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Archive for April, 2005


Back to Tin Can Bay after a quick trip to Noosa … and another 4 days at Tin Can Bay … primarily to put Tsunami aground to polish its bottom … she loves to have her bottom rubbed, like most females. The hard sand exposed at low tide prompted me to put the yacht aground alongside the Yacht Club where the sand seemed hardest … I hadn’t found anywhere else along the coast which offered this condition at low tide.


As I had done the hard work of scraping off barnacles at Pittwater a couple of months earlier. This time around the job was a lot less painful.



The Friday I put the yacht aground just happened to be the day yachts started gathering at the Tin Can Bay Yacht Club … all 183 of them! It was the annual `Bay to Bay’ (Tin Can Bay to Hervey Bay) yacht race for trailer sailers … plus a class for multihulls, both trimarans (three hulls) and catamarans (two hulls). There were boats wall-to-wall and it was a sensational sight next morning when all were called to the starting line. They were started in five different classes, with 10 minute intervals between starts. Guess what, nobody went anywhere but backwards (incoming tide) for about an hour … no wind!


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* Bill, Barbara and Lloyd at Pomona Homestead, Queensland, Australia. *

Bill and Barbara have a great property and Barbara was fairly quick to let me know they also had a 10’ carpet python snake as a ‘pet’.  That night visiting the `toot’ took on a whole new meaning….  They displayed the discarded skins to prove the point, but they didn’t need to.

To get even a little, I must mention Bill’s never-to-be-forgotten barbecue act on the first night.  To be fair Bill did mention we were in for a pyrotechnics display, although even he didn’t know how realistic his announcement was.  When I first saw Bill’s preparation for the barbecue I was sceptical;  most people would have been, as he had stacked small dry twigs/branches over three quarters of a metre high under the barbecue plate, which was swung back to allow for the all the sticks. 

* Bill, Barbara after the enormous Bonfire/Barbecue ... nearly costing them their house! *

It went up with a huge whoosh and I said “I must get my camera, nobody will believe me!”  At exactly that moment, Bill screamed out to Barbara to grab a hose … quick!  The flames had risen a good 3 metres and set fire to the fibre glass roof over the BBQ area … and as you know, fibreglass loves to burn.  For 5 minutes there was pandemonium as the fire very quickly spread along the BBQ roof line and started to gnaw away at the fibreglass roof of the sunroof sticking out from the house.  Man, I moved too but could only find a bucket with only-God-knows what sort of liquid in it (it couldn’t be petrol, could it?) and I threw that onto the melting inferno … not petrol.  The best thing I could think of next to refill the bucket was to open the pressure  valve of the hot water system on an outside wall nearby (try it one day) and my next bucket full over the fire was hot water; seemed to help though. 

 We were in stitches of laughter afterwards and I insisted on taking a photograph of Bill & Barbara alongside the BBQ fire, which was still a respectable size.  The steaks were delicious but I thought I could detect a taint of a petroleum product … could it have been burnt fibreglass resin?

* A beautiful pond on `Bilbara's' property! *



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During our stay in Mooloolaba, we agreed to share the expense of staying in a marina attached to the Moolooaba Yacht Club ($50.50 per night – much too expensive really) giving us the opportunity to get the engineering job done as well as getting ourselves a much needed a shower! 

• * Leaving Nanettes’ waterfront house ... for a short journey to Tin Can Bay, Queensland, Australia. *

During this period another Seawind 1000 catamaran pulled into the marina, owned by a member of the Mooloolaba Yacht Club … a 68 year young woman called Nanette Black.  She was quick to introduce herself as she was very keen to discuss a couple of features of my yacht which hers didn’t have.  Nanette races her yacht twice a week from the yacht club, with a crew.  I think she found it hard to believe I sail mine solo. 

This was the day A&S were leaving and I mentioned to Nanette I was leaving the marina due to the high cost and going onto an anchor until the weather improved.  In a flash I found Tsunami rafted up against her boat, KINA, (don’t ask) on a pontoon, in a man made canal development … outside a rather swish house. 

* Nanette leaving Deja vu at Tin Can Bay ...low tide! *

To cut a long story short … after enjoying a great deal of hospitality from Nanette and husband Ian … Nanette came on board as crew for my next leg to Wide Bay, in the Great Sandy Straits, west of Fraser Island.  (Back to the map, please.)  Being a gun with her own Seawind 1000, she was of great assistance on this journey and great company.


Now … to get into Wide Bay one must cross the most notoriously dangerous sand bar on the east coast … the Wide Bay Bar!  I don’t mind admitting I was not looking forward to this one bit having experienced nasty, smaller sand bars further south … and not enjoyed any of them at all!  Nanette had been across this particular bar before and it had been no problem … (it seems to be a bar with a personality) … I had not been anywhere near it … and as the saying goes `experience breeds confidence and I was about to gather a bucket-full’!  I had the best advice from the Tin Can Bay (map) Coast Guard and the word was – cross the bar at 08:30 tomorrow morning and it will be OK! 

We did … and it was!

Some people reading this statement will be thinking … “what’s so scary about a sandbar; I’ve paddled on plenty in my lifetime”.  Almost every small river or outlet to the ocean, many formed by human planning and engineering, seem almost without exception to create a sandbar at the point where the outgoing water meets the ocean.  Something to do with silt being dumped when the fast out flowing water meets the slow moving ocean waters …  plus the movement of sand along the coast by ocean currents.  The result is a sandbar which is usually very shallow … down to 1 metre or less at low tide.  What happens next is a sort of tsunami effect (everybody knows what a tsunami is now) … where incoming ocean swells hit the shallow sandbar and a high, sometimes curling, breaking wave is created.  We in West Australia know them as `King Waves’ and they have claimed many people, primarily fishermen/women from low lying coastal rocks … many have been lost from the Carnarvon region. 

For boats/yachts trying to cross these sandbars the obvious problem of loss of control of a boat/yacht’s steering is the most frightening scenario … for example, I have had a wave break into the cockpit area of Tsunami, as it rolled past!  So now you can better understand the trepidation and the relief that nothing went wrong.

* Because of a hard sandy bottom and good tidal movement … Tin Can Bay is a great spot to go aground to clean Deja vu's bottoms! *

Nanette’s husband was in Tin Can Bay at 15:00 the day of our crossing to pickup my crew member, his wife … and agreed to drop me in a little country town called `Pomona’ (map).  I had been invited to stay there with two yachting friends (Bill and Barbara Hastings mentioned earlier) on their 17 acre country retreat. 



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 Three days in Mooloolaba was all Arianne and Srdjan wanted really and we took one of these days to visit `Crikey’ Steve `Crocodile’ Irwin’s Zoo, not far from Mooloolaba.  Worth a visit!  And A&S visited the Mooloolaba `Underwater World’ another day. 

* Steve Irwin’s (Deceased) Australia Zoo ... These tiger cubs were very large cubs ... but, they didn't know that! *

* Sucking milk through a teat ... BIG babies! *

That day, we noticed that Tsunami had developed a problem with a stud locking the telescopic table leg in the cockpit area in place … a stripped thread … and who came to mind as being the perfect man to fix it?  Engineer Brother Barry.  Arianne had already made contact with Barry (who lives near Mooloolaba) and arranged for him and his partner, Cheryl, to come on board the night we arrived.  After a very pleasant night with Barry and Cheryl, Barry took away the problem of how to fix the buggered nut and bolt.  Next day down came Brother Barry with an angle grinder and in 15 seconds (true) off came the U/S assembly!  Following day, down comes Brother Barry again, this time with an electric welder tucked under his arm, capable of welding stainless steel and in about two  minutes all was restored back to better than new … almost a miracle!  Thanks Barry!  We were invited by Barry and Cheryl for dinner the following night, at their home … which was excellent.  Promised to give more notice on my next visit.

* This was a lucky shot ... feeding chicken pieces to a `friendly' Crocodile ... there's really no such thing! *

* Brother Barry (the Master Welder) ... Lloyd ... Arianne. *

A&S spent two more days around the metropolis of Mooloolaba and all of a sudden it was time for them to head back West.  They couldn’t believe their time had come to an end so quickly and they were clearly sold 100% on the sailing lifestyle, finding it difficult to leave.  As I had to confess to them “It’s difficult … but someone has to do it … I’ll volunteer to carry-on!” 

They will be back!

* This is a BIG Croc ... probably four metres long. You definitely would not want to meet it in the wild! *



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* It was Arianne’s fault, she found the Bar ... Lloyd and younger daughter. *

* East coastline of North Stradbroke Island … doesn’t get much better! *

* Beautiful North Stradbroke Island ... East of Brisbane, Queensland. *

From overnight at the island to the small town of Dunwich on North Stradbroke Island, then on to Tangalooma, a resort on Moreton Island, directly north from Stradbroke (INSERT MAP) … where some bright spark decided to sink a dozen or so old ships to make an artificial reef, primarily to create a breakwater to smooth out the westerly swell from Moreton Bay … FAIL! 

* A bunch of old ships, sunk to form a breakwater from Westerly winds ... sorry, FAIL! *

We had an uncomfortable, rolly, rocky night following a long walk into the resort where we ended up paying too much for an ordinary beer … and I was grumpy because I had sprained my ankle while walking in the Brisbane CBD … “That will teach you to leave the yacht” did I hear someone say??  The next day, while I continued to grump on-board, the kids had a snorkel around the wrecks and saw many fish of aquarium quality in the wild.

* Bikinis, swimming and Tangalooma wrecks go together for a good time ... just be aware of the strong current! *

Next day was the last sailing day with A&S on board as we were heading for Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast.  A great trip along the shipping lane out of Brisbane harbour being reminded of this with a huge orange container ship passing us in the channel. 

* Shipping, Arianne and Moreton Bay all go together! *

Srdjan had to lie down towards the end of this leg as it was a 25 knot day and we were moving fairly fast through choppy water.  The only time with A&S on board that either of them showed any effect from the movement of the yacht … very good I thought.  Says a lot for the Cat yacht also … very stable!



* Arianne, Srdjan and Tangalooma wrecks, Queensland, Australia. *








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* Srdjan and Arianne ... `Tangalooma Wrecks' Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia *

Arianne and her partner, Srdjan, (A&S) arrived from Perth and I met them at Brisbane Airport.  I had managed to moor Tsunami between two pylons made available by, I think, the Queensland Dept of Transport for $15.00 a night or $50 for a full week, which is excellent value considering you are living in the centre of the Brisbane CBD.  There are yachts moored there permanently with people living aboard treating it as their home … one guy I spoke to, living with his wife on a huge Catamaran, said “Why not live in the centre of Brisbane at $50 per week?”

* Arianne (my younger daughter) ... Brisbane Central, Queensland Capital. *

* Srdjan got lucky whilst trawling in Moreton Bay, out from Brisbane. *

Having arrived too late the previous day and in the dark, the best I could do was `borrow’ a mooring which I hoped was safe and strong (one can never be certain about moorings, especially other people’s). However, it proved to be a Dept of Transport mooring … but, what the heck … they can have it back if they ask nicely!

We liked Brisbane and easily came to the conclusion it was much more interesting than the Perth CBD … some classy as well as ordinary restaurants, a range of retails stores and arty shops which Arianne particularly liked.

* Arianne and Shipping in Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia *

I managed to have a script done for new glasses to replace those that went overboard (bloody bugger) and found I am out of pocket $560.00!*#$!@^?  Do you know the feeling?  Have just learnt they will be mailed to a little town called Hervey Bay for my pickup.


From Brisbane we motored down to Moreton Bay and around to Manley Marina.  It was blowing & raining like hell unfortunately for A&S, as I had hoped to break them in gently to the rocking and rolling.  They were surprisingly OK though so I needn’t have worried. 

* A major `Gateway' Traffic Bridge (now a duel bridge) across the Brisbane River ... on the way from Brisbane CBD to Morton Bay. *

* The original `Gateway Bridge’ … now duplicated with the newer second bridge opened in 2010. Both now called the Sir Leo Hielscher Bridges ... crossing the Brisbane River. (Photo compliments Wikipedia) *

The next day we sailed to Peel Island on the east coast of Moreton Bay and with the island in sight I suggested to Serge he throw a line and lure overboard giving us a chance to catch a fish … and we did, a great catch of a 10Kg+ Shark Mackerel (I think) … which made Serge’s holiday and he had only been here 4 days. 



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 As I was moving fast to get to Brisbane, I didn’t stay in Southport apart from having dinner with friends Bill and Barbara on `Bilbara’ (you’ll never guess how they hit on the name of the Cat) an 11 metre Lightwave Cat, moored in a marina 7 miles north of the entrance into Southport. 

* Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia ... High rises and `Southport Yacht Club', from `Broadwater', Southport. *

Next day was a puzzle getting through the mangrove channels into Moreton Bay.  Went aground once, but was able to reverse straight off.  This was an 11 hour day with the final 14 miles up the Brisbane River against a strong outgoing tide.  Bugger!  Arrived in the centre of Brisbane at sunset, literally and grabbed the only mooring buoy in sight … and it happened to be a Dept of Transport mooring.  Too bad, I was too tired to go anywhere else!

* What a great berth ... right in the middle of the Brisbane CBD ... Capital of Queensland, Australia *

Next morning I put Tsunami between two mooring pylons made available for visiting yachts at $16.00 per night, or $50.00 per week.  We found later some people moor at these pylons permanently!  They can be uncomfortable, as they are heavily affected by the incoming/outgoing tides and wash from public ferries operating along the river for commuting workers.

Met Arianne and Srdjan next day at Brisbane Domestic Airport … and our adventures began.



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