January in Moreton Bay
Well AR made the passage from Mooloolaba through to Moreton Bay the very next day after getting into Mooloolaba. No mucking around this time; a good night’s sleep and off again, this time dropping anchor off Moreton Island at Tangalooma.
Going through the shipping lanes was not as daunting; dodging large ship just off Caloundra is becoming second nature to MrJ and me, especially when we take short cuts across the lanes and a big tanker is looming up in the distance. This tanker certainly sees us and we have seen him. A quick call comes across the airway of the HF radio; it is the Redcliff Coast Guard trying to attract our attention in regard to the said tanker – just in case we were in the way – we were not but you never know what other small boat get up to out here. I report our exact location – lat/long and they are happy. All panic stations for nothing, but it is good to see that someone is on their toes.
MrJ and I drop anchor at Tangalooma for the first night, just south of the old wrecks. It is school holiday time and there are several boats, sail and motor, anchored around the wrecks and along the shoreline plus a load of tourist enjoying the sandy beach and the cool waters. Some people are camped on shore, some are staying in the Resort and some have brought their cars or boats over to Moreton for their holiday fun. No sign of any Cruisers here!
The following morning brought rain clouds and a change in the wind direction, more from the N not NE. It is always fun waking up to a change in the weather when it is time to move on. MrJ and I have to don wet weather gear to pull in the covers and haul up the anchor.....................I’m the one out on the bow hauling up the anchor (but I do have an electric winch) and MrJ drives the boat. We both end up drenched!
Next port of call was Peel Island. MrJ did have ideas of going up the Brisbane River for a looksee at the Australia Day fireworks but we changed his mind after hearing from our friends Andy and Kathy, who were down at Peel for the weekend. MrJ and I have been told stories about staying up the Brisbane River and they were not very good......so Peel it was. That weekend, Australia Day Long Weekend, there would have at least 150 boats anchored in Horseshoe Bay, Peel Is.
Leaving Tangalooma at 0545 AR reached Peel , dropping anchor at 1010 on Friday 23rd Jan, plopped fair smack in the middle of Horseshoe Bay and by late afternoon we were surrounded by all these boats; mostly power boats. What a noise and wash did everyone make, coming in like flies settling onto a dinner plate and as the boats came in to anchor the occupants would leave there mother ships to dinghy, row or paddle to the long white sandy beach with all their families with play-toys abound. Just like Bondi Beach on a good day. Hey MrJ and I were not going to be left out, we too joined the maddening thong onshore, late each afternoon to frolic with our friends and par-take in the evening ‘sundowners” ritual. This was one place that MrJ and I did get to meet other cruisers from the Brisbane area; all waiting out for the right time in the season to migrate north once more. We were to catch up with these new found friend several more times with in the coming months stay around Moreton Bay. At sometime over the weekend the boat congestion became so bad that AR had to be relocated due to some friendly power boat person dropping his anchor not more the a few feet in front, just off AR’s bow..................not leaving us any swinging room................and it would be us that would hit them and them would be most upset..........................so we moved. MrJ and I rolled the covers partially back, hauled in our anchor, motored out to the back of the pack and dropped anchor once more....................out with the big boys................................a couple of large sailing vessels too big to be in any closer and we had a long length of chain on our anchor to be able drop in slightly deeper water. Ha, ha..........leave the rat-bags to the pack!
Monday morning we had had enough........up anchor again, this time leaving Peel Island behind to try and catch a good breeze to sail closer towards Manly Harbour. Not that MrJ and I were due in at Manly till Tuesday..............we both just felt the need to find another anchorage a little quieter before going back into a marina. By 1430 we had AR anchored on the western side of Green Is. The weather was changing bring in strong winds from the S/SE. Green is not a good place in such condition; leaving no protection from any prevail storms with come in from the south. AR is moving again.....................not too far away.....there is another island a couple of to the north, St Helena, and this is where we settle for the night.........tucked in tight behind the islands jetty with four or five other yachts. Bit different to 150 boats! St Helena is a National Park Island; used to be one of the old Leper colonies, not so many years ago. Now the island has been turned into a National Park for all to enjoy.
Tuesday morning MrJ and I turned AR towards Manly Boat Harbour, East Coast Marina and marina life for the next month or so. Not to our liking...................... but it happens!