Sailing, diving, snorkelling, beachcombing, reading, relaxing, swimming, SUPing, bushwalking, checking out stunning views….we spent the Aussie Day long weekend doing exactly what we signed up for. And we realised something: the dream is real!
All went well with the motors as we cruised out of Scarborough Marina. After replacing a heat exchanger, then refurbishing injectors and injector pumps, it was the exhaust’s turn to cause us issues, but we got it sorted out in time for the Australia Day long (long) weekend, and our first proper trip for months went fantastically. We had a really great sail across to Moreton Island and dropped anchor for the first night at Tangalooma.
We knew it was going to get crazy there for Australia Day (and it did) but we wanted to kick off the weekend with a quick dive on the wrecks. The viz wasn’t the best, but we saw all the usual suspects (trevally, wobbegongs, lion fish, angel fish, bat fish, nudibranchs, moray eels and shrimps) and a big bright orange hermit crab the size of a softball!
Then we pulled up anchor and sailed a few more nautical miles further down the island to the Big Sandhills to meet up with our boat buddies from Moreton Bay Boat Club (MBBC) , and joined them on the beach for a sunset BBQ to celebrate Australia Day.
I hadn’t been to the Big Sandhills before, but it’s a great anchorage, especially when the breeze is from the east. Much more chilled and spacious than Tangalooma. We were immediately surrounded by turtles as we were setting the anchor, and glimpsed dolphins a few times. Apparently the area has a few resident dugongs as well (although I didn’t spot any). We got up early one morning and climbed the big sand-dune that gives the anchorage its name. It’s really soft and pretty steep in places, but well worth the climb for spectacular views.
Another morning we took the dinghies down to Kooringal for beers and burgers at the Gutter Bar. It’s another cool little spot, but it’s a trip you can only do around high tide. The whole area empties out at low tide to create an endless beach, patrolled by armies of soldier crabs (and national park rangers!). And as the tide started to rise again, it was great for stand-up paddling. I paddled for hours stalking rays and crabs in the shallows. On my last morning paddle, I found a little wreck surrounded by really big shovelnose rays and turtles and popped in for a quick snorkel.
Then we finished off the weekend with another light wind sail back to Scarborough. With the breeze behind us, we were able to sail wing-to-wing, which was quite literally “smooth sailing”.
This week Andrew sails the boat up to Mooloolaba to get the rigging replaced (which involves stepping the mast and a bunch of other stuff). So we’ll have brand new rigging when we set off in four weeks’ time…!
*A little shout out to Dan and Isabel from Sir Ronald James, who we bumped into again at Tangalooma, and to Grecher, Midnight Madness, Jupiter, Sentier, G-Spot, Page III, 3 Weeks, Double D, War Canoe and all the crew from MBBC.