Tin Can Bay (Queensland) to Yamba (NSW)

Ocean Child settled in at Bundaberg Port Marina, our 'entry port' to Australia after our crossing from New Caledonia. A quiet, friendly marina.

Anna (Denmark) arrived on October 6, and Ky (Germany) arrived on October 15.

The city of Bundaberg, about 20 minutes drive away, has a great Sunday market, where we bought fresh fruit and vegetables, and I succumbed to bad habits, and bought three second-hand tools (good German and Swedish steel... very expensive to buy these days... well, that was my excuse). And of course I drank a lot of my favourite soft-drink, Bundaberg ginger beer (non-alcoholic, even though 'proper' ginger beer should contain alcohol).

We set sail on October 16, heading south into Hervey Bay, Unfortunately for us, the humpback whales who frequent Hervey Bay over winter had already largely departed on their journey south. Reports told us that there were a few stragglers about, but we did not see any.

As you can see from these images, the channel between Fraser Island and the mainland is very shallow, with many large sandbanks. This water is known as the Great Sandy Strait, and in its south exit opens onto Wide Bay. Extensive areas of mangroves line the channels... great habitat for young and small fish, and birds. Fraser Island itself is mostly protected by national park status. There are also national parks on the nearby mainland.

 

The water near Tin Can Bay marina was shallow... in fact we got stuck on a sandbank for a couple of hours. We curled up on the saloon 'bed' and watched a Hayao Miyazaki movie while we waited for the tide to lift us off...

 

Below is typical of the landscape around the small towns of Tin Can Bay and Cooloola Cove. Hills formed from ancient sand dunes, shallow tidal waters lined with mud flats and mangroves, and lots of sheltered anchorages for small boats of relatively shallow draft. The mud flats provide habitat for migratory waders, crabs, shell fish, and small schooling fish like mullet and bream.

 

The marina at Tin Can Bay was small and friendly... just the way we like it.

 

We explored the township of TCB, which has a great walking track along the foreshore... That's Anna and me below. Ky's hobby is photography... her photo.

 

There were butterflies...

and parrots...  (all Ky's photos).

and cockatoos...

 

We took our dinghy (Ocean Baby) to Carlo Point, just east of Tin Can Bay. Our timing wasn't so great... on the trip the wind was against us, so, with three people on board (the maximum legal limit) the trip was wet and bouncy. The trip took 75 minutes, but we all agreed it felt like three hours.  We were soaked by the time we got there. Luckily the day was warm and sunny, so we were able to take some of our clothes off and hang them out to dry. 

After such a gruelling experience, of course we needed a rest... This spot was sheltered from the easterly wind.

... in preparation for lunch... sandwiches luckily wrapped in aluminium foil... Notice Anna's Tasmanian "Boags" cap, which I hope is now with her as a reminder of our trip together.

 

After lunch I decided to practise my 'still life' photography with a study of feet...

 

 

Vast areas of mudflats are fringed with mangroves, and beyond, dry eucalypt forest.

 

The mudflats were covered with ray feeding hollows.

One of the rays...

Exactly what were they eating?

By far the most numerous creatures on the mudflats appeared to be soldier crabs (above)...

There were lots of other animals on the flats, like red crabs...

 

And egrets...

 

After leaving Tin Can Bay, we headed out through Wide Bay Bar.

The water was shallow and the seas were VERY bouncy, with Ocean Child's nose diving completely into the water, and at the other end, the propeller coming completely out of the water.  Anna loved it, standing right at the tip of the bow..

This is Anna's picture, above...

 

It took quite some time to get Ocean Child clear of shallow water. Then we headed south.  We had a good wind through the night... and were able to get some sleep as Ocean Child looked after herself... largely... 

Ky is reading "Best Australian Sea Stories" edited by Jim Haynes. At least she would be, if she was awake...

 

The next morning Surfer's Paradise presented a different skyline from the natural areas we were used to...

Which had its own beauty, in a way...  Although our stay was rather noisy.  Overhead there were (during the day) constant tourist helicopter flights, stopping only on one occasion to give an air force jet clear air-space to circle the skyscrapers, at an altitude of about 100m. Certainly the closest I've come to one of these impressive fighters. VERY noisy! 

With Ocean Child at Southport Yacht Club Marina, only an hour's drive from Brisbane, I was able to catch up with friends not seen for many years... Rex and Barbara, Michael and Ginny, Paul and Jeannie, Diana, and Graeme. This was really great. Long-standing friendships are very important to me...

Above, Brisbane Mall, and below, Brisbane Southbank (photos taken with my Samsung phone.. better in these conditions than my expensive Lumix...).

 

And we were not far from Lamington National Park. How many places are there in the whole world as beautiful, natural, and peaceful as the box forests and rain forests of this amazing place? And O'Reilly's Guest House is a little oasis of comfort... one day I will go back here and stay for a week or two (if I can afford it!).

The trees are enormous, towering into the sky. These are the biggest trees I have ever seen.

 

 

 

There are many small waterfalls along the streamlines.

We found a natural swing, about 2 meters off the ground... these vines are amazing.

 

After our trip to Lamington, Anna left Ocean Child to catch a flight to Auckland.

Ky and I left Southport Yacht Club Marina before dawn on October 25, arriving at Yamba Marina about 8am on October 26. Yamba is a pretty and prosperous tourist/fishing town, perched on a rocky hill at the mouth of the Clarence River.

I was amused that Clarence Valley Council classed their own swimming pool as a hazard, along with sharks and large waves...

 

The next day we visited the hospital in nearby Maclean to get advice on Ky's ankle, which was still painful after an earlier accident. On October 28 we visited Ballina and Mullumbimby, both attractive towns. Sugar cane and macadamia nuts are big crops in this area. There is a farmers' market each Friday at Mullumbimby. Mullum (as it's called for short) has quite an 'alternative' feel about it.

There were two large holes in the road decorated as art. I had never seen this before. The story we were told about these holes is that they were decorated by a local resident, who was subsequently changed by police with vandalism under a council regulation intended to deter graffiti. After some publicity in the local paper, the shire (responsible for road maintenance) asked the police to drop the charges.

 

I like these older style houses, with their extensive verandas...

 

One of our reasons to stop in Yamba was to get access to a great diesel mechanic by the name of Ben Thwaites.  As Ky pointed out, not only a brilliant mechanic but VERY good looking!  The marina manager told me she had a mother asking discreet questions about Ben with a view to her daughter's future...  and I thought arranged marriages died out long ago in Australia!  Anyhow, Ben found that a bearing in the gearbox had collapsed...  almost certainly due to incorrect fitting, when I had the gearbox reconditioned in Hobart (February 2016).

Below, Yamba does have wonderful beaches... wide, clean... and surprisingly not crowded.

 

Below, Ky walking on her reflection....  we took great pleasure in exploring beaches and rocky headlands.  Ky is very much a 'water girl'.

Nearby, this Pandanus appeared to be going for a stroll....

 

Below, I was impressed...  how many local governments would spend rate-payers' money on building a bird's nest?   Below, a simple structure on the council coastal reserve, just beside the estuary.

And its occupant... an osprey

 

And here is a fitting last photo for the Yamba collection... 

Ky and I loved reading bedtime stories to eachother. Here Graham Oakley's "The Church Mice and the Moon".  We took great pleasure in Oakley's fine detail... he really has a superb sense of humour.

 

We left Ocean Child in Yamba Marina, leaving by bus for Brisbane on November 4, then Brisbane for Hobart on November 5.  The trip to Hobart was to undertake work on two properties, and then find tenants for them.  I was very disappointed that my plan of spending the summer months in Whangarei was no longer possible.

 

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