This last week has been a wild one: the East Coast of Australia copped seven days of record breaking and unrelenting downpours with a confluence of weather events. Devastation is widespread. We are so grateful our beautiful Anui is comfortable, our windows and hatches did not leak, we had everything we needed on board and we were enveloped in this protective cocoon. We were boat bound, but safe. It was a good excuse to watch way too many videos!
We witnessed boats washing up on sandbanks, small yachts sinking, houseboats wrecked, dinghies going under after filling up with rainwater and that is just in the Broadwater! Here is an example:
Meanwhile inland, fast flowing swollen rivers broke their banks, huge expanses of land are flooded, dangerous debris float by, roads are cut off, bridges destroyed, thousands of houses are inundated … We have close friends whose home is now an island in the middle of an inland sea. The clean up when the waters subside will be enormous. What utter devastation!
Between droughts, disastrous bushfires, catastrophic floods and a pandemic it has been a hellish two years. We can unfortunately expect more of these calamities in the future and can only hope this realisation might at least force our government and the world at large to take strategic action against climate change!
The Broadwater shuffle
This is where we were for a few days, just north of the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre. We are now back at Wave Break Island.
Anchoring around Southport, Runaway Bay and Paradise Point can get tricky. These are regulated waters which means you cannot stay anchored in the same location for more than 7 days or you risk being fined and unable to return for two months! Some areas even limit anchoring for more than 24 hours. These regulations are designed to stop derelict boats from squatting in the one spot for weeks on end, creating a nuisance when they drag anchor in heavy weather and are unattended. And there has been a lot of this in the volatile weather. But it catches live-aboards who look after their boat. We have however found a few really calm anchorages, away from boat traffic, noise, big wakes and other unpleasantness and with good dinghy access to shore facilities.
So each week, we do the Broadwater Shuffle: we move at least one nautical mile away and re-anchor at one of our favourite spots. Some days are better than others to make a move; unfortunately we had to shift anchorage during the deluge. You know it is bad when you need to done the full wet weather gear and use the underwater camera to take the shot!
Still training for freediving
On the less rainy days we still got wet, spending time at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre for freediving training. Nothing comes easy with this sport. The training is mainly for Chris. Wade has had no trouble with equalization and has no desire to do more static breath-holding. ‘I don’t do unpleasantness, it’s no fun’ he declares! It’s okay for him, he has done his 2.5 minutes breath-hold, but Chris has been trying to get to the two minutes target consistently. The trick is to extend the time before contractions start – the comfort zone, as well as afterwards – the unpleasant zone! PB 2’20, but not yet reliably… so we keep going back for more punishment! At least swimming pool lengths underwater and duck dives are down pat.
The other challenge, as if the static breath hold was not enough discomfort, is that one ear is blocked and equalizing is difficult at even 5 meters, so 20m is out of reach. Just as well the weather is foul and the last course session deferred! Let’s hope the congestion clears so we can finish the course and be out of here!
And now we can’t go in the water at all, as Chris had two biopsies done on her face, so that is the end of the pool visits and public appearances for the rest of the week. Fingers crossed nothing nasty is found or we will be on the Gold Coast for longer.
Stay safe, stay positive.