Friday, 2 May 2008

Gold Coast Seaway to Moreton Bay

Despite everyone warning us we would run aground in the Gold Coast seaway, we still opted for the shorter inside passage to Moreton Bay rather than heading out to sea. The first day we thought we would take it easy and only head as far as Tipplers Passage, a well known anchorage at South Stradbroke. I'm so glad we chose to stop here as it was a really gorgeous spot with clear water and sandy beaches. There were wallabies ashore, a path through "Straddie" to the surf beach and plenty to do. Simon was relieved we only had a short passage as he had 5 stitches in the bottom of his foot - urghh! His foot has been bleeding for about 2 months since he tried to pick what he thought was a splinter out, and thanks to Amanda Henley convincing him he finally went to the doctors. It's now on the mend with pathology confirming it's nothing cancerous.

I had spent hours working out our route, calculating the tides for secondary ports along the way and talking with the local marine rescue organisations to try and avoid running aground - the nightmare of walking along the walls like it was the floor at Yamba was still fresh. The hardest part was between Kangaroo Island and Woogoompah Island where the shoals were silting up. We did touch a few times and had to push over a few spots but came through unscathed. We spent the night at Cabbage Tree Point where my Auntie Valerie and my second cousin Ashton came to visit. Simon helped Ashton fish and he caught his first fish - a giant Whiting on his new Bart Simpson rod - Theo was most impressed with dinner!

The following morning, following our strict flight plan, we headed further north, this time aiming for Moreton Bay and again made it through no troubles. Simon tired of my stressing even left me at the helm for hours to try and make me overcome my fear of running aground. Not sure how much calmer I am but it was fun. We popped out in Southern Moreton Bay and were surprised to see how clear the water was. We saw dolphins and turtles swimming past and heard the research boat on the radio following dugong's. We headed to the Southern Bay on Peel Island - Horeshoe Bay.

We visited the historical Leper colony on the island - walking about 5km's with Simon using a stick fashioned into a cane to walk on his sore foot. Yes, I can confirm that is Simon wearing thongs, bushwalking with stitches in his foot in a leper colony with keep out signs! We only noticed the keep out signs on the way back.

Snorkeling, swimming and diving were our daily chores. We convinced James that the diving would be good so he lugged his dive gear over on the ferry with him. We set out with all the gear, a packed lunch and the three of us in a heavily loaded dinghy for a dive adventure. Once around the north end of the island, we started to get a bit confused not having brought the chart or GPS and the waves were too big for our little vessel so we headed back without seeing the coral reef. About 4 hours later, soaking wet and freezing cold, we opted for snorkeling the wreck of the Platypus nearer the boat.

Despite everyone's warnings about how rough Moreton Bay can get, we ended up spending 5 days at Peel Island. We had the wind from every quadrant - even through a strong wind warning from the NE and found the holding good and the water not too rough. While the weather during the day was gorgeous we did have some lightning shows at night.

Thyme out.


theotherbear said...

Wow, looks like the weather improved the second I left you guys. Sounds like a fantastic trip through the Seaway. Glad Simon's foot is nothing serious although of course the leprosy thing leaves me with a few ideas for jokes that I will leave right alone...

Megs said...

Oh my god. How idyllic. One can only dream....