Sunday, 22 June 2014

Australia - Hervey Bay, 21-06-14

We spent an hour yesterday literally chasing a turtle in circles around our boat. We're anchored in Hervey Bay and have seen a few turtle heads pop up around us since we got here, but they just disappear straight away. Yesterday Sam saw one right next to the boat that kept popping up to look around, so he jumped out on deck to see if he could spot it again. He did... On the other side of the boat. We joined in the chase, but it was pointless. Mr turtle would stick his head up on one side, somebody would see it and point, we'd all look over at him and race to that side of the boat, then he would disappear quick smart before I could get a photo. It was a shambles. There must have been something delicious underneath us, because he just kept swimming in circles around the boat with us running after him staring at the water. Chasing turtles is infuriating in murky water! You can't see them, you don't know where they'll be and they only come up for a second. We eventually gave up but now every single time I go upstairs I look around at the water, and every single time I see at least one turtle. It's delightful!

If anybody ever ends up in Hervey Bay, don't even think about staying in the marina! We gave in last time and opted for showers and running water, and it was a nice marina, but being constantly surrounded by turtles is just amazing. We're on the south-east side of the breakwater and the dinghy ride to shore isn't short, easy or without mud, but we're absolutely loving it here.

The trip from Tin Can Bay was not so much fun. We spent the whole day being frustrated with inaccurate charts, staring into murky water and constantly getting stuck in the sand. The bottom of the keel has now been well and truly sanded. The sand on the bottom here moves so much that there's no way for the charts to be accurate, which is frustrating. I had the bright idea of pulling up our route on the tablet from when we went through on our way south, so we started following it exactly. No dice. There was no channel and sand banks were everywhere. We got very stuck early on in a strong current, which was pushing us into the shallows further. We had to take our spare anchor out on the dinghy and winch ourselves off, which worked well. So now at least we've had practice doing that, even though we got stuck again a few minutes later. The whole day was a headache. We purposefully left on a rising tide though, so we mostly floated off each time.

We went to visit the resident dolphins at Tin Can Bay before we left, which made Sam very happy. I remember feeding them when I was little, and you were allowed to wade out into the water and pat them. Now the cafe next to the boat ramp has coerced the dolphins into hanging around outside their shop, fenced it off from the public and started charging people to see them. And you can't pat them any more! Which I guess is fair enough if they get lots of people through. Sam got to feed one and after it gobbled up its breakfast he joked about it eating the same way Garth does - without chewing, and quickly. We see lots of dolphins by the boat so weren't very excited about the whole situation but Sam was absolutely stoked. The dolphins kept getting bored with everybody standing around in the water not producing any fish, so one of them wandered off for a swim away from the designated area. He was being adorable! It's nice that you can go and see them up close, but we could have just hovered around and seen them anyway. I wonder how much trouble you'd get into for just throwing a few fish off the jetty...

We parked up at the public jetty at Tin Can for a days work and we now have a new water tank! And a new swimming ladder, and a guard rail for the oven (which will make Garth's dad very happy). They're all shiny and pretty! I've seen a lot of welding by now, so I can at least tell good welding from bad. This is very, very tidy. My Uncle Peter is amazing! He and his friend Mill did a wonderful job making everything perfect for us and then installing the tank into its new home. Now our water supply can't pop in the middle of the ocean ever again! Using a tank means we have less water than before, but it's so much safer.

I spent the majority of a day washing everything by hand while the boys installed the tank

Uncle Peter tagged along for a few days when we left Tin Can, which was really great. It's so much fun having new people on board! He was wonderful company and very helpful, so I think that was a score for us. We anchored up alongside the southern end of Fraser Island for one night on the way. There wasn't much to do, but the scenery was beautiful. Garth and Peter went for a kayak through the mangroves then Peter swapped out for me and a fishing rod. Garth paddled me around for ages and we got nothing. I am now done with fishing.

We did find a turtle however, who popped up next to the kayak. I'm loving the turtles! Then a dingo showed up as we were fishing next to the mud flats. He dug around for crabs, wandered back and forth then took off again after having a lie down on the sand. He didn't seem the least bit interested in us, but I was glad he stayed away. I didn't feel like fending off a wild dog in the slightest.

The sunset there was amazing, and I convinced Garth to let us take the camera on the kayak to get a photo of the dingo. Then I kept getting in trouble for not putting it away while he was paddling... One day I'll get it wet and he's going to give me the biggest lecture of my life.

Sam lost his glasses overboard at Tin Can, which has made our glasses strap rule mandatory instead of optional. No glasses onboard without a strap. That was super unfortunate, as they were really nice and we're in the middle of nowhere shop-wise. He managed to order new ones in Hervey Bay, which we can pick up from Bundaberg. Hopefully we'll spend so much time snorkelling over the next week he won't even notice they're missing!

Monique xxx

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