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Trip Report - 4d sailing adventure.

Sydney, Australia
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for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Business Travel, New South Wales
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Trip Report - 4d sailing adventure.

Day One.

We departed Sydney at 11.15am with notorious Jetstar and arrived in Mooloolaba at 12.30pm and hopped into a taxi to our yacht.

Motoring out to the Pacific Ocean was uncomplicated and we found the ocean peacefully calm with no swell at all. The crystal clear waters glistened harmoniously with the afternoon sunshine which made it absolutely perfect for a pleasant sail to Moreton Island.

The sunset was truly magical a blazing fiery stretch of red clouds engulfing the entire sky forming patterns of spectacular colours similar to the outback. It’s always amazing how on a yacht one minute everything is beautiful and the next a nightmare.

The evening turned basically into a horrendous hour trying to navigate through the main channel of Moreton Bay with enormous cargo ships breathing down our necks and hubby trying to steer his way through the numerous beacons and navigation lights to stay on the GPS course to Moreton Island. This was no easy task especially with a million of lights flashing..

We arrived safely at Morteon island at 8pm just in time for EARTH HOUR – all lights turned off except for a few dimmed street lights. We managed to pick up an excellent mooring just off shore and settled down for the night.

Day Two.

Morning time is always exciting waking up on a yacht especially if one has anchored at night. Today, we have no real plans and have decided to go with the flow, so our morning consisted of taking a stroll along the beach to the Tangalooma wrecks which is renowned for its richly diverse marine environment with 15 scuttled wrecks.

The weather is gorgeous and the water temperature divine but we have decided to move onwards as we have explored MI thoroughly on a previous trip and we want to sail onwards to Peel Island and hopefully arrive before dark.

Along the way we spotted some sharks and a large turtle skimming the water, it’s absolutely a perfect sailing day with a gorgeous breeze and full sunshine.

We past St Helena Island which evidently has a disturbing and brutal history were a penal goal operated from 1867 to 1932 and incarcerated 3,800 prisoners. It was known as the "hell-hole of the South Pacific." (never heard of it before this trip!).

We arrived at the perfect time around 5pm and a few dolphins followed our course until they became bored and drifted back into the massive bay. We anchored safely and closely to the other three yachts in Horseshoe Bay which is supposed to be a safe haven for boaties. Night time is always fun watching the stars and listening to the sound of nature.

Day Three.

Woke up early to a stunning sunny morning in Horseshoe Bay and noticed we were the only yacht left moored in the bay. We would love to row over to Peel Island and do some exploring. As Peel Island was once used as a quarantine station until it became home to a leprosy colony, so there’s heaps of fascinating Australian history here to investigate.

Dugongs, turtles, and dolphins are also known to frequent the waters around the island and with the strong currents jellyfish and sharks are constant visitors , so I’m definitely not swimming in these waters today and no time for exploring as we are concerned about missing high tide.

Pulled the anchor up and set sail around 9am the water is totally calm and pristine with a hazy misty aura surrounding it; hopefully that’s not a bad omen. There are so many channels one can explore through this waterway it’s staggering but having a large yacht with a 1.7m draft, we have to be extremely vigilant not to get grounded in one of the channels along the way. We have opted to navigate the Main Channel past Macleay Island, Karragarra Island and Russell Island to Cabbage Tree Point rather than taking the Canipa Passage.

Macleay Island has another smaller island attached to it called Perulpa Island.The other island which looked fascinating was Lamb Island. It’s rather astounding how many islands are located in Moreton Bay totally suited to smaller speed boats or houseboats.

Navigating these waters with a GPS and boating safety charts is a huge task for hubby, it’s total concentration for him but secretly I think he absolutely loves the challenge.

After leaving Cabbage Point Tree Bay we head for South Stradbroke and hubby starts to relax as the worst of the hazardous and dodgy route is almost over, and with that knowledge I venture down stairs to make a cuppa and prepare lunch when “THUD” ..a few sh..t words plus others we find ourselves over a shoal .

To cut the story short, we tired at least ten different ways to enter the deepest part of the channel without any success. News had got around and the Coastal rescue patrol boat turned up with six burly men on tow and tried to assist us by saying “follow us” which we did only to become grounded once again. Anyway, moral of the story is to wait till high tide and have a few vino's.

Hilarious afterwards how a parade of yachts appeared suddenly , all of them prepared to follow, letting us do the hard work of navigating the nightmare shoals and sandbanks. We even slowed down into neutral but there were definitely no takers for overtaking !

Finally arrived at South Stradbroke and what a delight to discover Couran Cove resort whilst sailing past. Having absolutely no idea the resort existed we rang reservations and obtained a berth and room for the night and were extremely happy that we did.

Day Four.

We woke early and walked to the beach along the way we spotted a kangaroo in the swimming pool having a dip and many other roo’s whilst walking through the cabbage tree rainforest boardwalk.

This resort would certainly suit nature lovers with over 200 bird species and wonderful animals such as the golden swamp wallaby, echidna, and bandicoots to name a few. In addition, with the advantage of seeing dugongs, whales and dolphins off the 22km stretch of the Pacific Ocean surf beach.

There are mangroves, wetlands, woodlands and rainforests all tucked neatly into this beautiful natural island. The beach is absolutely gorgeous and I fall helplessly in love with Sth Strabroke Island.

If you love staying in a natural setting with an abundance of flora and fauna to explore with heaps of activities and a wonderful beach and waterways then you will love it here. To me, it was a “real Aussie” experience.

Set off at midday for our final leg of the journey to Southport Marina arriving safely around 2pm and basically headed to the yacht club for some tucker and a few drinks before checking into my favourite hotel The Sheraton Mirage for four days to celebrate our anniversary and my birthday. Plus we need to have the yacht in top order for it’s next journey from Southport to Sydney.(new crew).

We thoroughly enjoyed exploring this part of Australia and it was delightful adventure through some excellent waterways and we have now located another gem ! There’s unquestionably more to the Gold Coast than just theme parks…

Sydney Australia
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1. Re: Trip Report - 4d sailing adventure.

I really enjoyed your report EM. no flies on those other yachts eh!

Your story about navigating a way through the shoals brought to mind memories of travelling in ... I believe it was the whitsundays (?) when I was a kid with some really strong currents... though I recall it I was too young to be really worried (I actually went to sleep bundled up in towels and stuff) but I'm told it was a near run thing at the time to get back before nightfall and before the currents got too strong... or something like that anyway... ..one of the best things I like on the water is waking up to the sound of the water lapping the side of the boat.. so restful...

Couran Cove sounds great too. We're after a destination not too far or too expensive for our wedding anniversary... were considering UK but we decided to demolish the house instead but the anniversary isn't going anywhere.. 25 yrs deserves a celebration methinks!

Sydney, Australia
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2. Re: Trip Report - 4d sailing adventure.

Thanks Snodge,

I think you would love Sth Stradbroke or Moreton Island if you have not been before. Both are very interesting, Sth Stradbroke having the better style accommodation.To me, both are reasonable as it's the overall activities one can do on these islands.

I love both of them because of the natural surroundings and they are also very, very Australian...seeing a kangaroo in a swimming pool was my highlight of the trip !!

It's constantly amazes me what is on offer in Australia. Just your last report on the swamp near Mudgee, that blew me away...which is still on my agenda list to do.

mmm, 25years is something to celebrate !

Whitsundays
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3. Re: Trip Report - 4d sailing adventure.

'Welcome Home' Em... thank you for your detailed report and it is great to here what you found along the way...

I have seen Couran Cove Resort on some ad's on TV (it's a shame their marketing budget can not afford big time TV)... from the Ad I did not even know where it was (just some where down south)... so thank you for sharing another hidden treasure, it is good to have you back

Sailbabe

Whitsundays
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4. Re: Trip Report - 4d sailing adventure.

P.S Good work with Mr Em... 25 years... you get less for life:)

Sydney, Australia
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5. Re: Trip Report - 4d sailing adventure.

Thanks Sailbabe,

I know I filled out their review form and that's exactly what I wrote..."never heard of the place " so how's your advertising going??...but really probably I actually don't want it advertised now.

But it should be noted for boaties, except you cannot just hire/rent a berth at the marina without taking a room too.

For $200AUD we thought it was excellent value and our villa perched over the marina (view of our boat) was fantastic. The rooms are really modern and cute with fab views.

Sydney, Australia
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6. Re: Trip Report - 4d sailing adventure.

Sounds better than my last 4 or so days...mmm

LOL...When Couran Cove first opened late 80's early 90's it was pushed like crazy...they even had an add with Keiran Perkinds in the pool at one stage...

I think it doesn't attract because it's on the Gol;d Coast but too hard to get to theme parks etc. Originally it was VERY pricey...

Straddie has always been perfect...I still remember going there in the 60s (I was pretty young) and seeing kangaroos in the bush and feeling a million miles from anywhere

Whitsundays
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7. Re: Trip Report - 4d sailing adventure.

GW... I thought that you would not be older enough to be around in the sixties:)... EM good on you for filling out the feedback form... I thought that I was the only one who ever did that..

Perth, Australia
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8. Re: Trip Report - 4d sailing adventure.

Dear EM

Liked the report- will probably never get there but it sounds very nice.

Your reports are almost a cross between mills&boon and getaway, what with all the "fiery stretches' and "engulfings"... aah the romance. LOL

Glad you had a good time and i do like your style of writing. It takes us the reader right there.

cheers

Howzie

Sydney, Australia
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9. Re: Trip Report - 4d sailing adventure.

LOL Howzat, ...(mills&boons) please ..shoot me !!

G/W, it probably has not changed since your last visit, except the marina and the accommodation facilities are excellent.Certainly, not your 5 star stuff but extremely comfortable...

The ferries seem to run regularly whilst sitting on the balcony, evidently there is a fast ferry and a slow ferry to the Gold Coast. It's actually very close to Sea World by water.I'm surprised it hasn't been promoted for this reason alone.

To me, it would be a fab place to take young kids to enjoy a family holiday...a little of both worlds.

Sailbabe, I always fill out the forms...I'm sure the staff just drop them into the rubbish bin !

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10. Re: Trip Report - 4d sailing adventure.

I fill out forms too...

not all staff throw them, if I get a reply (and sometimes you do) it makes me that little bit more likely to return if I have mentioned an issue)

I've had responses from

Pacific Bay Coffs

Four Seasons Prague (an all positive)

Versace (anothe all positive)

Sea Temple

Rydges Port D long time ago

Stamford Glenelg

Le Meridien Budapest

Hayman in the early days

Silversea Cruises

One that stands out as ignoring was when GD wrote a letter to the manager at Shangri La Sydney....I'm sure that went in the bin, and I got no reply when we stayed for the guest form...