Mooloolaba Christmas Parade

Loud music on board, Christmas lights on the boats in the Mooloolah river, lots of wine, boys in bed, Christmas lights up the rigging (& I’ve even lightened up my hair for Xmas – stuff being frugal!).

Turtle patrol

Last night we went to a turtle rookery – which is a beach where turtles go to lay their eggs. In the information centre we saw turtle bones, wooden turtles, toy turtles and more!

We were led onto the beach by a National Park warden. We saw two giant turtles slowly come up from the ocean. The adult turtles were about 87cm across their shell. They were big.

The turtles push down and use all their weight to make a place to lay their eggs. At least 100 eggs are laid. Only 1 out of 1000 baby turtles manage to be an adult.

The first turtle we saw laid about 115 eggs. Hugo and Oscar got to carry some turtle eggs. We helped the wardens move the eggs to a higher man-made nest so they would NOT get washed away. There were loads of turtle eggs. The eggs were the size of ping pong balls and felt like plastic. We had to carry the eggs the way they gave them to us so we didn’t harm the turtles inside.
When we got home we were all very tired but dad got lots of good photos.


Back to Lady Musgrave

We’ve sailed back to Lady Musgrave Island – we grew a bit bored and restless sitting in Hervey Bay so we headed out of the marina on the high tide on Sunday afternoon for an overnight sail to Lady Musgrave. It’s been a few weeks since we’ve been out on the open sea so the boys and I turned a nasty shade of green for the first few hours. The boys quickly recover and managed to keep themselves occupied by watching a movie before heading off to their beds. By the time bedtime had arrived it was turning out to be quite a wild sail so we decided that Hugo would be best snuggled in with his brother, rather than on his own in the midship cabin. Gerhard had shifted things around so that they could sleep together in the aft/ Oscar’s cabin with the lee cloth in place between them. This arrangement was met with whoops of delight from the boys and excited little voices declaring they would be ‘bed buddies’. They quickly (and rather surprisingly) settled down to sleep for the night.

Meanwhile up the in the cockpit I was continuing to feel seasick and good old Gerhard was running around making sure everyone was comfortable and fed.

The sail wasn’t outrageous but it was a fast sail with the boat powering through the night with full sails out. It’s a long time since I’ve been on an overnight sail and must admit I was feeling a bit apprehensive, but declined Gerhard’s offer to head into Bundaberg for the night. I tried sleeping for a while somewhere between 9.30 and midnight but by the time some game of the boys’ fell narrowly missing my head and the crockery crashed about in the galley I decided to give up and go back up into the cockpit and enjoy the moonlight on the waves and the exhilarating feeling of night sailing.

At midnight it was my turn to go on ‘watch’ and whilst Gerhard was less than a metre from me, and still half awake, at least my being there meant that he could close his eyes and doze some of the time. My alarm was set to go off at 10 minute intervals so that when I did nod off it would never be for long.

Ahead of us the lighthouse on Lady Musgrave Island showed its presence a long time before we reached her – tantalisingly shining and yet seeming to take for blasted ever to reach. We arrived outside the reef just as the first blush of dawn started to lighten the night sky. It was pretty windy and bouncy out there, but we needed the early morning light to be able to navigate the channel into the lagoon. We tried to settle down and get a couple of hours sleep – but after about an hour of the boat creaking mercilessly and rocking so badly that food in the lockers could be heard crashing about, we gave up.

We made it out for several long snorkels across the reef. It’s the time of year when the turtles lay their eggs on the island so there are plenty of turtles to be seen swimming around: we swam alongside them as we snorkelled. Gerhard and Hugo also came across reef sharks, and we all enjoyed the mass of reef fish.

Later we went over onto the island. The water lapping the shore was an unbelievable temperature – it was like climbing into a bath. As we walked around the island we saw numerous turtles swimming by in the shallows, schools of fish and a Black Tip Reef Whaler Shark too making its way along the shoreline.

All along the beach you could see evidence of the turtles having made their way up the sand, the flat sand under their belly and beautiful waves / wings in the sand made by their flippers as they ascend the beach to dig holes and lay their eggs. Magical.

Tonight the water is calm and the Wedgetail Shearwaters and Black Noddys fly over the boat as the sun sets behind the island. Last night we were besieged by Hawk Moths (Hippotion Velox), annoying to say the least as we had to close up the boat to keep them out. Thankfully tonight we seem to be all clear.

It’s been another day of fascinating conversations with small boys, asking lots of questions and coming up with wild and wacky ways to save the planet or whatever the theme of the day is. Hugo has to have today’s award for a classic line. In our discussion about whether teachers are paid for teaching (clearly a debatable topic) we also talked about taxes and how public services are paid for. I also explained that if you attended a private school parents had to pay for the education. His little voice piped up – “so if you’re at private school are you not allowed to tell them your name?”. Cute…


On our way to Lady Musgrave Island

Sitting still in one place finally lost its appeal, after 3 weeks of almost non-stop northerlies trapping us in the marina at Urangan Boat Harbour. We set off for Lady Musgrave Island at 3:30pm today, aiming to get there by mid morning tomorrow. The forecast is for light (8-12 knots) south easterlies tonight, but so far we’ve been treated to 15-20 knots of of the North East. A boisterous ride, what with a choppy beam sea and all, but making excellent miles. Not sure why we should want to arrive at 3am, as we can’t go into the lagoon until it’s well and truly light (it helps to be able to see the coral ‘bommies’). Hey ho, it’s bound to slow down through the night!