We knew it would be difficult to top our Lady Musgrave visit but we have found that each new destination, anchorage and even marina, all have something to offer.
We left Lady Musgrave for Bundaberg thinking we would keep moving south. However, the strong southerly weather meant we stayed a week in the Bundaberg marina. So we played tourist and we met up with several other yachties who were all in the same boat (excuse the pun).
We hired a car for two days with Easy Tiger’s Leanne and Steve, which included a long lunch at Bargarra beach , provisioning (including visiting Leanne’s two favourite shops, BCF and Aldi) and playing tourist at the Bundy Distillery and the Turtle Discovery Centre at Mon Repos.
The Bundaberg Distillery was an obvious choice, with Neville being their main customer. We did the guided tour learning all about molasses and how the distillery came to be. The tour included two tasting samples which was particularly good value, especially for Leanne, (a non Bundy drinker), who not only used her own two tastings but Steve’s two samples as well (Steve being a non drinker), plus the fifth drink she talked her way in to at the end. And she wondered why she felt ordinary the next day! Thank you Steve for being our designated driver.
That evening we visited the Turtle Discovery Centre. The Mon Repos beach is a nesting place for the loggerhead, flat back and green turtles. We had seen numerous green turtles in the Whitsunday’s and many loggerhead turtles at Lady Musgrave. So even though the season had only just opened we were keen to visit Mon Repos, along with another 120 people, to hopefully see some turtles nesting. After a tour of the centre we were divided in to two groups. They have volunteer turtle spotters on the beach and when a turtle is spotted a radio message is sent to the centre ranger and off trundles group 1 with a guide to a very black beach. Fortunately we were in group 1 and our call came through early, how lucky were we. In complete darkness we followed the guide to the spotted loggerhead turtle. Unfortunately she had changed her mind and was heading back to the water. Apparently this is not uncommon. Back to the centre. After a very slow, boring ranger slide-show that was really just filling in time because there were no more turtles, we left. Disappointed we didn’t see the nesting, but worth the visit.
We also met several other yachties at the Bundaberg marina. Hence the main topic of conversation was not only where we had all been but when we were all leaving. We have found we do pick up lots of info from talking to other boats. We met people who’d sold their house in Geelong, now living aboard while looking out for a coastal location to maybe settle. Several boats from Brisbane on their way home. Australian boats who had just arrived ‘home’ after cruising the Pacific islands. Single guys doing it all on their own, taking on casual crew when they could (eg. French backpackers).
It was here that we got interested in mud crabbing. ET decided they’d purchase some crab nets (we are about to head home so no point). The Sandy Straits and Fraser Island are known crab waters, so filling in more downtime while the next forecast big blow comes through sounded like fun.
Our main focus now is the weather. Two days of storms are forecast as well as strong winds from different directions and heavy rainfall. We have just anchored in a secure anchorage along with several other boats.