05 December 2006

Brisbane, Queensland

Anchored Brisbane River
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Hey all! Today is actually our last day in Brisbane and I don't want to leave. I have kept us very busy these last 4 days seeing all sorts of great tourist sites. Brisbane is a great city. There is lots to do, it is easy to get around, the people are friendly, and the weather has been nice. However, and the anchorage is not so good.

The anchorage is suppose to work like this; The city provides these great pilings, cheap, $50 a week. You tie off both your bow and stern to these pilings. You have to travel up river about 3 hours (15 miles) to get there. However, when we got to the pilings, they were all taken and there was even a queue.

A strong current rips up and down the river along with the tides. So the great thing about pilings is that being attached to then keeps the boats firmly in one place. This is much better than anchoring here, which really whips the boats all over the place. And the holding (bottom) is mud. So it is easy to drag anchor.

Our first day away from the boat was nerve racking. We didn't venture far away, and ended up re-anchoring 4 times. That is a record. We've been in the same place the rest of the week, even though we get extremely close to our neighbor, "Mr. Red Boat". There are a lot of derelict looking boats here, like someone just dropped a ton of chain and abandoned the boat. "Mr. Red Boat" doesn't even have any sails. He is currently only 10 feet away from us. scary! We just popped our heads out. Tom has decided to move again (5 times re-anchoring!) even though we are leaving later this afternoon.

Other than all the anchoring drama, this place is great. It is a super location near the city center. It is beautiful. We are next to the City Botanical Gardens. At night it is all lit up.

Sunday was our first day in Brisbane and time to explore. We tie up the dingy, then just a few steps up a ramp and we are in the City Botanical Gardens, a huge, free, open park area.

We could see all these motorcycles from the boat so we went to check 'em out. There were a few hundred motorbikes all dressed up with Christmas garland. They were doing a charity run for 'Toys for Tots'. Dad, you would have loved it.

I then dragged Tom to a market. Brisbane has great weekend markets where you can get just about anything. One of my favorite restaurants in California is called 'Fresh Choice', a giant soup and salad bar. I have been dreaming of 'Fresh Choice' for a long time now. Even though we didn't go to a 'Fresh Choice', we did get a salad bar lunch at the 'Sizzler'.

With the re-anchoring 4 times bit, that was pretty much a day. Monday we did the Castlemaine-Perkins XXXX Brewery. Or as what the locals call it, "4X". The local joke says they call it 4X because Queenslanders can't spell Beer. Huh! Anyways, it was one of the best beer tours I have been on. And I'm sure it is the biggest brewery I've ever seen. They really pump out the beer.

Yesterday, Tuesday, was spent provisioning in the morning. Then an afternoon a movie. Movies here are expensive, $14 each all day. There are no matinée price here, except Tuesdays when they are $8.50. We saw "The Guardian". If you haven't seen it, it is the one about the Coast Guard rescue jumpers. Tom thought the movie was accurate. I thought it was a great one for the big screen. Two thumbs up.

The afternoon was spent riding the City Cat, a super fast moving ferry on the river. We made a pit stop at the Regatta Restaurant & Hotel to watch cricket and enjoy $6 pitchers of 4X. City Cat is a great way to see the city.

This morning we will plot our coarse, get the boat ship shape, and then Tom promised me a nice lunch. I'm really looking forward to trying the 'Morton Bay Bugs'. They are kind of like small lobster tails. However I hear the meat is real sweet. Yum!

Tom and I have really enjoyed our time so far in Australia. There's even been talk of staying. The people are so nice, even in the city. Let me give you an example. On Sunday while I was waiting for Tom to re-anchor once again I started talking to a few passer byers. This one gentleman was a bus driver on his break. When Tom got back, we decided we needed to go to a hardware store. I asked the bus driver where one would be, and he gave us our own personnel bus ride in his off-duty bus to the front steps of the store. In Oakland, or even San Francisco, that would never happen! We think Australia is probably how California was in the 70's. Australia is the size of the US, but with way fewer folks (20 million). The population density is among the lowest in the world, lots of space.

We have to leave today while the weather is good. On our way back up the coast, next year, we would like to spend a few weeks in Brisbane... easy to do.

UPDATE: You know how I said we were re-anchoring once again even though we are leaving today. Well, 3 hours later, and we finally got the anchor up. Seems once of the yachts decided to build there own mooring and not mark it in the anchor field. Well, we snagged it. Our anchor was caught on a giant tire filled with concrete! Great way to spend the morning.


Notes From Ron: Amy is right... arriving in Oz is like stepping into a time warp back to the 1970's. We have a joke here in Perth. When you fly in the Perth, the pilot make the time announcement "Welcome to Perth. The local time is 2:35... 1976".

Queensland is not much different from Western Australia is that regard. I think Amy will find Sydney and Melbourne are now experiencing the 80's.

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