State of Sunshine

IMG_6161Having at last crossed the border into Queensland it was time to take stock and make new plans.

There was a small matter of foul weather that had to be taken care of first, a few days of less than glorious sun drenched weather whilst anchored up behind Wavebreak Island. This proved fertile ground for voicing our displeasure at the so called ‘Sunshine State’.

IMG_6165Once more rested and ‘looking for trouble’ we motored up the Coomera River to visit the famed Boat Works facility. It seemed like all we heard about on our way up the coast was fellow cruisers heading there to undertake major maintenance or repairs.
Thus piqued, we visited the site for ourselves, booking into their marina and spending quite enjoyably a few days catching up with old friends Scott and Sonja, new friends Alan and Anne plus Innes and Steve whom we met at Port Macquarie.IMG_6181
Although we seemed to be doing a lot of socialising there was still time to catch up on some maintenance issues and a long overdue addition to Freespirit’s sailing equipment. More on this later.
Following on from this excursion we basked in some fine weather whilst exploring the archipelago that lies between the Gold Coast and Morton Bay.
IMG_6179This is a fascinating area that just begs to be explored with its sand blows, beaches, rivulets and channels.
It is common to bottom out your keel here, some doing it more than others 😉 however with the bottom mostly soft mud little damage occurs and an acceptance of travelling in thin water tends to pervade after a short while.
After vicariously experiencing our friends on Sagitaire finding bottom a little too frequently we decided not to travel the Canaipa channel between North Stradbroke and Russell Islands, instead we reached Moreton Bay via the usual main channel.
We anchored up that night in a beautiful location next to Russell Island, accompanied by a glorious sunset to finish up the day.
IMG_6213Whilst still at Boatworks and using their much appreciated free loan car service I researched and bought a nice Ukulele down in Burleigh Heads. A sweet sounding instrument that fit my hands and fulfilled a desire to learn more about its charm and ‘good time’ inducing status.
Thus it proved to be each day as I would drag it out and noodle around on. It’s fun by itself but a riot when you put a few of them together and have a good old fashioned sing along. So as the sunset blazed out across the mirror still water it proved another Uke occasion to bash out a few tunes and have a few laughs under the stars.IMG_6214
Our next stop was Peel Island in Moreton Bay and we took our time travelling the 9.3 nautical miles to get there from our overnight anchorage.
For the first time since arriving in Queensland we dined on fresh caught fish anchored in Horseshoe Bay. Dini’s status again restored to ‘Fish Whisperer’ after catching some fine Silver Bream just on sundown.
We had some family business to attend to over the next few days and so moved from Peel Island to Raby Bay Marina whilst this took place. I don’t wish to bag Raby Bay Marina but I wouldn’t recommend it either. Most glaring fault is its complete lack of laundry facilities…. a must have service for any prospective marina.
The shower and toilet facilities were barely acceptable though still a very long way from the casual berths and we were charged an administration fee on top of the safety deposit for an entry/exit key. The office insisted on full payment and insurance certificate when making a booking and when we didn’t have anything digital to send to them we were subjected to the third degree on our insurance status.
We were covered and completely legit of course, complying with all we were asked for but it left a less than happy feeling in my gut. When so many marinas are easy to deal with…. happy for you to show your insurance details when you arrive, have good facilities and a welcoming attitude, Raby Bay Marina fell down badly. The Marina was close to the restaurant district in Raby Bay but with a complete absence of any boating type gear shops or maintenance facilities I felt that this made it a ‘restaurant’ stop only.IMG_6189
Following this we moved a little further North in the Bay to Manly Marina. En route there we flew Freespirit’s spinnaker for the first time.  This involves using a number of guys, ropes and one very important item… a Spinnaker pole.


To the uninitiated this is just a big stick that hangs off the mast and pushes one corner of the sail outboard. To the habitual sailor this ‘stick’ is what makes the sail work at all. It must be of sufficient length for this to happen and unfortunately the pole that came with Freespirit was way too short. This put the dampener on any attempts I had previously made to fly it and so the sail sat in the locker languishing until now. At Boatworks I bought the bits and pieces needed to make and finally have a new pole longer, lighter and yet easier to handle.
So, whilst out having a fun sail from Raby Bay to Manly, we tried out the new pole and it was magic. Dini had never seen the Spinnaker flown and with the light breezes pulling us gently along under shy Spinnaker and Mainsail the peace, serenity and the miracle that is sailing in ideal conditions unfolded for her. I think this sail will see much more use in the future when we find ourselves in soft conditions and don’t wish to motor…. 🙂
Now safely ensconced in Manly Marina we are once more awaiting suitable weather to head North. Its a great marina with all services needed by the cruising sailor and easy access to Brisbane CBD via the train network which runs every half hour. Highly recommended.
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8 Responses to State of Sunshine

  1. Larry and Norma Blackmore says:

    Magnificent Col. You’re very handy with your camera as well.

  2. David Meikle says:

    Hi Col and Dini

    Congrats on making such an amazing voyage, without mishap and with obvious enjoyment.

    I guess you have heaps to do and see in the Brisbane area, please remember that brother Richie and Penny are reasonably close by if you require land based support! Their emails are included above.

    Life here drags on. Still in the selling stage. We actually refused an offer of 475k about an hour ago; they came straight back with another 20k but we still reckon we can do better. 2 lots of punters visiting later today, another open house tomorrow, … it will all happen soon.

    Our recent trip to Hervey Bay was fun and informative. I fished (just for fun!), played some music with Steve Cullum (who remembers visiting your house in Maryborough on some musical excursion), ate at the boat club, bought fish and chips from Maddigans, …. just like many years ago. The funny little house in Madsen Rd is still there in much the same configuration. Sadly its not for sale! There are at least 5 houses we’d buy and move into tomorrow (and even be able to bank a bit as well!). So keep heading for the Great Sandy Straits; we’ll meet you at the Boat Harbour.

    Folknite! I’m fucked if I know what will happen when I leave. Last one (July), I wasn’t well but gritted my teeth and set off with Bron. About halfway there I decided it was too hard and we came home. The phone to the pub rang out 4 times so I went to bed! Joel reports that the event went OK. This month its Bitty Booker as guest artist and it will be spectacular. It might also be my swan song. I don’t think Simon wants to (or could) take over so it might just fade away. Who knows! You and I together made it work and that’s my main sense of achievement.

    Otherwise, we keep the house neat and tidy, the golf course is finally drying out, the Saturday session rolls on in its inevitable way, Oscar and Bron are travelling OK and we expect to move SOON!

    All the best to you both and we’ll see you before the year is out I promise. A uke from Burleigh Heads! I need to see/play that for a start!


    Sir David and Dame Dr Bronwyn

    • freespirit52 says:

      Hi Dave, stoked to hear from you and to hear the news just in from Richard that you have accepted an offer!!! Fanbloody tastic m8! 💵💵💵 You myst be estatic ☺️
      We are now in Mooloolabah for this week before taking a crack at the Wide Bay Bar probably Saturday. Will call tomirrow if you are about for a catch up.

  3. Rosie & Tony says:

    Hi Col and Dini, what an amazing journey you are both on. We are just back from 3 months in Qld in our caravan. We have ex sailing music friends who live in Wynum, next to Manly, are you still in Manly? would you like me to put you in contact, or have you already moved to northern climes? Thinking of you both and missing the music…so much potential but the timing not right when you were here. Love to you both Rosie xx

    • freespirit52 says:

      Hi Rosie & Tony, great to hear from you. We have moved on and are now in Mooloolabah. Beautiful one day perfect the next 😎. Am mad keen playing my Ukulele atm and would love a catch up jam when we get back. Miss you guys. Having a great time. Cheers

  4. simone says:

    Hi Col and Dini,

    hello from us in Tassie. Manly marina is we bought our Mariah and did our first sailing exercises. Nothing much has changed here Since you’ve gone. We won’t be here anymore when you come back but moving further south towards cygnet. We wish you a pleasant journey And lots more to explore And enjoy. Love from us. Peter And Mone

    • freespirit52 says:

      Hi Peter and Mone,
      Great to hear from you and to hear your news re: moving.
      We will look you up when we get back to Hobart. Dini has your address so we will come over then.
      All the best from us in the Sunshine State.
      Col n Dini

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