Articles by Gilli Appleby

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It looks cold doesn’t it? Well believe me, it was! We spent the long weekend at a B&B in Geeveston (Bears over the mountain). It was a great location in the wilderness of Southern Tasmania. The landscape was breath-taking. It really felt like frontier country. And it felt just a wee bit cold to us.
We travelled to the ‘end of the road’. We were at the southern most tip of Australia. We were now closer to Antartica than to Cairns. And that’s what it felt like. The water was crystal clear but looked positively freezing. The bays were protected and peaceful. Lots of (clearly very tough) families were having their last bit of the summer holidays camping down in this stunning countryside, gathered around roaring camp fires…and then we spotted…a little girl trotting across to the beach in her swimmers with a boogie board under her arm (??really!) and low and behold an ice-cream van! Even if we hadn’t just been sailing the Queensland coast I would still thought it was a tad chilly for swimmers and a dip in the waters of what is basically the southern ocean. That aside it was a magical place.
The whale sculpture is in recognition of the whaling history. During the 1830s there were 4 whaling stations at Cockle Creek. During the 1840s the Crown granted seven leases for the establishment of bay whaling stations in Recherche Bay. But whales had been hunted with pregnant cows and calves indiscriminately slaughtered. They apparently slaughtered the calves first so that the cows would wait around the bay and cry for their young, and then be slaughtered too. Tragic – but a beautiful sculpture.

We’re heading south, but without Sunny Spells and without wind power.  After various discussions and planning and replanning we decided to leave the boat behind and fly down to Tasmania.  We are both reluctant to leave her behind – it feels a bit like we are leaving our home for the second time in six months.  However, the relentless humid heat of the Queensland summer (wimps that we are. Whinging pom that I am – I do realise) has taken its toll on my tolerance and I’m looking forward to the cooler climes of Tasmania.

What Mooloolaba has certainly given us is a social life. My word! Our social calendar has been booked up with sundowners and supper every evening with some really interesting and lovely people.  My only regret is that the boys have not had the fun of lots of kids on the neibouring boats.  They had ‘live-aboard’ friends prior to Christmas, but they’ve all moved on, and not been replaced.  The boys are therefore twitchy: finding the heat hard work, and nowhere to call home;  they mss their friends; their beloved toys and even miss school (hardly surprising when the alternative is grumpy-mum as your teacher!).

So we’re heading south, excited at the next stage of our journey, but with a few regrets about what we haven’t done, and haven’t achieved a long the way.  There’s always next time, I keep telling myself…..

 

George and Sony (who are kindly caretaking Sunny Spells at the end of their pontoon for the next few months) came out for a perfect evening on Sunny Spells. It was another hot and steamy evening on the Mooloolah River (well, for those of us unused to the tropics), with just enough breeze to allow us to put up the headsail and potter along the river, and to give Sony and George a taste of what passage on a boat should be like…quiet…no engine…magical.
We of course continued what has become our established evening practice…sundowners and snacks at sunset.

What a wonderful way to see the old year out and the New Year in! Let’s hope this next year sees many more exciting adventures for us. Mooloolaba did not let us down – it was a fabulous evening (perhaps a little too fabulous given my sore head this morning!).

We have spent the last couple of weeks in Mooloolaba and we’ve had a lovely time, from the parade of boats up and down the canal before Christmas, to fireworks on Christmas Eve, a very warm bike riding day out at a dam (I must remember to always take at least 10 litres of water with us where ever we go otherwise we are in trouble!) and of course the inevitable playing in the surf and crashing waves.

Anyway, we’ve moved ourselves into the Mooloolah river having got a bit overheated and grumpy with the marina life in the last few days. So here we sit with the breeze blowing across the boat and only a 2 minute zoom across the river to the marina. We are well situated to simply walk five minutes from the marina over the spit and on to the ocean beach. This is where we found ourselves last night.

A brilliant family evening with jugglers and people on stilts, giant slides and live music and an array of kiosks from where to buy your food – so everyone was happy (Gerhard on the German Sausages and Oscar eating freshly baked pizza and Hugo the inevitable ‘something’ with chips).

As we sat on the grassy bank above the beach, kids were charging across the sand, the waves crashed and the atmosphere was just lovely. Incidentally the whole area is cordoned off and bags are checked for alcohol etc. as you enter so there’s a completely non-threatening, family-orientated atmosphere. I’m sure after we’d all gone home and the masses moved in for the later fireworks it all changed a bit!

Anyway, the first fireworks display came on at 8.30 and did us proud. Set off from a barge in the bay, everyone had an amazing view as the sky lit up for 10 minutes and the waves rolled in below.
Afterwards we ambled home and collected our dinghy to make our way back to Sunny Spells with lots of cheery shouts of “Happy New Year” from our fellow yachties. The boys collapsed into bed and we carried on partying with friends from the marina….and before we knew it, it was time for the midnight fireworks. This time we had a wonderful view of them over the top of the marina from the boat.

This morning the sun is shining and it’s hot ( well there’s no change there then!) but we’ve got work to do. The boat needs to be tidied and reprovisioned for our sail out to Tangalooma Island tomorrow. And of course our Christmas lights have got to come down from the mast, and the foredeck, and the life-lines too: they’ve made us giggle each time we’ve made our way home and seen them shining brightly across the marina, but we can’t set the sails with them in place, so that’s the end of them for this year. Happy New Year everyone!

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