Posted by yachtcamomile
We were weather watching once again and, this time, I wanted something like perfect sailing conditions to restore our confidence on this first passage since our force 10 trashing. I was confident in Camomile as she is a tough old bird and all her hardware, with the exception of the dinghy and outboard had been brought back up to scratch. It was the human-ware which needed to get back in the saddle to repair the psychological dents and scratches.
Monday the 4th March brought the kind of windy conditions we would have normally contemplated at a push but it was not right for this occasion. Tuesday was less windy but the swell was still large and so it was Wednesday before we finally bade the nice folks at Coffs g’day, thanked them for all their support, especially Graham for the loan of his car, and headed north on the 166 mile passage to Southport. Sue was so so brave and pretended not to be apprehensive but after a few hours of rolling around and being pressed back by the adverse current her butterflies got the better of her when both breakfast and lunch made reappearance on the lee deck. (sick with fear more like. S)
Motoring at first with the single reefed main up for stability the southerly wind eventually struck up and after one false start we were able to twizzle the two genoas, finally starting to make some headway against the current which must have been running at more than two knots plus. We passed Byron Bay, the most easterly cape in Australia, and pressed on back into Queensland.
I was apprehensive on the approach to the Goldcoast Seaway as it is not far from a place called Surfers Paradise and, like most entrances hereabouts, is shallow. This might make it a paradise for surfers but it can also make it Yottie Hell in onshore conditions.
All was well though and we dropped our hook in the quiet, shallow Broadwater protected from the sea by its massive sand bank.
The following morning it was back to business and we headed up the Coomera River to the City Marina where several of the local dinghy suppliers were based. I was particularly interested in a Sirocco ex display model which was heavily discounted as it had some marks on it. Perfect! Arriving at the showroom though I was devastated to be told it had just been sold. We spent the rest of the morning looking around other suppliers but it was really starting to seem that the new tender was going to cost well above the insurance cover.
Returning down the river to the anchorage at Broadwater we admired the multimillion houses lining one side of the river which came in all possible styles and sizes with swimming pools, moorings at the bottom of the garden and, a little strangely we thought, meshing around the balconies which we assumed was to keep the sun from the fair skin of the Aussie elite who occupied these palaces.
Sitting back at the anchorage on Saturday afternoon and back on the internet I was surprised to see the dinghy I liked had been re-listed and thinking this was a mistake phoned up to ask “is it sold or not?”. I was elated to hear that the sale of earlier that day had fallen through so arranged to meet at the shop the following morning. We hauled up the anchor straight away and hotfooted it back up the river arriving at the marina just before dark.
As I was securing to a mooring buoy though I suddenly noticed that I was surrounded by a fine buzzing noise. I looked straight up in case I was under a power line (not good when you have a mast) but there was no sign. I peered out into the gathering gloom and saw that I was surrounded by the biggest mosquitoes I have ever seen. Suddenly the mesh around all the houses balconies made sense and we went into MosCon 5 locking down the boat and setting out on an extermination spree down below where some intruders had already penetrated. They were the size of sparrows, fair dinkum!
The following morning we put Camomile alongside and went off to find her new tender.
Shaun was quick and efficient so within an hour we were back with a shiny new inflatable which was duly introduced to Camomile and they were both told to “play nicely” Guess who?
And guess who had to have the first go in him too!
So with the dinghy davited, again we motored back down the river to the anchorage. We could now get ashore and it was great to be mobile again as we rowed to the beach that evening. We walked across the sandy spit by the Broadwater to walk along the beach where the surf pounded the shallow approaches.
Rowing is all right but it is overrated when you need to travel a proper distance so it was anchor up the next day and into Runaway Bay marina where we could unload the bikes and cycle to the outboard suppliers. After cycling more miles around Labrador than our bottoms are used to and some thorough interrogation of the local suppliers we became the proud owners of another outboard motor which was duly delivered to Runaway Bay Marina the following morning.
My turn to play wahoo! The boys are really going to enjoy having a go with this one too.
Camomile was finally complete again so we were all set to make our way up to Brisbane where we were planning a family reunion with my sister Kate and family and our Aussie cousins.