October 29, 2010
The Port of Brisbane, the river and city area were the busiest that we have seen – even more than Sydney Harbour. In the port, mammoth ships entered and departed the narrow entrance channel, several lay at anchor in Moreton bay and in the upper reaches, City cats run from Bretts Wharf upriver well past the city centre. We asked for clearance to enter the port and the busy port controller gave us the departing and arriving shipping – including a tanker about half a mile behind us at twice our speed entering the port. Fortunately we passed her berth before we were overtaken. We had arranged a berth at Dockside marina and the operator had allocated us a berth number – not being officially open on a weekend. Our lines were taken by locals on arrival and we soon got chatting to the liveaboard community there – most of whom worked full time in the city. The current prohibited us entering our berth until slack water when we secured alongside. Within minutes the first commuter Citycat generated a wash that put half-meter standing waves in the concrete marina pontoons and I became aware of the damage that these vessels wracked on waterfront structures. Maintenance on the marina seemed to be continuous – a local stated that the Brisbane Council have a repair bill of over $800,000 on the floating walkway opposite. But the marina was very convenient and adjacent a city ferry terminal so Wendy and I were soon aboard one of the slower traditional ferries to the city where we visited the Riverside restaurant complex enjoying a great seafood pizza and Hunter valley red. We enjoyed the city and the marina locale visiting the Story Bridge Hotel, Botanical gardens and museum during our stay. Our main purpose there was to leave Charon while we returned to Tasmania – for me to work and Wendy to visit family and friends. After a visit to Whitworths to buy more fenders and setting up double docklines (the marina had a number of flattened fenders and many chafed mooring lines) we departed for Tassie. During our absence, Brisbane received storms and was deluged with more rain than in recent history – I returned to a marina full of floating debris, the dam was overflowing and water being released to prevent more flooding. The Citycats had stopped – so really the marina was quite delightful – apart from the cosmetic issue of filthy water – more left thongs, plastic bottles tennis balls, logs, sticks, mangrove roots and assorted flotsam than I had ever seen – and at one stage a wooden bedside table went floating past. The berth holders fished flotsam from the river and soon we had an obstacle course on the pontoon. Logs were parbuckled from the berths and at every tide change huge quantities of floating muck swapped from north opening fingers to south opening fingers. There was no way than any of this water was entering Charon’s precious heat exchanger! I took the opportunity to redecorate the head removing 40 year-old floor and wall tiles stuck with 40 year old glue and retiling with a Grecian look – courtesy of Bunnings. The tiling shops in Brisbane were appalling – kept no stock and tile shopping by train was tedious. A new seashore-themed shower curtain finished it off and Charon was again presentable for Wendy’s return. There are times on board where a man’s gotta do… We caught up with friends Leanne and Steve and their daughter Sylvie and enjoyed several meals together – having access to their fresh veggies and an eggplant. Leanne was an ambulance student of mine from the 80’s in Tassie and is enjoying a very successful career in the Queensland Ambulance Service. Cruising is a great way to catch up with friends and family – with much more to come for both Wendy and I. We enjoyed the last of Brisbane together – our little restaurant in Riverside, adjacent the ferry terminal had been converted to a swat team special ops centre after a local liveaboard went postal and the full might of the Queensland Police were called into force. Heavily armored coppers bristled from nearby restaurants and the poor yachtie ended up stabbing himself and jumping overboard. For the second time during our visit the Citycats were stopped – not a bad thing! We departed the Brisbane river after bunkering with 400 liters of diesel at Rivergate and headed across Moreton Bay to Tangalooma.