We patiently waited the passing of the Last Big Front and saw a neat weather window for the run to the border. Unfortunately, it didn't quite fit with the plans of the crew we'd recruited, but we finally made the decision to head off on an overnight voyage without extra bodies on deck.
And it worked out well....both of us took the night in our stride, with two-hour watches. It was an easy run, with very light winds and while we had the jib out all night, the motor did most of the work. We left Coffs Harbour at around 10.00 am, and kept the speed up until Tweed Heads or thereabouts where we arrived around 0900. Turned off the motor and while we relaxed comfortably in the sun-warmed cockpit, sailed very slowly towards the Gold Coast Seaway at Southport, crossing a very benign bar on the afternoon flood tide.
We'd spotted whales during the day after leaving Coffs, and a couple more off the Gold Coast, so can only imagine how many we'd missed during the night. And I spotted the first Sea Turtle of the trip!
Comfortable, close to civilisation, close to surf, close to the airport, and close to a strong network of friends and relatives.
The day after arrival, we had a great social day, getting reacquainted with old friends, a superb lunch at Casuarina, and a cruise amongst the live music venues and classic cars at Coolangatta's "Coolie Rocks" celebrations. A fantastic "welcome" day on the Gold Coast.
And the week continued enjoyably, with Andrea Brooks kindly loaning her car for the duration. Thanks Andrea!
It was a good week for boat maintenance too, especially when we were rained upon for a couple of days during the week. Fuel filter replacement and a couple of other odd jobs, and it was a busy week all round.
Which was a great opportunity to blow up the new SUP and paddle ashore. I walked from the beach across South Stradbroke Island....a kilometre or so...to the ocean on the Eastern side. Of course, the surf was perfect, and there wasn't even a footprint on the beach. Hmmm.
Anyway, the inland side was a good place to practice standing up on the new board.
We emerged into a breezy Moreton Bay, and after an initial speedy sail, turned into the wind and beat against a nasty chop up to Manly Harbour, where we were amazed at the sheer number of boats in the four marinas that share the space.
A nice dinner out with John and Jo from the cat "Kirra Kirra" and a major breakthrough with the stand-up-paddleboard. I managed to circumnavigate the whole marina without falling off!
From there, it was a really pleasant sail across Moreton Bay to an overnight stop at Scarborough Marina.
We didn't need another Marina night, and "Kirra Kirra", a couple of hours ahead of us, was anchored outside without fuss.
Anyway, again a couple of hours after "Kirra Kirra" we set off, we rounded the southern end of Bribie Island and headed north along the coast towards Mooloolaba. A great run, and before we came around into the ocean, we were sailing alongside a big, shiny 50' Beneteau yacht. We hoisted all of our sails, and, on a beam reach in 15 knots of breeze, I was chuffed to be pulling away from her when we had to turn into the wind and fire up the donk.
Once in the ocean, we had a broad reach most of the way for the day, and had a cracking sail. And the bar crossing into Mooloolaba was easy, so a good day all 'round. The sun was shining, but it was a bit chilly, with a rainy change due the next day, despite the "red sky at night" story.
And then, wearing our foul weather gear, into the dinghy to visit "Kirra Kirra" in a light drizzle.
Which turned into a heavy drizzle, which turned into proper rain, which it did all night. And the next day! So it was tucked below decks out of the rain when I started on this blog, and it rained all day.
But today, it's back to being Queensland. Clear sunny skies, and we're awaiting the arrival of our son and his kids to join us for a few days. We've been missing those little tykes so will have a fun few days ahead of us I think....