s/y Nine of Cups
Arrival in Bundaberg & Queensland, Australia
November - December 2011
Return to Home Page
                          We arrived in Bundaberg on 8 November 2011 as part of the annual Port to Port
              Rally (P2P), having stopped at Chesterfield Reef en route. The rally was not a "travel
               in company" type rally, but rather boats leaving primarily from points in Vanuatu and
               New Caledonia and meeting up in Bundaberg for several weeks of festivities and
               events. The P2P folks also ran a daily SSB net each morning and when we could, we
              checked in with our daily position and conditions.    
The 1000nm passage was fun and fast with a one-week stop at
Chesterfield Reef along the way.         
Bundaberg is located on the Burnett River about 20kms inland from the coast and is a
thriving city dominated by the sugarcane industry which surrounds it, but also supported by
the growth of beef and dairy cattle and tropical fruit. The area provides nearly 20 per cent
of Australia's sugar and is the country's largest producer of brown rum (known as Bundy
Rum) and traditional ginger beer. The city was named in 1867 after an aborigine elder
"Bunda" and the Saxon word for town "berg". It became a town in 1902 and a city in 1913.
Queensland occupies all of Australia's northeast corner and most of it is protected by the Great Barrier
Reef. It's considered to be Australia's "sunshine state" and supposedly they have 300+ days of sunshine
per year. That said, they've also experienced substantial flooding in recent past years due to cyclones.

Bundaberg, our port of entry,  is at the bottom of the Great Barrier Reef and we're not quite sure what our
itinerary will be. We plan to go to Sydney for its world famous New Year's Eve celebration and then ????
Perhaps we'll go north at some point to explore the reef or continue south and around up the west coast.
Both routes have their pros and cons and going south to Tasmania is a big draw for us.
Return to
Home Page
Don't forget to check out our
daily blog.
Welcome to Australia
Birds of Australia
Chesterfield Reef
Local nicknames for Queenslanders:
Cane Toads and Banana Benders
Cane toads were introduced into
Australia in 1935 in an attempt to control
pest beetles in the sugar cane industry.
They were unsuccessful in their control
efforts, but very successful at invading the
ecosystems of Australia’s north. Watch a
very funny video here.
Cane Toad Video Clip
Entry to Bundaberg is up the Burnett River
past the Southhead Lighthouse. The historic
Burnett Heads Lighthouse (right) was moved
to its present site in a park when it was
replaced by the boring one above.
The Burnett River is 270 miles long (435km)
and was named after James Burnett, the explorer
who discovered it in 1847. It's home to the
Queensland lungfish, sole surviving member of
the family Ceratodontidae and order
Ceratodontiformes. It is one of only six extant
lungfish species in the world
Downtown Bundaberg is neat and
tidy. The Australian Anglican Church
takes up a good bit of real estate.
The historic clock tower has been restored
and the now building houses the Australian
post as well as other government offices.
The marina is located about 20km from
the city in the bush which is to our
advantage when looking for local wildlife!
The iconic kangaroo was our first wildlife sighting beyond birds. Left, a dingo (wild dog) and
in the background a huge hare. All of this in our backyard in the field behind the marina.
The variety and sheer number of birds
here is amazing. Above a rainbow
lorikeet. See
Australian Birds for more.
The boat berthed next to us in the
marina was seized by the Australian
Federal Police and the young
Spanish couple aboard arrested on
drug smuggling charges.
 was swarming with
Customs agents and Federal Police
all through the night and the
following morning and certainly got
our attention. Needless to say, it
was THE topic of discussion in
town and at the marina for days.
the story in the NewsMail
Berthed Bundaberg Port Marina - 24S45.62 / 152E23.30
As the sugarcane center of Australia,
Bundaberg's landscape is flat. The soil is red
and field upon field is planted with sugarcane.
Narrow gauge rail trains transport the cane
from the fields to collection and processing
centers. Above, a dormant cane train waits at
ready for harvest time.
The Queenslander architectural style is quite
charming. The houses are built on stilts to
accommodate high waters as well as
minimize critters, snakes, etc. A veranda
wraps around the entire house and many are
adorned with gingerbreading.
Instead of deer signs as we're used to seeing
in Colorado or New England, there are
"Watch out for kangaroo" signs.
On a daytrip south of Bundaberg, we
spotted a goanna, the generic Australian
name for some 20 species of monitor lizards
that call Australia home. Learn more about
goannas. Go on!
Yikes! While walking on a trail in Burrum NP,
we came across this very large (8') python...
out for his morning stroll...I mean, slither.
‘Two nations separated by a common language.’ (Churchill, Shaw or Wilde?)
Though the reference was to America and England, the same applies to Australian
English and American English. Here's a comical idea of how misunderstandings take
place though we're speaking the same language...

David was asking someone about fishing rules and regulations.
What David heard:  "If you're fishing Monday, you gotta throw 'em back.
What Tom said: "If you're fishing mundi, you gotta throw them back.

David:  If you're fishing Monday, you've gotta throw back what you caught?
Tom: Yup
David: That's a strange rule. Why do you have to do that?
Tom: Ever since the flood, there haven't been as many of them.
David: Mondays???
Tom: Yup

Translation of what Tom said: If you're fishing for mundi (that's slang for barrimundi, a
type of local fish), you have to catch and release.
There are 140 species of land snakes in
Australia, and a further 32 sea snake species.
Of the 140 land snakes, 100 are venomous!
Of the 10 most venomous snakes in the
world, 5 are native to Australia.
Couldn't resist...a postal cat!
We walked every morning and this is the view
of the Burnett River from our favorite park.
The poinciana trees (aka flambuoyant or
flame trees) are all in bloom.
Masking the decks in preparation for
painting was a long, tedious job. Midst
the excitement of arriving in a new
country, boat work always continues.
We took a day tour organized by the
Port2Port rally folks. One stop was "The
Hummock", a low-lying volcanic
remnant (elevation ~300'/96m)which,  
offers great ocean views  to the east and
the endless sugar cane fields to the west.
Dan Murphy's, an Australian discount wine/
liquor chain offers some great wines for
tasting and good prices for purchasing.
Needless to say, setting a bunch of cruisers
loose in a liquor/wine store and plying them
with lots of wine samples in mid-afternoon
caused quite the buying frenzy.
The highlight of the afternoon was a visit to
a boomerang factory. This mom and pop
operation was pretty slick. We saw how
boomerangs were fabricated and the
aerodynamics involved in creating a
boomerang that does indeed return to you
if you throw it correctly.
Learn more about boomerangs here.
Watch a funny video set to the tune of
"My Boomerang Won't Come Back".
We'd seen colorful boomerangs in local
souvenir stores that were great for show,
but didn't actually "come back". These do!
In fact, each one is marked "flight tested".
We took several out into a cane field and
everyone took a turn at throwing them. The
men seemed to do much better than the
women, the trick being a strong flick of the
wrist to get it airborne.
Speaking about cane fields...Australia
is one of the world's largest raw sugar
exporters.  Nearly 80 percent of
Queensland's raw sugar is exported,
earning valuable income for Australia.  
Queensland Sugar Limited markets
most of the raw sugar produced in the
state. Raw sugar exports contribute in
excess of $1 billion to Australia's
economy.  Queensland's major
overseas markets for raw sugar include
Canada, China, Japan, Korea,
Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore,
USA and Russia.
Sweet As...Bundy Sugar
The "sugar ship" African Puma chugs up the
Burnett River to the port for a load of sugar.
Thanksgiving 2011
Thanksgiving was celebrated in style. Gail and David on the catamaran "Fifth Season" hosted five
boats for an outstanding feast. After dinner and dessert, Gail mesmerized us with her harp and
lovely voice. The boats Kestrel (Germany/Canada), Papillon (South Africa/New Zealand),
Shuang Yu (USA/UK), Fifth Season (USA) and Nine of Cups (USA) represented a United
Nations of nationalities intent on feasting and sharing a great American tradition.
Gail does a final check on the dinner table
laden with food.
Fifth Season's captain carves up
the roast turkey.
US President Barack Obama arrived in Oz just
after we arrived. Above, pictured with
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, neither  
attended  our Thanksgiving dinner.
A green tree frog was in our path on the
way back from the showers one night.
Our last morning in Bundaberg was wonderful. We went for an early morning walk and spotted a
mob of kangaroos grazing in the cane field behind the marina. We spotted the "mama" and her
joey and got some good shots of the photogenic family. Song & lyrics:  
Tie Me Kangaroo Down
A Christmas scarab beetle named for
their annual appearance in December.
When we were ready to leave Bundy and head
south to Sydney, the winds and weather did not
cooperate, leaving us with little time to get to
Sydney by the time our friends, Fay & Doug
Grimm arrived. Only 700 miles, we thought it
would be an easy sail....WRONG!When a
weather window finally appeared, we began the
trek south, but much slower than anticipated
because of the short windows of opportunity.
We ended up doing mostly day sails, anchorage
hopping to gain a few miles each day while
awaiting each day's weather surprises. Our first
two days we had good current, but it was offset
by fighting SE winds on the nose. To avoid big
seas, we ducked behind Fraser Island and
through the Great Sandy Strait and waited for
the tide to head out over the Wide Bay bar and
back into the Coral Sea/Pacific Ocean. The area
appears to be lovely, but we whizzed through.
It's on "the list" for our trip back up this coast.
From a distance we couldn't figure out
what was happening at this marker. It
appears two fishermen were using it as
a mooring and the fishing was good!
A late afternoon squall with high
winds and heavy rain doused us and
tore our flag to tatters.
Off the Ship Channel near marker S9 - 25S17.04 / 153E00.66 - 40'
Wide Bay Anchorage/ Elbow Point - 25S45.93 / 153E00.57 - 37'
Mooloolaba/Mooloolah River - 26S41.31 / 153E07.24 - 12'
The Double Island Point Lighthouse has been
operating since its completion in 1884. It is
constructed of metal cladding on a timber frame
as is typical of many Queensland lighthouses.  
We passed it on our way from Wide Bay to
A panoramic view of the Mooloolaba coastline with Point Cartwright Light
to the left. The name Mooloolaba was derived from the Aboriginal word
'mulu', which means snapper fish. Some say that the name Mooloolaba
could have also been derived from the Aboriginal word 'mulla', referring to a
red- bellied black snake. Mooloolaba was originally known as Moloolah
Heads until a land owner changed the name to Mooloolaba in 1919.
Erected in 1978, Point Cartwight Light stands on
the headland at the entrance to the Mooloolah
River at Mooloolaba.
The Mooloolah River is shallow and muddy.
We had a hard time finding a good anchorage
as those areas deep enough for us were very
tight and crowded, but we managed.
The Sunshine Coast refers to  the coastline north of
Brisbane which appears to be lots of beaches,low
key resorts and tourists.
Dubbed "Gypsy Camp" by the locals because
of derelict boats that anchor here, many are
unattended and bang into each other when
the tide changes...like above, for instance.
Down the coast from Mooloolaba, we sailed past the city of  Caloundra stretching
across the white beach shoreline with a backdrop of very distinctive mountains.
Bongaree, Bribie Island - 27S04.96 / 153E09.38 - 37'
Continuing down the coast, these distinctive peaks remained highly visible and got us wondering about them. They are
part of the Glass House Mountains. Named by Captain James Cook in 1770 as he sailed north up the coast of what is
now Queensland as part of his epic voyage aboard the HM Bark Endeavour. He named them because the shape of the
mountains reminded Cook of the huge glass furnaces (glasshouses) back in his native Yorkshire. The twelve peaks are the
cores of extinct volcanoes that formed ~27 million. These mountains are located in the traditional lands of the Gubbi
Gubbi people. In the Aboriginal legend, the mountains are members of a family with the father being Mount Tibrogargan
and the mother Mount Beerwah (conical shaped mountain to the left). All of the other mountains are sons and daughters
with the eldest being Mount Coonowrin (the crooked peaked one in the photo to the left). Tibrogargan, the father,
observes that the sea is rising and asks that Coonowrin the eldest son help their pregnant mother to safety. Terrified,
Coonowrin instead flees. Infuriated by his son's cowardice Tibrogargan pursues him and strikes him so hard that he
dislocates Coonowrin's neck. Once the danger passes, Coonowrin feels tremendous guilt for his actions and asks his
father, brothers and sisters for forgiveness, but all wept with shame. This is said to explain the many small streams that
flow through the area. Tibrogargan turned his back on Coonowrin and gazes out to sea refusing to look at his son who
continues to hang his head in shame and weeps. The area has been part of the Australian national park system since 1994.
Bribie Island, 34km x 8km at its widest, is the smallest and most northerly of three major sand islands forming the coastline sheltering
the northern part of Moreton Bay, Queensland. Bribie Island hugs the coastline and tapers to a long spit at its most northern point
near Caloundra. It's separated from the mainland by the narrow Pumicestone Passage. Most of the island is uninhabited national park
and forestry plantations. The southern end of the island is intensively urbanised as the photo of  Bongaree Jetty shows above.
Buckley's Hole, at the southern tip of the island, is an important bird habitat and refuge.

Bribie Island fortifications were constructed from 1939 to 1943 as part of the defence of southeast Queensland during WWII and to
provide artillery training for Australian soldiers. The remnants of the fortifications are still found on the island. Pumicestone Passage,
which is located between the island and the mainland is a protected marine park that provides habitat for dugongs, turtles and
dolphins.There are also extensive mangroves forests in this area. Eucalypt forests, banksias and heathlands are the predominant
vegetation elsewhere. Bribie Island is home to around 350 species of birds, including a range of honeyeater species, lorikeets,
waterbirds and birds of prey. Again, in our haste to move south, we only spent the night at anchor and left early the next morning. We
could see and hear trees filled with white cockatoos and it only reinforced our plans to come back up the east coast at a leisurely pace.
NASA satellite photo of Bribie Island
with our route marked.
Rip tides on Bribie's southeast
coast make it a "no-swim" zone.
From Bribie Island, we clung to the coast near
Brisbane port and then cut across the ship's channel
and headed across Moreton Bay along the inside
passage and wended our way  south. Distance as the
crow flies is not very long, but the meandering through
shallow channels is time-consuming and required
motoring. The scenery was pleasant and not unlike
wandering down the US's Intra-coastal Waterway. We
passed through tiny port towns and threaded our way
through moored and anchored boats. At last, we came
to Southport to wait for northerly winds that would
take us along the New South Wales coast to Sydney.
Karragarra Island - 27S38.14 / 153E22.92 - 17'
We anchored off
Karragarra Island one night.
The wind against strong
current coupled with
constant ferry traffic made
for a less than tranquil
anchorage (left). Right, a
railroad crossing...oops,
actually a special marker   
marking a pipe outfall.
We passed by the busy
Brisbane port. The cranes
from the back side looked
ever so much like giraffes
from a distance. We were
disappointed to pass by the
entrance to the Brisbane
River. Up the river 12nm is
the state capital city of
Brisbane and the third
largest city in Australia.
We got a kick out of the creative houseboats that we passed by. From airstream trailers, to ranch style to totally  tarp.
Southport - Marine Stadium (Bum's Bay) anchorage - 27S57.19 / 153S25.31
In the distance, the skyline profile of
Southport looked like Gotham City.
Entering the main channel was total bedlam.
Tallships, jet skis, barges, and the usual boat
traffic shared the water.
Fast boats towing parasailers buzzed
around us as well.
The VMR (Volunteer Marine Rescue)
shack stands sentry at the Gold Coast
Seaway. The Gold Coast Seaway or
Southport Seaway is the main
navigation entrance from the Pacific
Ocean into the Gold Coast
Broadwater and southern Moreton
Bay and is one of Australia’s most
significant coastal engineering projects.
The Seaway enjoys the world's first
permanent sand bypassing system
which currently delivers all sand that
arrives at the Seaway across the
entrance and into Moreton Bay Marine
Park. Previously, the Southport Bar
was a very dangerous entrance until
1986 when the Gold Coast Seaway
was constructed. There are now two
rock walls that stabilise the position of
the entrance.
We're certainly not used to the noise or the traffic of a city. There are evidently no speed limits for watercraft. Jet skis and small, fast
boats dart around us at incredible speeds using anchored sailboats as turning buoys for their chases and races. The SuperDuck tour
boat motors past each hour on its harbor tour.Water World is also just in front of the anchorage and the hoots, hollers and screams
from the big water slide collide in the air with the seaplane that takes off hourly, using the two boat length space between us and our
neighboring boat as his runway.
After patiently waiting for a weather window, we
headed back into the Pacific Ocean through the Gold
Coast Seaway. We motored, we sailed and crossed the
state border from Queensland into
New South Wales.

Join us for the trip, sights along the way and our arrival
Passing the breakwater out of the Gold Coast Seaway
into the Pacific Ocean was a bit bumpy.
New South Wales