It has been nice to move again: gentle sails, catch ups with cruising buddies on Sengo, Anapa and Thor, dodging dugongs and storms and stopping at scenic spots. Even Bengie has been able to get off the boat for a few beach walks.
It is a strange period at the moment, though. Ever since our haulout in December we have really just been killing time… in a holding pattern. It is uncomfortable because it feels a bit pointless and the wet season has made it even harder, not to mention the pandemic. We are about dreams and actions and don’t handle waiting around aimlessly very well. But in the end we do what we can until we can do what we want!
During our slow descent to SE Queensland, we followed a series of channels which run from Moreton Bay along Stradbroke Island all the way back to the Broadwater on the Gold Coast. We had gone through a few times but never stopped and explored. There is a maze of big and small channels in between islands, sandbanks and mangrove. Stradbroke being the second largest sand island in Australia, it should come as no surprise that a few of the channels next to it are silting up, some sandbanks grow and new ones appear! So you need to time your passage along some parts with a rising tide and proceed with caution. But there are interesting views and very protected anchorages.
We stopped at Canaipa, right between Russell Island and North Stradbroke, where in addition to watching the bottom, you also need to watch your mast height as you go under power lines! We stayed there a couple of nights then moved to Slipping Sands, a stretch of golden sands that fall down to the waters edge.
Next stop after a meander through tiny passages was Tiger Mullet. As the name suggests, the fishing is supposed to be good! We did not try, but flew the drone instead while the breeze was light for an aerial view of our surroundings, then hid from thunderstorms. This was a very pleasant anchorage to sit out heavy weather.
The Tiger Mullet Channel is right next to Jumpinpin, a passage between North and South Stradbroke. No we are not stuttering… The word Jumpinpin is of Aboriginal origin. It is derived from the word ‘oumpinin’, the sweetened roots of the wynnum (breadfruit) tree which was feasted on when tribes met in the area.
At least we are in scenic surroundings and have been fortunate to avoid the violent thunderstorms that have been creating havoc around the region. You’d see a very red and menacing mass approaching on the radar and brace for the worst, but somehow it would luckily split and pass on either side of our anchorage instead of slaughtering us! It happened several times and we thank our lucky star!