June 2020: Australia: Gold Coast to Fraser Island


LIFE. Intrastate travel restrictions lifted.

We imagined we were somewhere exotic: Namibia?

The anchorage near the Big Sandhills on Moreton Island is unpleasant. Please don’t be fooled by the number of boats or the sense of calm from this elevated aspect.

Sushi came to Scarborough.

OUTING. We visited SEALIFE Sunshine Coast on the morning it reopened. We dodged reporters and film crews, and slipped through the entrance. There is of course a throng of travelling YouTubers creating reality TV shows of their lives, but, goodness, participating in even a 30 second lifestyle piece is not for us.

Willow was chosen to feed the seal. Hazel sobbed. Sigh.

BIRTHDAY. This is halfway to ninety. My dream is to recreate this photograph when he turns ninety, full-body lycra suit and all.

MOOLOOLABA RIVER. The anchorage is calm and convenient. Watch for rubbish on the bottom. We raised a steel garden chair with our anchor.

NOOSA. We anchored off The Cove.

We crossed the Noosa Bar, with a morning high tide, on a day with no swell. You may have been to Noosa and know the bar. It’s iconic. The sand banks are shallow and shifty. There’s no obvious channel. Waves often break across it. It’s a popular foil surfing spot, but not this day.

We draw 1.3m. Our depth gauge read 0.9m. Our buffer is around 0.4m. Run the numbers. Eek.

The swell rolled.

We were trapped for two weeks, anchored at Noosa Woods.

Local friends looked after us.

Willow in particular loved Noosa. She wants us to live there.

It’s a fun day when the skipper breaks a board.

This is Rebecca. She slept and shat on our sugar scoop. Her friends the bream bit Willow and Hazel’s fingers (when the girls were silly enough to feed them).

Willow skurfed the Noosa River upstream to the historic Apollonian Hotel at beautiful Boreen.

Eventually, the perfect lines of swell dropped.

We exited the bar.

Our buddies followed.

SAILING WITH FRIENDS. We spent the month on and off with two boats we met 1,838 nautical miles away in the eastern islands of Fiji. The off-shore cruising community is small and tight. It’s nice.

FISHING. We’re reluctant fishermen. We figure poor ole ocean creatures cop a flogging without us joining the over-fishing party. This is our set-up: lure, reel, bungy cord.

And cans for bells.

It works. Pretty much every time we bother to throw it out.

When the cans toll, Willow runs to her room and cries. Hazel takes front seat to witness the slaughter. Dale does the dirty work to feed his family. I cringe, pass tools, and sweep the spoils to the galley.

DOUBLE ISLAND POINT. Apparently the outer sandbank wasn’t there last year. Yay for 2020.

It’s shallow.

The colours.

The dolphins.

SISTERS. Willow and Hazel spend 100 percent of their time together – 93.75 percent like this.

But then. The other 6.25 percent… Oh. My. Lord.

HUMAN WHISKEY POLE. We are experienced sailors. Yep. Comin’ up seven years livin’ on sailboats. Clearly…

FRASER ISLAND. The jewel of Australia. Harry and Meghan visited you know.



A Gentleman in Moscow won my heart this month. It’s a beautiful, relaxing read, with a twist.

Such a Fun Age masquerades as a light, chick-lit beach read, but the themes are dark and deep. But it’s a light, chick-lit beach read, right? The foot in each camp unsettled me. I suppose this is the point.

David Sedaris is a favourite, but I couldn’t get into his Theft by Finding Diaries. Maybe I’ll try another time.

I revisited the wonderful Wolf Hall, the first book in Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell series. I found it as wonderful as, but longer than, I remember. Mantel fans will know the third (and final) book in the series was released in March 2020. It’s been eleven years since Wolf Hall and eight years since Bring up the Bodies (the second book). I wanted to refresh my memory before reading the finale.

Talking to Strangers is about how humans are programmed to default to truth, and therefore, how easy it is for scammers to succeed. It annoyed me.

I haven’t read a Stephen King book in over 25 years. IT, it may have been? Or perhaps I watched the movie? Anyway, On Writing offers gems about writing and reading, and King’s life.


Another mammoth month for Willow.

Here’s her summary:

THE BABYSITTERS CLUB books were, again, okay.

DEMON DENTIST was great. I thought it was one of the best I’ve read of David Williams.

I still didn’t like Geronimo Stilton, but they are so quick and easy to read.

I like boarding school books and MALORY TOWERS is one of them. I like the sports parts where the kids compete, it’s exciting. And the tricks they play on their teachers. And the midnight feasts they sneak. And there are lots of mix-ups and muddle-ups and all sorts of funny mysteries.

WOLF GIRL 2 was more exciting than the first. Hazel made a good choice introducing this to me.

AROUND THE WORLD IN 50 WAYS taught me a lot about different countries, some I didn’t even know existed! It was a pretty good educational and fun game book. You can’t travel around the world in 50 ways these days though.”


Letty is a free-settler in 1841. Her life is sailing to Australia, the bush, babysitting, bush-rangers, Sydney. Hazel loved her. The Our Australian Girl series is gold. The formula is: (a) Pre-teen female character. (b) Historic period e.g convict, free-settler, WWI, WWII, etc. (c) Four books.