Almost three weeks since my last note - once you get into a routine not much exciting happens. It's just everyday life and there's not much to write about it! However, since then we've both been back to Sydney for the weekend to be at Andrew's 40th birthday party which was absolutely marvelous. It was also a real treat to catch up with family and friends before returning to Bundaberg.
Sadly, conditions were absolutely unsuitable for a sail to Lady Musgrave Island - I guess there's got to be something for the next trip! So, after stocking up on supplies, we headed for Hervey Bay, stayed one night in the marina and then headed off to the Great Sandy Straits. For two days and nights we anchored off Fraser Island in an anchorage called Yankee Jack. Simply lovely and a good opportunity to do some much-needed kayaking and exploring the long, sandy beaches. We saw the paw marks of dingoes in the sand - large and small - but did not actually see any of them. Bird life is interesting and we spend quite a bit of time memorising their features or calls so that we can consult our bird book in order to identify the birds and learn a bit of their habits. There were only two other boats anchored quite a long way away and it seemed we were the only people in the world.
Our next destination was another safe and beautiful anchorage called Garry's Anchorage - again in an isolated spot off Fraser Island. I spent the first day exploring the anchorage, the beach and surrounds by kayak - this is heaven!
Apart from it being a very sheltered spot and close to the beach, there is a sandy road through a beautiful mature eucalypt forest which you can follow for miles. When we went on the second day to take the walk again, we noticed a new sign just off the beach. The sign proclaimed that an estuarine crocodile had been spotted a few months ago and detailed various measures to take to ensure your safety. The first thing I said to Martin was to stow the kayak away on the boat - there is no way I want to make close acquaintance with a crocodile whilst I'm on it (when we go back from our walk I checked on the net and the Qld Parks and Wildlife rangers estimated it to be about 4 metres!). Even the dinghy which is of the blow-up kind, albeit with a hard bottom, seemed like very weak protection against a hungry animal. I certainly kept a look-out for two beady eyes as we got in and out of the dinghy. We had walked along this road last time we were here and were saddened to see that a lot of the forest had been burned by the fires of only a few weeks ago. Amazingly the black and ash-covered ground is already covered with bright verdant green shoots of various grasses and ferns of about a metre high. As is typical of the Australian bush, there will be little reminder of this conflagration within a year or so.
Since leaving Garry's Anchorage we have had four very long days of sailing - each day between seven and nine hours. We are now in Southport and will have a couple of days of R&R before we leave again. This time it will be a dreaded overnight from here to Coffs Harbour which will be roughly a thirty hour (yes, you read that correctly - I could easily be in Toronto, Canada in that time). I am not looking forward to it but we are both keen to get home now and this is the only way to make a dent in the long distances.
We hope to be home by the middle of the month, at the latest.