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The Voyage of Spectacle Marinas

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

Archive for the ‘Marinas’ Category

Arrival in Gold Coast — Welcome to Queensland!

Posted by: melissa

Well, during the passage from Coffs Harbour to Gold Coast, we passed two milestones.  First, we said goodbye to New South Wales, and hello to Queensland.  Second, we left the latitude of 30 and higher behind us.  I am relieved to have re-entered the milder waters and warmer temperatures of the 20s … equator, here we come!

Our departure from Coffs Harbour was delayed by a couple of hours because of the tide.  Low water was at 10:30 a.m. so we waited until noon to give ourselves some leeway.  Plus, Coffs Harbour was hit hard by a recent storm that pounded the harbor and damaged the marina.  The channel entrance was still undergoing some redredging as part of the recovery. 

We went through the breakwater and headed offshore slightly, but only about 2-3 miles to try and avoid current.  As night fell however, we started seeing more and more fishing vessels, and we were forced to go further out away from the coastline to stay out of traffic.  The wind completely died and we were forced to motor as well. 

At dawn, we passed by Byron’s Bay which is the eastern most point of Australia.  By that time, I was heavily into my next book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which is a plot driven page turner which is nice on long passages.  Andy highly recommended it, as well as the sequel called The Girl Who Played with Fire.  Evidently there’s a third in this Stieg Larsson trilogy, but we don’t have it onboard. 

Anyway, I was totally engrossed when a humpback whale surfaced and blew its spout less than 50 yards away from the boat.  It was startling, but so incredible.  We’ve seen a lot of whales now, and it never gets old.  It’s just amazing to experience such a rare and exotic animal in such natural way … no tour group, no whale-watching guides, no throwing food in the water … just observing a whale doing what whales do, and have instinctually done, for millions of years.  Being that close is like meeting a dinosaur or something.  It’s awesome, in the truest definition of the word.

The sun was shining and as predicted, the weather was really warming up.  I may be able to put away my Newcastle Knights hat and scarf for good shortly!  Unfortunately, 20 knots of wind turned right on the nose, so it looked like motoring the rest of the way.  Gold Coast and Surfers Paradise were quickly in view — it looks like Miami with sky rises and huge white sand beaches. 

The approach to Gold Coast was pretty chaotic.

The approach to Gold Coast was pretty chaotic.

We located the channel entrance mostly by following the 30 or so boats heading in after a Sunday afternoon on the water.  The currents going over the sandbar were weird enough, but the wakes of macho, speed demon, power boats bounced us around as well.  Dinghies, jet skis, fishing boats, whale-watching power catamarans, party barges … it was pretty much total chaos.  But, we turned the corner and followed the very distinct aids to navigation, easily found the marina, filled up with diesel, found our slip, and settled in.

Back to the Dock to Find Ella’s Pink Lady

Posted by: melissa

After rainy and cold Sydney, I was happy to get back to sunny Mooloolaba yesterday.  We walked onto our dock to find Australia’s favorite sailboat, Ella’s Pink Lady.  No sign of Jessica Watson yet, but plenty of lookie-loos.  The dock is behind a security gate, and in the last two days, I have personally stopped at least 10 people from following me in.  It’s annoying me.

Ella's Pink Lady is a Sparkman and Stephens 34 sailed by Australian 16-year-old Jessica Watson during her solo circumnavigation.

Ella's Pink Lady is a Sparkman and Stephens 34 sailed by Australian 16-year-old Jessica Watson during her solo circumnavigation.

First of all, Jessica’s boat is in the first slip closest to the shore … it’s totally visible with an unobstructed view for the perfect kodak moment.  It’s obvious she’s not there (no activity, companion way door is padlocked from the outside) so you won’t get a glance of her if you get closer.  Second, the “dock” is not a park or public property … it’s private property where we pay a fee to park our “home.”  I know people are fascinated with boats and our adventure (especially when we’re flying the American flag), but interest isn’t a free pass to come peek in our windows and try to get past security.

The Passage to Rosslyn Bay

Posted by: melissa

It was a real treat to get to watch the U.S. versus England match on the neighbor’s television, but we couldn’t keep crashing his yacht at all hours of the night.  After missing a lot of great soccer, we decided that we would try to get to our next destination to catch the U.S. versus Slovenia match late Friday night. 

After more research, we decided on Rosslyn Bay as our next stop which would give us easy access to Rockhampton, which hosts the rodeo on Friday night.  Thursday morning, the weather seemed to be calming down a bit and Andy was confident that we could get to Rosslyn Bay by early Friday afternoon.  Rodeo and soccer and a nice location?  I love it when a plan comes together.

We exited the Mooloolah River to find very rough seas, which got even rougher once clear of Point Cartwright.  Since this was our first real passage in many months, we were both a little rusty and popped a couple of seasickness tablets right away. Sadly, it was too late for Andy, who had a minor barf.  The conditions calmed down a lot after a couple of hours getting away from shore, and we settled in for the quick overnight passage.  Around 1:00 a.m., we crossed over the Tropic of Capricorn officially re-entering the tropics.

Andy could not sleep and took the graveyard shift, so I had a luxurious night’s rest.  When he woke me at about 5:00 a.m., I was rested and refreshed and ready for a lovely day of sailing.  Spectacle was humming right along in a comfortable beam reach with a following current.  I had a cup of coffee, enjoyed an absolutely incredible sunrise over Keppel Bay, watched a cadre of container ships disembark from Gladstone, and read J.M Coetzee‘s Age of Iron — a truly spectacular morning.

Sunrise over Keppel Bay during the passage from Mooloolaba to Rosslyn Bay.

Sunrise over Keppel Bay during the passage from Mooloolaba to Rosslyn Bay.

The approach to Rosslyn Bay and the Keppel Bay Marina was a piece of cake.  We tied up, checked in, showered up, rented a car, and headed for Rockhampton.

Rosslyn Bay, Queensland

Posted by: melissa

The last couple of days have been fairly quiet … lots of reading, cleaning, sleeping in, relaxing, etc.  Rosslyn Bay is pretty sleepy, and I’m diggin’ it.  Keppel Bay Marina is really great … nice people, calm water, reliable power, public transportation, cheap rental cars, clean facilities with good water pressure … we’re enjoying it.

Spectacle happily tied to the dock at the very nice Keppel Bay Marina in Rosslyn Bay.

Spectacle happily tied to the dock at the very nice Keppel Bay Marina in Rosslyn Bay.

The Rosslyn Bay resort is just down the road situated on the very picturesque Kemp Beach.  I’ve had the entire beach to myself several times this week.  The resort has a restaurant with pretty good wood-fired pizzas. 

Andy went to switch over the propane tanks and found a bigger problem than a mere empty tank.  It’s clear there a leaky hose/connection in or around the place where the tank connects to the boat.  Unfortunately, I just bought a ton of groceries, many of which are perishable and require stovetop preparation. 

We are thinking of getting a hotel room at the Rosslyn Bay Resort to watch the U.S. versus Algeria match.  Access to the kitchenette is another argument in favor of that otherwise frivolous plan.  I mean really, who gets a hotel room down the street from their house to watch television?  I just hate throwing food away … such a waste.  But we’ll watch the match, cook dinner, Tupperware some meals for later this week, boil the eggs, swim in the pool, etc.

But the best part of this marina is that the restaurant is fantastic!  The Waterline Café wins all kinds of restaurant awards, which, frankly, isn’t saying much here in Queensland, but at least it shows some effort and pride.  Between the culinary wasteland of Scarborough and the busted propane line rendering the stovetop useless, we really appreciate the Waterline Café!  Poached eggs and grilled toast for breakfast, chef’s special Panini for lunch, and braised short ribs for dinner … lovely!

Yesterday, we jumped on the ferry to Great Keppel Island which was a fun daytrip.  An easy 45-minute hike deposited us at one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen.  We sat there all day completely by ourselves … a fantastic afternoon.

One of the many gorgeous and secluded beaches on Great Keppel Island.

One of the many gorgeous and secluded beaches on Great Keppel Island.

Hamilton Island

Posted by: melissa

At AUS$110 per night, the marina is prohibitively expensive so we plan to stay three nights only.  Unfortunately, we awoke to rain this morning.  At these prices, you’d think they could serve up some better weather.

Yesterday, we walked around the marina complex area and visited the yacht club.  Andy had a couple of business logistics to take care of so we set off to find an Internet café with a printer and some lunch.  The Reef View Hotel promised a serviceable business center, and Sails Restaurant provided a serviceable lunch.  Afterward, we visited the ice cream parlor and walked the docks looking for familiar boats to no avail.  We took an afternoon rest, cleaned up, went to the yacht club for a sundowner, and hit the Manta Ray Café for a pretty tasty pizza complete with possums sniffing our feet and begging for crusts.

Spectacle at the Hamilton Island Marina

Spectacle at the Hamilton Island Marina


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