Stars that stretch from horizon to horizon with a shimmering moonlit ocean that glows and swirls and sings, yes, it sings at night, it sighs too.
I read somewhere that the air just above the ocean is the clearest anywhere in the world, I think it contains some kind of intoxicant as I feel so alive when I am out there and so completely at peace. I have a new happy place that I could have never imagined, sitting at the Helm of Gipsy, buoyed up by 2 large fenders and a click clack canvas covered chair .. total serenity and divine excitement exist like I have never felt before.
We left the harbour at Scarborough, after some boat maintenance, AIS installation and a lovely I catch up with family and friends. We had an early departure, before the sun rose and a great sail into a reasonable sea with a swell of about 2 metres, we had the sails up, the motor off and it was a lovely pleasant day.
Coming into Mooloolabar was a bit tricky with the shifting sands posing a few challenges, we got over the bar with a good surf wave and a few good claps and hoots from strangers on the wall and retreated into the river, past Sailing Vessel Nandji (www.salingnandji.com) and up into a sweet little spot. We stayed the night and rested and then headed off the next night at high tide, keeping a good close haul into the break water wall and then heading up north, hoisting the sails and settling into a rhythm for the long night sail to the infamous Wide Bay Bar at the bottom of Fraser Island.
It was a good night, fast and furious, with a pretty reasonable swell and Gipsy kept a good consistent speed of between 5 to 7 knots. As it was our first night sail EVER, we were both excited and learning. It was pretty cool, Alex put on music that kept us awake and we both had an hour of sleep here and there while the other kept lookout.
The sun rose as we started to get closer to Wide Bay Bar and the conditions looked great, we radioed ahead and found that as we had thought it should be a good crossing, so over we went appreciating the new waypoints and the low swell rolling in. We headed up to Gary’s Anchorage for a cocktail and a sleep. It was both peaceful, beautiful and serene, all the things you need when you arrive somewhere, knackered.
Next day we cruised up the Sandy Straits, after an excellent sleep to recharge our batteries, with a high tide and shot out the other end for another night sail to Lady Musgrave.
This was a different night, we had to motor sail most of the way as there was little wind, but no matter, it was still a divine experience, the moon rose late and sky from horizon to horizon shot out stars, some sea fog, lights on the horizon of ships and boats and as we got further away just the ocean and her sweet singing. This time we had a watch and a system, newly hatched and pretty successful, this time we arrived in good shape. For our new regime of cocktail and sleep.
Now, Lady Musgrave is no stranger to me, I have wanted to do a trip here for the past 20 years, since Ceara was a little girl, I had wanted to come out and go camping, we went camping lots in those early years and this was a trophy I had my sights set on. You have to bring all your own water, food, everything, there is a rudimentary toilet on the island but nothing else. Sadly we never made it, it was too hard to get a group to come out and you needed a few people to hire the boat.
So here I am, all these years later with my beautiful husband having the best adventure possible.
The wind has been up for days, and we are just hanging out and swinging on the pick. We had a dive on the anchor and it is dug in well and we have even had gusts for long howling bursts that have been up to 34 knots. Its fine, its fun, its the most beautiful aquamarine crystal clear water, that is fulfilling all of my dreams from 20 years ago. Walking around the island, clockwise, anticlockwise checking for turtle movements up to lay their eggs, snorkelling off the beach that is littered with, of course, heart shaped coral in every direction and crushed white detritus of all manner that folds into a pathway to lead us onward. The soft green interior that usually houses mountains of bird life is quiet as apparently a mite has gone through and the birds are not longer here, sad, there are still some and one poor chap flew into our mast on its flight home and we had to rescue it and tip it up the right way so it could fling itself off Gipsy and into the night with large flailing wings and flappy webbed feet scooting as fast as it could across the water.
There is a Cat north of us in the lagoon, that has 4 kite surfing crew who are up at dawn each day, and screaming across the lagoon and break neck speeds with nothing to stop them and only a couple of yachts to keep aside, its quite a sight. We have had boats come in and leave, a mass migration of boats after our first night here as the wind got up, they all took of for the shelter of Pancake Creek. We have had drinks on an enormous Cat, been diving with the lovely family and chatted on the beach with a school group that is in residence for a few days and some interesting English people who have been sailing around the world for the past 9 years and are heading up north to join a rally to Indonesia. What an interesting life it is that we as so fortunate to be embracing.
The diving and snorkelling is fabulous, in every direction there are Bommies, big ones, small ones and ones to watch out for when your 2 metre draft is manoeuvring around them. We have seen dugongs, turtles all manner of fish and I will never tire of the dreamy tones of our new landscape.
The water is warm, we have wetsuits so we can stay in longer. We are waiting out the wind, thats all we are doing, it comes and it goes, but between us and another boat with a family on board, we are the ones staying and hanging in and waiting out the wind. Because, we can.