Friday, July 29, 2011

Dinghy Dreaming...

Some people put their babies to sleep by taking them out for a drive around the block.

Our little first-class passenger prefers the dinghy...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Snorkelling at Lady Musgrave Island

Just a really quick postcard because the internet is dropping out this evening. It would appear that whenever the wind blows us so that our line of sight with Round Hill falls behind the island, we lose our internet/phone connection. Such big troubles in life eh?

Emily and I went snorkelling on this stretch of reef this afternoon, while Dad and Eric kicked back in the dinghy and watched. Ryan was paddling on a floaty noodle nearby. All in all, a very pleasant way to spend the afternoon. I spotted plenty of small, brightly coloured reef fish, some clams, some pretty corals and a turtle...but I'm not sure how well the pics will come out. I haven't downloaded them from the underwater camera yet, and am yawning so big I think it'll have to wait until tomorrow :-).

More pictures from Lady Musgrave Island, The Great Barrier Reef...

Again, my apologies for boring your soxs off with my multitudes of pics from here and there. I'm a visual person, and enjoy fiddling with my pictures while I'm feeding the first-class passenger (and as you can probably tell...I do a lot of feeding of the first-class passenger...he is going to be a big, healthy boy :-). I am much less likely to come up with an interesting spiel...after all, what more can I add to a picture of a large, peaceful, turquoise-blue lagoon in the middle of nowhere? It pretty much speaks for itself in my opinion.

Yesterday we went ashore in the morning...

...and after securing the dinghy so it didn't go drifting off at an inappropriate moment and leave us stranded here {OH...wait a minute, what an EXCELLENT IDEA ;-}, we had a little walkabout! Don't you think those clouds in the shot above make it look like a steam ship just disappeared over the horizon to photo right? is hard to get lost on a 14 hectare coral I don't think we can do a Tom Hanks and hide out here with Wilson for five years...

When we got back aboard Lucey Blue Nick could hardly wait to get back off. He tried to convince Emily to follow his lead, but she'd have none of it. Opting for a less acrobatic entrance off the sugar scoops.

We went back ashore late in the afternoon, after the tour boat had departed (you can visit Lady Musgrave on a day tour out of the town of 1770)...and did a bit of beach-combing and admired the sun set. Unfortunately the camera battery died shortly into this trip (did I just hear a chorus of hoorays????)...but we did manage to catch this cute shot of the kids...

When we got back to the boat we were just deciding on dinner and getting ourselves sorted when Rick (our first visitor to Lucey Blue when we arrived here on Monday morning), came across to deliver us two large pieces of beautifully filleted Spanish Mackerel (freshly caught that morning). We were so excited, not having managed to catch anything ourselves so far, that we could hardly wait to cook it up! Nick crumbed it and fried it in oil...

...and it was DELICIOUS. A beautiful, delicate fish flavour with a lovely flaky texture. None of that mushy, been frozen for who-knows-how-long fish...this was the fish that John West WISHES he had caught...and a biggie by all accounts. Thank you so much Rick, you are the best!

Nick is planning some more technical posts detailing how we have achieved phone/internet connection out here on the Great Barrier Reef, and also how we have been using our iPad as a mobile navigation tool. So if you're into those aspects of trip planning...stay tuned.

I am going to go dip my toe in the lagoon now and see if it feels as warm as it did yesterday :-). Have a good one!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Postcard from Lady Musgrave Island

Swimming in July at 07:30 am...

If we were back home in Canberra right now, the chances you'd find me swimming in anything other than a temperature controlled, indoor swimming pool are zero. No way, no how, not possible, NOT HAPPENING! But at 07:30 this morning the Lady Musgrave Lagoon was still, and the most amazing shade of blue, and the temperature felt AWESOME (and I'd just crawled out of bed at the time of that's saying something!).

I hurriedly donned my swimmers and wetsuit (a 3mm summer suit, so nothing significant in terms of keeping me warm)...

...and dove right in. It wasn't even gasp producing. The water felt delicious!

Emily was keen too, so she quickly came to join me...

We stayed in for about half an hour, doing laps of Lucey Blue and just floating about enjoying the scenery (you could clearly see the coral and fish on the bottom, 6 metres below).

Last night we slept with the hatches in our rooms open wide. The roar of the ocean waves crashing into the coral reef surrounding the lagoon is a very, very pleasant way to fall asleep.

I think I could spend the rest of our holiday right here and not regret it at all. I am sure that there are other awesome places to visit too, but the bar has been set very high!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Exploring Lady Musgrave Lagoon

We never actually made it ashore today. Nick and the kids were absolutely BUSTING to get into the water, so after a bit of outboard maintenance, a visit by a friendly neighbouring yachtie or two, and some lunch...

...they donned their stinger suits and wetsuits and were away (leaving me holding the baby ;-)!

(who else thinks that the dinghy looks like it is actually hovering over the crystal clear water in the shot above?!!!).

I spent a very pleasant afternoon snuggling with Eric and reading my Clive Cussler book.

Apparently the snorkeling here is pretty good...

...and Nick assures me I'll love it, but the water doesn't feel that warm to me, so we'll have to see about that (and someone has to look after Eric afterall :-).

Nick and I are both absolutely cactus. Nighty night.

Live from Lovely Lady Musgrave Lagoon...

I was telling pork pies! We do have phone and internet connection here. It is a bit variable, but we have managed two phone calls without any drop-outs.

We left Bundaberg Port Marina at 11:00 pm last night and motored out of the Burnett River on an incoming tide. It was a bit choppy with an onshore breeze, and unfortunately I lost my dinner shortly into our trip (everyone else was fine...told you I was the one most likely to spew first ;-). I then managed to sleep on a bean-bag in the cockpit for the rest of the night, while Nick motor-sailed us at 6.5 kts towards Lady Musgrave.

After successfully navigating the narrow entry channel we dropped our anchor in the lagoon at 07:30 am. We are eating breakfast now, and this is the view from the cockpit...
NOICE eh?! The water is the most amazing shade of blue. It looks like we are anchored in about 1m of water, when in fact it is about 5.5m deep

We are going to pack up the breaky things now, get dressed and go ashore to explore :-)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Blue lights and Bundy-licious Booty!

 We have been having a lovely time in Bundy, catching up with family, seeing the sights, doing the boat stuff...

The Bundaberg Port Marina is a short drive from town (through some beautiful cane fields), and has had pretty much everything we've needed. We rented a car from the marina for the week, and have buzzed about all over the place in that.

Yesterday we all went in to town to visit the Bundaberg Distillery Company, and do their site tour. My favourite bit was the huge tank of molasses...I think the guide said it held a couple of olympic swimming pools-worth when full. The kids liked checking out the bottling plant, and watching all the bottles buzz around and be filled and capped. I think Eric enjoyed the Bondstores the most...he took one look and then promptly fell fast asleep in the pouch. I guess six million dollars worth of rum will do that to a small boy (and that was just one barrel....!!!!!).

The adults got to test some of the 'goods' on the way out...I zeroed in on their Royal Liqueur which they said was only available on-site....delicious! It is Bundaberg Rum with coffee and chocolate flavours, and being a fan of things like Kahlua and Bailey's, it was very much my thing. I think I may have to stock-up on the way back through here ;-).

The motor boat next to us on the marina has some very nifty blue lights attached to her stern under the waterline. I took the kids over there last night with some bread and we threw it in for the little fish...a whole school of what were probably Butter-Bream quickly came out from underneath the pontoon and began a feeding frenzy on the bread, much to the delight of the kids...

I was able to tell what fish they were by using our newly aquired 'Grant's Guide to Fishes'. We had looked all over the place for this book prior to leaving Canberra, but came up short. Then, lo and behold.....I spied not one, but two copies in Dymocks, Bundaberg (I wasn't even looking for it at the time) we are all kitted up now, and ready to identify fish. Hooray!

We are planning to head out to Lady Musgrave Island tomorrow night, and once there will be out of email/phone range for at least a week, perhaps longer.

'See' you then :-).

Monday, July 18, 2011

Guess where we are...

Last night, after posting here. I jumped into bed...for a very short kip. Nick and I both got up at 11:40 pm, got dressed and sorted and upped anchor at midnight and motored up and out of the Great Sandy Strait and into Hervey Bay. We decided that we'd seen enough of Fraser Island for now, and will probably stop in there again on our way home late this year, or early next year.

It was fun motoring out at midnight. It was a very quiet night on the water (another reason we chose to up anchor with short notice), very little wind and no one else was silly enough to be out and about at that time of night. The moon was great visibility, and we only found one channel marker that was definitely NOT where it was marked as being. All the rest were where they should be, and flashing as they should flash (the various markers have different coloured lights on them (port, starboard, cardinal marks etc) and flash at different intervals, so you can easily tell which one you are looking at (when you compare them to the ones listed in your chart). We even had the current coming out with us, and it turned our 6 kts of boat speed into 8+ kts over the ground (such hoons)!

Out on Hervey Bay it was very peaceful sailing. I stayed up with Nick for a while, fed Eric and then went back to bed until about 6 am as we were approaching Bargara (where we called Nick's parents and made them come out onto their balcony so we could wave hello). We entered the Burnett River at 08:00, and we were all tied up at Bundaberg Port Marina by a little after 08:30. Gotta love a smooth night sail where no one chucks :-).

Today has been a quiet day here, just wandering around working out where everything is. Nick's parents stopped by to say hi then went into town and picked us up some fresh bread, chicken, Bonjela (the first class passenger is having a hard time with his erupting teeth...) and TWO peach blossom cakes. They are a different texture to the one I made with Emma's recipe, but still delicious. If I remember, I will take a pic tomorrow and show you what the store-bought version looks like.

ETA...this is a Peach Blossom cake from Lushus Cakes in Bundaberg...

I have a mountain of washing to do tomorrow (it is truly never ending), and Nick is going to have another try at fixing a leak on the dinghy as the patch he applied in Tin Can Bay is lifting up again :-(. We plan on staying here for about a week. In that time we hope to do the Distillery tour, have a look around at some of the places Nick remembers from when he stayed here as a child, then stock up on food, fuel, gas etc etc etc. I also have a list of random things we need to get for the boat...just bits and pieces we keep finding we need, but don't have on board (like a nail brush, a wooden spoon, another bean bag and some Aeroguard to name a few....). We also have to pick up a few parcels that we had directed to Nick's parents' place...stinger suits and Emily's NSW Distance Education packs for weeks 3 - 6 of term three.

Our next stop after this is Lady Musgrave Island, and I am really looking forward to getting there. I am hoping it will be warm enough to break out the hookah system we got at the Sydney International Boat Show last year. That is going to be LOTS of fun, and hopefully there will be plenty of pretty underwater pics coming this way as a result.

I'll leave you with one more pic taken at North White Cliffs...(there are more, but I am still not in the mood to fight with this I am trying to take it easy, and not fry its little brain)...

... BTW, yes, she did survive this flight. It's not as high up as it looks ;-).

Bye bye for now...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The biggest kid shows them how it's done...

Just a quick post tonight because the Mac is having another spack attack...and I'm completely over it! My MacBook Pro does not seem to like iPhoto and Photoshop to be running together, but unfortunately that is exactly what I need to be running whenever I'm choosing and playing with photos for the blog. Normally I take deep breaths, and imagine a place where computers do not come with attitude, and eventually I get the photos done and posted, but tonight...I'm about to send this thing on a flying start to its very own DEEP SEA voyage, it could hardly make it run much slower!!

This morning we moved from South White Cliffs up to North White Cliffs. It wasn't where we had intended to stop. We had originally thought we'd head to the Kingfisher Resort anchorage, but as we went past North White Cliffs the sand slopes and clean white beach beckoned...along with an anchorage all to was a no brainer.

We spent a large part of the day playing and walking on the beautiful beach. I liked it so much I've made a postcard!

...and the biggest kid, showed the little kids how to go about breaking a limb having fun jumping down sand slopes...

Bed time now...all this holidaying business is making me very sleepy ;-).

Hope you had a lovely weekend.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A somewhat showery stay at South White Cliffs

We got up early this morning to catch the rising tide up the Great Sandy Strait. We left Garrys Anchorage at 7 am, and made it to South White Cliffs at about 9 am.

It was a grey and wet old day up here, so once we had settled in I set about making that Peach Blossom Cake I mentioned a few posts back. Making a cake is a great way to warm up the boat (in addition to the yummy food that you get to eat at the end) I think there will be more boat warming going on in our near future :-). Except for needing to call Emma at one point to confirm an ingredient quantity (thanks for your help Emma), the cake went off without a hitch and was delicious!

After lunch, and a hearty serving of fresh Peach Blossom Cake...Dad and the kids went ashore and proceeded to throw themselves down any small sandy incline they could find (another must-do on Fraser Island...shame the sand dunes on this side are mostly covered in scrub...). It was a trifle terrifying to watch from the boat, so I didn't...

When they got back to the boat I couldn't believe how filthy they were, so I told them they should go find another boat to stay on, as they weren't coming aboard Lucey Blue looking like they did!!

Emily is looking slightly sheepish here because I was laughing pretty hard about how funny she looked (that is sand caked around her raccoon eyes)! She reminded me of something out of the Addams Family!

Dad stripped them down and managed to sponge off a good bit of the dirt, sand and mud they were covered in, before throwing them both in the shower. Their clothes are still in a bucket soaking outside...I am not sure they will ever be clean again.

The sun managed to come out for a few minutes this afternoon, so I asked Nick to take me ashore for a quick explore and to take some happy snaps (I'm not a very capable dinghy driver as yet...I'd probably manage to drive us up on some rocks and snap the shear pin off the outboard).

I'd only just jumped out of the dinghy and taken about 10 shots when the clouds and rain came slipping back we high-tailed it back to Lucey Blue for shelter.

We just had to go play musical anchorages in the dark, because Nick noticed that we were dragging backwards...slowly but surely. The tidal current here is ripping by at 1.5 I guess the AIS anchor watch will definitely be on tonight!

Our stay on the Brisbane River

We ended up staying two and a half, fun-filled weeks in sunny Brisbane, berthed at the Dockside Marina at Kangaroo Point.

It was in an awesome location...just around the river bend from Brisbane City...

...within sight of the Story Bridge, and only a 20 minute ferry ride to the Eagle Street wharf.

We were central to everything, a quick drive to various shopping facilities (including Whitworths) and had a couple of restaurants and corner stores within easy walking distance too.

Another highlight of our stay at the Dockside Marina was the visit of the Bread Fairy. One Staurday morning we woke to find three beautiful loaves of bread had been left on our sugar scoop...

We asked some of the other cruisers, and the marina manager, but we never did find out who the Brisbane River Bread Fairy was...whoever you are, thank you!

The only real downside to being at the Dockside, was the frequent ferry wash produced by the City Cats, that ran well in to the night. You'd be innocently walking about and quickly have to grab on to the nearest handhold as Lucey Blue started lurching all over the place after a Cat went by. Also, whenever I went ashore it'd feel like the ground was lurching about and I think I probably looked quite drunk on several occasions. HOWEVER, it would appear that living with this for two and a half weeks may have been just the ticket to preparing me for an ocean voyage free from puking. So THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to the Brisbane City Cats!

While we were in Brisbane we got a bunch of odd jobs done on Lucey Blue. One day Nick discovered that the VHF antenna atop the mast was dangling at an unlikely up the mast he went, to find it had snapped off, and was hanging on by a thread...

Of course, if Dad got to climb up the mast, the kids had to as well, and I was dumfounded to see Emily clamber ALL the way to the top in a matter of minutes...

 Another job that got completed in Brisbane was the replacement of Lucey Blue's life lines and the attachment points.

They were probably 19 years old, and had fractures in them, so it was past time they got replaced. Nick measured them all up and got them cut to length by David Lambourne. We were very happy with the job he did.

This post is getting ridiculously large I'll finish it here. Part two of our Brisbane River stay will follow shortly.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Soon there will be Gnashing of Teeth!

Guess wot!?

I've cut my first tooth! It really hurts and this morning I asked my mum where the infirmary was, and she calmly told me that this was no 'Love Boat', and that if I wanted an infirmary, I'd best book a trip on the 'Freedom of the Seas' or some other rinky dink cruise liner! Isn''t she rude? Is she allowed to say that to me? I think this is a classic case of the passenger (first-class, no less) is always right!! I want to go to the infirmary….right away. If they don't take me there I am going to make a big fuss, and cry until the cows come home (betcha glad you're not here with us now eh?).

I'm gonna go back to chewing on my fingers now. They don't seem to do much, but at least I can't lose them, and they don't need sterilising every day either.


PS. My mother asked me to tell you that we stayed at Garrys Anchorage today. It was a poopy day, overcast and drizzling.

Dad took the stinkers ashore to have a play this afternoon. He nearly took me too, but I kicked up a fuss about missing my afternoon tea, so he left me with mum.

They appeared to be having fun ashore, finding star fish...

Digging up soldier crabs...

Checking out the Mangroves...

Pretending to be channel markers (as you do, apparently)...

I had a good chuckle when they got stuck in the thick, black, oozy mud though...

We might try and make South White Cliffs tomorrow instead.