We made it to Queensland! Woohoo! We’re anchored at Marine Stadium (also referred to as The Spit), just near Seaworld on the Gold Coast. This is the busiest place we’ve stayed so far.
There are approximately 60 boats around us. All sorts – big and small monohull and catamaran yachts, huge luxurious motorboats, compact little motorboats, abandoned houseboats, party boats and retiree boats. Some seem to be anchored permanently, some are here for a week or so, and others stay for a night and then move on. At night when we look in one direction, we see the lights of the Gold Coast’s high-rise buildings off in the distance about 3kms away. On the other side, the view is rather odd. There are heaps of bright white lights bobbing around in the night sky – too low to be stars, too high to be lights on the shore – they are the anchor lights of all the yachts. Often it’s so dark you can’t make out the shape of the boats so it looks like the lights are just floating around in the sky.
There are dinghy’s zipping around all the time. So many dinghies. Ferrying sailors back and forth from their floating homes to shore, or serving as little fishing boats for locals trying their luck. And then there’s the jet ski’s. They don’t zip… they zoom. I like hearing peoples’ excited yelps and whoopies as they speed past. As if that’s not already so much fun, there are also helicopters, sea planes, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards and parasailers.
Throughout the day we hear quite a loud recording of a duck quacking. Odd? Yes indeed! The kids immediately jump up to the windows. “It’s the duck truck boat!” they yell excitedly to each other, watching as an amphibious truck painted like a duck drives straight from the road into the water. Each time it makes the transition from water to land, or vice versa, it quacks like a duck. Ah the Gold Coast… so much entertainment right off our bow!
We arrived here a couple of days ago – right on time. It’s taken us about a month to get here. So far we are sticking to our simple plan:
Step 1 – Melbourne to Brisbane in 1 month
Step 2 – Brisbane to Cairns in 1 month
Step 3 – Cairns to Darwin in 1 month
We seem to be forming a pattern with our travel. We initially thought it’d be good to do day sails and avoid traveling at night. But we’ve found that slightly longer sails are working better for us. So far the 24 -36 hour sails are about right. 24 hours is a little easier – by 36 hours everyone is pretty tired and there is a collective sigh of relief as we round a cape and come into a quiet calm bay, out of the big ocean swell.
24 hours is great because the kids are only awake for half of it. We leave somewhere in the morning, sail all day, and then they go to bed at around 8pm. They sleep all night, waking up at 7am the next morning when we are a couple of hours away from arriving somewhere new. Sailing overnight is lovely for Simon and I too. It’s really quiet on board with the kids all asleep. Simon does most of the sailing and I take over to do a watch here and there so he can sleep for a little while.
My watches will usually happen at a time when there’s not much traffic (ie, big container ships passing us) and no islands around. Simon might sleep, for example, from 10 – 11pm, then I’ll go to sleep for a couple of hours and I’ll do another watch from 3 – 4.30am. Then Simon will take over again until sunrise when I’ll wake up with the kids. We take turns sleeping on the couch in the cabin on overnight sails so we can wake each other up quickly if we need to.
When we are traveling during the day Simon is mostly sailing and I am mostly parenting and working. Just like during overnight sails, I’ll take over the sailing when Simon needs a sleep. We are finding that doing a big sail, and then stopping and spending a few days in a place is our groove. We have a day to sleep and chill out after the sail, as well as some time to explore, play, get some jobs done, and for me to get some more work done.
At the moment we expect to be hanging out around the Gold Coast and Brisbane for another week or so. We need to get some money together to fill up our fuel tanks, do some odd jobs on the boat, buy some gear (another inverter, solar panel, air compressor and an ice maker) and just generally take advantage of being in Brisbane – the last major city we’ll see until we get to Darwin.
Here is a map of our trip so far….