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Thursday, October 20, 2011

October 11 - 20, 2011 - Gold Coast, Storms and Frank’s Broken Toe

Tuesday, October 11, 2011
We left Dockside at around 9 AM, heading for Peel Island. We managed to sail for most of the journey over to Peel Island. My allergies are really giving me a hard time, so I had to hit the inhaler twice. After a while dizziness overcame me and so I went below for some rest hoping that would help me to feel better. I can tell Frank is suffering as well. We are both coughing a fair bit and he is sneezing while I am wheezing.  He finally woke me around 2 PM to tell me we were real close to the anchorage at Peel Island. There were numerous boats already here, in fact more than we have ever seen, possibly due to the northerlies, making it very calm here right now.  Still feeling very dizzy I managed to get the anchor set and returned to the cockpit where we sat to watch the various boats weave in and out. Eventually the day faded as we enjoyed a very colorful sunset – unlike any we have seen for a while. It was a beautiful evening and the most comfortable night we've ever spent at this anchorage.
Wednesday, October 12
We awoke at 5:15 AM, slurped some coffee into our systems and got underway by 6:00,  so that we could travel the Broadwater with the incoming tide. We needed to time our arrival at Jacob's Well at 10:00 – high tide. The ride was better than any other previous journey up or down this stretch of waterway. We spotted a couple of dredgers along the way, so perchance it is because they are keeping it well dredged or we timed the rising tide just right. Perhaps it was a little of both. We arrived at Mariner's Cove marina at mid-day. The current was fierce. 
Russell, the marina manager, stood ready to take our dock-lines and although he had assigned us a large unoccupied berth, Frank had a terrible fight getting Destiny into the slip. Just as I had tossed Russell the midship spring-line and was running for the bow, the current grabbed Destiny pushing our stern away and around up against the high bow of a huge motor yacht in the berth on the other side of the finger. Frank was laying on Destiny's bow thruster but the current was just too much for our full-keeled boat. We heard the crunch of our dinghy up against the anchor hanging off the bowsprit of a large yacht. Thank God the dinghy was up on the davit, acting as a fender protecting both our boat and the other one. At the same time Russell was trying to guide us in with the spring-line.  Despite our concerted efforts, the strong current forced our hull up against the outside corner of the slip. I watched in horror as it dug into the hull and continued to seemingly carve a deep gash just above our waterline as we moved forward. I leaned into the pylon at the end of the finger, trying to push us off but it was just no use. I doubt the Incredible Hulk could have been much help. While this is all happening, Russell is trying to guide us in with just one line; fighting the current, shouting directives to Frank with me pushing with all my might as Frank is calmly trying to keep us in one piece, a group of nosey onlookers stood around gawking. They attracted more onlookers as they commented and giggled at our struggles, apparently more interested in watching a possible catastrophe than offering to assist us. Not one of them offered a hand or even a kind word of encouragement. When we finally got safely tied in, the group disbanded. Destiny is not gouged, but we do have a rather ugly 8-10 foot scrape running along the hull. We are hoping on closer inspection to find that it can be buffed out.  We were exhausted and a little shaken from the effort. Russell told Frank to just take it easy and come by the office tomorrow to formally check in. 
It is a beautiful day and rather than sitting around to ruminate on this last debacle Frank wants to go for a walk I really wanted to as well especially because it is supposed to rain for the next few days but I am suffering again with this inability to breathe. I feel as though there is a huge band around my lungs that just won't let me get air into them. I don't think I can handle walking around breathing in all this pollen. Maybe the rain will do something to help.
Thursday, Oct 13th
We went for a walk to Australia Fair, bought some groceries and browsed the mall. Caught the bus back. My breathing is a little better today.
Friday, Oct 14th
No rain yet so we spent the day applying wax to topside gelcoat and stainless, then took a walk out to the Surf Club. Pollen seems to have settled down.
Saturday, Oct 15th
We continued with the waxing, then Frank stubbed his already bad toe – broke it – sticking straight out sideways. It immediately began turning various colors of green and black. I told him it now resembled a fat little gherkin! He told me to just pull it back into socket thinking it was just out of joint. I shuddered as I took hold of his toe and began to manipulate it back into place. It felt like mush. I stopped and told him there is no way it is out of joint; he has done a real number on it this time. A neighbor named Pete on a vessel called The Lady drove us to Gold Coast hospital. This place is as filthy and as derelict as the ER room in Noumea. I suppose this is what tax-payor dollars get for the public health care system. 
After 4 hours Frank was still awaiting x-ray of his foot. Outside we could hear a storm building as wind howled. It looked bad outside and realizing we had left hatches open, tops off cleaning solution bottles and all manner of cleaning/waxing materials out on the deck of Destiny in our rushed departure to the hospital, Frank sent me walking back to boat I didn't have my purse and no money for cab fare. I got about a kilometer away from the hospital when a twister kicked up out of nowhere throwing debris all about, nearly sweeping me away. I crab-walked to safety behind a building and then ran over to Australia Fair shopping center where I missed the bus by just two minutes. I ducked inside the large glass doors and watched the storm rage. The sky turned an eerie shade of green the storm continued to build for about 30 minutes. The buses must have stopped running because there was no traffic about. People continued to pour into the shopping center, terrified with crying children in tow. Eventually traffic reappeared and I managed to catch the 4:30 bus back to marina. I arrived at 5 and began closing hatches and tossing things into the cockpit that hadn't been blown away. Amazingly the jug of wax was still sitting uncovered and the top nearby. Frank called at about this time reporting he was done and on his way back.  All they did was x-ray, confirm it certainly was broken and then taped it to the next toe, handed him a bill to pay and sent him on his way. No care advice, no RX for pain meds, anti inflammatories or anti-infection. He caught the bus home and arrived by 6. I pulled out the remains of meds from my New Caledonia hospital visit handed them over to him and started to cook dinner.
Sunday, Oct 16th
In the morning we strolled the local fresh market that was set up just in the marina parking lot. Although very small this is one of the best markets we have seen perhaps because it is not mingled with junk, it is simply stocked with local fresh foods. On return to the boat I ordered Frank off his foot and resumed my chores.
Monday, Oct 17th
Scott and Muriel picked us up – took us for a drive to Byron Bay a beach community that is famous for being trendy, artsy and full of "hip new agers".  It was a rainy and dreary day so we were not afforded the opportunity to see what all the fuss was about but we did have a very good lunch and then drove down to lovely Ballina. Sunshine interspersed with the cloud cover allowing us to get off a few good snapshots. Being with Scott and Muriel is always good fun no matter what we are doing. Frank enjoyed a day away from the boat where I was holding him prisoner.
Tuesday, Oct 18th 
Frank's toe was giving him less trouble and we resumed chores.
Wed., Oct 19th
We took bus to Pacific Fair and then stopped for lunch at our favorite Chinese restaurant, Ming Palace. Afterward we tried for a short stroll but Frank's foot was really hurting so we came back to boat. To be fair he really broke that toe and should be moving around as he does especially in flip flops but he isn't one to just sit around.
Thursday, 20th 
Rain, rain go away! It poured and poured. We watched movies, read books and played cards. When the weather breaks we are breaking out of here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

October 5 - 10, 2011 - A little of This and a Little of That Around Brisbane

Wednesday, October 5
Walked into town (via the Story Bridge) to the Queen Street Market. Ate our way through the market, stocked up on fresh baked breads, fruits, vegetables and fresh pastas and gnocchi from Enzo. Then Frank's toe is still taped up and was getting quite sore so he took the lion's share of groceries back with him on the ferry while I walked back over the Story Bridge.  I am loving this walk-er-size!
Thursday, Oct. 6
No walking for Frank today. His  toe was swollen so I re-taped it for him and nagged him to put his foot up. We didn't do too much but straighten up the boat.
Friday, October 7
Frank was feeling fit. We had a nice long walk from Kangaroo Point past the Gabba to the Norman Hotel for lunch. It boasts being Brisbane's worst vegetarian restaurant. We will attest that it is true. We shared a large eye fillet (filet mignon) dinner which left us absolutely stuffed. Definitely the best steak we have laid money on. We left The Norman, wandering about until we found out way over to Southbank, then crossed the bridge to Queen Street where we did a little shopping and then walked back through town to catch the ferry back across the river to Kangaroo Point. We put in a LOT of MILES this day.
Saturday, October 8. 2011
Awoke to rain – lots of rain. Frank spent much of the day perusing West Marine's catalogue for supplies and electronics that we need to upgrade and update our systems. I spent it cleaning the boat and cleaning out my emails, sent an update to the blog from last April. Gee am I behind or what?!
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Today we walked across the Story Bridge into China town, then out to Fortitude Valley for lunch at Tartufo (recommended by Enzo, our fresh pasta man). Our meal was outstanding. We shared a plate of homemade funghi tortelloni and a wild rocket salad with shaved parmesano and toasted pine nuts – yum! Afterward we needed to walk off the cream sauce so we set off straight down Ann St., all the way through town to the river. The Jacaranda trees and all species of other beauties are in full bloom painting our path as though we were in a Monet. It is such a beautiful time to be in Brisbane. I am so happy we are here early enough to enjoy this emergence of springtime! We crossed the river at the Queen St. Bridge. Frank sat for a beer and to watch rugby World Cup (Austalia vs S. Africa) at the Plough Inn while I browsed the Southbank market and took pictures. At halftime we walked back to Destiny and collapsed for a foot soak and to watch the end of the game. Wallabies beat the Springboks 11-9! We figure we walked about 10 miles. I am beginning to have some serious issues with allergies though.
Monday, October 10
 Bad allergies – difficulty breathing for me in spite of using the inhaler and taking antihistamines. Just not up to walking today. The Pollen count is very high right now. Too bad because it is our last day in Brisbane before we head south.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sept. 21 - Oct. 4, 2011 - Mooloolaba - Tangalooma - Brisbane and Visits From Friends

We were excited to return to Mooloolaba and its upbeat trendy atmosphere. There is something magical about this place that just feels good. It doesn't hurt that the beaches are world-class and the eateries and shopping are good here. Scott and Muriel Spencer had driven up from Brisbane for a short holiday in Mooloolaba at the same time. We dined with them at the Surf Club and at Thai Seasons and then one day they drove us up to beautiful Noosa where we spent a few hours on the beach. They left a few days later and then on Sept. 28th, Jan and Russell Meggitt came to stay with us. We had arranged for them to sail with us back down to Brisbane.
Jan's sister Kerri Scholmm lives in nearby Buderim. Kerri and her husband Erwin joined us that first night for happy hour on Destiny and then Thai Seasons for dinner. Kerri and Jan are like a vaudeville act when together, and Erwin is full of life. Fortunately as in-laws the four of them get along famously making it a great evening of laughter and friendship. Jan and I met Kerri the next two mornings for an invigorating walk along the foreshore, followed by coffee at a local cafe and then either shopping or heading to the beach, or both. Frank and Russell made several trips to the hardware store and to the Mooloolaba Surf Club bar. We always knew where to find those two. Poor Erwin had to work. I'm sure is liver appreciated that. On October 1, we sailed back to Moreton Island, eager to share it with Jan and Russell.
As we entered the bay we joined the whales that we had been observing from shore moving along the coastline all week. This is the time of year they migrate into warmer waters with their young. Moreton Bay is not very deep between Moololaba and Moreton Island, so whale spotting was easy. Getting photos was not. They put on a real show stopper performance for us tossing their babies up into the air and pirouetting up out of the water, frolicking like children all through the bay. This must be a popular playground for them, it sure was a treat for us.
We arrived at Tangalooma with plenty of daylight to head to shore. Jan and I packed up books to read and beach paraphernalia. Frank and Russell went on their own hike to find a cool beer. That evening the anchorage became extremely rocky, and by the next morning winds had shifted around from the southwest bringing thunderheads and gray skies at mid morning. This is not good. The bay was chopping up such that we realized we had to get the heck out of there. Smaller craft were bobbing and tossing about violently. We weighed anchor and beat into the bay. It was not a good ride into Brisbane. The water churned, the grey sky turned black as thunderheads built into a storm that slammed us all the way to Brisbane River. Fortunately this is not Jan and Russell's first rodeo. They are power yacht owners and no strangers to this kind of boating. We happily snugged up to the berth at Dockside and breathed a huge sigh of relief that nothing and no-one was broken. 

Monday, October 3, we awoke leisurely, then strolled down to Southbank. Kerri's daughter, Inga lives in Brisbane. Jan phoned her, found that she was free for lunch so we invited her to join us at Frank's favorite pub The Plough Inn. After lunch Jan and I took a walk leaving the boys to their cold beer and Bloke talk. We walked through the lovely gardens and exhibits around Southbank then past the Maritime Museum where Jessica Watson's Pink Lady is now on permanent outdoor display. We eventually ended up back at Dockside and settled aboard thinking about what to do for dinner. They guys didn't show for a long while. It was dark when they returned so dinner was a casual affair.
Tuesday, October 4, we awoke at 4:35 AM to see Russell and Jan off. Frank stayed awake after that but I returned to bed until 8:00. We then tidied up and I mentioned going for a long walk, but Frank said that he had hit his toe the previous night while he and Russell were out and about visiting on another boat. It was very swollen and looked as though he had broken it this time. He could not possibly get a shoe on it so he taped it up and he took it easy for the rest of the day.