Monday, October 28, 2019

Tin Can Bay

Rainy, windy, overcast, and 20 foot swells greeted us
as we rounded the north end of Frasier Island to make

a U-Turn into the ocean towards the south end of this
very large "100%" sand island.

November 1st, 2018

Well, we departed Bundaberg fairly early, heading  northeast out of Hervey Bay, and had a crappy overnight trip to the bar at the south end of Frasier Island, but we made it to Tin Can Bay Marina, arriving the afternoon of November 2nd.  

We had arrived at the entrance right at slack tide, intending to ride the flood in.  Everything was great, the weather had cleared, and we "wooshed" over the bar and through to the channel towards the marina.  Of course, nothing goes perfect, and we can attest to that once again, because we missed seeing a green marker (which was lost in the background of harbor buildings, fishing fleet, and sun) and soon found ourselves just about grounding.  Luckily, the reverse thrust from the engine had enough power to back us up against the wind and tide, and we managed to get back into the channel and head down a very narrow passage to the second-to-last end tie from the end of the passage.  But wait!  There's more!  

Two gals were at the dock to receive our dock lines.  By now, the wind and the current had increased from behind.  The bow line got tangled as it was tossed to waiting hands.  

Although the dock crew finally got it, it was too late to throw the aft line as Shakedown's back end had already begun to swing out into the channel.  The bow line was released and pulled in, we were very close to the houseboat on the last dock, and we did not have local knowledge of what lay beyond that houseboat (especially at high tide now).  

The girls on the dock started screaming and waiving hands furiously, which was interpreted that we should NOT be heading in this particular direction.  Once again, the reverse throttle was encouraged to not only stop us, but to bring us back towards our assigned dock.  It did, and we slid professionally alongside our reserved spot, calmly dropped bow and stern lines, tied up and shut down the engine.  (later, at low tide, we found out why the girls were screaming....we were about 5 feet, or so, from crashing into a submerged, at high tide, wall.)

The houseboat we almost clobbered (on calmer day)

At our new "home".You can't see it, but about a boat-width
 outboard of us is the other side of the channel....
VERY narrow!

Seems like something breaks every time we venture
out into the ocean.  This is the second time this has
happened to the starboard stay sail track.

We managed to buy a used car (RAV 4) after about a 
month of walking everywhere we needed to go (like
 grocery store, etc.)  Yes, steering wheel on the "wrong" side

The streets in Tin Can Bay are immaculate.  As you
can probably tell, not a whole lot of traffic either.

This is the main street through town.  Nice sidewalks.

Another view of the main street

With a car and two water taxis ready to go, we felt a true
sense of freedom to come and go as we please.
Although we'd already been through the area, courtesy of the Rainbow's Shadow crew, we took the jump and drove our "new" car down to the town of Gympie.  Actually, compared to Tin Can Bay, this could be considered a city.  There's a mall, fast-food restaurants (Dominos, McDonalds, Hungry Jacks (Aussie version of Burger King)), and a fairly long main street with nothing but shopping on both sides as well as offices for doctors, dentists and optometrists.  Gympie is about an hour drive, so it's not like we go there often.  If we were to head north, there's t slightly larger town of Maryborough, but it's somewhat further but on the way to Hervey Bay and Bundaberg.  

Our favorite fuel stop (and cheapest) about halfway 
between Tin Can Bay and the town of Gympie.  This
cactus is is supposedly one of the largest, if not THE
largest in Queensland

Yes, we had a small pizza right here in Gympie.

We've made a trip or two to the city of Brisbane.  And yes, this is a BIG city, with skyscrapers and everything.  We visited Adrian and Christine at their new digs in Coomera (on the Gold Coast) and did some touristy stuff in Brisbane while Adrian was finishing up a job there.  A bit of shopping and walking around with Christine as our guide was great.

Christine and Nancy posing on the walking bridge from
multi-story parking lot to shopping area

Looking down and across the street from the walking
bridge was a re-purposed church, a golf-themed eatery.

After the South Pacific Islands, it was sort of shocking to
see so much stuff in one place

Many of the buildings were pretty impressive
Some were fairly modern (space-age?)  There was an
indoor waterfall in the large center hoop

A store window...E.T. Elvis?

An Oriental-themed plaza with lots of restaurants

We lunched at a Japanese place.  Very elegant shashimi.
The size of this Ramen soup bowl was
pretty impressive as well

The great debate on where to go next

Another outdoor mall area just around the corner

We then headed over to a city called Surfers Paradise (I kid you not) and had an evening meal overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  After all these years of looking west to see this body of water, we're now looking east, at the same body of water.  This is a very busy, touristy area.  A lot of hotels and marinas.

Driving out of Surfer's Paradise after our meal

The next morning found us departing Rainbow's Shadow, where we had over-nighted at their berth and heading back to Tin Can Bay.  Had lots of fun hanging out with Adrian and Christine.

We also got to take a trip north to Uranga (Hervey Bay) to get some paperwork done with the Marine Safety Queensland office to apply for a permanent mooring.  We just left the application at the office, as there wasn't anyone who could do anything with it immediately.  So we put on our tourist hats and stumbled through the town of Uranga....starting with the Marina here....

Pretty well spells out what's expected from
the public around here

This guy appears to be looking for his next dinner, but
we were pleased to find out he's not a live one

Now THIS is what I call "fishing".  A harpoon gun (museum
piece actually)

Whales seem to be a popular theme in these parts

A view out into Hervey Bay looking towards Bundaberg

This Ibis acts just like Pigeons back in the States

Australia is famous for miles of unblemished beaches.
Here's a nice example at south end of Hervey Bay

A nice fishing dock 

We crossed the main street at this delightful cross-walk
and entered this hotel for a bite to eat

Pizza for lunch did the trick

Heading out of Uranga, this round-about displays
another whale statuette

You can see the 'busy" highway we enjoy driving back to
Tin Can Bay on....
Morning walks became pretty much a daily routine during our stay at the Marina here in Tin Can Bay.  We just step off the boat, walk about two blocks, and we'd be starting on a four-mile walk through very well maintained parks.  After awhile, we started recognizing and exchange "hello's" with fellow travelers along these walkways.

The "official" start point every morning.  the town of
Tin Can Bay to the right, and the actual bay to the left

The Nola bridge keeping our walking shoes dry
One of the many signs posted along the route showing
the varied local bird life for this area.

On one of our infrequent shopping trips to Gympie, we decided to stop at the town's museum on the way back.  We're glad we did.  It was small, but impressive nonetheless.

A soldier's horse 
An old dental office

Some of the old street signs 

Blacksmith's bellows

Bus to the railway station
Then it was off to Brisbane again.  This time to simply have a signature witnessed by the Consul General of the U.S., who was gracious enough to bring some of his staff from the Consulate in Sydney up to Brisbane (for semi-annual one-day visit) to ease the travel burden for folks seeking U.S. Visas, and, in my (Hal's) case, to apply for a new Passport.  Former passport having been declared lost sometime during the application process for a title to the car we'd purchased.  Turns out that after the U.S. State Department was advised of the missing Passport and subsequently deeming it forever null and void, it turned up six weeks later at the Tin Can Bay police station, where I had submitted the vehicle title application.  They had used the Passport to scan a copy for their files...I had left without checking whether it was in my possession.  Got call six weeks later that they had found it still in the scanner, and would I like to come retrieve it.  I did, but it was no longer valid, resulting in the trip to Brisbane...

The Douglas MacArthur building where the
Passport application was duly signed

Yes, another mall in Brisbane

Another "modern-ish" facade

Downtown Brisbane

More downtown

Bike Rental (didn't see anyone actually riding one)
On the way back from Brisbane, we experienced some difficulties with the shifting in the automatic transmission of our car.  We managed to get back to our marina, but started shopping around for a place to have problem looked at and dealt with appropriately.  Turns out the closest place was in Gympie (naturally).  So appointment was made and car delivered.  Turns out, nothing wrong with transmission, but the on-board computer was smoking/melting.  So, while they worked on that...a stroll around the area was undertaken.

The walk started here, just a few yards from the shop.

How's this for service...a DIY wash stand!

Just add coins and let 'er rip!

The Mary River

Flow control upstream on the Mary River

The car got fixed, joined the local RSL (Returned & Services League), similar to VFW, we were finally approved for a Queensland Government mooring at the Crab Creek mooring area, got the boat registered in Queensland through the Department of Motor Transportation, bought and had installed the equipment (concrete blocks, chain, rope, marker float, installation) at the approved location and moved the boat from Tin Can Bay Marina to Crab Creek (about 2 miles away) on April 2nd, 2019.  This is where we will call "home" for quite a while, we hope.  The rent is right (Instead of $900/mo. at the dock, we now pay $85/year).

The Crab Creek mooring area (about 25 boats total)

A happy Skipper out on the new

The sun sets on Shakedown as she swings on the
new mooring.....
The remainder of April and May was spent getting used to our new lifestyle.  We can no longer just jump off the boat onto the dock, as we now step off the boat into a dingy, make our way to Crab Creek Park, tie up the boat to a tree or rock near the public boat ramp, and get into our car, which is parked nearby.  We have new rules to go by, i.e., the tide needs to be in and water deep enough for use to traverse the very shallow (dry at low tide) area between the anchorage and the launch ramp.  We have learned that we can safely maneuver about 2.5 hours either side of high tide.  We miss that window, and we would have to walk the dinghy across the shallows.  Fortunately, there's at least one high tide every day, sometimes two.  We're back to making water again, and doing all the things that one normally does when at anchor.  Solar panels are providing the majority of our electric needs, and our little Yamaha EF2600 is doing a great job when more is needed.  Still trying to find a new starter motor for our internal generator....we've done more work on our roof to try to stop leaks, some dental appointments, and getting ready to make a trip to the States.  We plan to be gone from Shakedown from June to October.  We now have a safe place to let the boat rest comfortably during the Australian winter, while we make our way to San Francisco and beyond.  We'll stay overnight with our friends Adrian and Christine on June 2nd and fly out of Brisbane on the 3rd.

And why are we going to be gone so long?  In Fiji, we bought's in Michigan and needs some work....

Until October....Shakedown signing off...

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