Australia has a land area of 7,617,930 square kilometres. Moreton Bay has an area of 1,523 square kilometres. I know people who have “seen” the whole of Australia in a month – Sydney Opera House, the Gold Coast, Ayers Rock, alligators and then fly home. We have spent over a month just enjoying Moreton Bay. At this rate we will be finished with Australia in about 400 years which is a problem, as we only have a two year visa.
We spent Christmas anchored off Tangalooma enjoying the snorkelling and the antics of the weekend boaters. From there we sailed to St. Helena Island and saw the ruined prison where Queensland kept their worst prisoners. Just off East Australia the cyclone Seth was raging and we hid behind the island over New Year as the wind raged across the Bay.
On our second attempt we managed to reach the anchorage at Raby Bay and restock our larder. We also met Sue & Chris who kindly invited us to use their private pontoon. They also took us to the hardware store, allowed us to have our motor serviced on the pontoon, fed us and let us use their swimming pool and shower. Amazing!
With a full boat we crossed the Bay and visited North Stradbroke Island. This island used to have Queensland’s asylum on it and there is a fantastic museum that explains the story of the inmates and aborigine laborers. Another island where the “outcasts” were sent from the mainland. Stradbroke is one of the biggest sand islands in the world and a great mountain biking “challenge”. We cycled 35 kilometre and 18 of them were on un-tracked sand. The scenery was impressive and we met our first kangaroos but we definitely earned the burger that we bought at the end of the tour.
South Stradbroke Island is a bit “run down” with the only exception being the immaculate annex of the Southport Yacht Club. It is strictly Members Only so normally closed to riff-raff like us. Luckily Susie & Nick are members of the Ocean Cruising Club and Southport Yacht Club and were kind enough to serve evening drinks on their boat “Watermusic II”, take us for a walk along the beach and then prepare a breakfast BBQ in the club grounds. Thank you!
We continued south to the Coomera River to collect our water maker from the workshop. On the way we managed to ground twice. Luckily the tide was rising and the ground was sand so we did no damage and just lost a little time. Later we passed a huge house that would have had a fantastic view if the owner had not parked his even bigger boat on his pontoon.
We visited Russell Island which was definitely less than impressive. Friendly people living in an estate cut off from the mainland except by ferry. Coochiemudlo Island was more of the same but with a golf course.
Back in Raby Bay we once again docked at Sue & Chris’s pontoon for a night. More amazing hospitality even though they were setting off for the 13 hour drive to Canberra the next day. The next day we were blown off course in the narrow canal and took refuge on Scott & Katie’s pontoon. That evening Scott brought us apple pie and in the morning, coffee and breakfast. They were off for the weekend so told us to make ourselves at home and stay a few days.
The Laming family took over the hospitality for the weekend. Andrew showed us the Redlands, explained the history and treated us to a great Italian meal. The next day we were invited to their house for dinner and then we all went out for a sail. Lunch at a restaurant, dinner at their house, a bed for the night and breakfast before a motor boat ride from their house back to the boat. I am tired just thinking about the weekend.
Only another 7,616,407 square kilometres to go.