Monday, June 13, 2016

Time to Explore Oz's Outback

Waiting for the train to Brisbane.
While S/V Trillium is at the spa at The Boat Works on the Gold Coast of Australia, we are off on another adventure. The good people at Everything Marine at The Boat Works is inspecting and installing new standing rig, so we are heading out to the hot, dry red dirt country of the Northern Territory of Australia. Remember that here going up north is going toward the equator so it will get hotter. While I want to see the sights up there, I am not looking forward to the heat and humidity.

The Brisbane River winds all through the city.
As a side note: people ask why we are getting new standing rig. We like to consider ourselves cautious sailors. S/V Trillium was built in 2001 and is in beautiful condition, but she has the original rigging. Since we are about to embark on a long and challenging eight months of sailing to Indonesia, across the Indian Ocean, around the treacherous Cape of South Africa, across the South Atlantic Ocean, up the coast of Brazil and South America and the Caribbean Island chain, we consider it preventive maintenance! And I know Dennis does not want to be stuck somewhere with major problems and listening to me complain!

The city is full of beautiful old trees.
We hopped onto a train in Coomera on the Gold Coast (their version of Miami) as the boat is up the Coomera River about five miles from the Coral Sea. Our first stop was Brisbane, the capital of Queensland.

It is a city of relatively new high-rise buildings of various architectural design. There is a heavy use of reflective glass on the exterior to catch the reflection from the water and changing sunlight. With more than 70 cranes in the sky, we think they are overbuilding – especially apartment complexes!


Pies and fries (they call them "chips") Aussie staples!

The Mall is a closed off street that goes for several blocks.

The market in the Botanical Garden on Sunday.

We lucked out with a hotel I found online. The Royal on the Park is an elegant older structure with modern updated rooms. The location was perfect: across the street from the Botanical Gardens, a short walk to the mall street in one direction and to the riverfront in the other.

Australia is a country of outdoor living as many of the bars and restaurants are open air. We spent Saturday afternoon exploring the area and scoping out restaurants.

On Sunday morning, we were greeted with a nice surprise. Our plan was to take a nice stroll through the Botanical Garden and then find a place for brunch. As we entered the garden, we were welcomed by the weekly Sunday market of arts, crafts, miscellaneous and FOOD!

My Breakfast: Potato Pancakes with fresh applesauce
We found an interesting twist for breakfast. It is a German food truck specializing in potato pancakes served in a variety of ways. Two orders plus fruit smoothies from the next vendor made for a great breakfast.


The Potato Pancake station.

Dennis had poached eggs on his.

Following breakfast and a stroll though the art fair section, we wandered throughout the Botanical Garden. It was a lovely way to spend the morning.

We had decided not to sail into Brisbane as it meant backtracking about thirty miles. Instead, we opted to see the city from the river on the City Cat ferry and spent a pleasant Sunday afternoon just making a round trip from Eagle Pier to the Queensland University and back out to Hamilton near the Port of Brisbane. Dinner on Eagle Pier was a perfect ending for a great day.

Many yachts moor off the Botanical Garden.

Beautiful plants everywhere.

I just don't understand why people need to damage plants
like this. The canes were full of carvings.

Monday turned out to be a special day. Back in Vanuatu, we had met a couple of yachts in different places. An invitation from Tony Love to make contact when we got to Australia was extended. This a frequent thing among sailors. In fact, we hosted a couple from Germany at our home when they came through Lake St. Clair, having met them in the Caribbean.

Our original plan had been to sail from New Caledonia to Brisbane, so I had emailed Tony about places to leave the boat while we traveled. He offered to make arrangements for us at his yacht club, the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron. Then we discovered the Down Under Rally which would let us check off the Bucket List item of sailing into Sydney Harbour! And so our plans for sailing into Brisbane were scratched.  

Dinner after a long river cruise.
After deciding to spend a few days in Brisbane before our trip to Darwin and the Red Center, I contacted Tony. He offered some suggestions on what to see and do in Brizzy. Suggesting that we meet for lunch or dinner, he and Margot picked us up at the hotel and showed us the waterfront where we would have sailed into his club. Then he gave us a tour of the yacht club and an interesting story of its history. His grandfather was a founding member and Commodore. Both Tony and his father were Commodores there.

Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron

Inside the club
Of course, we went out to see his new boat. Tony had invited Stuart, who we had also met in Vanuatu, to join us for lunch so we reconnected there as well. I found the afternoon to be one of the most enjoyable of our adventure. It was fun to see Tony's love and passion for sailing, his club and his boat. And Margot, who flies into nice places and leaves when it is passage time, is very amenable to it all. She would have to be since sailing is in Tony's genes!

Thank you, Tony Love!
Actually, our first contact came when he noticed Grosse Pointe Farms, MI on our stern. He was sailing a boat called S/V Patriot, a Swan Chicago-Mackinaw racer, which he bought in Chicago. See how small this world really is! He recently sold S/V Patriot and bought another boat from California. One of the most wonderful things about the yachting community is the connections we make. While we will probably not see most of them again, as sailors we have shared something that just can't be fully explained to others. But they will always be special in our memories.

  My saying is: "Until our wakes cross again ..."

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