Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Stormy Sailing and Visiting Family

Arthur Bay ~ Magnetic Island
 My brother and his girlfriend visited us over the weekend here in Townsville. They loved our air-conditioning as it's getting super hot here now. We hung out, played games, ate ice-cream, tried the local beer and went sailing among many other things. 
Tika & Aran take us ashore on 'Maggie'.
The highlight was our sail across to Magnetic Island (or Maggie as the locals call her). We anchored in Arthur Bay and took a picnic to shore. The sun blasted down at us and we all looked longingly at the cool water but were too cautious to swim in 'stinger season'. Some backpackers were swimming - totally covered in their stinger protection suits. Just last weekend a man was stung by an irukandji jellyfish in the Whitsundays and had to be airlifted to hospital. I wore long socks to take the dinghy in and still freaked out that I'd been stung! Turns out I had a graze from climbing the rocks that I didn't notice until the salt water started stinging it! 
Sitting in the shade of a boulder above the bay listening to summer sounds of crickets in the bush and the water lapping at the shore = bliss! 

Heading home into the storm.

On our journey back to the marina, the clouds grew blacker and more menacing. We took down the Mizzen and Jib sails and put them inside (so they would remain dry as we needed to take them all inside anyway but more on that later). Just as we were approaching the channel into the marina, the storm hit and suddenly we were totally wet and in the middle of a 'white-out'. The rain was so heavy that we could no longer see the bright leading lights that mark the safe way into harbour! Rene suggested that we anchor off and wait until the storm reduced in ferocity. I could see that we were on course by looking at our navigation laptop. Two of our neighbours from the marina rang us to check that we were ok! Just as we were deciding what to do, the rain eased off and we made it in easily. Les and John even helped us as we came into our berth by taking our mooring lines.  I feel so grateful to have met such lovely, caring people from the cruising fraternity. Poor Tika was seasick for most of the trip but Aran said he felt the most alive he had in months! 
'I can't see the leads!' 
I knew where we were thanks to the nav laptop!
We enjoyed having guests to play with. Aran brought his skateboard up and I started learning to skate. I was amazed at how many guys looked at me when I carried the board into the local supermarket! I overheard one guy say to his friend 'check out the size of her board man - she's serious!'. Hehehe! Rene is the better skater and is seriously considering getting one to get around on since we don't have a car or bikes any more. I would prefer a scooter because they have brakes! 

We also went out to some of Townsville's bars and restaurants to sample the local produce and scene. We all enjoyed the taste of the locally brewed beer but Aran reckons his homebrew is better! The boys had to try the infamous chocolate nachos at one of the saloon style restaurants here. Apparently the taste was sensational as Rene put it 'this is incredible - my two favourite foods together as one!'. He wasn't so enthusiastic afterwards though (too intense)!!
The disco fountain - Rene is the blurry thing in the centre!

Black cockatoo having a feed.

A family favourite - Boules on the beach.

Chocolate nachos...


  1. oh dear god! am I going to have to worry about those deadly irukandiji jellys when I come there???? ahhhhhhhhh gasp..ahhhhhhhh breathe...ahhhhhhh

  2. Heather don't worry - they only lurk in the waters of northern QLD. You can swim in the Sunshine Coast with abandon! :D