Living on a boat tied up to a marina and living on a boat are two completely separate arrangements. On a marina you are plugged into normal power, have water and facilities at your disposal and it is not dissimilar to living in a water front apartment. ….There you go first homeowners, there is your solution, buy a boat for not even a quarter of the price of a house and if you don’t like where you are just move!
Untied from a marina you are completely self sufficient and monitor resource consumption like a hawk be it food, water or power. It’s a strangely satisfying feeling to know that you are minimising your imprint on the world at the expense of your personal mod cons.
We were getting marina fever from being tied up for 2 months which was outstandingly amplified by Harry forcing half a packet of baby wipes down the toilet the day before we were supposed to leave. Ric had to completely disassemble 24 years of toilet activity in order to fix it. Oh My God the smell would have made an onion cry. After disinfecting Ric in what was essentially pure bleach (I am surprised he doesn’t have blonde hair now) we were ready to ‘untie’ the next day.
We baby stepped the ‘Freedom Day’ which was the 11th June 2015 by motoring a few hours down to a cove called Tipplers Passage. No problems, no incidents and settled in for a roast and a bottle of red feeling rather satisfied with ourselves. ‘Untied’ was a piece of cake!
We woke up to pouring rain….. hmm excellent sailing weather. Not the glorious rays of sunshine ones’ head had envisaged nor where there a plethora of dolphins surrounding the boat while we had breakfast.
Today the plan was to get to the bottom of Moreton Bay which involves negotiating the rather shallow channels behind Stradbroke island. As Annie T has a draft of 2 metres , this meant that we could only travel at high tide so as to not hit the bottom and get pin balled between the thousands of sand banks. We got the tide bit right but came to a section of the passage that looked like an airport runway as two rivers connected and there were channel markers everywhere. Ric consulted the chart plotter (bit like Google Maps for boats) which directed us close to an isolated danger marker so we made a joint decision to ditch the technology and go with our human instinct and designed our own path. FAIL!! About 2 seconds later we hit the bottom, Ric was nearly coat hangared by the helm wheel and I when flying through the cock pit and luckily caught myself before being thrown downstairs scoring my first boat bruise. Luckily we were being sensible and were barely moving, so were able to glide back off the bank fairly easily. If it was at pace, our yacht would have become a canoe as we would have potentially ripped the keel and rudder off. End of adventure…… Lesson one. As much as we hate to admit it, technology can sometimes be right!
Ok, keep calm and carry on….. We reached the bottom of Moreton Bay quicker than we expected so decided to keep going and go to Tangalooma which is at the top of the bay. This is where lesson 2 was learnt….. We were ticking along nicely when all of a sudden….. CRUNCH, and turn around and see half a fishing net being spat out of the back. Great, is that all of it? Is there some wrapped around our propeller? A second later another crunch and the other half comes flying out. No vibration on Annie hopefully means that it is all off but we (Ric) will have to conduct an in water inspection when we stop.
Still raining but at least there is a plus side and we get a rainbow across the back of the boat. Ah pretty…….. for 5 seconds!!! Then out of the blue we get hit by a 35 knot NE squall when the winds all day had been gentle SE. Naturally…… we have a full rig of sails up so Annie T heels over like we have just joined the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. Boys being boys think this is hilarious and I keep my calm for their sake but inside I am having kittens and would politely like to step off and go to the Hilton.
Ok, it finally gets calm and we carry on. Reach Tangalooma to see the only yacht moored there with its mast moving like a metronome. Not the best sign of a calm anchorage so we decide the only way to keep us still for the night is to borrow the Department of Transport’s mooring hoping that the night would bring calmer seas. Well that clearly didn’t happen and we spent the night rolling around in our 51 ft washing machine. First real day was…… hell!!! Lesson 2. Have a plan and stick to it!
We did all surprisingly get some sleep in Annie the LG and the day before was swiftly forgotten when we explored the sandhills and wrecks of Tangalooma and saw our first huge turtle who we followed swimming up the inside of the wrecks. We were all mesmerised!