Monday, May 5, 2014

Gold Coast, Tipplers Passage and The completion of the voyage.

Saturday - 26/04/2014
Up early and underway by 0540 hours, we headed out of Iluka Harbour and out to the bar crossing and as we neared the bar the fishing boats were entering after a nights fishing. After getting into clear water we hoisted the mainsail to try and catch what little wind was around a little later we were able to set the headsail also. We have 102NMS to the Seaway so we should get there in good time the way we are going. The seas were a little confused at times having swell come from two directions.
(A yacht motored passed us nearing Cape Byron)
(Not long after the yacht passed by I had a strike on the line)
(A nice yellow fin tuna, 650mm and quite a few meals)

We neared the Gold Coast near midnight and crossed the bar at low tide at 0040 hours on 27/04/2014.
Sunday - 27/04/2014
After entering the Seaway at the Gold Coast we headed north and anchored off South Stradbroke Island near Perry's and then got the head down by 0130 hours.
We were up again by 0630 hours due to the usual thing that happens in this mad place high speed boats heading out to fish rocking the you know what out of us. We often say that you only sail to the Gold Coast to pass through it and the Seaway.
(Early morning looking back at Surfers Paradise down the Broadwater)

So whilst at Iluka when we met Trevor and Gaye on 'Biaha' a Lagoon catamaran and I told them about a quiet anchorage near Paradise Point as they left before us and we said we would see them there. So we weighed anchor and headed for that anchorage, well when we got there it was packed, Trevor was the last boat in the line, as we neared him I said someone let the secret out.
We found a whole and dropped anchor and they came over a little later and they said they had let Shelly and Rick off 'Neriki' know that we have arrived and they would probably be here tomorrow, they are good friends of ours, so a dinner was being organised.
(Nice day at the anchorage but busy with these jet skis, love to have open season on some of them)
(Something more sedate) 

After a while we headed ashore to pick up a few things and have coffee. We then had a quiet day and almost a quiet night. We watched a movie and as we were nearly finished the wind kicked in and all of a sudden boats were swinging in all directions, the yacht closest to us swung one way and we swung the other and seeing this we were not happy to stay just in case one of the yachts broke free so in rain and dark we weighed anchor and headed back towards South Stradbroke Island and anchored near Currigee Camp as soon as we were settled we hit the sack and went to sleep.
Monday - 28/04/2014
We got up as usual first light and decided to head back towards Sovereign Island and instead of anchoring near Paradise Point to go north of the islands bridge and anchor there where we had noticed the day before there was only two boats.
This we did and dropped anchor and a little later 'Neriki' joined us and they came over and there was lots of hugs and shaking of hands, we have cruised with these people on a number of occasions and have not seen them for nearly two years.
Later Trevor brought his boat around to the same anchorage. We all had drinks and dinner on 'Neriki'  with each of the ladies preparing a dish and a good night we had.
(Nancy, Shelly and Gaye)
Tuesday - 29/04/2014
We went ashore for a water run to do washing later, I use containers of water for the washing machine as it is easier and faster. Then we went ashore to get a few things from the shop and then we set sail for Tipplers Passage, lovely spot in the week crazy on weekends. There were only two other yachts in the anchorage so plenty of room.
(Here we are anchored at Tipplers Passage a lovely spot in the week, weekends it gets a lit mad)
(Tipplers with great reflections)

We went ashore for a walk and see what has changed, they now have a restaurant/bar next to the store/office that is open weekends and public holidays where you can have breakfast/lunch/dinner which is good for the boating people. Not sure if it will continue through the winter months.
Wednesday - 30/04/2014
We did chores on the boat a few repairs but generally quiet times a little later in the morning 'Neriki' arrived so it was sundowners and dinner on our boat tonight.
It was a good night catching up with Shelly and Rick, they have done heaps of work to their boat and will be cruising north again this year.
Thursday - 01/05/2014
A quiet day going ashore for a walk over the island to the beach on the open sea side of the island, bit of a paddle in the water, still too cold for me to swim but there are also a lot of rips here so I would not chance it if it was warm.
(Roo by the sea)

(The ocean side of South Stradbroke Island )
(Nancy having a paddle)

(Tipplers Passage sunset)

It was dinner on 'Neriki' tonight and to say farewell again as we will be heading for Manly tomorrow, it was a good night and when we finish all the work on the boat we may catch up with them north.
Friday - 02/05/2014
We waited for the rain to ease before weighing anchor I watched the met site radar and as soon as it passed we headed off but we knew more was coming.
It was a motor day again in fact later the wind was going to be strong and right on the nose. We chose to go via Jacob's Well as I know the shallows had been dredged two years ago and being near low tide I did not want to chance Canaipa Passage, there is only a few hundred metres difference in distance between them to our destination.
(Along the way we saw this yacht that looks like it sunk some time ago, it is a fact that more boats sink in marinas and on moorings than at sea due to neglect)

The rain did come causing poor visibility and as Murphy's Law does it happened at the most hazardous area near the narrow passages where we have to negotiate ferries and barges and yes there was one of each.
Once through the shallow passages and into Moreton Bay proper we then had the wind increase to 25 knots on the nose, are they trying to discourage us from finishing this journey. You know I know it is a concern of many people that if they come to grief it is usually when they are close to home, this can be in any form of transport. The trick is don't relax until you get back, always treat the areas as unknown because things do change.
(A little rain to welcome us)
We finally reached Manly and went to the allocated berth at Moreton Bay Trailer Boat Club Marina where Andy and Cath off 'Paws' was there to take our lines and they organised a get together  the club for dinner.
So our circumnavigation of this fine country was completed after 2 years and 6 days and 10,310 nautical miles travelled. I suppose this is an achievement but really many sailors have done it, yes I do feel that I have achieved something of a challenge but I have to take my hat off to the earlier sailors that did it without the aid of GPS, regular weather reports, internet and HF radio that provide these things to us today. The big thing today is knowing how to use the technology that is provided but at the same time to know what to do if it fails or know when it is wrong and electronic charts are not always accurate. We still use paper charts as well as electronic and I recommend that people should do the same because when the chart plotter fails or are wrong you need to know what to do.
I would like also to thank all those that helped and supported us on this great voyage, I have mentioned in past notes the kindness that was shown to us.
I don't like putting names down just in case I miss one and that would be disastrous but I am going to give it a go and if I do miss anyone my humble apologies
Mark and Susan who looked after our mail sending it to us or scanning it and emailing it.
Colleen our official communications officer, Colleen was the contact who kept up to date where we were and what we were up to in case of emergency.
Alison and Rob in Darwin not only helped us get in and out of the lock in the marina but welcomed us into their home and gave us a very special Christmas with their family.
Ted and Desley  also Darwin making us very welcome looking after me whilst Nancy was away, loved that roast duck and the assistance Ted gave with electrics.
Brendan in Broome that not only run us everywhere to get the anchor winch motor fixed but got on the lathe and machined it for us and his lovely friend Jodi that invited us into her home for dinner and  transported us.
Stephen  that allowed us to use his mooring in Broome which was very helpful when our anchor winch was down.
Jim of Fremantle Sailing Club who invited us to his home for dinner with other of his yachtie friends and made us welcome.
Lorraine also in Perth that organised a welcoming for us of the (SICYC) Shaggers and a good afternoon it was.
The Fremantle Sailing Club Marina that made us very welcome and have the most realistic marina fees as like Tasmania. (Here we had first 3 nights free and $35 per night there after)
Gavin and Rae at Bunbury, Rae from marine radio organised Gavin to assist us late at night to do a fuel run and whilst he was at it he gave us a full night guided tour of Bunbury.
Mark of Southern Ocean Sailing School, Albany, who helped us get into the marina did shopping and fuel runs for us and was willing to help where he could.
Ingrid and Geoff of Albany also SICYC, welcomed us into their home and gave us the full guided tour of Albany.
Kevin at Esperance, who just offered up his vehicle for us to go shopping and do fuel runs and he and friend Zero gave us lots of local knowledge of anchorages prior to crossing the Bight.
Max Port Lincoln , offered us a lift to get our gas bottles filled and also gave us a full guided tour of the city.
Carol Kangaroo Island, marine radio operator that looks after all the boats and picked us up took us to their community hall for dinner gave us her vehicle the next day to look around and do fuel and shopping runs.
Leigh, John, Mark and Bert Cape Jaffa, good friend Leigh organised free marina berths for us and left s his car to use whilst we were there. John who owned the marina berths that allowed us to use them free of cost, Mark and Jackie who loaned us their larger vehicle for the entire time we were at Cape Jaffa and Bert and Janet, who from the first day we arrived offered to help in anyway he could and they also welcomed us to their home for dinner.
Ron and Dave Beauty Point Marina, two great blokes, they run the marina voluntary and are willing to help wherever they can and they were very good to us.
Glen, Nigel and families, what can I say about these blokes and their families, they all made us welcome in their homes and had a great Christmas with them, supplied a vehicle for the entire time we were there to go out and see Tassie. Beautiful friends.
Wayne and Anne at Devonport, although friends from way back they run us and other yachties around to get what we needed such as fuel runs.
Jim at Stanley, Jim is a special person, he allowed us to use his fishing boat berths when the seas got serious, you are a gentleman and I say that not because what you did but what you have done in the past and what you have suffered. Cheers Jim.
Frank and June Hobart, also very long time friends but did lots to help us and take us around.
John and Kim Sydney, also good friends but were there for us to do shopping and they took us to lunch and dinner and their home they are special friends to.
Barbara and Jim Port Stephens, the lovely American couple that are also yachties and welcome stray yachties to their home for dinner.
Gary and Janice Iluka, these people made us welcome to their town and looked after us on Anzac Day.
Finally I would like to thank the love of my life Nancy for doing all she does aboard and never complains.
Some that I mentioned are long time friends but I wanted to say thanks to them to. But it is special those that we had never met before and what they did for us which goes to show the Australian Spirit still lives. Thanks to all of you that made our trip very special, and I hope I have not missed a soul.
(Alana Rose now back in Manly she has done us very well over the past seven years)



  1. Hi John
    I have just come across your blog(s), makes fantastic reading!
    I too purchased a boat in the Carribean and sailed across Pacific in 2008. My wife and I now have a Lagoon 420 catamaran and are shortly setting out from the Sunshine Coast to circumnavigate Australia.
    Your blog will be a mine of information for us but we were also wondering whether you have any resources eg paper charts, cruising guides that you wish to sell??
    Would also appreciate your input on any must do's (or don'ts) as we go around.

  2. Thanks for the comments Keith, I do have some electronic info will talk via email.