And we have left the Lake

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.’

COVID 19 situation

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.

This morning we paddled over to the Morissett Hospital Asylum grounds for a walk. There is a really interesting history which you can read about here.

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.

Still floating

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.

Happy Leap Year xo

Clean Bottom

Well our haulout for this year has gone well. Freya is all polished and antifouled and looking terrific.

We are still in Lake Macquarie and are loving the lazy lifestyle but not loving the heat. Thankfully it’s been cooler this week and the rains are very welcome.

Missing home, NOT! Freya xo

Where are we?

Well, we travelled all the way to Lake Macquarie NSW breathing horrific bushfire smoke all the way.

We celebrated Tim’s birthday and caught up with old mates, managing to arrive in time for the Lake Macquarie Shaggers Xmas party.

A wedding invitation arrived so we hightailed it to Tassie and celebrated Christmas, our brother-in-law’s 60th, NYE, our daughter’s 20th birthday and of course the wedding.

We fly back to the lake and Freya in a couple of days but we’re grateful for the time spent at home.

Hold on Freya, we’re coming

Gladstone to Gold Coast

Last time we spoke we were in Gladstone. We had a look at the nearby dam and the botanic gardens. There were literally thousands of tiny cane toads at the botanic gardens which were about 1 centimeter in size. It was really hard not to tread on any! The marina was really pretty at night with the port behind it. The port in Gladstone is one of Australia’s largest also catering to the odd cruise ship.

We left Gladstone just over a week after arriving to head down the coast to Pancake Creek which is at Bustard Head just north of Seventeen Seventy which is where Captain Cook first landed on Queensland soil. Unfortunately the algal bloom was really bad in this area. Once it washes up onto the beach it smells like old prawn leavings. PONG. Tim walked up to the nearby lighthouse at Bustard Head to check out the views.

We stayed 3 nights and then headed to Port Bundaberg for fuel and one night anchored in the Burnett River. The Northerlies have really kicked in so we meandered our way down the inside of Fraser Island to River Heads just south of Hervey Bay for two nights.

We were watching the weather and tides to get a good crossing for the Wide Bay Bar. We stayed at Inskip Point for the night and left at 6am for the bar crossing along with a dozen other boats.

We had a great sail down to Mooloolaba where we anchored at Kawana Waters for two nights. We put the dinghy in the water for the first time since the Whitsundays and Liz went shopping!

We moved into the Mooloolaba Marina close to some friends that we hadn’t seen since early June. We hired a car and drove up to check out Noosa.

We did a drive around the area starting at Nambour. The visibility was terrible because of the smoke haze but we managed to get a few geocaches, visit the cheese farm and the Big Pineapple.

More friends arrived at the marina so we went out for dinner and sampled some gin from Four Pillars in the Yarra Valley. Mrs Stray Cats (Deb) took Liz to the Eumundi Markets which are great, a bit like Salamanca Markets.

There were a few big storms starting to roll through so we hightailed it to Brisbane for a few days with my sister (Karen) and her family. The East Coast Marina at Manly where we stayed was huge. It took us 6.48 minutes to walk from Freya to the marina gate.

We left yesterday and came down through the Broadwater from Moreton Bay to Paradise Point on the Gold Coast. Yet more friends were awaiting us here so a few quick sundowners were had. We’re off to dinner at the local Chinese tonight and are looking at crossing the Seaway Bar tomorrow afternoon for the 18hr run down to Yamba.

Tim is happy in his new sunsafe shirt doing what he loves best, sailing!

Freya is wishing you all are safe heading into the silly season xo

The Beautiful Whitsundays

After arriving back at Airlie Beach we spent a few days socializing and reprovisioning before Hamish’s arrival. Then we set off for Hook Island and Macona Inlet where Tim scrubbed the bottom of the boat to remove the build-up of crut. This took three 30 minute dives in gorgeous clear warm water. On our final morning there we saw a little shark swimming past us so we are now a little edgy about getting into deep water especially after this week’s shark attack which was just around the corner. It is breeding season for turtles so we were seeing plenty of them and some came pretty close to the boat. We snuck into the beach near the airport to collect Hamish from Hamilton Island. We got caught and spoken to fairly sternly! As Hamilton Island is privately owned you are supposed to arrange to go in at a cost so we spent a night in the marina there the might before Hamish’s departure. We showed Hamish the Whitsundays Freya style, we think he enjoyed it! Walks, climbs, snorkels, swims, spotting turtles and feeding Batfish. We had lots of laughs, drinks and good food.
We were sad to see him go but it was time to move on. We left Hamilton Island and did a 33 hour run down to Great Keppel Island. We stayed 4 nights but didn’t go ashore as it was pretty windy and rolly. We left GKI and headed for Gladstone via the narrows. The narrows are a stretch of water between Curtis Island and the mainland which is all mangrove trees and it dries out completely at low tide. They have a cattle crossing where they herd the cows to and fro when the tide is out. We were a teensy bit early with the incoming tide so we had a surprise stop to take photos!We managed to get through the rest and had a lovely still night at Targinie Creek before heading into the Gladstone marina. We have friends here who have been showing us around and they have lent us a little Dhiatsu Feroza to get about in. That’s part of the beauty of this lifestyle, the people you meet along the way.Last night we welcomed more friends into the marina and went for an all you can eat Chinese buffet.We are looking at leaving here on Monday to hopefully get another few days at Lady Musgrave Island. Turtle nesting season, very excited.Happy Halloween from Freya

We’ve turned back

After just over a month in Magnetic Island and surrounding islands, we have headed southish.

An 18 hour overnight sail took us from Maggie to Cape Gloucester and the Eco Resort. This is where we were for our Shaggers party so it was nice to go ashore and enjoy it while it was relatively quiet. We were treated to live music and a swim.

After one night we headed off for a quick swim and walk on Grassy Island before seeking shelter at Eastern Double Bay to sit out a SE blow.

This morning Liz got some work to do so we bashed our way into Airlie Beach in search of a decent internet service.

The things you do for $ eh!