Birthday, housesit and prepping the boat March- may 2021

I turned 50 in March. I wanted to do something big as I never had a big party before. But what to do?

Prepping started back at Christmas time. I wanted to go away somewhere but where? Lucky my good friend Tracey in Sydney did all the work and was willing to drive up with her family to celebrate.

I decided on Yamba. Sort of halfway drive for both. But before we got there, what a palaver.

A boat had an electric fire onboard in Bundaberg marina and Chris was the first one to help out. In my haste to get another fire extinguisher over I broke my toe. Lots of rain so Yamba closed as it’s road flooded…..

Anyway, we got there, pool, bar and a big house….

Meals out, fun for kids and a lot of drinking….

We had another housesit to go to in Brisbane on the way back but was cancelled as Brisbane went to a 3 day lockdown but I managed to secure another one for following week.

We looked after Hooper and Dudley. Dudley is super jumpy rescue dog and I couldn’t believe when we were told he’s on Prozac. Every morning we gave him the pill coated in peanut butter. So funny.

Chris was helping Nick with a garage job so the kids and I drove back to Bundaberg.

School, shopping and getting the boat sorted. One of our jobs were to take the anchor chain of the boat and getting it re galvanised , as in re painted.

Jesus, what a job that was. No photos I’m afraid but picture this.

Got a wheel barrow to the boat. Empty chain in it. Then James and I managed to move it to the end of pontoon. Now we had to get it up the ramp, tide was out so it was steep. The advice was, pull the chain up by hand. Ok, we did, then back into wheel barrow, James tipped it over, start again. Now we got a second wheel barrow, half the load. Pulled it to the car, half load in back seat and half load in the boot. Needless to say, we were a spectacle…..but we got the job done!

Lots of washing done, more food shop, sleepovers, school, first Covid jab. I felt shit after that one, dentist, books back to library and finally we were ready.

With high hopes we left the marina to anchor and realised the bloody engine still wasn’t right. The refs not going higher then 1800. Well, it’s better than 1000 so we decided to get on with it and have it fixed further north, at Airlie beach.

A small part of the important stuff!

Our sail to first stop was Lady Musgrave island, the start of the Great Barrier Reef.

Only 5 boats there so we picked up a mooring ball. For 2 days the wind was howling so couldn’t get ashore. Seriously?

Checking the weather I could see there was more trouble coming our way so we decided to go to Keppel island. We like this place. Great to swim, paddle board and wakeboard again. Very rolly anchorage so after 5 days we left for Percy island.

A hard night sail with big waives and 30 knots of wind. We stayed one night and then legged it to Scawfell island as there was a big southerly coming our way and this island was perfect for that. We were the only boat there so picked up a mooring ball again. Nice.

Couple of boats turned up the next day. We snorkel and paddle boarded or the kids did, the water is to cold for me.

Now, what happened next was ridiculous.

So we came ashore the next day, knowing the tide was going out but didn’t check when it was coming back again. Left the dinghy as we were exploring the beautiful clams and reef as the water line went further and further away. When we were all done we thought the tide was returning so hanged around. And hanged around……and hanged around…..

It was now pretty obvious that we were going to be stranded for awhile, no problem but I had roast lamb in the oven and it was done.

We started to look for a way to get to the boat and James and I climbed the rocks to get as close to the water as we could. We had no reefshoes….

Chris had to carry the paddle board up the rocks where then James and I carried it on our head as we carefully stepped our way around clams, reef and sharp things. Got to water and paddled for dear life to the boat. We were now fighting against time as the sun was going down and that means shark time. While James waited on the board I quickly jumped in, turned the oven off, grabbed a dry bag with vhf, mozzie spray, the all important bottle of wine and reef shoes. Back we paddled, James waiting on the board while I quickly got the other two to the board. Now these three had to paddle and get onto the boat while Chris and I walked back to the dinghy to wait for the bloody water to return. That’s were the wine came in.

Talking to the kids on vhf, all good and it was about 7.30 pm before we had enough water to get back. What we didn’t know was that there was a total moon eclipse hence the massive tide…..we realised that later on as the world went black around us😀

The next few days more boats appeared as the southerly was coming in. It rained and it was rolly so we watched movies and cooked.

Soon enough we were on the move to Thomas island for couple of days and the rushed to Airlie beach to get the engine fixed, hopefully.

Beautiful clam.

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