After a great stay at 1770 in May we turned north and motored our way to Great Keppel Island and immediately got into the swing of island life!
We dagged about at Great Keppel for a week before heading to North Keppel Island.
What a gorgeous spot. We snorkelled, fished, walked, socialised and just relaxed.
After 3 weeks in the Keppels we turned north and slowly made our way to the Whitsundays.
We stopped at Port Clinton, Supply Bay, Curlew Island, Scawfell Island, Brampton Island and Goldsmith Island. We arrived at Airlie Beach on Thursday 1st of July. We spent the weekend doing laundry, provisioning, buying goodies for Freya and socialising again! Today is Monday and we are at Cid Harbour on Whitsunday Island preparing to collect our son from Hamilton Island Airport tomorrow. We will probably spend the next week underwater!
Hi Guys, as you know last year was an absolute write off for a lot of us. So this post will be quite lenghty! We didn’t get out of NSW all year, we ended up spending nine months in the Clarence River including Christmas and New Year.
Liz got a casual job in the Ilkua Bakery, she learn’t to paddleboard and took up watercolour painting. Tim did all sorts of jobs on Freya and we tried to keep fit by riding our bikes, walking, swimming and paddleboarding. We are still overweight but happy!
At the end of February 2021 we finally left the Clarence and set sail for the Gold Coast. We booked Freya into a marina, and promptly booked tickets to Tasmania. We spent a week organising boat work then headed to Brisbane for our flight home. Liz managed to have her birthday with her twin, we spent time with our parents and families and finally got to hug our kids. It was lovely but over all too soon and we flew back to Brisbane ready to get stuck into some work.
Freya got a new windlass and anchor chain, her mattresses renewed and new stern cleats among a mountain of other stuff. After being in the marina for a month we were finally free to start cruising at last.
April saw us motoring up through the Broadwater where we spent a wet and windy Easter anchored up some mosquito infested creek. We met up with friends and family while exploring Morton Bay with visits to Peel Island, Morton Island, Raby Bay, Redcliffe, Clontarf and the Brisbane River (hire a scooter, brilliant fun!). All too soon it was time to move on so we got Freya ready for a big sail and turned left again.
We arrived at Double Island Point just after dark and anchored out for the night. The next morning we moved into the lagoon ready for the peace and quiet of a National Park which is only accessible by boat or 4×4. Bloody hell, we didn’t realise Qld has a public holiday for Anzac Day and the place was packed. 4x4s as far as the eye could see, jetskis, boats and people. Beautiful place though. A Tassie mate was extending his holiday in Noosa to drive up to Tin Can Bay to catch up with us so we quite happily upped anchor and headed for the treacherous Wide Bay Bar at the bottom of Fraser Island. The events of the next day are slightly blurred but I’m sure we had a great time and lots of laughs with our mate! Another friend from the Sunshine Coast drove up in his campervan and we had a bit of a tour round Rainbow Beach and Cooloola Cove.
The weather decided to pack it in again so off we went to explore the inside of Fraser Island. The first night at Stewart Island provided a spectacular sunset. We stayed the night then made for Yankee Jack Creek. This is more like it, turtles, stingrays, fish and birds to entertain us. The next day we got caught up in the annual Bay to Bay yacht race for trailer sailors. The weather was still miserable but the sun did manage to come out so the sight was pretty awesome. Onwards to Kingfisher Resort, pub lunch, swimming pools, hot showers and a couple of geocaches.
Some fellow yachties had said we went up the Mary River for a couple of days and stayed a few weeks, we loved it that much, you should go. So we did. Maryborough has a huge railroad history and it is the birthplace of Pamela Travers who wrote Marry Poppins. The Wharf marina was one of the friendliest places we had ever been to thanks to both management and marina guests. Do yourself a favour and visit. The Anzac memorial in Queens Park is the best I have ever seen. I also got a commuter scooter so getting about was much quicker! We stayed a week then sadly cast off on the outgoing tide to continue our cruise north.
Back to Fraser Island but further up for a night before a 15hour overnight sail to Seventeen Seventy.
1770 is where Captain Cook first landed in Australia on 24th May 1770. There is a festival happening here this weekend with reenactents of the landing, street parade, markets and lots of other activities. Last Saturday we were invited to attend a Singing in the Whales ceremony up on the headland. The First Nations people all along the coast would perform this ceremony to welcome the whales (their ancestors) on their yearly migration. The ceremony has been revived in recent years with a few other places doing the songs and dance. We recieved a blessing from the elders and learnt quite a lot about the culture here. We are spending some time swimming, paddleboarding and walking with another sailing couple who we spent most of last year with.
We are not exactly sure where to next but hoping to stop at Yellow Patch on Curtis Island before heading to the Keppels. We promise to update our adventures more often now we are knee deep in the water again.
In my last post I attempted to explain how hard studying online while at sea could be. This time I hope to convince you that the agony is worth it. Who doesn’t want to sit around in their togs, knee deep in the water somewhere. While studying the conventional way has advantages so does the freedom to choose where, when and how I will study. In the link I provided last post from Montgomery College it also listed some advantages to studying online. [i]
For me having the option to choose whether to get dressed or stay in my pyjamas to do some study is kind of cool. Also, should I take my laptop to the beach or coffee shop or stay on the boat? The possibilities are endless and the environment I am in when writing can mean the difference between some mundane drivel or my brilliant creative writing. The oddesy, has an excellent blog post about the impact your environment has on your writing style.[ii]
Learning online also means that I get to manage my study time, I can be flexible about it. If I want to go snorkelling on that gorgeous coral reef or go for a paddle board over the giant clam garden, then I can because I can study anytime it suits me. If I am onshore exploring a new town, I can study with a latte and pastry overlooking a tourist attraction or beach. Most of all, choosing to study online while discovering Australia’s most beautiful places, means that I am keeping my brain active. Living and travelling on a boat is sometimes lonely and quite isolated, also long passages can be tedious. Having the chance to study Screen and Media may even open some opportunities for my photographic hobby in future.
If any of you are looking to improve yourself than I can fully recommend studying this way. Online study can be inexpensive and a great way to pass your time and improve your knowledge.
Previous study for me has been either in the workplace with visits from my assessor or in a classroom with instant access to a teacher and classmates. This new digital online study malarky means I am on my own with limited access to my teachers. There is an online study session once a week at a time which is almost impossible for me to join in due to internet access, or I am at sea rolling about so much my laptop is in danger or I am just too busy enjoying my surroundings away from the boat.
Being in a pristine wilderness marine park can mean no signal either phone or internet. To be able to study in these awful conditions I need to download or copy and paste reference material and workbooks before departing from said service. This means clogging up space on my laptop, I have been known to climb up the highest peak searching for phone service. If there’s none then I may have to return to civilisation earlier than expected, inconveniencing fellow shipmates. This online article from Roswell High School’s student newspaper, The Sting, helps to explain some more of the negative aspects of online learning.[i]
Using my laptop means it must be charged up beforehand or plugged in to the 12volt socket drawing precious power from the onboard battery system. A few days of overcast weather can really take a toll on the solar powered system. Power then becomes precious and needed more for fridges, lights, starter batteries and just about everything other than my study.
Studying in a classroom or even from your house doesn’t come with the same problems that I experience. Online learning is key in today’s world of technology. The following link from Montgomery College lists a few more disadvantages to online learning. [ii]
My next post will be about the advantages of studying at sea.
I am currently doing a Certificate IV in Screen and Media and have been asked to write some blog posts related to media. Instead of writing about Participatory Journalism such as the importance of the citizen video in the George Floyd trial, or about the changing face of journalism due to all the wonderful technology at our fingertips, I, in my wisdom, have decided to write about something a little closer to home for me, Education in the digital age. The following link to Oppida, an online education agency’s blog post about digital learning is a great read. https://www.oppida.co/blog/education-in-the-digital-age/ .
I think you may be interested in the pros and cons of deciding to study online while living the lifestyle that I do. As a fifty something, semi retiree living aboard a boat full-time while travelling around Australia’s beautiful coastline there are many reasons why I slap my head and wonder “why do I do this to myself”. I do not need the hassle or worry of submitting an assessment on time, I am probably never going to use this qualification and maybe most of all: “who is actually going to read or enjoy the rubbish I write?” On the other hand, the joyous feeling I get when my hard work results in a satisfactory outcome and positive feedback, I leap around excitedly thinking “ my brain is not quite as dead as I thought it was”.
The developments in digital technology have enabled me to choose what, how and when I learn. In my next post I will attempt to explain why studying at sea can be problematic.
Photograph by Elizabeth Reeve, Blog Author
 By Denetra Walker, Ph.D. student, Denetra on Twitter
Enjoying the Clarence River and Iluka NSW still. Plan to head north around March all going well with border restrictions. We had to defer our flight to Tassie on 11th January but hoping for a March/April trip.
After 5 months of exploring Lake Macquarie we have upped anchor and headed back to the ocean.
We woke to a beautiful morning at Wangi Wangi
and motored over to the Swansea channel to wait for our bridge opening.
We had a great overnight sail of 19 hours before going over the barway at Camden Haven.
Laurieton is the small town just inside the barway and is about 30km south of Port Macquarie in NSW. We have sailing buddies who have spent the summer here. They have given us a tour of the area and have made us feel very welcome.
There is currently an east coast low on the NSW coast creating some pretty strong winds and swell. We will stay in our protected anchorage here at Laurieton until later in the week before heading north to Iluka. The Qld border is still shut so we are not sure when or if we will make it into Queensland.
The weather is not too cold yet so we are happy to explore the NSW coast a little longer.
Liz has been doing some drawings and watercolor painting to stay sane and Tim has been taking care of the never ending maintenance that is needed on a liveaboard boat.
Freya says ‘wash your hands regularly, breathe in, breathe out, move on.’
Well although the crew is already pretty well trained in isolation techniques, we thought you might like to see what extra measures we have taken aboard Freya. Our isolation pod is looking fabulous after a few months of spit and polish, less the spit.
We’ve got together a survival kit of vitals
and have actually been practicing social distancing!
On a more serious note, we are having a wonderful time exploring this amazing lake. Afer nearly 4 months we haven’t even scratched the surface.
It must have been a very popular and pretty picnic spot in it’s day but sadly neglected now. There are hundreds of BIG kangaroos everywhere which has helped to keep the grass down otherwise our walk may have been more like a jungle safari.
So, as you can see, we have been doing our best to stay fit and healthy. These are times that we certainly never expected to experience in our lifetimes.
Freya hopes you all stay well so she can catchup with you after the crisis. Lets hope this is not the new norm.
Well as you can probably guess, we are still in Lake Macquarie. The summer heat has been abominable some days so our boat work has been slow going.
After the haul out we started sanding and varnishing Freya’s exterior timber which we are still working on. We also polished all the stainless steel again. Everytime we raise the anchor, we use our saltwater deck hose to wash the mud off. The salty overspray makes our bow roller go rusty very quickly.
Tim tried to adjust a bolt in the gearbox, but it broke off as soon as he touched it. Bugga, all round panic as we thought all kinds of nasty thoughts like hauling out again and getting a new gearbox! Thankfully Freya’s captain has a good knowledge of his boat so he managed to remove the gearbox while still in the water. A quick trip south of the lake, 30 minutes and $100 later, he returned with a repaired gearbox which he managed to install within the hour and preventing Freya from sinking. Phew, could have been much worse!
We have been able to reconnect with sailing friends and make new ones. We lead a fairly social existence. The local bowling club is about 5 minutes walk away and on Sunday afternoons we meet up with friends for drinks there. Tim has been lucky enough to win a meat tray twice now.
We were given a car for the weekend so yesterday we did a lap of the lake by road and finally managed to get to the coast and a few beaches. It was heavenly to sink our feet in the sand again.