August 28, 2011
Charon’s Queensland Adventure
Wide Bay, Fraser Island and Bundaberg.
28th August 2011
Being captain of a vessel – if you take it seriously enough – is a full time business and can be relentless if you are dealing with people, both on board and on shore, as well as the rig, hull, mechanical, electrical, medical, structural, provisioning, black water, grey water, fresh water, alcoholic water, beer, wine and spirits, bond store, excursions, anchoring, mooring, arranging berths, supplies, stores, spares and servicing. Many little jobs get done while cruising, like fixing the door catches that move underway and splicing bits of rope and checking the engines. Some others need some stability – both of motion and access to service and supplies, like servicing the outboard and major engine work and climbing the masts.
Fortunately Wendy does most of the provisioning and is very engaged and active in shipboard decision making, passage planning and entering and leaving a berth. The lines are singled up and the stuff of life that accumulates while steady are stowed and mobile objects like the telly strapped down and secured.
Bundaberg was to give us both the kind of rest that would seem to be unnecessary after only three weeks cruising – but after a significant grounding and a thunderstorm and abandoning guests and crew on the world’s largest sand island, it is nice to tie up in a safe haven and go exploring. The Pardey’s advise cruisers to do everything humanly possible to secure your vessel – but when you leave it for any time, just forget about it. There is a tendency to be anxious when the wind blows and if you know your home is secure, you can explore with a much more calm disposition.
After leaving Wide Bay, we enjoyed two evenings at anchor in the lee of Fraser Island finally at Lagoon Anchorage in Platypus Bay before the day trip to Bundie. We planned three days while the weather abated and ended up staying ten days. There were certain attractions! First, the Bundaberg Port Marina reduced our rate after five days to the weekly rate and pro rata thereafter. Second the marina offered a free courtesy bus to the big smoke and the market on Sundays. As well they offered cheap rent-a-car rates and free bicycles to explore Burnett heads and go to the local IGA supermarket. They were also very hospitable and wonderful people. And Bundy has a famous Rum Distillery. We took the Marina courtesy bus there on our third day and were rum tasting by 11.00AM. Not sure about the rest of the day – but it was a good one. We picked up some spares for Charon, visited the RSL and enjoyed an evening at the movies – “Red Dog” – a real good Aussie tear jerker.
The rental Camry allowed us a day trip to the communities south of Burnett heads, Childers, Gin Gin and also provision for the next two weeks or so away from civilization. The Bundaberg Botanical gardens were a good place for a walk and to see the history of Bert Hinkler – Australia’s famous aviator and first to fly from England to Australia in the 1920’s. We also enjoyed two Sunday nights at the Blue Waters Club at Burnett Heads – the first winning $70 in the cash raffle and a seafood voucher at “Grunske’s by the River.” Our second visit realized a chicken and vegie tray and the cook farewelled us with two packaged meals of Shepherd’s Pie and some chicken drumsticks. Great place, gracious people and wonderful hospitality. We decided to slip Charon at Bundaberg Port Marina on our return and leave her there over the summer on the hardstand.
As the weather cleared and the strong 30-knot south-easterlies abated, we left the marina for Lady Musgrave Island at 0400. We were aground at 0405 after leaving the marina by 13 meters – a bit more than a boat length. Caught between the fingers so to speak! Afloat by 0420 and a throttle blast to enter the channel.