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The Voyage of Spectacle So Long Scarborough, Hello Mooloolaba Surf Club

The Voyage

Spectacles

Andy and Melissa are sailing around the world on their 48-foot sailboat, Spectacle.

The Position

Bali, Indonesia

The Pictures

The Voyage of Spectacle

So Long Scarborough, Hello Mooloolaba Surf Club

Finally shoving off from Scarborough was a wonderful feeling … even if we were only motor-sailing in light wind a couple of hours to nearby Mooloolaba (pronounced muh-LOO-luh-buh).  We grabbed our good buddy, Graham, and headed out with a case of Toohey’s New for the uneventful passage.  Graham is a born-and-raised Queenslander and frequent visitor of the Sunshine Coast, yet he has never seen that stretch from the water and was mightily impressed. 

On one of his famous Queensland driving tours, Graham has taken us to Mooloolaba twice already, so it was already old hat when we arrived.  We were also pretty hungry.  During the passage, I tried to light the stove to prepare our lunch and the propane tank is dry.  Grrr … if it’s not one thing, it’s twenty others — we just got the stupid refrigerator going!

Caloundra from the sea on the quick passage from Scarborough to Mooloolaba

Caloundra from the sea on the quick passage from Scarborough to Mooloolaba

We parked the boat in Mooloolaba Harbor in the mouth of the Mooloolah River which is well-sheltered in the lee of Point Cartwright.  Immediately we saw a familiar boat and sure enough, we were greeted by Cutty Wren, who we haven’t seen since Moorea (and Fatu Hiva and Cartagena before that).  We checked in with the marina, walked the beachside trail to town (complete with turkey vultures and magpies), hit the Mooloolaba Surf Club for some beers and shrimp cocktail and sat on the verandah watching the surf life-saving club train in their red swimsuits. 

With so many examples from popular culture like Baywatch and the Beach Boys, most Americans would probably be surprised to learn that the beach lifeguard culture was born in Australia around 1907 as a response to several drowning accidents at Sydney-area beaches.   Surf lifesaving clubs are a very popular tradition throughout Australia with some 305 clubs patrolling over 400 beaches with 24,968 members as of 2004.

A “Lifeguard” is a paid employee patrolling the beach.  A “Surf Lifesaver” is a volunteer who provides additional support during periods of high beach traffic (summer, unseasonably warm weekends, public holidays, etc.), organizes community programs such as swimming lessons, and sponsors festivals and competitions.

Established in 1922, the Mooloolaba Surf Club is one of the oldest surf and life-saving clubs in Australia.  It’s the epicenter for the town’s social calendar and even publishes an annual report.


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