The next leg of our adventure takes us through the inland waterway known as The Broadwater, which connects the Gold Coast to Moreton Bay. This whole area is basically estuary-land, and the water here is very very thin. I vividly remember the stress of navigating through here on our previous monohull ‘Illusion’. Her draught was 2.1 metres and we had to carefully work the tides to avoid being snafued on a sandbank somewhere (the official terminology is ‘going aground’, also known as ‘hitting the bricks’, ‘bottoming out’ ‘on the rocks’ ‘foundering’.…and a whole lot of other less savoury terms, but if you own a boat it’s only a matter of time before it happens to you). This time it’s a different story – Toucan’s draught is a teeny weeny delightful 1.3 metres and suddenly a whole world of opportunities awaits us. Just because we can, we decide to explore the shallower, eastern channels of Tippler’s and Canaipa passages. But first I need a wee rest…
I’m having difficulty getting my cruising mojo back after the flurry of departure activities, a less than pleasant first passage and three solid days of intensive work on the hard stand. I’m exhausted but I can’t sleep, my wind whirring and buzzing with trivial and annoying worries like pesky mozzies, trying to remember all the things I may have forgotten. I’m having to re-learn so many things – my constant refrain is ‘How do I do this again?’ in response to simple tasks such as using the functions on the chart plotter or radio. Even the previously automatic sequences of reefing the main or the checks we do before leaving an anchorage are needing conscious effort. I feel frustrated and discombobulated. So it’s time to take some of my own medicine – stop, breathe, relax and slow down.
Our journey through The Broadwater is just what I need. The sun is shining, a gentle breeze is blowing and the tide is on the rise. So we unfurl the jib and with some motor-assist meander our way up the inside passage, passing attractive anchorages and scenery on the way.
It takes about 4 hours to emerge at the other end into Moreton Bay, and not wanting to rush these things (the new mantra) we drop the pick at Blaksley’s Anchorage on North Stradbroke and settle in for the night.
The forecast tells us we’re in for some rainy weather soon, so the next morning we take the opportunity to explore North Stradbroke while the sun is still shining. To do that we need to be closer to the town of Dunwich so we move up to Myora Anchorage just north of the township. This is a pleasant and mostly protected anchorage from the SE winds, but we still get some swell coming in when the tide covers the sand flats. We dinghy round to The Little Ship club and ask if we can leave our tender at the back of their pontoon. They’re very welcoming so we feel it’s only fair to patronise the bar and restaurant.
The beers are good, the food not so much, but it’s a pleasant outlook and there’s two other surprises in store for us. Firstly, the bus to our destination, Point Lookout, pulls up just outside their door, and not 50 metres from the bus stop is a lone gum tree with a resident koala just hanging out. How cool is that?!
Point Lookout is about a 40 minute bus ride, on the ocean side of the island. We’re expecting a taller, more impressive lookout, but it’s still beautiful and we stretch our legs by doing the 1/2 hr Gorge walk, watching the turtles below battling the surge as they try to find the tastiest seaweed morsels, and strolling past the roos nonchalantly munching beside the pathway.
It’s school holidays so the place is buzzing but we can’t pass up the opportunity to sample a homemade gelato – it’s worth the wait in the queue, cinnamon and fig is my new favourite flavour!
The buses only come every hour, so by the time our bus arrives there’s a sizeable crowd and it feels more like a Tokyo subway train than a rural bus. But all’s good, it’s been a great day and equilibrium has been restored.