Mackay, Brisbane & Bengal cat

Dick and Irene Craig
Fri 13 Aug 2010 08:13

On Saturday, the day following the Welcome Barbecue at Mackay Yacht Club,
there was a wine and cheese festival in Mackay, part of the annual arts
Sunday was a beautiful, sunny day and the heat of the sun was more what we
have become used to expecting prior to embarking on the last trip from
We caught the hop-on, hop-off explorer bus outside the marina at 10am, which
stopped at the local main attractions, making it easy to visit Artspace and
the botanical gardens as well as the town and riverside markets. Taking time
out to have lunch in an Italian restaurant, we were attended by a Penelope
Cruise look-alike.
Arriving back at the marina just in time to attend, at 4pm that afternoon at
the Yacht Club, an informal session where the local Customs and Quarantine
officers giving us advice on provisioning restrictions which would apply
when we visited Thursday Island and Darwin. This briefing was then followed
by a talk about cruising up the Barrier reef and through the Whitsundays.
weCrocodiles have been found in Mackay so from here w will need to remain
vigilant while near to the coastal rivers.
At 6.30 the cocktail party and buffet commenced. This was hosted by Mackay
marina and the Tourist board who officially welcomed World Arc to Mackay.
What an amazing event. There was enough food for a party more than twice our
size but we still managed to consume the excellent selection of barbecued
meats and salads.
On Monday the boat was lifted out of the water onto the hard. Unfortunately,
due to an engineering convention in town, there isn't a hotel bed available
at any price so we will have to spend a few days camping on the boat.
Monday and Tuesday there were guided tours of the area surrounding Mackay,
visiting the historic Greenmount Homestead, past vast sugarcane fields, up
mountain roads to Eungella national park, one of Queensland's most
ecologically diverse areas, where one may look down on Pioneer valley.
After a picnic lunch and search for the elusive platypus at Broken river,
the tour headed back down to Finch Hatton Gorge and the walk through the
rainforest to Araluen falls where brave folk were able to swim in the cool
waters. Due to the wet weather, the walk through the rain forest didn't take
place on Tuesday.
The day before we flew to Brisbane the freezer, which had just been
defrosted, ceased to work and we had to arrange for this to be fixed in our
absence. Fortunately a new thermostat was all that was required.
Tuesday, Moe and Bev flew down to Brisbane, planning to return Wednesday
next week.
Next day we flew to Brisbane where we plan to spend a few days with Dick's
cousin and his wife, before returning Tuesday.
Even before we left the boat, preparation for the anti-fouling of the hulls
had already begun, despite the rain.
The flight to Brisbane was full but was without any hassle. Having only
carry-on luggage was helpful in this respect as there was no need to have to
queue anywhere other than when we physically made our way from the departure
lounge to the plane.
We had a splendid time with Robert and Carolyn who were fantastic hosts.
Thursday, Robert drove us all over the place to visit suppliers even
venturing to parts of the city where he had not been before. Friday we
caught the city ferry, a fast catamaran, which appeared to be one of
several, taking a trip up and down the river in the warm, winter sunshine.
We got off at South Bank and ate our picnic, having walked past the city
beach where quite a number of people of all ages, were swimming.
Saturday, we drove down the Gold Coast stopping for coffee in a café on the
beach where we watched dozens of people practicing on their surfboards and
where Ibis strut around the carparks. From there, we drove on past fields
full of cattle and into the heavily wooded hills and mountains of a place
that sounded like Conundra, near Beaudesert.. There were Brahmin cattle in
some of the herds. We had seen these in Fiji. It seems that by cross
breeding these with Hereford, the cattle are less susceptible to various
diseases. At Conundra we met another supplier with whom we all had lunch in
a local pub.
This chap and his wife had 2 beautiful cats, a mother of 4 years and her
son, twice her size, of 3 years. Their markings were amazing, large black
spots and stripes on an orange smooth coat.
We drove out to the marina at Manley and had a picnic. We visited other
parts of Brisbane including the viewpoint at the top of Mount Coot-tca where
the vista was incredible and being such a clear day we could see the city
and suburbs, the winding river, the mountains. We could see forever.
All four of us were up with the larks on Tuesday and to the airport where
Dick and I caught the 8.45 back to Mackay. On arrival, a chap we had met at
the yacht club kindly met us and ferried us around to even more suppliers,
before taking us back to the boat, which looked very smart with the freshly
applied anti-fouling and the glossy new polish.
Holiday over. It is now time to load on the repaired sails, thread through
the replacement cable for the gears on the starboard engine, install the
wiring for the forward looking sonar which has arrived with an incorrect
cable. Holes have to be drilled in the boat for the sonar, the engines and
generator have to be serviced and the replacement hatch fitted. During the
last couple of days at sea, the temporary fix didn't hold back all of the
water coming over the sides and pouring from the sky into the port bow
cabin. We had to pay duty on the sonar equipment which wasn't released from
the Customs in Sydney until this had been done, despite the parcel bearing
the legend "Sailing catamaran in transit". It will now be necessary to go
through what should have been an unnecessary procedure, to reclaim the duty
when we leave Australia.

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