paraphernalia such as window dressing displaying items that tourists may like; namely sarongs and shirts, handicrafts made of tapa cloth Read more...
The Chinese here are the most unfriendly people I've ever met. We were trying to buy some eggs from the Chinese stores and when asked if they sold them they said: "NO". End of discussion. Then I'd persevere and asked if they knew where I could buy eggs. Same response: "NO". Later, talking to a Tongan we found that we could buy eggs at the market and they would have known that. The ferry comes into Neiafu (Vava'u Island Group) once a week and this week they forgot a container of chicken and eggs on the wharf in Nuku'alofa so they were at a premium. My new Tongan friend, Mita, told me to write a list of what I needed at the market and she went and bought it for me. She told me the prices are too expensive for tourists so it's true, the Tongans and the Chinese are charging high prices. Make hay while the sun shines! Vegetables, except for yams, are at a premium. We're managing to get a supply of cabbage, carrots, green peppers and tomatoes. We're still eating tuna and mahimahi from the freezer, some we caught and some was given to us. For meat, we buy chicken, which reminds me of chicken in NZ years and years ago when we used to eat it only on Christmas Day. Pork isn't easy to buy even though many piglets and breeders are roaming streets and villages at will - definitely free range - but the tiny piglets are destined for the spit roast; a well-marketed tourist attraction is to attend a Tongan feast on almost any inhabited island. We were thinking if they fattened the piglets just a little bit, they'd get more meat and that would mean more profit, surely!
This year the King is celebrating his birthday in the Ha'apais - another reason for no food stores in the other island groups. All produce is sent to the Ha'apais so that the king can celebrate his birthday in the style that he is accustomed. A wee bit of goss from the Tongan taxi driver. The Tongan Royal Family rules that they want to keep the royal line pristine - really! And they do that by marrying within their family, including first cousins. Currently, King Tupou VI is reigning and he married his first cousin. Eek! However, his older brother, now deceased, had a relationship with two women and offspring with both but they were not recognised in the royal line. If he married a commoner, he would lose all his royal rights. But what about this - the only person he could have married was his sister!!
So, here we are, in a beautiful part of the Pacific with friendly and unfriendly locals, depending on the circumstances; some produce available but mostly not because the King's birthday celebrations are taking all the produce; western prices in shack cafes, taxis plying for trade with the roughest cars ever, and then again, we have to keep our wits about us as the Tongans have got it sussed and know how to take our money off us. The other day, a guy paddled out to sell us some bread and he didn't want money but rope; I ask you, who got the better deal?
Just in case, you're going to stay in a resort in Tonga, check it out. Some of the resorts we've seen are nothing like resorts that are in our minds.
Most of you will know that we lost our tender and outboard, life jackets and other bits and pieces. The update is that we have purchased replacements in NZ and they are about to be freighted to Savusavu to meet us there when we arrive. Yay!!
Silver Light - Passage to Tonga
Ten days at sea with a 30-hour stop at Minerva Reef (North Minerva). The trip of a lifetime with a couple of lovely cruising days, one which we had to motor most of the day but the others saw us pretty much in survival mode. The boisterous seas, like a huge agitator washing machine tossed and pummeled us as we tried to negotiate our way between the cockpit, cabin and head. Imagine this, you're standing on a 45 degree angle in the head, watching the toilet heave one way then the other, trying Read more...
The normal nausea hit me for the first few days; best position is horizontal but then again when on watch the fresh air is good. Prepared passage meals were a Godsend; one-pot meals with everything in it, pop it in the oven, heat it up, dish it up, eat and that's dinner over for another night. The very worst day I ended up getting a small block of cheese and crackers in my cabin and for a good day and a bit when the hunger pangs struck, I nibbled at the block of cheese, had a cracker or two, and washed it down with water. Did the trick and, in the conditions, it seemed like a banquet! Had one happy hour on the very last night before arriving in Tonga. Didn't feel like it before that! Can't say I made up for it but I did have two rums and they were good!
Minerva Reef was amazing for so many reasons. The first boat that got there was approached by the Tongan Navy and told the Navy was conducting an exercise and they'd have to leave immediately. Well, yachties always have something up their sleeves and they told the Tongan Navy that they were the first boat of a fleet of 30, guests of the King of Tonga, all of whom had been invited to a Royal Dinner on the 30th June and showed them the invitation. Had to consult the Commander of the Ship now - the message came back that the Navy would conduct their exercise elsewhere and for the yachties to enjoy Minerva Reef for as long as they wished. The sea-life was out of this world - painted crayfish in particular. It was pouring with rain when at low tide we jumped in the dinghy to go for a walk on the reef but it was all part of it. Hard to believe that we were standing on a reef in the middle of the Pacific Ocean thousands of feet deep!! The sheltered circle of the reef was 20-30 metres deep and a huge circumference. This shelter from the waves was a great respite in what was really a gruelling trip.
Slowly, the temperatures started to warm up and layers peeled as we travelled north. In NZ, I started with 4 layers on the top and three on the bottom; after Minerva Reef much warmer and now in Tonga very warm. When we could start moving around the boat, we found that it wasn't that watertight. We arrived with heaps and heaps of washing that Big Mama took care of at $5 per kilo (weighed when wet we found out).
Have got to say, the whole trip in perspective was great - a bit bumpy, but not that bad. Life goes on, we all survived, our boats did us proud and we learnt heaps. The sight of land was the best feeling and we arrived on a glorious day in Tonga!
Silver Light - Comms and Passage Planning
Four weeks and we're still not quite on top of our comms and downloads. Nearly there. IridiumGo and PredictWind are great but the setup is something you wouldn't believe. Ian has been working on this almost non-stop. These apps will enable us to download weather forecasts from satellites when on passage or from anywhere in the world. Very slowly, of course. Apparently you start the download, prepare and eat breakfast, then, voila, you have the latest forecast for your specific area in the Read more...
The plan is that we leave Opua and sail to Minerva Reef, sheltering and exploring in both South and North Minerva; however, it looks like the wind may die out part way up and we'll have to motor part way. Not to worry, we have 400 litres of fuel - 200 litres in the tank and 200 ltrs in gerry cans. If we stick to 1500 rpms we'll be right. After a couple of days at the Minerva Reefs, we'll set sail for Tonga. We're one of 32 boats on the Island Cruising New Zealand Rally to Tonga. This week of preparation has seen us all meeting one another and helping each other out by sharing whatever skills. A great social time as well as lots of hard work going on; not to mention purchasing replacement items and spares. Self-sufficiency has a whole new meaning!! Burnsco Marine must be doing a great trade.
At the moment, it looks like we'll be leaving Opua Sunday night or Monday morning. Just watching that weather forecast.
Silver Light - Stress free Safety Category 1 - Yeah right!
List after list after list. Then lists of lists. Rationalising lists. Striking items off lists then adding three items for every one struck off. Tetchy with the system, with partners, with workload, with weather. Just under 100 pages with 5-10 tasks to be completed on each page of the Safety Regulations of Sailing 2017-2020 as prepared by Yachting New Zealand. Other sailors saying to us: Oooohhhh, Cat 1, we know what that's like! The first time is the worst. Well, this is the first Read more...
The benefits of Cat 1 are that we know our boat inside out, we have spares from here to Africa when we only need them to the Pacific Islands!! Every mechanical item has been serviced and/or replaced and the old parts kept as spares. Sails have been serviced, repaired and storm sails have been made. (Please note we don't plan to sail in storms but we're prepared if they happen upon us.) Life rafts and life jackets have been serviced - our jackets now have a light and a hood attached but the intention is never to deploy them in the ocean. We wear them on passage though. That brings me to the 36-page manual I wrote about the boat and safety guidelines for Silver Light - who will ever read it. Nonetheless, we have it now. If you come to sail with us, it may be a prerequisite to read it before any refreshment is offered! Do you think I'm joking? Comms and navigation - all devices have been bought however the connectivity side of things took a week to get them all talking to each other and for a greater understanding of all that they're capable of. We can download the latest weather forecasts in the middle of the ocean miles from anywhere, talk to, send text messages to, and email anyone, anywhere in the world. That is, if we have time to spare in between watches, sleeping and eating. And amongst the benefits of Cat 1, I must commend the support and assistance of our Cat 1 Inspector, along with his wealth of experience and knowledge, and his availability to answer questions and queries throughout the whole process to gain this sought-after certificate.
The downside of getting Cat 1 is some of the outdated ideas and some of the costs involved however the concept is above reproach.