Keppel Bay Marina
We left Pancake Creek Monday at 4pm for an 80 mile, overnight sail, to where we are now moored at the Keppel Bay Marina in Yeppoon. You really have to appreciate some of the great names for the towns here in Australia. "Yeppoon". I don't care who you are, but that's funny!
We had a great sail, making over 6 knots until about midnight when the wind disappeared. We motored the rest of the night and arrived here at the Keppel Bay Marina at sunrise.
At sunset we passed Gladstone, another large shipping port, which had over 30 ships anchored offshore that we had to dodge. It was just like when we passed Newcastle in New South Wales where we passed over 150 ships anchored offshore. Australia's biggest export is coal that goes mostly to Asia. The demand is so large that the ports here cannot handle the amount of ships that need to be loaded. So there is a huge backlog of ships anchored all around Australia just waiting their turn to get loaded. From what I have read in the papers, the coal industry and the shipping ports do not work together. The result is that the ports cannot handle the amount of shipping that is required to export all the coal they are digging up. So all the ships get stuck at anchor waiting for their turn to get loaded up.
The weird part is that Australia is loosing millions of dollars as they have to pay fines for every day that there is a ship anchored off shore waiting to be loaded. And there are hundreds of ships waiting weeks all around Australia.
It is very nice to be in a marina again. We have all the fresh water we want. And we can turn on every light on the boat at once if we want to.
The marina has a courtesy car that they let us borrow to drive into town yesterday. This was a big event for us as we have not driven a car in 2 years! Amy got elected driver because my driver's license expired 6 months ago and I have no way to renew it. Amy did really good, considering Australians drive on the left side of the road, and the car was a stick shift. It is a little weird as everything in the car is backwards. She claimed "No problem", just as she reached for the shifter and hit the window with her right hand.
There is a small yacht club here called the Capricornia Cruising YachtClub were we have met some really nice people at. It is really the only place to get a beer at night since the town of Yeppoon is 10 miles from here.
The day we arrived here was the lowest tides of the year, 15 feet. Several hours after we arrived a small sailboat got stuck coming in. We figured "no problem" because he just waited for the tide to rise and he pulled into his slip. We read the local paper yesterday a half page article about him running aground with a large photo. Guess not much really happens in Yeppoon. You certainly you do not want to run aground here because you make the headline!
Our friends Mike and Iain are flying in today from The States. They arrive at the Rockhampton Airport, which is 40 miles from here. Amy is feeling so confident about her left-side-of-the-road driving skills that we are going to rent a car for the next couple of days and do some exploring. Then we are going to sail over to Great Keppel Island, just 8 miles from here, to enjoy the island beaches and crash the resorts' pools. Mike and Iain are also bringing us our mail and boat parts. Hopefully they do not get shaken down too hard at customs.
Tom and Amy
19 April 2007
Keppel Bay Marina