We were told that Tulleenderley was a great spot for an overnight camp. Soft, white sand, enbankment above the beach which was perfect for camping ... you get the drift. And Queensland is famous for its weather ... beautiful one day and perfect the next.
So seven boats set off down the Canaipa passage between Russell Island and North Stradbroke early one Saturday morning. The perfect Queensland weather failed to materialise. It was raining. Not cold, for it's never cold here, but the rain was quite heavy and getting worse by the minute.
Our boat failed to make the grade. We launched it, we tried to start it ... no go. Note to self: Never, ever take the boat out without trying the engine first in the backyard. Yes, we had the battery charged but it turned out to be the starter motor. We could have saved a couple of hours of fuming and cursing if we had just checked first. We were saved by Judy and Robert who took us in their boat Gadfly.
Of course, this meant we were last to arrive. Two large yachts were anchored in the deeper parts of the passage and the smaller boats were inshore. Friends waved from the beach as we approached. But where was this white sandy shore? Well, it was sandy ..... at high tide there was about 1 metre of it before the promised enbankment. Up there, the group had started a camp fire to cut down on the mosquito population. The mozzies were buzzing with excitement at the new arrivals and I quickly realised I had only been taken to act as bait. If I sat somewhere, every mozzie within 50km surrounded me, leaving everyone else free. Sigh!
The fire was not to the liking of another local inhabitant. A large monitor lizard had been resting up a tree when we arrived and the smoke rising up from the bonfire below the tree made him quite alarmed.
It took a while but we persuaded him down with a small piece of raw meat. After that, he became a pest, ravaging all the picnic bags and hissing at us if we tried to deter him.
Then it was time to set up camp. We checked out the enbankment but the only available space had already been taken by the SBS (small blonde sheila) and the Lieutenant Commander. Judy and Robert found a spot further back in the trees and Guy and I decided to brave the foreshore. We camped on the beach within centimetres of the high water mark.
Tents erected just in time before the heavy rain came in. We returned to the camp fire and had a glass of wine. The Vice Commodore had his Barry Mackenzie hat on and the Patron looked the part with her Oz flag shorts.
It wasn't the best weather, as it rained all day and most of the night. But we managed to have a good bbq and a few beers to celebrate.
Happy Australia Day to all our viewers!