Christmas in the Great Sandy Straits
Garry’s Anchorage seems to me to be our “home away from home”; even though we carry our home around with us.
Is that liking us to the turtles that I see or is it that I see of us as sea gypsies; the latter, I think?
Garry’s is an estuary that runs between Fraser and Stewart Islands; it keeps a strong current ands tidal flow. All along the waterway there are many places for a boat to put down anchor; it is an extremely popular spot with both tourist and local boats, the anchorages are filled quickly in the busy times.
From you boat you can dingy ashore, onto Fraser Island, to explore the wilds or take you dingy up or down stream to enjoy all the waterway wilderness; maybe putting in a line or two and if you are lucky and pick the right spot at the right time of day you may even catch you supper. This happening has eluded us so far; every time MrJ and I have put in our line we come up with “Puffer Fish”, an ugly green back and yellow/white bellied fish that bloats itself when in distress, which of course is when you hook it on your line.
MrJ and I have taken many walks on shore; at this time of year you do need to lather up and protect your skin from the hoards of mossies and especial for me the sneaky, silent invisible sand flies. Close by the most popular spot to anchor is a sandy beach and back off the beach, in the shade of the trees is a small picnic ground that has been provided by Parks and Wildlife Services. There is a sand bush track that runs along most of the foreshore of Fraser; this is for the Rangers who service the island but it makes for a good track to hike without having to fight your way through the thick bushland. Best time to do these walks is in the early morning, before the heart of the day (even though this is a bad time for bites) and defiantly not during the peak holiday times.
Another favourite pastime of mine is to swim off the back of the boat; the current may be strong but I can usually hang onto a small line attached to the ladder. One day I may even get strong enough to swim with the line. I wish! Ha, ha, ha!
Christmas for MrJ and I is quite time, just the two of us on Alana Rose in a water wonderland. I do have a small silver frosted Christmas tree sitting on the ledge in the salon with two small presents underneath and a heap of Christmas cards from our families and friends. And that is as much decorating as I will be doing; long gone are the days of elaborate decoration back in Meek Street.
MrJ always has the Christmas spirit, he can’t help himself; if he sees someone in trouble he has to help and this is good. If there is someone to say hello to he will and this is good; this is how we get to meet so many interesting people out there.
Christmas Eve, on one of our walks on shore, MrJ and I met a young couple sitting in the shade just off the beach. They were friends off a boat in the anchorage (skipper Ned was left onboard). As it happens, later that day we end up lending my baking tray for their roast duck dinner. Ned’s wife (and for the life of me do you think I can remember her name?) and friend Rolland are German and they are having a traditional Christmas Eve dinner on board. Ned tells us that they will also celebrate the Ozy Christmas the next day and the boaties Christmas on Boxing Day. Good on them!
Garry’ is always a haven for the charted house boats and this is peak time (summer school holiday); we are lucky this time that not too many are out and about over the Christmas days. Out of the twelve boats that I have counted along the waterway, only two or three are house boats. One particular house boat, about three boats around the bend from us, has at least two families on board. There are several adults, loads of kids, a dog or two and behind they are towing two jet skis as well as a dingy.
One day MrJ noticed one of the “dad’s” on shore trying to drag one of the jet skis, it had broken down. Immediately MrJ launches our dingy to offer help and we end up towing the stranded Jet Ski back to their house boat. I was right about all the critters on board!
A day or so later it was the same house board that belonged to the boat hook that made MrJ launch the dingy again to fish the hook out of the water as it went floating by. MrJ can’t help himself and this is good!
We did meet a few other boaties over our Christmas stay; one local couple, Jo and Darryl, who we did have on board for sundowners one afternoon, told us of how they have also travelled the world. Jo worked for a Super Yacht company in the Caribbean and Darryl worked on charter boats when they first met. They have sailed the world and are now making a land base home somewhere out of Gympie for Jo to grow a garden. Lovely couple and I do hope we will meet again out here one day.
Christmas over and it is time to make tracks for the marina in Tin Can Bay; family are wanting to come on board so the marina make a good as place as any to pick and put down as well as to do some provisioning from. I do not think our land-lubber families would like to be transport by dingy on their first visit. (????)
New Year and Visitors 2009
Okay, a bit of catch up is needed here; I’m slack and have not been writing my blog.
Wednesday 31/12/08, New Years Eve AR picked up Cherie and Tarryn from TCB Marina, sailed up the inlet then drifted back and then motored south to Judd Point which is two nautical miles from TCB’s Snapper Crk, for the night. A good possie to watch the town fireworks! At Judd Point the dingy was lowered for a trip ashore and a swim. The tide was out which exposed some of the muddy areas; maybe next time we go ashore at high tide for a better sandy swim. Back on board while the adults relaxed and set a couple of lines, Tarryn spent most of the time jumping off the back steps into the strong current. This was good fun, having to swim hard to catch the back of the boat. The fireworks over and everyone tired out it was early to bed to be ready for another busy day.
Next morning MrJ motored AR back to the marina where MrJ and I hosed her down, had showers and lunch at the cafe, Cod Father Two. The kids drove back to the Sunshine Coast while it was clean AR and do the linen washing for us for the next day we had more visitors arriving. I now know what it is like to be a charter boat!
Sunday 04/01/09, Kerrin and Mark came on board, MrJ started the motors, I through the lines off and we were away. No time for mucking about; we were off and running, sailing up the Straits and through the Flats to anchor just north of Yankee Jacks Crk on Fraser Island. MrJ motor-sailed most of the way, the weather was not good and the rain fell most of the time. Kerrin and Mark were not perturbed; they quite enjoyed just being on the water. Two nights at Yankee Jacks; the first morning provided the best weather. Early sunrise brightened the grey morning and warmed the day till mid afternoon when the grey weather set in again. Nothing that a good old glass or two of red would not fix! WE had all done our bit of swimming, lazing in the sun and trying to fish; line were put out but not even a nibble. Definitely red time!
The boat that ran out of fuel and was trying to get back to Twan was a story in its self. Small cabin cruiser, nine people on board whom five of these were kids, out in Hervey Bay fishing for the day, on their way home are running on empty. It is after dark and we hear the distress call to Coast Guard Sandy Straits. What can one do but try to help; we gave them what unleaded fuel we had and so did another boat, Fortuna. The little boat still did not make it all the way back before running out of fuel completely and then having to wait for the recues boat to be maned and launch. It was midnight by then.
Back at the marina; MrJ and I had three day to get everything shipshape for the next visitation. This time a lot more had to be washed down after all the rain that somehow always seems to find a way in somewhere.
Wednesday 07/01/09, Lindy, Steve and Sam came on board early afternoon with not only themselves but a huge array of luggage in tow. Food and drinks which is always welcome, a large suitcase full of cloths for all three, a box of toys for the boy and a small fold out lounge for the boy (this was not going to fit on the floor anywhere) but it all go stowed inside, sort of. Underway once more; Inskip is the first anchorage for a swim on the sandy white beach. I stay on board, the condition a not so good, very rough and choppy; MrJ takes the dingy ashore. The family have a lovely swim and paddle along the beach while the young people with their kite boards sail past and the friendly birdlife look on. Back on board, a quick was down on the back steps, up comes the anchor and AR head for Bullock Point which is a little further in from Inskip. MrJ decides that this anchorage is too shallow so out AR comes and we make a bee-line for Kauri Crk across on the mainland. There are already several houseboats moored or anchored up but there is still plenty of room for AR and good protection from the SE wind and swells. Before breakfast the next day, AR was heading north to Garry’s. This was a good choice for our little family on board; lots of time spent on shore exploring and swimming. Earlier start the next morning, marina bound by lunchtime and the clean-up can wait till the next day.