Milling around Moreton Bay

What do you do when you have the green light from the Doc to go and play (benign biopsy results for Wade), but the weather is recalcitrant and causes disarray with our original plans to sail a little way north? You mill around Moreton Bay, with lots of other boats!

The unseasonal, strong and persistent southeasterlies allow you to easily go north, but they promise to be a challenge to come back south to The Boat Works at the end of January. We have major works planned during our haul-out so can’t afford to be back late! When we look at the long range forecasts, there is no break in the wind direction. So our hope of spending time at Fraser Island and the Southern Reefs for January are thwarted. As you might guess, we feel a bit ho hum. We are not good at hanging around without much to do, feeling trapped and bored. There is only so much reading and watching Netflix we can do!

This week, we have made the most of a fairly ordinary time. First we got away from the Gold Coast on Christmas Day, anchored off the western side of Peel Island, at the southern end of Moreton Bay, something we had not done before, and with calm conditions, sent the drone up for a look. We were there by ourselves, while at Horseshoe Bay dozens of boats floated around the “normal” yet exposed anchorage in a Southeast.

The next stop where we still are was at the Southern End of Moreton Island, to Little and Big Sandhills. It was a rewarding view from the top after a sand blasting as we climbed up the steep dunes. We wish we could have flown the drone, but in 20 knots it is not a good idea! So the Canon camera had to do! Having it is a blessing as it helps focus our attention on the beauty of the seascapes, rather than the overwhelming sense of loss Chris feels at every hard climb we do. Chronic medical conditions have a way of drastically reducing physical capacity. We all experience this to some degree as we get older, but there is more to it than aging for Chris. Our life and health circumstances are constantly changing and we are forced to let go of parts of ourselves we used to take for granted. Finding one bit of magic you carry can be a life saver and minimize the heartbreak. In Chris’s words:

Even when I feel unwell or broken, even when I am angry or depressed I have something to hold onto: photography and sharing the wonder of what is around us, of our unconventional life onboard Anui.

Here is a gallery from Little Sandhill. Click on the first image to view each photo in full screen.

We walked up the Big Sandhill the next day, thinking at 1.5 times the height of Little Sandhill, it would be a tough climb, but it was much easier! Why? Because it rained during the night, making the sand cooler and harder. We did not sink deep and slip down at every step, and we also followed the ridge line up, for a gentler incline.

The views were breathtaking as we climbed up.

Check out the mesmerising patterns in the sand:

We also took the opportunity to clean Anui’s warterline yet again, as the green monsters had come back with a vengeance! Staying at anchor without much sailing for a month does that, but the last time we antifouled was 18 months ago, so we can’t complain too much. The dinghy remains as disgusting as ever. We will deal with it at the Boat Works! A good dose of citric acid is needed to get rid of the green muck.

Waterline scrub

The Sandhills is a comfortable anchorage which allows us to get ashore so we are staying here while the conditions remain strong from the southeast. Although there are many boats during the day, they are mainly day trippers which are gone by mid afternoon leaving us to enjoy the sunset in peace.

Sunset over Brisbane

34 thoughts on “Milling around Moreton Bay

  1. Love all of your posts. Beautifully photographed and documented. Tasmania and Bass Strait remain our favourites where the wind is constantly changing rather than constantly SE! We’ll be heading south again soon. Great pictures of the Big Sandhills in Moreton Bay. I hope all goes well with Boat Works so you can continue your adventures.
    Wishing you good health,
    Chris & Suzanne
    Discovery II

    • We spent a lot of time in Tasmania in our previous two boats and can’t wait to go back there with Anui, hopefully next summer! Enjoy your time south. Thanks for saying hello, much appreciated Chris and Suzanne.

    • Great article. Kooringal at bottom of Moreton Island is my favourite all weather anchorage. Bit tricky getting in on a high tide from the Rous channel but well worthwhile

  2. Wow, so many fantastic photos, guys! The Brisbane sunset is gorgeous as are the sandy photos. Both hulls are certainly ready for a little acid wash. Happy New Year! Be safe. 😎🇦🇺

  3. Great shots of the Sandhills Chris. What a shame the weather is not on your side to go a tad further north. I think we cruisers will remember 2022 as a tricky weather year. I’m sure you will discover some treasures though no matter where you are so hopefully you can enjoy your pre Boatworks time. Glad to hear Wade’s results were ok. A

  4. Hi Chris, I was interested to see some black in the sand. I think that’s a trace of the minerals that led to a lot of sand mining last century. I have a vague recollection of my dad and his uncle Eddy talking about mining on the gold coast taking out the black, reducing size of sand dunes, and making the sand in the water less solid. It’s a vague recollection, so I may not have that all right. Eddy lived on North Burleigh beach. My quick google searches don’t turn up a story of mining on Moreton island, so perhaps it wasn’t mined. All the best to you and Wade.

  5. Love your sand dune photos Chris! Thank you for sharing them. And the SE’ers have been so strong and constant – we’ve only had a couple of days over the past 6 weeks without strong wind. Has certainly made walks along our Shelly Beach interesting with the waves crashing the coastline. And we are totally fascinated by the moving sands and changing coastline around the Caloundra – Northern Bribie Island area too.
    Great news for Wade and sending love and best wishes to you Chris as we work to navigate our way as older adults. I totally understand what you mean about having to accept change from what we used to do. Love your quote. Best wishes for the coming year!

    • Hello Jan, always nice to get your comments. The weather worldwide is out of whack… we might have reached that famed tipping point the scientists have been warning us about! Thank you for your thoughts too on adapting to changes in ourselves. We try to keep doing what we love and stay active, but it is not always as straight forward as we’d like!

  6. Hi Chris, it’s interesting to see the colour of the water compared to your usual photos. I look forward to your blog and photos each week, they are part of my Friday morning routine 😊 Keep focusing on the things you can do, not those you can’t ♥

    • Hi Maree, lovely to get your comment. Yes the water is greeny brown rather than aqua, not very enticing! Where we are there is a lot of sea grass and the sugar scoops get covered with it🙁

  7. Happy New Year! To Chris & Wade. That the new year, 2023 will bring you health, happiness and lot of adventures. Cheers! 🙂

  8. Really only one matter truly does matter ! The negative from the doc – so glad for you ! Can understand your frustration at weather somewhat ‘trapping’ you . . . was thinking . . . my Dad was crazy about meteorology at a time computers were not part of our vocabulary . . . he taught me from the time I was about two . . . How long these days can you really make reasonable presumptions re a weather pattern – seriously enough to change basic beforehand plans . . . on land quite big unheralded differences seem to come about . . . ?

    • Hi Eha,
      It’s really short term – 4 days. When you look at 10 day forecasts it’s all Hokus Pocus… advanced guess work. The models just aren’t that good and with the climate change situation nothing is predictable!

      • OK – that is what I thought ! So long-term decisions are still largely based on experience in the area and almost a ‘feeling-world’ of what seems right . . . bestest . . . . have fun seeing local friends . . . and the photos are just beautiful . . .

  9. Hi Chris and Wade,
    Great photos as usual. I believe Peel Island used to be a leper colony around the turn of the nineteenth century. It is referred to in Eleanor Limprecht’s novel The Coast, which is mostly set at Prince Henry or The Coast Hospital which used to be at Little Bay just south of Sydney. Highly recommended.

    • Hi Meredith, We love how we learn about different islands we stop out through our readers! Thanks for this. The book sounds fascinating. Just about to order it as an ebook!

  10. I agree with the others, the sand photos are lovely. So different, even the colour of the water.. Chris we have to keep going in spite of the struggle. Life is worth it.

  11. Happy new year Chris and Wade! We do empathise with your journey into loss of powers and the inevitable codgerhood that us fogies experience …. (that’s ‘fogies, not ‘frogies’ 😉
    Hey you could always go midweek racing with the Manly yachties! Did that when I was living in Brisvegas about 20 years ago…. good bunch of blokes.
    Your pic of the oyster catchers in perfect formation did bring a smile ….

    • Happy New Year Elgar & Claire! Yes codgerhood is a bit lack lustre, and boredom does not help. Can’t wait for these two months to be behind us!

      The oystercatchers were all facing into strong wind on the dunes… funny!

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