Z E N I T U D E
Blue Water Dreaming
Bundaberg to Great Keppel Island - Lazily Sailing Up the Queensland Coast
Initially we were not planning to stop at Bundaberg but a weak low was bringing westerlies and rain during the weekend, so we decided to stop at the marina and wait for better weather.
This marina is located in the Burnett River not far from the Burnett heads with easy access. The disadvantage is that itís far from town. The marina offers a courtesy bus once daily during the week and on Sundays the bus takes you to the markets.
It felt strangely quiet this time. Weíve been here previously with the Port to Port Rally when we arrived in Australia after our Pacific crossing and we spent a very festive week then. But this time of the year there is not much movement around as most cruisers are either farther north or farther east.
Here is the link to our arrival to Bundaberg in 2010 at end of the Pacific crossing.
Bundaberg Port Marina - 13 to 16 June 2014
Spot the guys working the nets. These are prawn fishermen and a danger when you are sailing at night near the coast. Most of them don't carry AIS, are moving erratically while fishing and too busy to pay attention.
Rosslyn Bay - A visit to Yeppoon and Rockhampton - 17 to 21 June 2014
We left Bundaberg for an overnight trip towards Great Keppel and arrived next morning at Great Keppel Bay Marina in Rosslyn Bay. This is a great marina with very friendly people.
The first thing we were warned off was of the crocodile that was seen lurking around the marina boat ramp.
Reminded again we have entered croc country
As the weather was not behaving too well we decided to stay in the marina and have a look around. A bus ride took us to Yeppoon where we did some shopping and had the misfortune to take the bus back at the time when the normal bus becomes a 'school bus'. Soon the bus was full with very noise kids and the bus driver had to stop every two or three blocks to try and put some order. No wonder we were the only 'non-school elements' in the bus. After an hour of going around collecting kids in different schools we were finally back at the marina. Whatever bus you take in Yeppoon do not take one between 2.30 and 3.30 on school days.
Next day we rented a small car at the marina for just 49 dollars to visit Rockhampton, the beef capital of Australia and Emu Park where the Singing Ship, a monument to Captain Cook is overlooking spectacular Keppel Bay.
The monument commemorates the legacy of Captain Cook's explorations in this part of Australia's coast.
There was not even a breeze when we came to the monument and hence could not hear the musical sound that is produced through the fluted pipes. It is definitely a place to come back with some more wind.
The singing ship wasn't singing ...
In Rockhampton we got lost and finally found the Information Centre and the Tropic of Capricorn Spire to take the picture with one foot on each side and officially consider ourselves inside the tropics.
After that we had the famous beef for lunch in the also famous Heritage Hotel and a visit to the Botanical Gardens and Zoo. We did try the Heritage Village but by then it was late and they didn't let us in as it was closing.
Back in the marina and we got ready to leave towards Great Keppel Island as the weather was warming up with forecast promises of shinning sun.
One foot in the tropics, getting warmer
Great Keppel Island - Stunning with good weather - 21 to 26 June 2014 (21.06.21S 149.14.14E
With forecast of good weather we left Rosslyn Bay and came to anchor in Svendsen's Beach in Great Keppel Island. What a fantastic place. I think everyone around the area had the same idea as there must have been around 20 other boats by the end of the day. But the anchorage is very wide and the beaches are fantastic. The big question mark was TV reception and luckily there was, so no problem there, Oscar could watch the soccer world cup and we both could enjoy beach life for as long as the nice weather lasted.
This part of Great Keppel Island, which is the best anchorage with prevailing winds, has been made more special by the Svendsenís family. Lindie and Carl own an eco-resort and they take care of this part of the island and of everyone that comes to shore to visit.
On shore there's a camp complete with awning, fire ring, pots, pans, coffee, spices for everyone passing by to use, all very tide and clean.
One afternoon Lindie organized a 'frog race' and all yachties gathered at the beach. It was great fun and a good opportunity to meet with people on the other boats at anchor.
We had previously been in a frog race in Bundaberg and we were now expecting to see the little live frogs jumping all over the place. With great expectation everybody waited for the opening of the box that supposedly contained the frogs, to everybody's surprise, out came the frogs, they were cardboard paper frogs!
We all had a turn at driving the frogs while bets (20 cents each bet) added to the fun.
Svendsen beach, frog races and butterflies at Great Keppel Island
We did long walks along deserted beaches with lots of butterflies flying around, which by the way are much more enjoyable than sand flies, and discovered another resort at the west end of the island. Then, after almost a week of good weather and great lazy times it was time to keep going north.