Saturday, 23 September 2017

Lake Macquarie 20th - 24th September

Windy, Windy

The wind began to bluster in at 3am as it does, disturbing sleep and causing mayhem. We have lost one of our hatch covers, new last year. It will be out in the Tasman Sea by now if it hasn't found it's way to the bottom of the lake. "Money, Money, Money", by Abba is our theme song at the moment. I have had to put the oil, cordial bottles etc that we keep on the bench away because the boat is heeling so much at anchor that they threaten to deposit themselves on the floor. The forecast says we are getting this blow until middle of the afternoon, six hours away. However, I am glad we are in the Lake as there is no tide to speak of here, so at least we don't have that to contend with.

Lovely Lake Macquarie

Toronto town from Olivia

We motor sailed down from Port Stephens in comfortable sailing conditions and arrived at the Swansea Bar too early, in fact at dead low tide. Advice from Marine Rescue and our friend Roger informed us to wait at least 2 hours after low tide to be sure of enough water to enter safely. We sailed around, out to the ships and back and finally entered at two and a half hours after low tide at 4.30pm. As we crossed the Swansea Bar Peter saw a reading on the depth sounder of .8m briefly. Good thing we waited. This left us just half an hour to get up to the Swansea Bridge for the last opening at 5pm. We made it. Bridge openings always provide interest as we stopped the whole Pacific Hwy at 5pm for us to go into the Lake.

In the fading light we slowly motored up the Swansea Channel, ploughing a furrow in the sand ridges off Pelican Flat. The tide did still look a little low up here. We managed to motor over to Toronto and anchor just south of the yacht club where we are still situated. Peter has made arrangements for us to hire a swing mooring for six months from the 1st October. Apparently it is a big, strong one. It will need to be if this wind is any indication of things to come. The cost is $245 per month, much cheaper than a marina. We have several groups of friends here who will keep an eye on Olivia and Peter will come over once during January to check up on how she is going.

Looking to Olivia at anchor (opposite to the above)

We have caught up with Roger and Carol just before they left for a month on the Murray River with their small motor boat, Zeus, at their house while we did the washing and then later for a meal at the Royal Motor Yacht Club Toronto.

On the way down from Port Stephens Peter noticed that one of the cars that attach the sail to the mast had broken. It is a complicated looking piece of equipment and after a bus trip to Warners Bay to source a new one we found that these parts no longer exist, that a replacement would cost over $500 and that it may not fit!!!  ("Money, Money, Money"!) We bussed back to Olivia with long faces and Peter decided to have another look at the broken part whereupon he discovered that it could probably be fixed by someone who could weld stainless steel. He then emailed Ric and Val for some ideas and they advised that another couple we know here, Geoff and Ellen from Bluglass, have a son who is a welder. We contacted them and they came and took the part assuring us that they thought it was possible to fix. Yay!! We have met up with another couple we know here, Bob and Libby from Synergy. Not counting relatives, I think we know more people here than in Albany. Greg will remember Bob and Libby as they were moored next to him in Cameray for a year or two.

This is how it should look


The broken car
 
Well the wind is still puffing away, hot and blustery. Several motor boats have come to anchor near us since this is the more sheltered side of the bay at present and everyone is hunkered down inside reading books or something. I don't envy the firees today as in this hot, wild, NW wind a fire would be impossible to stop. OMG The wind has all of a sudden changed and is now cool and roaring in from the SE. Can't make this weather out.

Waiting for coffee

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

A Short Stay At Port Stephens 19th September

Goodbye Laurieton and Camden Haven River

Peter set his phone alarm to wake us at 3.30am ready for a 4am start. It was absolutely calm, quiet and dark on the river. Luckily we were hanging towards the Tasmanians anchored on our tail so we could pull up the anchor with no fuss. They too were awake and ready to follow us out of the river for the trip south. We slowly chugged along using the iPad, iSailor charts to show us where to go in the dark. There are several channels that branch off into lakes from the main channel out and these also have lit channel markers. It was tricky to work out which light to aim for and navigate across the numerous sandbanks in the river. At about 2-3kts we made our way slowly down the river to the entrance and out into the Tasman Sea.

Most of the day was spent motor sailing in a light northerly wind. When the wind picked up in the  afternoon we were able to sail for a while with just the headsail. South of Sugarloaf Rocks we spotted movement in the sea. Dolphins zoomed in and joined us for about 20 minutes. There must have been at least 20 of them, leaping, racing and frolicking in Olivia's bow wave. We could hear them clicking and squeaking to each other as they swam. They are much bigger than the ones we had seen further north and like the ones in southern WA love to swim along for a while. Frequently they put their heads on the side to try and see us better. They kept jostling for the prime spot at the bow and were so close that we wondered how they missed being hit as Olivia rose and dipped in the waves. They are obviously smart and quick.

Dolphins on the Bow




Port Stephens

Perfect weather in Shoal Bay

The sun set as we passed the Broughton Islands and changed course slightly to make for the entrance to Port Stephens. By the time we anchored off Jimmy's Beach on the northern side of the bay it was dark. A 10-15kt northerly wind blew throughout the night and as we were tucked in behind the low sand hills we had a magnificently quiet night. No tide against wind antics, no bullets as the wind is squeezed around a mountain. Bliss!!

This morning Peter phoned us from Distant Drums, anchored just around the corner, and wished us a safe journey. They followed us down from Camden Haven and arrived half an hour after us. They live here so are now home. We have promised to keep in touch.

A southerly change began to assert itself so we pulled up the anchor at 8am and motored to Shoal Bay on the southern side of Port Stephens. The courtesy mooring was free so we hitched ourselves on to it and prepared the dinghy for a trip ashore. We had our usual coffee, then walked up Mt Tomaree to take in the amazing view from the top.

Shoal Bay Anchorage

If the weather forecast is right, tomorrow will see us complete the last sea journey of our 2017 sailing season. Lake Macquarie is just 40nm away and we have organised with the Toronto Yacht Club to rent one of their moorings for the summer. I'm looking forward to a couple of weeks in The Lake exploring all those lovely bays and walks. The trouble is it is so nice in there that there is a danger that you never want to leave!


Peter packs Lily away on her perch on the foredeck


Sunday, 17 September 2017

Six Days in Camden Haven River, Laurieton 14th - 17th September

We spent the last day at Iluka doing all the jobs necessary for a long sail to Camden Haven where we intended to spend a few days while waiting for the next weather window to travel further south. The diesel tank was filled at the Boat Shed. It had good access for us to pull alongside between the ferry visits. We did the shopping, laundry and had showers - long ones including washing hair. Later in the afternoon we had Scooter from Scooter Sails in Yamba come over and measure us up for a new headsail. He had been recommended by Ric and Val as good value. He impressed us and we got him to quote on the headsail, genoa 120% and also a new bimini, dodger and lee cloth which we wanted in good quality fabric. The quote for the headsail in Dacron Offshore 8oz was $3190. Great! We'll have one of those. The quote for the rest came in at dodger $1870 and lee cloth $385. The price for the bimini will come later after we get the solar panels installed. Our Olivia will look pretty special in all her new gear next year.

More Whales

Off To Camden Haven and Laurieton

Cute little painted koala sculpture on the waterfront at Laurieton

We were up at 6am to begin our journey to Coffs Harbour at 6.30am. Peter and Sandy from Distant Drums followed us over a calm, but lumpy bar. It feels like a monster is sleeping under there - sometimes he snores softly, at other times he is restless tossing up waves as he turns and at other times he is just plain grumpy, having a tantrum and sending breakers hurling towards the river mouth. Luckily today he was snoring quietly. We sailed all day and passed Coffs Harbour just after sunset. Sandy rang us and she and Pete had decided that they could make Camden Haven by 11am the next day and as that was a good time to cross the bar there, had decided to go on overnight. Another southerly change was predicted for next the afternoon so we decided to go on with them. It was a good call as that afternoon a strong southerly wind whipped through the anchorage here sending bullets of wind down the river. Coffs would have been awful.

North Brother Mountain looms large over Laurieton which is a picturesque little town perched on the lower slopes and along the river. However, Brother messes around with the wind and sends bullets through the anchorage and with the wind against a strong tide causes problems for anchored boats. Olivia spent the afternoon careering across the river, coming to a full stop at the end of her warp and then spun around to sail off in the other direction. The bullets would stop for a brief break, the boats are then caught by the tide, until the next bullet when because the boat is facing the wrong way, the wind catches her and off she goes again dragging the anchor chain across the hull with a dreadful scraping sound. Some of the gusts were 38kts. Luckily as night approached the wind dropped and we had a quiet night.


North Brother and Laurieton on the banks of the Camden Haven River

We have spent the mornings walking along the river and indulging in morning coffee with Sandy and Peter from Distant Drums. They live in Port Stephens, so are nearly home. We can't believe how much we have in common. They are great company along with their little Aussie Terrier, Skipper. This morning we visited the local market which was huge and offered more than the usual amount of local produce - art and crafts, fruit and veges, cakes, jams chutneys etc. We were impressed as a lot of the markets seem to consist mostly of trinkets and beads and cheap rubbish imported from China.


Camden Haven River anchorage and Laurieton from North Brother Mountain


North Brother Walk Trail

Yesterday afternoon a couple of old fellas in a 30' yacht anchored close to us - too close. We didn't say anything thinking they would realise and shift. No way!! I stayed up reading as I thought we would have problems when the tide changed in the river. We were so close. I could touch the pulpit of their boat with the boat hook. We yelled and flashed the torch. No response! Sound asleep! In the end I banged on the pulpit rail with the boat hook. That got him up. I yelled "You're way too close!" He let out a bit more rope which took him a little further away, but we were still worried about the southerly change predicted for later in the night. This time the wind and tide did not conflict so by some good luck we didn't bump in the night.

We thought he would shift today. Peter from Distant Drum had a good talk to him and said that he was way too close and as the anchorage had plenty of room he should shift in the daylight. Peter Scott had a good talk to him and let him know we were worried at how close he is. The 'grey Tasmanian stick insect' is still there, right on our tail, just about within touching distance. He has not even pulled in his anchor warp a little' as Peter suggested. Imbecile! He also is not showing an anchor light so I'm thinking he is new to sailing and hasn't read the rule book yet. How thick skinned can you get? He has been told, but still will not shift. Olivia has been here for six days, her anchor well dug in and we have right of way here. There is a huge area to anchor in which is absolutely the same as here.

Tomorrow we will be up at 3.30am for a 4am start for the sail to Port Stephens. Distant Drums will sail with us and then we will say goodbye to them and make our way to Lake Macquarie after a couple of southerly wind days pass through. The next northerly wind looks like being Thursday.

Olivia. Picture by Peter and Sandy on Distant Drums


We tied Lily nearby. She parked herself under this and got pooped all over!!!


Saturday, 9 September 2017

Fun At Iluka Bay 9th - 10th September

Iluka Nature Reserve Walk

Iluka Nature Reserve

Yesterday Peter and I walked to Iluka Bluff through the Iluka Nature Reserve, a World Heritage Rainforest of 136 hectares. We had noticed the brown tourist signs when we arrived and decided we'd take a look. What a beautiful little patch of forest. This Littoral rainforest ('by the sea') has elements of both subtropical and dry rainforest. The walk was 2.5kms along a well made walk track to a whale watching platform, which is an easy climb up stairs with a lookout across the Coral Sea. In 1964 the NSW Government announced that the Iluka Rainforest and the adjoining beaches be protected from sandmining. This information came from the signs along the track that were in good condition and free from vandal damage.

The walk is a wonderful treat for the ears. The whole way we were serenaded by birdsong, tweets, chirps, warbles and even the sharp call of the whipbird. There are huge trees here and the canopy keeps the track shady and cool and the world seemingly at a distance. On the way we met some pretty little birds which we later discovered were Rufous Fantails. These tiny birds live in the undergrowth and coastal scrub. They flipped down to the track and began a colourful display for us. We could almost touch them. Their tails were fanned out (hence the name), their grey tail feathers tipped with white and their pale burnt orange backs were quite striking. They dropped their wings and hopped along in front chirping as they went. We stopped and watched enthralled. I suppose this was an attempt to scare us away from their territory and eventually we got the message and left the scene. I hope his female was impressed that he'd scared off the two big two legged creatures.

The whole way we could hear the distant background roar of the surf breaking on Iluka Bay Beach and the wind sighing in the canopy overhead. Many of the biggest trees are in various stages of being enveloped by strangler figs and we commented on how many there were. Later we discovered a sign that informed us that one of the characteristics of this forest was the occurrence of strangler figs. There were beautiful ferns, little fishbone ones on the ground and elkhorns and birdnest ferns growing up in the trees.

Dripping ferns


There is a well maintained picnic area at the Bluff which has mown grass, shelters and BBQs. This is probably not a place that you will see advertised in the tourist brochures, but what a delight it is to visit.

A Visit to The Bar With Friends

This morning we decided that a walk to the rock walls at the entrance to see what the bar was doing and then take a stroll along Iluka Beach. Friends on Saracen were still here, they are going north and planned to leave by now. When we got to the beach we understood why they were still here. However, firstly, as we arrived at the dinghy dock Peter and his wife from one of the other yachts were tying up their dinghy. They asked us if we were going to the markets. We hadn't heard about them but decided to tag along. The oval was depressingly empty and a local told us we were a week too late. Oh well!!! Next best option was ours - a walk to the entrance.

It's amazing how similar some of these people's lives and interests are to ours and as we walked we talked about some of the things we had done over the years. On arrival the surf was huge. We thought it was impressive the other day at Yamba - uh! uh! The bar was  breaking right across the front and the surf pounding Iluka Beach. Quite a few people were scattered along the rock walls watching the sea and the surfers (apart from two suicidal ones) were watching from the beach. We stood talking for a while and then Max and Sharon (Saracen)turned up for a look. They were meant to have left yesterday, but are waiting for a better behaving bar. Very sensible!

While we were standing there chatting a huge sett of waves came through and overtopped the wall, (luckily we didn't walk out there - we were going to) and one of those waves crashed onto the beach nearby and rolled right up into the grassy sand hills. You could hear a collective gasp as the spectators realised just how far this wave went. I must say that today is absolutely no wind and warm and sunny. All this bluster from the ocean is just swell. I was beginning to think that it would be a good idea to retire to the Clarence River for ever.


Not Time To Go!

Looking at the weather forecast tells us that there may be a good opportunity to escape on Tuesday, with a good wind to go south for two days. Peter and his wife have the same idea, so we will probably see them again further down the coast.

After realising that a walk along the beach was out of the question we decided to retire to the nearest café for coffee and cake. We spent a couple of hours there solving the problems of the world -  we are all of an age and our ideas very similar. Eventually the lunchtime mob started to turn up and we thought we'd better move on and free up the tables. It sounds like we might meet for dinner at the pub tomorrow night before we all move on to 'bluer' pastures.

Friday, 8 September 2017

South Stradbroke Island to the Clarence River 4th - 8th September

The Motor is Fixed

John from Nautilus Marine Services, Gold Coast City Marina turned up on his jet ski at 9.30am - right on time. That was a good start. He took the parts and said he'd be back at the same time tomorrow. Peter asked him if he could bring back some coolant and insulation tape for the exhaust system as well, which he agreed to do. He was a friendly, helpful sort of bloke. Then we decided to spend the rest of the day on South Stradbroke Island, this time walking south to Couran Point to check out the marina and resort. The resort is huge, but does not appear to have many guests. After a wander around we walked back to Lily, on the beach at Tipplers Resort, along a pleasant walking track.

Paperbarks at Couran Point, South Stradbroke Island

We had just arrived back on Olivia for a late lunch when John rang and informed us that the repairs were completed and he could bring the parts back at 3pm. How's that for service? We were ecstatic! He turned up at 3pm on the jet ski and the repairs looked great. He was happy to come about 7nm to our boat to collect and deliver the parts. He looked a bit wet on the return trip as the wind had strengthened from the north, but when we apologised for not getting the parts to him he said that he had enjoyed going to work on the jet ski for a change. The two jobs - re-plugging the heat exchanger, welding the broken exhaust pipe, along with the coolant and insulation tape and call out fee cost us $460. We were happy and recommend John for any engine repairs. Peter put the engine back together and as the sun set we sat back and enjoyed the prospect of completing our trip to Southport the next day.
A Night at Southport

Southport from the anchorage

We pulled up the anchor and left our 'Mad Mile' spot at 7.15am. Under motor we made our way south to Marine Stadium at Southport. Like a couple of 'obsessive, compulsives' we checked the temperature gauge every few minutes, but all proceeded as normal. Slowly the skyscrapers of the Gold Coast came into view and we finally anchored just outside of Marine Stadium (Bum's Bay) for the night. A long dinghy ride across the bay to the Southport Pier took us close to a huge shopping centre where we restocked ready for the sojourn south to the Clarence River.

Overnight to the Clarence River

 At 98nm the Clarence River is an overnight sail away. At one stage we thought we might stop over at Byron Bay for 6 hours or so as the wind was predicted to be westerly. It wasn't! In the north easterly Byron Bay was not an appealing prospect so we decided to continue on to the Clarence. Of course this had us arriving at the Clarence at the wrong time to cross the bar, so we had to slow down or heave to off Clarence Head for a few hours. We decided to slow down. The 10 -12kt north easterly and the east coast current had us flying down the coast. (How come this happens when we want to go slow!!!) Down came the mainsail - still too fast. Next we rolled in the headsail until there was just a tiny triangle left and we were still going a bit too fast. In the end the wind died and Peter ran the motor at 1300 revs and we putted along slowly for most of the night. The moon was full and visibility amazing. It is recommended that you arrive at the Clarence River 3 hours after low tide to safely cross the bar if you do not have local knowledge. Peter timed it perfectly and we were there at exactly the right time to enter the river.  As we motored in, in calm weather the swell kicked up beside us in an alarming way - not dangerous, but reminding us that you need to get this right.


The mermaid at the fishing boat harbour, Iluka Bay

We have anchored in the Iluka Bay, behind the river training wall, which is a favourite place for itinerants. It is also one of our favourite places. There is a great dinghy dock here, a wonderful caravan park that welcomes stragglers like us to use the laundry and showers ($3 each). For anyone who uses caravan parks the Clarence Head Caravan Park is a friendly, welcoming place to stay.


Yamba Bay
This morning we took Lily across the river to Yamba. There is a pleasant walk along the river and around Clarence Head. We had morning tea in a nice little coffee shop in the main street. There was a great Op Shop there where I found some Tupperware spice containers that I have been watching out for. At .50c each I had my bargain for the day and purchased eight of them.

We need a new head sail as our laminated, asymmetrical headsail in delaminating and is not a good shape. Ric, from Arkaydes recommended us to get a quote from a fellow he knows in Yamba. This morning Peter rang and made an appointment for him to come and measure Olivia up for a new headsail. He is happy to come over here to Iluka Bay to check out what we want and will be here on Monday afternoon. It looks like we will be here until Tuesday anyway because the weather forecast is predicting southerly winds for a few days. We have several options for delivery, including picking it up ourselves next year on the way north or to New Caledonia. He likes the idea of having it ready for us next April as he has plenty of work at the moment.


The Bar - not so good today. Swell's up not much wind.


Liz watching the surf off Clarence Head









 


Saturday, 2 September 2017

Problems On The Broadwater 2nd - 3rd September

A Night At Jacobs Well

We motored down from Cuchiemudlo Island as far as Jacobs Well, which is in the Main Channel on the way to Southport. The channel around Jacobs Well is narrow and shallow so we proceeded in a watchful way, holding our breath as the echo sounder showed .5m under the keel on several occasions. The Jacobs Well Pub had been recommended to us as a place for an evening meal and it was good - good value and tasty food.

I remember being impressed by the place names around here last time we went through. At the moment we are anchored next to Woogoompah Island. (Not by choice, but that is a story for further on in this blog.) We passed Ooncooncoo Bay, Point Talburpin, Tabby Tabby, Cobby Cobby,and Karragarra Islands, even one for young Jess - Lamb Island.

Motor Troubles

Our Anchorage looking east and south to the Gold Coast

We are now anchored on the eastern side of Woogoompah Island, in an area that I think is known as the Broadwater. (Or that could be just around the corner!) The reason we are here, and for several days, is that a core plug dislodged itself from the underside of the heat exchanger and emptied all the coolant into the bilge. Consequently the motor overheated and luckily Peter noticed the temperature guage rising before any harm was done to the motor. We pulled over out of the Main Channel and anchored to find out what the problem was. Imagine the glum faces when Peter had me pouring water into the top of the heat exchanger and the water trickled out of the bottom into the bilge. He found the plug, in one piece and not corroded. Why! Why! Why!

Bugger!!!!

We sat and considered our position. We were safely anchored, although it is a bit like setting up your tent on the pavement beside Stirling Highway. This is a very protected waterway as far as weather goes and whatever direction the wind blows from will not be an issue. Luckily we had just manoeuvred through the shallowest, narrowest and windiest part of the whole channel when this occurred. So here we were, every man and his dog going past, and wondering what to do. Then along came the Jacobs Well VMR boat and Peter hailed them over and had a chat. They recommended phoning someone at Gold Coast City Marina for help. Peter got in touch with a man called John and he is going to come out on Monday to take the part and fix it.

Meanwhile Peter has removed the offending part and at the same time replaced all the hoses and a raw water impeller, as with the heat exchanger off these maintenance jobs became easily accessible and he had the parts. Of course this happened on a Saturday morning so we are stuck here until after Monday. John said, "Well you're in a great place, enjoy it. Go fishing!" And we are. It could be much worse.

The beach at Tipplers Resort

The Passing Parade

This is a very busy part of the waterway. We have huge motor cruisers, some fast and some slow, jet skis by the hundreds, houseboats like blocks of flats and little slow granny type ones. There are runabouts of all sizes and speeds and police and rescue boats. The constant bow waves keep us rocking and rolling. Everything settles down at night and we are left by ourselves to sleep in peace. There are no houses or buildings here only mangroves so when we put the anchor light on at night we are happy that it is not lost amongst background lighting of a town and we stand out like dogs whatsits. No-one has any excuse to run into us. We are just out of the channel and in the centre of a 'measured mile'. I guess in the old days before GPS these were used to check your speed. Now we think the jet skiers use it to check how fast they can go. They roar past in groups of half a dozen or more and we feel like we are at the motor races.


A sailing Lagoon - 'See yah!'

Interesting - Here comes Little Toot

 
Another plus for our position is that it is just around the corner from Tipplers Resort and camp ground. We have been able to take a rather long dinghy ride there to have our morning coffee and cake. There are also long walks on South Stradbroke Island so there is no reason for being bored. We have watched the antics of one speed boat owner who got stuck on a sandbank and tried for an hour or so to get off. Water was going everywhere as he put the motor halfway up and gunned it. Eventually he found the deep water. Dolphins have paid us a visit and all in all we are not too badly off. I hope John is as good as he sounds and gets us fixed and on our way soon.

Waiting for coffee at Tipplers Resort

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Catching Up With Friends & Coochiemudlo Island 28th - 31st August

Catching Up In Mooloolaba

By now we were very comfortable in our area of the Mooloolah River anchorage. No-one was close enough to give me the horrors overnight and we did not swing too far out into the channel or too near the private jetties. We spent the next two days catching up with Ric, Val and Lexie, the cocker spaniel - coffee and cake on the cappuccino strip and drinks on board in the evening. On Monday we had drinks on Arkaydes with Sue and Dave from Duet. They were tied up nearby. We haven't sailed with others this year as we are mainly going against the annual migration up the coast. It was good to relax and socialize.

After doing some research I suggested to Peter that we might try to make Coochiemudlo Island, in the southern part of Moreton Bay, as the winds being forecast were in the southerly sector. Lucas recommended that this was an excellent anchorage for these conditions, but it was a long way - about 60nm. We were up at 4am, had a wake up coffee and then left the river at 5am. We slowly motored out as the vast amount of background lighting from the cityscape makes it difficult to determine where the anchored boats are and sometimes the channel markers get lost until you get close to them. We motored all day. Where was that light northerly we were promised? Negotiating the sandbanks and shipping channels in Moreton Bay kept us alert, both outside and on the chart plotter. At 4pm we anchored on the western side of Coochiemudlo Island and in came the south westerly, but it was still OK here and it soon settled down to a gentle breeze.

Coochiemudlo Island

Lovely Walk - Most of it in the Shade

This is a lovely calm anchorage and with the SE wind we are beautifully protected on this side of the island with 8 other boats. It is quite shallow here and we slowly motored in as far as we thought sensible and anchored in about 4m of water. With a tidal range of 1m we were in a good spot.

Coochiemudlo Island is a delightful place. We took Lily around to the southern side, which has the beach for landing the dinghy, trying not to get too wet with the spray kicked up by the chop from the southerly wind. The first stop was for a coffee at the kiosk and then we spotted an island map and discovered that a walk track or roads circumnavigated the island. The whole walk took us about one and a half hours, but we stopped to read the information signs on the way and diverged through a mangrove track to look out over the anchorage. The island is covered with thick bush and huge trees, mainly gums, sheoaks, melaluecas and pine trees and all the way we were accompanied by birdsong. Coochiemudlo has a large area that is covered with houses and really is just a suburb of Brisbane. The houses are set amongst the trees and do not encroach on the waterfront. In fact from Olivia we cannot see a single building.


Coochiemudlo Island
The first part of our walk took us through the Melaleuca Wetlands. Signs informed us that the Quandamooka People came here up to 20,000 years ago to collect red ochre from the beach cliffs and gather food from its rich resources. There are 200 species of plants and 100 species of birds found here. After the wetlands we walked along the road in front of the houses for a while and then returned to the bush track which weaved amongst the trees next to the mangrove swamps. What a beautiful walk. In some parts the bush is overrun with garden escapees, such as freesias, asparagus fern (not a fern or asparagus) yukkas and others, but it is still a charming walk. Eventually we came to the golf course then took a road back to where we began as we'd already walked along the beach.


Nice Beaches Too

By now we were feeling hungry so stopped at the resort café for lunch. What a gorgeous setting for lunch amongst the orchids, ferns, palms and bromeliads in the cool green gardens. After lunch we thought we'd walk around some of the streets to get a feel for the suburb. I could live here. The huge trees dominate. Amongst them are large suburban houses, little beach cottages, kit houses and Queenslanders. There are almost no cars on the streets and it has a lovely holiday atmosphere. It reminds me a bit of Kalamunda or Dangar Island in the Hawkesbury River. There is a ferry running from Victoria Point to the island which would be a journey of about 5 minutes. This is a lovely place to spend half a day

You can let your imagination run riot here. How would this go in Applecross or Rowes Bay?




Or this?
 

Tomorrow we are moving south down the Main Channel towards the Gold Coast Seaway. We will probably stop at Jacobs Well on the way for a night as the hotel there has a good reputation for pub meals and we feel like treating ourselves.



The Mangroves


Admiring the Scenery. Can't you tell we loved this place?