Travels in 'Meridian of Sydney'

Mackay - Whitsundays

After arriving in the new Mackay marina with Larry and Alison on 'Spring Fever', we looked around Mackay, shopped, etc before heading off to Rockhampton.  Larry was returning briefly to Sydney to see some of the Olympic Games with their daughter Jackie.   He was catching the 'Tilt Train' from Rocky to Brisbane, then flying to Sydney.

We hired a car to drive the 330km south, taking Liani the cat with us.  After a nice picnic lunch in the park near the river, we watched the 1500m freestyle race in a pub, with Liani on a lead. (That gave the locals something to look at!).  Queensland country towns virtually shut down from lunchtime Saturday to Monday, so there wasn't much to do. 

A suitable motel was found, and take-away dinners ordered for a quiet night as Larry had to be on the train at 7:30 am.  After we checked out and had a leisurely breakfast, we visited the Botanical Gardens briefly before heading off to the coast.   Rosslyn Bay marina was a nice spot for lunch before having a sticky-beak at Ridges Yeppoon resort (remember Mr Iwasaki?).

The next week was spent shopping, having haircuts, and working on the boat, while we waited for Larry and Jackie to return on Thursday night.  We also had the starter motor repaired as it had been playing up and we didn't want to find ourselves stuck somewhere without a motor.

We both refuelled and filled our water tanks before setting out to Port Newry, about 3 hours north of Mackay.  This was a nice quiet anchorage with an almost deserted (and derelict) resort.  A walk around the island in perfect weather was enjoyed by all before departing for Goldsmith Island.  The sail out there was in a fairly stiff breeze which was right on the nose.  We couldn't get Meridian to point as well as we liked, and Larry gradually drew away from us.  The big Detroit diesel helped us out, so we followed them into the anchorage which had about 8 boats sheltering inside.

The next day, Sunday 1st October was a most enjoyable one, beginning with some snorkelling (not very exciting) then a BBQ on the beach, finishing up with the Olympics Closing Ceremony.  The next morning was a sad one as we parted company with 'Spring Fever' - they were heading south to Brampton Island while we were northbound to catch up with Colleen and Derek on 'Wyena'.

This path took us via the Thomas and Lindeman Islands before catching up with them in Shute Harbour on Thursday 5th October.  This just gave us time to put Meridian on a mooring, as we were off to the Big Smoke!  Our daughter Meredith had celebrated her 30th birthday in September but as there was another major event on in Sydney, she decided to postpone the party.  The party had a dual purpose - to show off the renovations to their house.

We had a drama on arriving at Sydney Airport at 4:30pm, Liani could not be found, and they didn't know where she was!  Eventually she arrived at Adelaide; she'd been left on the plane!  She finally turned up in Ashfield at 11pm.  To keep her happy and away from Meredith's two border collies and two cats, Ian (our son) had agreed to look after her.

The week in Sydney went very quickly.  The party was held on Saturday with about 80 family and friends attending.  On Sunday Grandma came down from Newcastle for lunch with us.  Monday was spent shopping, Tuesday I had lunch with friends at Patricks.

Wednesday was more shopping for clothes and boat parts, then up to 'Festivity' our unsold Top Hat yacht for a cleanup.  A couple of hours had her looking much better.   From there we were invited to stay with Jim and Paula, members of PBYC.  That night, other members Pat and Sandra, and Tony and Sandra came for dinner.  It was a most enjoyable night for all of us.

Thursday was spent visiting Bob, our financial adviser to make some decisions on investments.  Judy then visited Masada while I went off to play golf with Ian at Randwick Golf Club.  A family dinner that night in Leichhardt topped off a great week.

To make amends for Liani's trip to Adelaide, Ansett upgraded us to Business Class for the return flight to Brisbane.  This was quite acceptable!  We made sure that Liani got on and off our flights this time!

Before long we were back on Meridian alongside 'Wyena'.  Because we had to turn the frig off, we ran down all our food stocks, or gave it to Colleen before we left.  We then had to restock the boat on our return, so more shopping.  Shute Harbour is a very convenient place to stay.  It is an all weather harbour, although the wind still whistles through, it is quite safe.  There is an excellent bus service in to Airlie Beach and Cannonvale every 30 minutes.

After a week of doing nothing much we finally hauled up the anchor and headed over to Cid Harbour on the western side of Whitsunday Island.  Here we lazed about for a few days while we had our first real rain since June.

One of the great things of the cruising life is the meeting and re-meeting of new friends and old.  One day while in Cid Harbour, we heard 'Annwn' on the radio.   Wal and Robbie and Ron were nearby, so we soon were re-united.  We had first met at Garry's Anchorage on Fraser Island and travelled with them to Bundaberg.   Someone suggested we all walk up to Whitsunday Peak, a mere 1450 ft!  Well, we made it after many rest stops, and nearly two and a half hours, to a great view over the islands.  The return trip was an hour shorter, but a bit more strenuous on the knees.

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Derek and Colleen had gone to Lindeman Island to careen 'Wyena' to give her a scrub and antifoul.  They weren't able to do all of it, so joined us in Cid.   With a change of wind direction, we decided to go around to Turtle Bay on the south side of Whitsunday Is.  This was a delightful anchorage with a beautiful wide flat beach which became the scene of a sporting challenge involving Bocce and shuttlecock.

While in Turtle Bay, I decided to get rid of some of the barnacles and growth that had appeared.  I also persevered with my feeble attempts at fishing.  Finally I succeeded!  With a little pink and silver lure, I landed a 2' Spanish Mackerel which we ate that night.

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