Diary for September and October

Wed 21 Oct 2009 12:10
Diary for September and October.
We eventually left the beautiful anchorages on the east coast of Santo where we had enjoyed a visit to watch The Great Fatty's incredible circus (all acrobatics) at Turtle Bay,a dinghy trip through the rain forest to a blue lagoon and free internet in what must be one of the most beautiful anchorages in these parts,Sarunda Bay. A large house in the bay made its wifi available to visiting yachties---we are usually charged a fortune for wifi access when available.Swimming here was excellent with a dugong for company if you were lucky.Many evenings spent here with Spirit of Ecstasy and Camille---getting good exposure to Mexican Dominoes.  Checkout the outside loo below.
The 1000 odd miles to Bundaburg started on 17th September and  with a lively 25-30 knot beam wind we were soon padding to and from the masts as reef after reef was pulled in---how we envy those folk with furlers sometimes! This carried on for several days until we were past both the Huon and Chesterfield reefs after which every thing quietened down and we could see over the top of the waves again. An enormous dust storm greeted us off Oz,but our route to Bundaburg miraculously missed the top of it by 20 miles. An American 30 miles to the south heading for Brisbane reported to "rag of the air",our hf net, 35 knots of red dust as he closed the coast where as we had the gale for the last 4 hours but good viz.
They really have some crap weather here but it is nice and warm and these windy fronts are unusual we are told.
This was our first 1000+ trip 2 up as we normally have a 3rd person on board to share the  watches. The most hairy part of the sail was entering the customs  marina berth down wind in 40knots, very pleased to see 6 folk ready to grab us as we came in.We were soon cleared and able to have our first drink for a week and catch up with sailing friends who were here already.
Being small town people we loved Bundaburg with its stores,cafes ,bookshops and old buildings. The area is amazingly fertile and intensively farmed. We enjoyed 3 weeks here with visits to the "farmers markets" ,Woolworths and Coles supermarkets and various suppliers for things like alternators,new battens and the other things that yachts seem to eat up when used continuously.   Our rubber dinghy is getting past it and we have bought a large AB hyperlon rib(much smaller when deflated thank goodness)
We sailed the 50 miles run down to the channel between Frazer Island and the mainland in a brisk north wind and shot into the Mary River and then Susan Creek to get a good anchorage from the forecast blow about to bless us with yet more wind.Wiser folk who knew the area carried onto Gary's anchorage another few hours along the very shallow straight and well shelterd. We could have been in Holland!!The first night had us sitting on our flat keel for an hour or so at low water but the second was less accommodating and a huge gust at 0130 blew us over 30deg and there we stayed until we floated off an hour or so later.We then threaded our way down to Tin Can Bay at the end of the straights and  on to Australia's answer to Port Grimaud, Mooloolaba. We like it here,seafood stalls everywhere,hundreds of holiday makers on the beaches yards from the marina,all the conveniences of  a consumer society and wall to wall(now) sunshine.
We are very impressed with the joggers hurrying up and down the cliff top walks( they even have little exercise areas with benches etc for further gymnastics) also a very keen band of outrigger paddlers (1 to 8 man canoes) shoot by our berth in the cool periods of morning and evening.These fit people are the exceptions of course and pedestrians in this vast place are like hens teeth.   Next stop is Scarborough to check haul out options and then onto Brisbane city centre for a bit of culture,pick up Chris and catch up with some friends.Flying to london 6th December.