Another 2 days of windy weather and scattered showers. Saw a news feed from the Gold Coast about the beaches getting battered by bad weather so makes us appreciate that we are sheltered by Fraser Island. And also that we got over the Wide Bay Bar when we did as otherwise we would be spending at least a week in Mooloolaba waiting for conditions to improve.
With the weather not showing signs of improving soon we have extra time to sight-see in this area. Tuesday
after some tasty banana pikelets we took the dingy north as there was a "disused log-dump worth seeing" according to the cruising guide and also an old shipwreck. Stopped off to explore Buff Creek and at its mouth jumped out on the tiny beach there. Naomi found me some new shorts. We both love taking the dingy down these sheltered mango lined creeks, quietly maneuvering around the tight bends, avoiding underwater mangrove branches, squeezing through gaps just big enough for the dingy.
The wreck of Cerotodus came into view - a old rusty cargo ship sticking out of the water. As we came round the small headland Deep Creek came into view and
the log dump at its mouth. This was much like a heavy-set wooden fence partially submerged. Again relished exploring this creek too and soon came across another shipwreck almost as large as Cerotodus!
We went a little further to the ruined jetty at Ungowa. There was a group of bearded fisherman there and a bit of a 'Deliverance' vibe, so before they could reach for their banjos we turned the boat around and went back to the boat.
I didn't do much for the rest of the day but Naomi got out her rod and caught some fish. She hooked a Small Toothed Flounder, the world's smallest flathead and 2 pufferfish- maybe they were Stars and Stripes Toadfish. Wednesday
started quite nicely, we got the boat ready and left at 9:15 and followed the west coast of Fraser north. Not sure if it was just the wind picking up or us moving further from the shelter of the island revealing the true rough weather but the wind really freshened up. Had frequent squalls coming over with winds up to 25 knots but fortunately the rain coming with it missed us most of the time.
Turned left down the mouth of the Mary River. There are some shallow parts in the river so its important to come down it with the tide rising, and currents can run quickly. As we entered the river, I had the motor going quite slowly and only a little sail up for the strong tailwind and we hit 9.2 knots at one point! Got the sail down completely and with the engine not working hard we were going 7 knots down most of the river. At this speed and having read groundings being common it was a little nerve wracking. Especially one time when a marker was missing, and another when the chart-plotter showed the best route going the wrong side of a port side marker - I decided to trust the marker.
Passed the tricky parts, there are less markers as you just go down the centre of the river, and more and more homesteads started to appear. This became a nice river cruise through the farming countryside.
There was a lots of debris in the water, especially around the last tight bend called "Devil's Elbow" and got quite a shock when we suddenly heard clunking coming
almost at Maryborough
from the propeller as we must have chopped up some twigs. Naomi went to the bow to point me around the bigger logs. After 19 miles of river we came to Maryborough, spun the boat around into the current and dropped the anchor. S25 31.92 E152 42.56
After another rain shower and lunch, we dropped the dingy and took it into town. The public jetty wasn't very encouraging and had no cleats for tying off onto so we went over to the marina. The half owner of the marina told us they normally charge $10 to leave the dingy for the day but as it was already gone 3pm she let us off. We walked into town, passed the historical buildings, small museums and the statue of Mary Poppins, and did some shopping at IGA.
Walked slowly back to the marina and met the other half-owner Brett- they live on a large catamaran at the marina. When I say marina, this is really just one floating jetty running parallel with the river. He was a friendly guy and keen to tell us about the havoc the floods have caused in January - showed me an impressive photo of
our dingy at the marina
Naomi & Alex are on the ramp. This is the building that in the floods only the roof was visable
the 2 story building (pictured) at the marina and only the roof was visable! He let us have a shower - also $10 - even though we didn't have the cash on us, on the proviso we bring the money tomorrow. It was good to feel clean after a week without a shower.
Now back at the boat with the lights of nearby homes all around - being here is pretty special - visiting a town we have been to before but this time by water- feels a bit more like traveling/sight seeing but in a different way.
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