NYE Mooloolaba 2014

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!

Turtle patrol

Last night we went to a turtle rookery – which is a beach where turtles go to lay their eggs. In the information centre we saw turtle bones, wooden turtles, toy turtles and more!

We were led onto the beach by a National Park warden. We saw two giant turtles slowly come up from the ocean. The adult turtles were about 87cm across their shell. They were big.

The turtles push down and use all their weight to make a place to lay their eggs. At least 100 eggs are laid. Only 1 out of 1000 baby turtles manage to be an adult.

The first turtle we saw laid about 115 eggs. Hugo and Oscar got to carry some turtle eggs. We helped the wardens move the eggs to a higher man-made nest so they would NOT get washed away. There were loads of turtle eggs. The eggs were the size of ping pong balls and felt like plastic. We had to carry the eggs the way they gave them to us so we didn’t harm the turtles inside.
When we got home we were all very tired but dad got lots of good photos.


Freelander on Fraser Island

Well, we live and learn, again…  When we hired a Toyota Landcruiser last year and drove around Fraser Island, we found it rough, but never got stuck.  So, having done a bit of Googling about using the trusty old Land Rover Freelander TD4, I came to the conclusion that “she’ll be right mate!”.  I was wrong… It wasn’t!

We boarded the barge at River Heads, and the boys declared that this was “the most exciting, newest thing we’d never done before so far” on our adventure.  So far so good.

We landed at Wanggoolba Creek and, having “aired down” our tyres to 16PSI, we set off full of confidence. We were second vehicle off the barge and I did, for a moment, consider pulling over and letting everyone through. Fortunately I didn’t, because about 10 minutes later we were thoroughly bogged down in soft sand. Fortunately two vehicles came to our assistance and with a 12 year old snatch strap that I’d never used before and their two shackles we were soon pulled out. I bribed them with a promise of beer at the other end and they committed to babysitting us to Eurong, another 17 kilometres. Just as well, as we needed another two rescue and recoveries. Problem was not traction, but clearance. The Freelander is just too low and would get stuck on the high ridge of sand between the tracks (aka middlemannetjie for you okes in the R of SA…).

Driving technique: first gear, and keep the speed up, revs around 3,000 RPM. Crank on about 90 degrees of left or right helm (I prefer right) to keep the middlemannetjie off to one side. A boisterous ride. The brakes took a pounding, because the wheels are spinning the whole time and the traction control is trying to control the wheelspin by applying the brakes. As most of the weight is on the front wheels, the rear (drum) brakes got very, very hot. Poor car. When we tried to move off after about 15 minutes at the Eurong Bottle-O/general store, it felt like the handbrake would not release. Fortunately it eased up after a bit of driving. Only other damage was a rubber exhaust hanger that had unhooked itself (at the rear silencer). This was easily re-hooked and she’s good as gold!

We’ve decided to stick to the beach (where we have no problems) and leave Fraser Island via Inskip Point so we don’t have to cross inland again.

Moral of the story? A Freelander is not suitable for Fraser Island! Get a real 4×4…