Road Tripping! A different view. . .

Whilst Opal Lady enjoyed our berth at the Hillarys Yacht Club, we offered to tour with friend and singer Graeme Connors and his fellow artist Melinda Schneider, on their Heartland Tour of the southern region of Western Australia.

Alan drove the mini bus. Also on board was Graeme’s wife, Lyn and Gary, Chris and Dave as support. It was a 2500klm trip from Perth to Bunbury, Merredin, Kalgoorlie, Esperance, and Albany.

We thoroughly enjoyed the break and the concerts every night, the beautiful scenery, an array of wildflowers, the historic buildings in the outback towns.

Once back on water we left Hillarys early one morning to be in Fremantle to take Opal Lady out of the water for a quick bottom scrub, annode check and adjustment before going back in. It was a frantic few hours with no help from the weather gods as it rained the entire time. Wet and dirty, once back in the water we waited for Steve and Yvonne to join us for our 35nm trip to Mandurah over the weekend. It was only a short 9nm trip to anchor at Sulphur Bay, Garden Island. We enjoyed dinner and a few relaxing cold ones!!! 

Next morning the wind picked up from the North and this made our intended anchorage open the the wind and swells, so we decided to head straight to Mandurah and the sheltered anchorage for the night. We were met at Mandurah Offshore Fishing and Sailing Club by the officals all done up to the nines, we have arrived on their Open Day!!

We readied Opal Lady to spend a week or so alone at the marina as we again headed off for another road trip!! Mandurah is an hour by car from Perth and we caught a cab back to the airport for the red eye flight to Cairns, here we picked up Steve’s small Isuzu truck that he needed back at his work in Perth.

We arrived in Cairns at 5am and were met by the vehicle storage people, then quickly made our way to Yorkeys Knob Marina and onto Steve and Yvonnes Beneteau 57 Yacht, Pure and straight into bed to catch up on some sleep!

We caught up with friends, Don and Carole and Guy(Louisiade Rally Organiser) for lunch at the club and then enjoyed some of Guys Louisiade Crayfish on board Dons’ yacht for dinner. Alan spent the afternoon packing the truck tray with old chain and a few 44 gallon drums full of water to weigh the tray down and give us a better ride.

Early next morning we drove through the tropical rain out of Cairns and down the highway south. We stopped at Cardwell for a cuppa, this was the town devastated by cyclone Yasi ealier this year.

All my photos of this trip were taken at 100 kph, so please excuse the lack of clarity, there was no stopping Alan this trip, to take photos!!!

Our first night was spent at Proserpine, then onto Mackay the next day for lunch with Graeme and Lyn and then a long drive west through outback Queensland towns until we could find some accomodation. This area is full of mines which fill every available bed in the towns. Finally at 9pm we manged to find a bed in Emerald, after looking for the last few hours.

We saw a lot of wildlife along the roadside, goats, kangaroos, emus, cows, sheep, eagles, Plus hundreds of black crows that hung close to the road feeding on road kill.

TBC…. For more photos of the trips go to the Nov’11 Blog Page.

BUT for now we have been at Cape Arid waiting for a weather window to cross 470nm across the Great Australia Bight. Our days have been spent with 20-30 knt Easterlies blowing over the deck, whilst we were trouble shooting a house water problem!!! Many hours, a new pump, filter etc later but only minor joy!! So it will still be on the list when we reach Cedunna in 4 days time. We have had the company of Scarlett, Seawind 1160, with Craig, Kerry, Steven, Lachlan and Jo aboard. Last night we all went ashore for a fire and enjoyed sausages, potatoes and marshmallows(freshly made!!) roasted on hot coals. 

This morning at 5am we have left Arid Bay for Daw Island , Easter Group. Tomorrow we hope to be taking off!!!!

Cheers Karen

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