Great Keppel Island, Queensland
(Steph) We are finally cruising again! And with all the good things come the not-so-good-things, but let's back up a day or two ...
On Wednesday morning, May 2, we left Bundaberg. We had been waiting for winds to fill in from the SE for a few days, and finally decided that the forecasted NE winds were going to have to do. We spent way too long in several anchorages last year waiting for weather, and sometimes it never came. So we learned to deal with it. And we like to say we've learned from our past, so we decided to just go for it. And we are very glad we did. We are finally cruising again!
Back to our story. We had just left the marina when we saw another yacht poke its nose out of a marina just a mile or so down the river. It was our good friends on sy Moose, so we waved to each other and both continued on our ways. The winds were indeed from the NE, but very light, so we threw up the new Carol Hasse asymmetrical spinnaker for the first time ever. While the winds were too light to get much of a push, it looked pretty cool. We're excited to use it again! It was great to finally see the pattern that was so agonized over during our first time back in the states working.
Our own design, thank you very much. We had it last year, too, but never got to use it because the wind was never below 25 knots.
We motored/sailed through the day and night and arrived at Great Keppel Island the next day around 13:00. We chose the southern anchorage because of the NE winds, and the swell was very light. It's really a lovely spot, and we were so happy to have begun our season in such a nice place. Sy Moose had chosen this island as their first destination as well. After giving us an hour to put the boat away, they came up in their dinghy to pick us up for an island hike. Later that night, we had them over for dinner -- they supplied the freshly caught tuna, we supplied the freshly made salsa and guacamole, and we all had fish tacos. Our first day of cruising was better than 75% of our cruising days last season! I hope it lasts!
Goats that roam wild on the island. Goats roam a lot of islands we've been to, and they always sound like crying babies.
Oops, spoke too soon. The next morning, I had it all planned out. After enjoying a cup of tea in the morning sun, we'd hop in the dinghy and take a morning hike to the lookout and get a good picture of Mico in her first Australian anchorage. Then, we'd have lunch, hang out on the beach and swim, then go harvest some oysters from the oyster beds at the edge of our bay. It was gonna be spectacular. I had my tea, then we got in the dinghy and ... ka-chunk. Ka-chunk, ka-chunk went the outboard. Not a pretty sound. We had test driven the outboard for several miles in various trips in our last week in Bundaberg, and it had run fine, so who knows why it sounded so bad. Maybe some gears? It sounded grindy, like teeth not quite coming together smoothly. We went back to the boat and tried to take it apart, but we realized after about two hours that we were on the verge of a major grease explosion and that if we figured out what was wrong we wouldn't necessarily know how or be able to fix it. So, we'll have to drop into a bigger city to visit a mechanic sooner than we had hoped, but meanwhile we'll be rowing around in our inflatable. (Boaters of Australia: We'll be the couple yelling at each other about proper rowing technique -- don't worry, we don't fight like this all the time.)
After lunch, we rowed into shore (not too many tense words were exchanged) on an oyster hunt. There are several public lease oyster beds on the island, which means anyone is welcome to the oysters but you have to consume them right there -- you can't take them with you! Armed with a few slices of lemon and a big knife, we found our quarry. The first few were a little gritty with bits of shell, but we eventually got the hang of it. We both had a dozen or so, more extravagant than any we've been served in a restaurant. Of course, they were tiny and a little warm from being in the sun, but working for your own food makes it taste all the sweeter, right?
Warren "shucking" oysters (it was more like poking them really hard until the shell finally broke off)
Mmmm, look at that liqueur ( ignore the tiny bits of shell)
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