Fri 29 Apr 2016 03:05
27:28.5689S 153:1.9526E

Brisbane CBD behind the piles and the view from the pedestrian bridge around the corner from our anchorage.

These Australian cities where you can get up the river right into the heart of the CBD are great. Brisbane especially so as we could anchor right next to the Botanic Gardens. We could enjoy the magnificent trees and beautiful plants, along with the wildlife they attract, whilst having the advantage of the big stores and the people-watching that the heart of a city offers. We loved how Brisbane makes use of its river, creating cycle ways and walkways along miles of its banks, some of them boardwalks on piles, and, on the Southbank, making diverse pleasure gardens where pilates and Falun Gong can be enjoyed on the grass under the shady trees; where coffee stalls pop up like mushrooms, even half way across the bridges; where children play under sprinkling fountains and kinetic water sculptures or build sandcastles by the side of the man made lagoon swimming pool. 

This Bush Stone Curlew was an unexpected visitor at the urban beach, having a wash and brush up whilst wondering why the water tastes of chlorine and there are no fish around!

We were planning to stay on the free fore and aft pile moorings, to save us swinging around on anchor in the river, but they were closed for maintenance. Every time a boat left they would rope off the mooring, leaving a higher and higher percentage of semi-abandoned craft, some rusty and bedraggled, some sporting trendy hipster beards having spent far too long in the same spot with out a hull scrape, their wobbly waterlines telling tales of a lick-and-a-promise of paint for the topsides from a dinghy. A pelican had discovered that there’s many a meal to be found under these unintentional fish attractors, he’d patrol them in the evenings looking for supper.

I’ve often wondered how pelicans tend to their feathers on their heads and necks - their beaks are too long to be able to reach them, but Phil explained that’s why they have crew cuts: low maintenance. 

Within easy walking are plenty of shops - perfect for if you need a new TAG watch, Louise Vuitton outfit, Chanel dress or Hermes handbag. More practically, there’s a small supermarket and excellent free wifi in the Apple Shop (thanks Lilly, for showing us where). Brisbane has less of a frantic feel than Sydney, with folk as likely to be wearing shorts and t-shirt as brown suits and red shoes. 

As we cycled through the botanic gardens we were excited to see two snakes - one, with diamonds along the centre of its back, about 8 ft long, slithered down the bank into the undergrowth, but the second, a Carpet Python, wasn’t going anywhere. He had caught himself a flying fox and it was rather more than he could swallow. We weren’t worried to come right up to him as trying to attack us would be the last thing on his mind just then.

Open wide! Wings and feet still out… we came back the same way an hour later and he was still trying to swallow.

You can watch a few seconds of him trying to get some more of the fruit bat into his mouth here:

I was glad to see some snakes, as Australia is renowned for its snakes and spiders I sort of felt we were missing out. We did come across one interesting spider in Brisbane, not poisonous thankfully, that inhabited Phil’s beard for a while. He was a small, circular black spider, with legs all around, like spiders in cartoons. He tickled dreadfully but just wouldn’t come out, however much one rubbed at him. Eventually he took an excursion onto Phil’s t-shirt and proved just as determined to stay on there: I brushed and brushed at him to try to get him off but he just clung on and wouldn’t be removed. In the end I pinched him (feeling a little scared in case he bit me) between finger and thumb. That sorted him. I felt a little guilty, as I hadn’t wanted to murder him, just encourage him to find a more suitable habitat, but he wouldn’t listen to reason.

Lochmarin at anchor, seen from the botanic gardens and one of our new found friends, a Pacific Black Duck, complete with lace effect feathers and striking eye liner.

We had come into Brisbane to see the city sights and to go to the Papua New Guinea consulate for visas, but the most important reason for being there was that my Cousin Nathalie, and her daughter, Isabella, aged 7, were flying in to come and stay on board for the next couple of weeks. They arrived safely, so next day, understanding their priorities perfectly, we headed back up the river to go find dolphins!

A Fisherman trawling in the river entrance - dolphins were following to steal some of the catch.