Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Bowen QLD-Dec 2006 to Feb 2008

20 February 2008
Tamara rings up, Dad my car won't start. Paul rings Chris Rowden who kindly goes over and checks her car our and takes it back to his warehouse. Paul is prepared to spend time on the car when he is over there but Chris is fantastic and does it all before we get there. Tamara rings us up a couple of days later. Thanks Dad my car is back and works fine. Takes Chris we owe you. We fly out on the 25 Feb to Perth. Can nopt wait to see the girls.

19 February 2008-24 February 2008
News!! Danielle and Chris have just told us of news -they are engaged. Chris asked Danielle to marry him when they were in Puket. We now will have something to celebrate in Perth as well as celebrating Tamara's return to university. It will be her first day at university when we fly in. We are biding time waiting to fly out to WA. We are doing a bit of maintenance, treating rust spots, cleaning bilge, etc in and out of rain. Paul fixes and paints the mast boom and we spend quite a bit of time at Zena and Owen's van.

Bowen from Flagstaff Hill-looking over the Bowen Harbour towards Gloucester Island.

17 February 2008
It has been raining almost constantly, it is a nice relief from the heat and humidity. We have been sewing sail covers and finally finished today. Sewing machine packed away we are having a rest day.

Paul emptying the dingy-full of water, if it was hot it would have made a great bath. Paul had been inventive and made up a portable bilge pump so he can empty the dingy faster and with out as much effort. Clever man.

16 February 2008
Still on the poles in Bowen Harbour. We drove to Collinsville and saw the Don River with water in it. Winds are building. Tonight the winds were gusting from 20-30 knots. Calm in the harbour and are glad we are tucked in here. Lee and Sandra (Huon Mist) came over with videos and a pizza-movie night tonight-I am making popcorn.

16 February 2008
Mum and Dad rang they are currently in Bundaberg, it is raining and they have decided not to come up to see us in Bowen-a good move since there are floods in Mackay and this storm is passing. Roads are cut and towns flooded. Shame to miss them but hopefully will catch up when we are in Darwin or the Kimberly's.

15 February 2008
The wind had turned from a Northerly to a SW and there is a monsoon storm passing north from the south. We have taken a berth at the poles while the weather passes and will stay until we return from our journey to Perth. Will be good to see the girls again. Tamara's car is having problems so a lot of Paul's time will be taken up fixing her car-think it is a head gasket. Tamara starts uni on the 25th Feb-very exciting. Danielle and Chris are in Thailand but will be back by the time we get over to Perth.

14 February 2008
We stayed out on anchor until the 14th when weather turned nasty overnight - we tied up at the public jetty overnight. Have been going in to Zena and Owen's home (Mystified) where Paul has been repairing the main boom-it was welded at the engineering firm in Bowen to repair the stress fracture-Paul painted it and put back on to the mast. The rain has delayed the paint drying.

This week has been incredible, there was a nasty storm that went over us and hit Airlie Beach with 47 boats either washed ashore, sunk or damaged. Apparently the winds got as high as 9o knots. Thank good ness we were safe. We hear from Pelikaan and Solan, they were all safe and sound at Grassy Island.

We had a lovely BBQ on the foreshore with Zena and Owen and just as well it was that night because then the rain started.

6 February 2008
Bona Bay
After a lovely time at Bona Bay the wind turned to a north westerly making the anchorage very uncomfortable as we were then on a lee shore. We headed back to Bona Bay and SAILED!!! with the genoa and storm jib up averaging 4-5 knots. The swell was about 1mt so was a bit sloppy but not too bad. We anchored off the Bowen Harbour and dingied in to assist Mystified into their pen as they were having hydraulic steering issues.

29 - 5 February 2008
Bowen to Bona Bay 7.6nm
Short sloppy seas, wind on the nose but headed out wide past Stone Island using genoa but then had to pull it in and motor rest of distance to Bona Bay. Two yachts in the bay, one leaving as we approached. Hot, humid sunny and windy but very protected onced anchored in beautiful Bona Bay. Turtles checking us out as we anchored.

We spent the rest of the time here with Pelikaan, Mystified, Oskat, Meander, Colombo - a very social time. We walked the beach, found a beautiful fresh water stream which had been dammed with rocks and had lovely soaking bath each day-luxury.

Paul put drains on the solar panels which catch the rain-then hoses fill the water tanks with the fresh rainwater. He is very clever and it works well. It does not take long for the tanks to fill up with a good shower of rain.

On the 5th we all climbed aboard Mystified and have a lovely sail to a fresh waterfall and had a swim, then off to Squally Bay to check out another stream. Great day and fab company.

25 January 2008
Sandra's birthday (Huon Mist), had a lovely dinner and evening on board Huon Mist. Filled up with water and washed the decks with fresh water-something we have been unable to do since leaving Melbourne due to the water restrictions.

24 January 2008
That afternoon Paul installed the new Breeze Air wind generator and I assisted.

20 Januray 2008
After a lovely egg and bacon breakfast we drove home wondering if the boat was still afloat after all the rain. Driving home in the rain and water all over the road, the closer we got to Bowen the drier it became. No rain in Bowen so boat was safe and sound.

19 January 2008
We headed in the car to C ape Hillsborough for Graham and Merredith's "Straycat" House warming. We stayed over night-fab night, lots to drink, eat, we had kareoke and dancing amongst teeming/pouring rain.

17 January 2008
Anchored off Bowen, we decided not to stay in the harbour as it is so hot, at least on anchor we would point into the wind and be cooler. Hot and very humid. Dinner aboard Huon Mist with Lee and Sandra-fish-yummm!

16 January
Hot and humid. Sweating profusely. It is also raining intermittently and roads have been washed out around the area. Paul worked hard and removed the old generator and we took it out of the boat ready for pickup.

It was a warranty replacement as the old one had been giving us issues ever since we had it. The last issue was a loose connection which allowed salt water to enter the unit and caused salt to enter into the cooling coils. The unit was replaced under warranty with a new upgraded Mastervolt 3500 unit free of charge-only cost to us was installation and freight charges.

We cannot recommend the service and backup of Mastervolt Australia (Power Protection Systems) more highly-they have been excellent. The product has been well backed up.

When the new one arrived we put it on board and Paul worked hard installing it so we could put the airconditioner on. We headed off the public jetty as Wednesday sailing was this avo and anchored just out off the harbour. Paul inbetween fitting the generator got a lift to Airlie to collect the car. Installation completed at 10.30pm-Airconditioner put on - BLISS-relief from this heat.

15 January 2008
Olden Island to Bona Bay 10.5nm
Bona Bay to Bowen
SAILED!!! Wind 20-25knots average speed 5-6 knots. Pleasant sail, overcast and drizzling rain. Glouster Island covered in cloud. Cannot see the mainland due to rain drizzle. Anchored in bay.

Anchorage becoming rolly due to NW swell. So picked up anchor and headed to Bowen. We motored as the wind had becomed almost non existant. Tied up to public jetty at 5.30pm and stayed overnight. Generator arriving tomorrow from Brisbane.

Had a roast on and nvited Lee and Sandra over for dinner.

14 January 2008
Airlie Beach to Olden Island 13.6nm
After doing markets at Airlie Beach and Mackay. Heavy rain but the wind did pick up overnight making the anchorage rolly and uncomfortable. The normally clear blue water is dirty muddy brown. We set the genoa and headed towards Bowen-wind 18 knots. We are SAILING!!!! no motor. Our speed is 4-5 knots.

Upon leaving Airlie we passed a large 44 gallon drum floating in the water-called water police-no response.

The mainwater tanks were filled in a couple of hours with all the rain. Paul has set up back canvas to fill 2 litre coke bottles which drain straight into water tanks via hoses.

There is a low pressure system off the coast up north which could develop into a cyclone. The new replacement generator should arrive this week in Bowen as well. We have purchased a small 12v fridge to keep our fruit and vegs in-as they spoil very quickly in this heat.

Just before Olden Island the wind dropped off so we pulled the genoa in and turned on the iron sail. Drizzling rain and thunder and lightening. Anchored off the beach at Olden ISland.

11 January 2008
Double Bay (east) to Airlie Beach 10.6nm
Lovely time meeting cruisers on Mistified, Outsider and Mazuria, unfortunately his boat was damaged beyond insurance repair in the Feb. storm in Arlie Beach. Solan came later. Dinner oysters, fish, squid, crab all caught locally. Left late afternoon and anchored off WSC at Airlie Beach. Doing markets tomorrow morning and then Mackay markets on Sunday, staying with Graham and Merredith at Cape Hillsborough overnight.

8 January 2008
Airlie Beach to Double Bay (east) 11nm
After running around and picking up fresh fruit, vegetables and milk we headed back to the boat - we were heading back to Double Bay east as the roll was getting too uncomfortable to endure at Airlie Beach. Pulling anchor we motor sailed passing a large ferry being towed just out of Airlie. Nearing Point Grimston we passed a small cabin cruiser with its motor up and no one on board. Paul called up the water police on channel 16-it had been reported missing as it had broken its mooring from South Mole Island. As it was in danger of going onto the rocks we were asked to tow it out of danger. Paul climbed aboard and drove it around to Woodwark Bay with me following him in Cockatoo II. The water police arrived-Paulo handed the boat over to them and we continued on our way continuing our journey to Double Bay east.

There are 3 boats in the bay, Paul invited them all over for a sundowner (5 extra people on board). We had a lovely evening drinking and eating. Winds are picking up and gusting. Paul tried his hand a catching squid but no luck -too windy. Got a phone call our BBQ plate is ready-asked Solan to pick it up for us as they are coming here tomorrow.

Got to know other yachties better, had a fabulous seafood feast aboard "Mistified". Paul helped them out with thier computers.

7 January 2008
Dropped kids ashore and said goodbye. Sad to see them heading off. We loved having them.
We shouted ourselves breakfast ashore, then drove the car to Proserpine. Purchased 6 mongoes for $3.00 off roadside stall. Hot humid day.

6 January 2008
Bait Reef to Airlie Beach 30nm 7 hours
Kids went for a snorkel. Fed big fish off the backboard. Bacon sandwiches for morning tea. Rangers cam around to check boats and moorings at the reef. Dropped the mooring and headed off to Airlie Beach to drop kids off.

Light winds-Asymetric up and motor ticking over. Lovely motor sail and the sun was very warm. Dad and Sam watched DVD's down stairs whilst Tristan and I were on watch. It was cooler on the deck than inside. We dropped anchor and headed ashore for a drink and Sam and Tristan shouted us a lovely dinner. They leave early tomorrow morning as it is a 10 hour trip back to Gladstone-Boyne Island. Watched their graduation DVD before hitting the sack.

5 January 2008-Paul's birthday
Chalkies Beach to Hardy's Reef 7 hours 35nm
Hardy's Reef to Bait Reef 4nm

No wind. Motored out to reef, arriving at Bait reef all the moorings were taken so went off to Hardy's where we were permitted to anchor.

Sam and Tristan donned the stinger suits and snorkelled at Hardy's Reef.

That afternoon we motor sailed-me on the bow with my polaroids pointing out the bombies-back to Bait Reef for a mooring to pick up overnight. There was one left! Heading in another boat appeared on the horizon and the race was one to get to the mooring first-we got there with a minute to spare. The other boat owner was not happy, but later came aboard for a beer. The anchorage is very rolly and the wind is picking up. We had fish for dinner and watched a DVD. Wind picking up, swell about 1 metre and very sloppy.

4th January 2008
Tongue Bay to Whitehaven Beach to Chalkies Beach

Motored, no wind. Anchored off the beach. Beautiful white sand and clear blue water. Went ashore and walked on the firm white sand. Two seaplanes off the beach. Sam and Tristan put on stinger suits and swam back to the boat.

Pulled anchor and motored across the channel to Chalkies Beach on Haselwood Island. ANother equally beautiful beach, but has a reef close to the beach suitable for snorkelling. There are lots of turtles here as well. Sam and Tristan went for a snrkle (stinger suits as well) and I went in later. Played cards this evening. Planning to go to outer reef tomorrow as weather is looking favourable.

3 January 2008
May's Bay to Tongue Bay 8 nm

Motored-wind on the nose. Picked up mooring. After a cuppa we headed ashore and walked to the lookout over Whitehaven Beach. Later that day we moved further into the bay to get out of the swell. Lots of turtles about in the water.

2 January 2008
Airlie Beach to May's Bay 20nm
Refueled with jerry cans. Picked up mail from Bowen (another drive to Bowen). Solan came with us for a drive.

Sam and Tristan arrived in the afternoon-they had driven up from Gladstone (a ten hour trip). Once they were aboard we pulled anchor and headed off to May's Bay. Drink aboard with Huon Mist before they headed back to Olden Island and then Bowen to start work again. We had a late dinner (roast beef) and hit the sack. Woke up to close hatches as it rained overnight.

Weather looks like it is improving (good for the kids) although there are five lows on the north coast. Planning to head to Whitehaven tomorrow and then maybe to the outer reef.

31 December 2007
Double Bay (east) 10.6nm
Had fve to six days of rain, blowing a gale and humid. Spent time between Huon Mist, Solan and us. We spent a lot of time watching DVD's, reading and crafts.

Waking at 6am, it was hot and the water calm-not a ripple. he sun was just rising over the hills, we pulled anchor and motored to Airlie Beach. Anchored off the Whitsunday Sailing Club at Airlie BEach. Huon Mist went the same time as us. Sandra and Lee borrowed the car to reprovision before heading off to the islands and we babysat Ming while they do the shopping.

We took the car for a drive to Bowen to collect the mail but the Post office was closed. Rang Sam and found out when she was to arrive. We put the shade covers up-they are essential in this heat and reduces the inside heat significantly.

New Years Eve-fireworks tonight. We had Catnap over for drinks and nibbles and they left before the fireworks began. Fireworks were lit from the lagoon and we had prime viewing from the boat.

25 December 2007
Olden Island to Double Bay (east) 6.5nm
Christmas Day.

Headed off early morning as the weather report was predicting SE 20-30 knots, moved to more protected anchorage as we did not want to move after having Christmas drinks and eats.

After setting anchor at Double Bay east we headed over to Huion Mist for Mango Daquiri's, and a beautiful smoked chicked salad, plum pudding and pumpkin pie. It was a hot hot day (no march flies) we started lunch about 11am and got back to the boat at 5pm. It was a lovely relaxing day. Rain and strong wind overnight.

24 December 2007
Olden Island

Storm last night, wind and rain. It turned the yacht to the South and we were in shallow water over the reef. So pulled anchor-me out front dripping wet, and moved to deeper water.

Paul descaled the watermaker and preparing for BBQ ashore tonight. Moving into the inner channel near Solan and Huon Mist as the wind changing direction (expect a southerly). Christmas is aboard Huon Mist tomorrow.

BBQ, lovely with campfire, red wine and a beautiful sunset. Lee played the guitar and ended the evening with us returning on calm water.

23 December 2007
Double Bay (east) to Olden Island 6.5nm

Motored, very little wind and on the nose of course. Paul fising anchor winch and we put the extra chain in front locker (save me dashing down and flaking chain when the locker fills).

March flies are still out in force. It is a beautiful day, calm blue water and warm sun.

Anchored at the south end of the island a fair distance from the bird reservation (bridled tern reserve-anchoring within 200 metres is prohibited during the breeding season). Solan and Huon Mist in the inner channel but it is a bit rolly so have anchored away. Had lunch aboard Huon Mist-beautiful fish cooked in batter. Went ashore with Sandra and Ming for a walk. The tide was going out fast and upon our return we had to drag the dingy out to the deeper water across the mud.

It is very pleasant here, at least five beaches to choose to walk on and lots of flotsam and jetsom. Sandra went back a couple of weeks later and found crocodile tracks on the beach-yikes.

19 December 2007

Double Bay (east) to Airlie Beach 10.6nm
Airlie Beach to Double Bay (east) 10.6nm
Motor sailed. Lynne came with us to do washing and shopping as we were only going for the day. Paul had a doctor's appointment, and we had food shopping to do. Paul trolled and caught a huge black King Fish-yumm. It thrashed and we had blood all over us and the deck. A lovely job to clean up.

Returning we were greeted with a hoarde of march flies. Cooked the fish Paul caught for dinner and checked crab pots-no crabs.

Danielle and Chris-Chris in a wheelchair after taking a tumble on his motorcycle and a few days in hospital.

17 December 2007
Double Bay (east )
Yesterday dingied to beach and checked out hut. Lots of broken coral on the beach and BIG empty oyster shells (could not find the bed of these oysters though). Paul and Craig pulled out and connected the hooker and have scrapped the prop and keel. Say the barnacles are not too bad and was overall impressed with our antifoul and how it is performing. Will do oil change on generator as well. Solan over for dinner tonight and hopefully for a game of cards as well.

15 December 2007
Airlie Beach to Double Bay east - 10.6 nm
Markets this morning-hard to get up after last night. Sandra and Lee satyed on board overnight. Rain clouds on the horizon in the late morning so we packed up and got under cover before a huge downpour occured. Di was also there selling her freshwater pearl jewellery. We dashed out to the boat inbetween showers. The cockpit was open so all the cushion we soaked. After the showers the sun came out and it was instantly hot-it will not take long for the cushions to dry out. Solan also on its was to Double Bay as we met them at airlie Beach markets. Beautiful calm anchorage. March flies not too bad here. Dinner aboard Solan.

14 December 2007
Double Bay east to Airlie Beach-10.6nm
Motor sailed, rain clouds on the horizon. Anchored off Whitsunday Sailing Club. Lee came on board as he has some skin cancer sut out of his back and eyelid. Sandra went shopping and came over in the late afternoon. All wnet to Gerald and Leonie's place, a beautiful Greek villa built on the side of Shute Harbour overlooking the islands, South Molle, Whitsunday Island, Hamilton Island. I was totally blown away by the view. BBQ dinner and treated with outdoor theatre screen entertainment. Got back to the boat at 12 midnight.

Rocky rolly anchorage. Did I say that Ming was also recovering from surgery on hhis ear and eye as well

13 December 2007
Bona Bay to Double Bay east - 17.6nm
This morning while waiting for high tide-went for a walk along the beach. The beach had soft soft sand and it was hard to walk along. Sun hot even at 9am in the morning. Pulled anchor and headed through Gloucester Passage. The tide is on the rise so depth should be okay. Motoring as the wind is on the nose, upon coming round the passage got good wind from 40% so motor sailed with genoa up. Anchored in Double Bay east and were instantly greeted with huge march flies - and they bite! Had a lazy afternoon, Paul cooked brownies and we watched DVD's as it was too hot outside. We are the only ones in the bay.

12 December
Bowen Boat Harbour to Bona Bay
Awoke early and headed off to walk along beach and the lookout with Sandra and Ming. Paul filled up with water and I went in to collect mail and attend an appointment. Upon my return cast off and headed off to Bona Bay on Gloucester Island. Genoa up, but wind turned on to nose so pulled it in. Beautiful calm sunny day-good to be back out on open water. Anchored off Gloucester Island-tall mountains and long sandy beach. So good to be out on anchor again.

Had sundowner with Peter another cruiser and we sat having a drink (and dinner) on the back deck watching the sun set.

11 December-Bowen
During the last couple of weeks have been doing the Airlie Markets-selling Instaclamp and Stray alert. Also set up a stall at the Mackay Markets. Spent the night and had a delicious dinner and a long bath at Col and Di's house. Also socialising with others in harbour.

This evening had a farewell dinner on Huon Mist with Lee and Sandra as we are heading off out of the harbour and will be sailing around the Whitsunday Islands. But aiming to be at Airlie Beach Friday as Lee will be staying over after the doctors and then markets, of course, on Saturday.

10 December 2007

Fraser Christmas Party-Perth/Mandurah WA

Right-Lee, Liz and Hannah and Alex.

Left- Tamara and Danielle

Centre-Chris and Danielle

Bowen 23 November to 30 November 2007
Hot and Humid, and the township is like a big country town, a pub on every corner and wide streets. They still have reverse angle parking. I have not seen that for years.

The town is spread out and the beaches are beautiful. We have bought a car in Airlie Beach, Brian from the North Queensland Sailing Club gave us a lift to Airlie an d we drove the car back. There are salt works and coal works in Bowen, the locals call it salt and pepper. Bowen had Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman here for the filming of the movie "Australia" but that was before we came. There is a huge sign on the town watertank-Bowenwood.

Danielle emailed us Wednesday telling us that her partner Chris had fallen off his motorbike and smashed his left heel, fractured his leg bones and his pelvis. Their trip to Cairns looks like will be cancelled. He is currently in hospital and will be in a wheelchair for six months.

Thursday we drove to Townsville, as we had to drop Coco off. I discovered that I was so very allergic to her on my return from the USA, red eyes, itchy skin, asthma, hayfever. So she had to go. Sandy and the girls were keen on having her so off she flew to WA. She has arrived safe and sound and now resides in the linen cupboard (about the same size as our boat as she is unsure of the wide open spaces). She is exploring a whole new world as she has only ever known the boat, seen a dog once (beautiful Ming) and never seen a cat.

The trip up took us through beautiful country, wide open plains, and high tall green hills. We drove through Ayr which is a huge sugar cane growing area. We saw a field burning off and cane trains with their little cages and locos. They have a good supply of water and it seems to all be underground. Lots of sugar cane and mangoes. This is also a big fruit and veg growing area, tomatoes being a big producer in this area as well. Townsville on the water is a big city, thriving and well developed. It would be lovely to stay a while unfortunately we only had a short period of time here so will have to explore when we sail up.

My birthday-lots of phone calls from Mum and Dad, and the kids and lots of emails. Had prawns and drinks aboard Huon Mist and then dinner ashore at the NQSC. Rained as well overnight.

Saturday-morning at the Airlie Beach markets selling instantclamp and strayalert. Off to the Bowen Markets tomorrow morning.