After 9.5 long years of building the boat, it’s time to start the sailing journey along Australia’s extensive eastern coast from bustling Sydney to calmer Brisbane.
I need to apologise in advance for the poor quality of the photos in this post, which are taken from 1992-1993.
The 35mm colour negatives suffered damp on the boat, then heat in storage and are in poor condition, some also stuck together.
Finally leaving Sydney
You can if you want, whizz up Australia’s eastern coast in a matter of days should you wish, but what’s the point? You don’t see anything but sea on your starboard side and coastline on your port side.
Too many fabulous riverways to explore along the NSW coastline. The whole point of coastal cruising is to take your time sailing at your leisure and enjoy yourself whilst absorbing the sights along the way. It’s all about visiting isolated spots that you can only get to with a private boat. Escaping society. Having loads of fun and meeting new friends.
Now is the time to enjoy the benefits of our hard work whilst building the boat. It’s also time to move to a more accommodating State for yachties. New South Wales but especially Sydney, is a tad resentful of the nomadic and free existence of liveaboards.
Exploring Australia’s eastern coastline
It’s such an amazing feeling to be finally sailing this boat instead of working hard on her all the time. But, also to unshackle the chains of working life for a while and enjoy life.
Taking our time, we anchor where we want and when we feel the need – there’s no pressure to be anywhere.
The final destination is Brisbane, but this city can wait for now…
Each inlet, bay, and river offers a unique anchorage full of natural beauty and ever-changing panoramas. And, a peacefulness that Sydney Harbour lacks.
If you’re lucky enough, you may experience a pod of Dolphins during a feeding frenzy on dusk with a splendid backdrop vista. The roaring noise whilst dolphins drive a school of fish towards the shore will leave you in awe. Not familiar with this sound, decide to venture on deck and witness the excitement.
Why not venture onshore to explore the countryside? There’s always time especially whilst waiting for squalls to abate for discovering new sights. Lush rainforest ferns are a delight to wander through…
…whilst climbing to the top of Laurieton’s Lookout in stunning Dooragan National Park.
Surveying the sweeping coastline is a favourite pastime…
…as is catching a decent-sized fish for dinner. If I don’t catch a fish in 15 minutes, I’m bored and give up – much prefer spearfishing.
Underway and displaying full sails just relishing life…
And, after an amazing 6-months or so exploring this gorgeous part of Australia, Naiad crosses the watery border into the state of Queensland.
Under the cover of dusk, Naiad sails slowly past eerily dark Gold Coast buildings that create a backdrop resembling tombstones, to the blazing lights of the Gold Coast Waterway.
Tired after the day’s sail from Ballina and with so many similar-coloured blinding lights, it’s hard picking out correct channel markers.
Motoring Naiad gingerly down the sliver of land sheltering this waterway, finally anchor safely in Southport. It’s a welcomed relief in many ways and a new chapter begins in a new state.
Cruising to Brisbane
With Brisbane in our sights for work, it’s on the move again after several weeks of playing in this lovely becalmed waterway of Southport.
The murky Brisbane River is the longest in South-east Queensland and stretches some 186NM (345 kilometres).
Today we navigate only 19NM (around 36 kilometres) of its calm protected waters. Riverbanks graced with multi-million-dollar flashy homes, private jetties, and expensive boats glide past.
You need to pick the right time to traverse this river as depending on the tide, you can push against 4 Knots. As Naiad only motors at around 5 Knots, it’s not worth the slog.
Finding a vacant spot ‘pile A7′ in the anchorage alongside the pleasant City Botanic Gardens, slinging ropes between two piles turns the page of this new chapter. The area later became known as the ‘Peyton Piles’ after the TV soap series Peyton Place.
Life in Brisbane
Life is more relaxed in Brisbane and much less hassle with authorities than in Sydney.
Dabble in a new little enterprise and shut ourselves away for several days making jewellery with freshwater pearls. Also blowing up surprise balloons – all this to sell at the Saturday morning markets. The balloons are a hit. The pearl jewellery not so popular. Think we’re ahead of our time with this concept.
Brisbane city in the early 1990s is similar to a big country town and doesn’t feel like a city. Only finding one BYO (bring your own bottle) restaurant, outdoor tables and chairs a rarity, and not much nightlife after 8pm. The work, however, is plentiful. So work it is for a couple of years. In a city of a couple of million inhabitants at the boat’s doorstep, finding work isn’t too difficult.
Several boats are approached to run lights up and down the mast resembling a Christmas tree. Then, to take part in a parade each night for an hour at Southbank whilst fireworks are blasting from a platform in the river. It’s hazardous as we’re close to the action but loads of fun and paid for the week.
Renting the space of water between two piles at The Gardens (now named Gardens Point Boat Harbour) also offers a fully-equipped communal laundry, a handy toilet/showers block, and an oar locker. Free cultural events and concerts are common in The Gardens.
Compared to Sydney, which offers nothing but the mooring is cheaper, this spot offers everything required to live aboard at a minimal weekly rent.
This is not a walk-on/walk-off marina. The background in this photo during one of the many yachtie BBQs shows the anchorage. You need a decent dinghy with at least a 2HP outboard to ply up and down the tides.
Although, only using one oar whilst standing at the bow of the dinghy to row – good exercise – the outboard came out years later.
Exploring Brisbane by water and land
With only designated work holidays, exploring Moreton Bay’s numerous delightful islands sees a great way to further our sailing skills whilst having fun.
Taking around 3 hours of motoring to reach the mouth of the Brisbane River and to The Puddle. Aptly named by yachties as a safe-haven stop-over before heading out in the bay, this spot becomes almost a ritual over weekends and whenever possible.
Buying an old Honda CB350cc becomes the main set of wheels during the Brisbane stay. It’s cheap to run and easy to park in the city. Loading grocery shopping in panniers, holding the grocery overflow in both hands, and hugging tightly whilst swerving around corners is the weekly routine.
The motorbike takes us everywhere, even on camping trips to magnificent Hervey Bay, which is a few hours north of Brisbane. Note the whipper snipper on the bike. Picked this up for another project.
Camping in Queensland’s landscape can be trying as you’re devoured by tiny relentless inhabitants – midges and sandflies.
Although the surrounding vistas…
…are worth the pain, lumps, and the raging scratching.