Monday, September 20, 2010

Magnetic Alien Ducks

Magnetic Island turned out to have a few surprises in store for us.
Upon arrival, we were pleased to note that our compass stayed true - no one has been able to replicate Captain Cook's original magnetic variations which caused him to name it like this. We anchored in Horseshoe Bay because it is the most protected of all the bays on the island - not protected enough though... but we'll get to that later!
Magnetic Island made Rene stand upside down!
As we have become accustomed to, the beach here is different to all others we've seen so far. Sure, there's sand and water but it's different. The sand here is so thick that it is difficult to walk. We discovered that by walking in a horse's tracks it was easier. It's a bit wilder here - quite a few different types of life on the sea shore.
New and amazing forms of marine life.
Met some locals in an unusual way. The couple were pointing out a baby stonefish to their son. Always curious to know more about our deadly wildlife, I asked for a look too. Their (large) puppy found Rene's old straw hat irristable and ended up eating half of it, despite being held back by the owner. They told us that some yachties sit out the cyclones
here in Horseshoe Bay. I think they must have a deathwish or at least the ability to sleep whilst inside a washing machine! The wind picked up, as it was forecast to, and the swell kept rising. Our last night here was the worst. We weren't in any danger - it was just incredibly uncomfortable as the boat bounced its way over wave after wave. I think I managed to get about 30 minutes of actual sleep. My ribs and lower back ache today from tensing my muscles to try and stay in bed and not in the air or the floor!

Each night, the weird sound began again. It sounds like a swarm of alien ducks - all quacking under the water. Only, when you shine a torch down into the murky depths, there is nothing there... and then the sound stops! I have recorded this mysterious noise and, once I obtain the correct cords to transfer the sound to the laptop, will share it here to see if anyone has any leads as to what it is!

I spent a lot of time continuing to work on the never-ending dinghy cover. Two days are gone in a blur of blue plastic and frustration. We ended up having to sand back the needle holder on my Janome to fit the big needles that Nick gave us- working better now but still having issues with thread tension. The cover is nearing completion... which means (using the boat-work equation of normal time to do a job x at least 3 = actual time needed) that it may be finished next week sometime!
Fighting with the sewing machine in paradise.
Figuring out if the cover fits... again!
Rene was also busy. He has started working part time back at his old job over the internet. We are really glad that he's able to work online as it means that we can still live up here and continue to travel. I plan on picking up some supply work at local high schools and also doing many many boat jobs and looking into digital work too.
Rene hard at work!
And so, we escaped the mountainous swell of Magnetic Island to end up in the mud of Townsville. The only anchorage here is very shallow and our depth sounder was making a racket as we entered and settled into the mud. I'm looking longingly at the marina (showers!) but as we don't (yet) have comprehensive insurance, we are prohibited from
visiting it.

Townsville is the biggest town we've been to since Rockhampton over 2 months ago, so our list of things to do and buy is pretty substantial. My grog supply is down to one bottle of too-sweet wine that I can't bring myself to drink so a visit to "Uncle Dan's" is in order! We're also looking at replacing the boat batteries as power continues to pose a problem for us digital junkies! Lots to do.... including finishing the silly dinghy cover!

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