Upon leaving steamy and semi-tropical
Bundaberg, we wandered
in leisurely fashion down the coast and through
the Great Sandy Straits to Moreton Bay into
which flows - the Brisbane River.
The Great Sandy Strait lies between the
Queensland mainland and Fraser Island - "the
world's largest sand island," as Ozzie tourist
brochures repeat endlessly.
There are many and varied well protected
places to explore in the Great Sandy area,
not least of all Frazer Island itself.
Dingos are abundant on the island - a kind
of Ozzie relative to feral dogs. It's suggested
to keep one's distance and to NOT feed these
puppies since they have really not been civilized
like the dogs back home.
And it's Australia,
so it's always wise to keep an eye out for
deadly snakes, sharks, and potentially lethal
"stingers" in the water.
A nice area this, with hideaways like Tin
Can Town, and some potentially exciting
places like the Wide Bay Bar entrance to
it - a place where I heard a local production
catamaran pitchpoled when trying to enter
in the dark having dug both its bows into
the bottom on a particularly steep wave!
Here's a nice peaceful anchorage with Naga
tucked away under the pines.
We spent a lot of months up the river
in Brisbane, tied to the pile moorings
just alongside the lovely Brisbane Botanic
Gardens. Rent was very reasonable and we
even had onboard wireless Internet access
after the first couple of weeks. A pleasant
walk across the gardens took us to
the equally reasonably priced QUT (Queensland
University of Technology) gym where we tried
to keep in some kind of condition during
our urban stay.
We fell in love with the
bicycle and pedestrian pathways, and also
with the multitude of parks and their ubiquitous
free barbeques - just push the button! Now
that's a nice way to spend tax dollars!
It's the first place we've
ever been where the homeless could awake
under a bridge in the morning and stroll
over to the free "barbie" and push the button
to make a cup of coffee! Not bad, Oz.
On Naga we woke every day to mornings
that were most often stunningly beautiful,
with bird song from the adjacent Botanic
Gardens and the air redolent with
the garden's blooms. Many mornings we saw
hot air balloons ascending taking people
up for a look at the lovely city and its
meandering Brisbane River.
Check out the colors and the brilliant clear
light in these photos - that's the super
clear air of the Southern Hemisphere! What
have we done to the air in the North. . .
bought a bicycle straightaway in Mooloolaba
before we even got to Brisbane. She came
paddling out to Naga with the bike
somehow draped over her kayak. I was horrified
at first - to have such an awkward big thing
aboard our featherweight boat! But by the
time we got down to Brisbane, buying my own
bike was the first order of business!
Of course, these were real economy expenditures,
about $175 AUD total!
When we left Brisbane, our bicycle adventures
for 6 months had cost us, perhaps, $40 ozzie,
about $30 USD. And the pleasure we had cycling
around together or alone - wonderful.
Chrissi on her bike on the delightful Friendship
Bridge. Looks like some good fresh vegetables
there, so we were probably just returning
from our regular Saturday morning shopping
trip to Davis Park.
Here's just a little piece of the
Saturday morning market in Davis Park. A
couple of refreshing early morning kilometers
along the riverside paths on our bikes,
and we'd be ready for anything at the market!
Australia has the
most remarkable huge black and white
- among many other most amazing fauna!
This pelican used to come to the mooring
for a meal sometimes - something tasty in
that nasty river water by the boats.
I love my May 1st birthday
- its May Day and there's always some kind
of a workers' celebration on my
Brisbane happened to have
a terrific May Day and I found it a great
way to start
off my birthday.
the Maritime Union of Australia contingent,
urging international solidarity of workers
to combat the worldwide havoc caused by global
Good for the Australian Maritime
It was getting pretty chilly
in June and the summer had fled,
so it was time
to leave at last, rather late in
colder and rougher weather.
But it was wonderful to head
down that river
for the wilds of the Queensland
Anchored for the night a
few miles north of the Brisbane River
we had this lovely sundown with the dramatic
Glass House Mountains in the background.
We did a hop from Scarborough
up to convenient Mooloolaba, where it rained
an awful lot of cold rain. Then, when the
weather had "cleared" a
bit, we sailed out and zoomed past the Wide
Bay Bar and the Great Sandy straight, and
past Airly Beach and the Whitsunday Islands
direct to Cairns. It was rough and wild
and rainy and wet for most of the trip. But
we were signed up for the 2006 Sail Indonesia
Rally, and we needed to get to Darwin at
least a week before the start of the Rally
on July 22nd.
One reason we were late was
because of complications installing my new
SUPER Autopilot - an NKE
Gyropilot 2 autopilot,
the same one used by most around the world
racers, both monohulls and multihulls. The
manual - in rather typical French fashion
was awful, replete with contradictions and
vagueness in the installation procedures.
Even worse, the unit came through with a
defective central processor which necessitated
midnight calls to Newport in America and
other complications - like getting the warrantee
replacement item . . . in Cairns! I must
say that, while the installation was a bit
of a nightmare, the NKE pilot proved to be
quite a fantastic improvement on the boat.
This thing seems to steer very well in just
about ANY conditions!
I also took advantage of our
stop in Cairns to mount our new Lopolight super LED tri-color / anchor light on the
masthead. It took some creative mounting
alterations and a few trips up and down the
mast, but it's very efficient and it saves
us loads of juice. (That's
Weaver's boat in the background. Hi Weaver!)
After a busy week in Cairns
which included, along with our usual exploring,
a tricky newly installed sink drain, the
super NKE autopilot - with replaced central
processor! - and the new Lopolight LED masthead
light, we zoomed off: up the remote and sparsely
settled north Queensland coast, and on "over
the top." .
It was a fairly wild downwind
ride for most of the Queensland coast. But
our new NKE pilot loved
the challenge of fast downwind sailing -
and we did too! It was chilly at first,
but a good ride - and every
mile took us further north where we would
find our warmer weather again, closer to
With only a quick stop at Lizard
Island, we shot straight "over
the Gulf of Carpentaria direct to Darwin!
Thank you Eckhardt from s/v
Azimut for taking this lovely shot of Naga
as we zipped past
you in the approaches to Darwin!
After a hectic couple of
weeks preparing to leave Darwin,
we were off again, this time on the
2006 Sail Indonesia Rally!
for our Indonesia Pages