Chapter 20

I got back to Daydream at the marina in Bundaberg in November. Everything was in perfect shape, exactly as Susan had left it the previous April. By the end of the year I was ready to see some new territory so with help from Janine Davies, I took the boat down to Gold Coast and went into the Southport Marina there. The boat had a couple of problems on the way and we had up to 30 knots of wind so I was lucky to have Janine along cause she’s an excellent sailor. We did have one tiny little disagreement on the way down though. It involved a bet about what time we’d arrive and Janine had her money on a much earlier time than me. During her offwatch the wind went down to zero and while some people would motor in that situation it seemed best to me that we drift for a while, increasing my chances of winning the bet. Unfortunately the silence woke Janine up and shortly afterwards we agreed that motoring was the more appropriate thing to do.

A couple weeks after I moved to Gold Coast there was a huge flood in Bundaberg and around 80 boats were destroyed, part of the marina was swept away and there was at least one death, so I was lucky not to be there. This was the second 100-year flood in Bundaberg in 2 years, with the crest at 9 meters above normal high water.

Gold Coast was a fabulous place to spend a few months. It has a beautiful beach that’s probably 30 miles long, friendly people and a lot of interesting things to do. I joined a couple of running clubs, a surf life-saving club and took surfing lessons. Mostly I worked on getting the boat ready for the trip this year.

The cyclone season officially ends April 1 so I started heading up the coast. Amira Karaoud crewed for me from Gold Coast up to Gladstone. She had never sailed before but took to it quickly and did a great job. We spent 3 days at sea then stopped in Bundaberg overnight and caught up with friends there, then headed to Lady Musgrave Island in the Great Barrier Reef. This is a beautiful little island with an enormous surrounding reef. It has a difficult entrance and no wind protection, but the reef makes it a flat anchorage in most conditions. There’s some pretty good coral and reef fish and we saw a couple of turtles as well. Probably the most fun was climbing the lighthouse for overhead photos of the reef. We were there for a couple of days with about 25 knots the entire time, but when the weather service began predicting a gale we decided to find somewhere better. We made a super-fast passage to Pancake Creek, in fact we topped 12 knots a couple of times which is pretty unusual for Daydream. Amira turned into a fishing machine early in the trip and we ended up catching two nice wahoo. Wahoo!

From Gladstone to Airlie Beach, Luisa crewed for me. We stopped at a couple of reefs and also a number of islands along the way. The last island was Daydream Island in the Whitsundays.

I spent a couple of days in Airlie Beach then did the rest of the trip to Townsville alone. On the way to Townsville, Daydream took the biggest knockdown she’s had in the last 7 years. There was water in the cockpit and things down below that had never moved before, ended up on the floor.

I’m at the Townsville Yacht Club now. This is a friendly little club right in the centre of downtown. Hard to get to in Daydream cause the creek doesn’t really have enough water, but a great place to be. I’m provisioning the boat for the next five months and waiting for crew, Manon, to arrive. If the weather is good I hope to leave here next week and head for the Louisiade Islands in Papua New Guinea, then East Timor, Bali in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and then Thailand.

Have a look at this link for some photos from the last 6 months.

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