Global Voyage

A Story About Sailing Around the World

Ray & Jenny aboard the ketch Suka

3 years, 35,000 miles, Nov 1982 - Jan 1986

Ray & Jenny Jardine

Chapter 9: Bundaberg page 65 of 109

And so we commenced a season of living on the Burnett River, awaiting the end of the hurricane season, which was soon to threaten the waters away to the north.

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Downtown Bundy.

Jenny:

Although the current ran swiftly on the flood and the ebb, Suka sat quietly to her moorings, and compared with some of the rough seas we had endured, this felt as though we were on land. Life at sea had ingrained in us the habit of sleeping sporadically between watchkeeping, day and night, but now we reverted to our former land-bound habit of sleeping undisturbed throughout the night. And only the person who has spent many days at sea can fully appreciate the luxury of being able to set utensils on the table and not worry about them sliding off. Quickly and easily, then, we forsook our seafaring ways, and established residence on the peaceful river.

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Kangaroos

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A visit with a cactus expert.


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Shucking scallops. Suka in the background.

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Sunset on the Burnett River, with the Australian trimaran Ricochet and her crew Ross, Yvonne, and Micah.

We planned to remain here several months, and I relished the feeling of permanence. Our new home-town was quiet and very much to our liking. Suka's neighbors were yachts of many sizes, descriptions and ensigns. At her stern was the newly built Australian trimaran Ricochet. Her crew, Ross, Yvonne, and small boy Micah became our friends, and it was they who first introduced us to the Aussie lingo.

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Rainbow Lorikeets, brilliantly colored wild parrots.

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Rainbow Lorikeets.

In a letter to my family, I wrote:

We are settling in to life on the river here in Bundy. The nights are peaceful and calm, until about 4:30 in the morning when we wake to the squawking of the Rainbow Lorikeets, brilliantly colored wild parrots. They fly over the river in scores, their bright plumage flashing in the early morning sunlight. Next, the river prawners start their daily runs up and down river. These scaled-down versions of the large, ocean-going beam trawlers drag their nets along the muddy river bottom. The prawners continue throughout the day, and it's surprising the number of prawns they collect in their nets; we wonder that there are any prawns left. At 6 a.m. the surf-rowers go past. "Stroke-2 -3 -4! Stroke! Stroke! Come on you bloody dimwits. Stroke! -2 -3 -4."

It's fun to listen to the Australian accent, although we're still trying to decipher some of the slang. A person waving goodbye says "Tah-dah." Often we hear "Tah," which seems to mean "thank you." Jokingly, Ray will request "coffee instead" when our Aussie friends invite us for "tea." Then after "tea" we'll have a "cuppa." "Fair dinkum" is difficult to interpret. We've been told that an Australian has never been known to lie if whatever's being said is followed by the words "fair dinkum."

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“Yvonne said she was cooking a chook. I was hesitant to ask what chook was, until two year old Micah yelped with delight, "Froggie!”

A few days ago Ross and Yvonne invited us to tea. Yvonne said she was cooking a chook. I was hesitant to ask what chook was, until two year old Micah, whose vocabulary is yet limited, pointed in the pot and yelped with delight, "Froggie!" At that point I had to have a look for myself: it was only a chicken.

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Souvenirs of our Pacific crossing.

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Decorative monkey fist, tied by rj.

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Sunday picnic

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Lawn bowling

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Early morning kayak practice on the river.

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Touring the Outback with friends.

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A few days after our arrival in Bundy we telephoned our parents, taking into account the eight hour time difference to avoid rousing them in the middle of the night. Not only was there a difference in time, but there was also a difference in days. Our day was a Wednesday, but theirs was still a Tuesday.

One of our first tasks was to scrub Suka inside and out. By hand we scraped, sanded and revarnished the brightwork topsides. We cleaned the sails, and washed the salt-encrusted halyards and sheets. And we removed the broken self-steering gear and the lightning-damaged sat-nav antenna for repairs. Belowdecks, we scrubbed the teak interior with a brush and cleaning solution, then we rubbed in lemon oil, which helped restore the wood to its former luster.

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Completing our first year of cruising, we celebrated with a party.

Fist Year anniversary Party

November 2nd, 1983, marked the end of our first year of cruising. To celebrate, we hoisted aloft the ego flag: a colorful banner 25 feet in length; then we invited our many river friends aboard for drinks and anniversary cake. The affair was a convivial one. With about 25 people on board, Suka wallowed noticeably, and her waterline rose a few inches. Tied to the taffrail astern was a flotilla of dinghies. These were a comical sight, tugging at their painters in the fast flowing current like a dozen eager pups on leashes.

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A flotilla of dinghies tied to the taffrail.

In Bundaberg, the month of November marks the end of the sugar cane harvest. Smoke from the cane stalk fires produce vivid sunsets, and at night the horizons are aglow in orange cane fires. Ash fell from the sky like black snow, and trying to brush it overboard only created stubborn smears. A small amount of the ash even found its way belowdecks onto the soles and salon cushions. But within a few weeks the sugar mills had crushed the last cane for the season, and the mills now lay deserted and quiet. The bustle of activity focused instead downtown, as the locals commenced their holiday shopping.

Stolen Dinghy

Having decided to dine at a restaurant one evening, Ray and I motored the dinghy to the jetty, then after a leisurely meal we strolled back to the wharf. A few dinghies were tied there, but ours was not among them. The dink could not have come untied of its own accord, as we always tied it with two painters, each made fast to a different rail and using strong bowline knots. We rushed to the police station to report the stolen dinghy. The sergeant shrugged it off, telling us not to worry, as such thefts occur regularly (!). In most cases, she added, local youths merely "borrow" the dinghies for joyrides, and usually the boats are found a few days later somewhere along the river. We left the police station in disgust.

Wasting no more time, we began searching the banks on foot, but without success. We borrowed a neighbor's dinghy, tied to the jetty, and rowed out to a different neighbor's yacht and asked to borrow their tender. After returning the first boat to the jetty we set off downriver with the current. For four hours we searched the muddy banks, detouring into mangrove coves and swampy feeder creeks. We snooped around the fleet of prawn trawlers and fishing boats moored together at their docks. A few white objects gleamed in the moonlight, but our inflatable, with its white kicker, was not one of them.

The next day at first light we rose and assembled our collapsible 2-person kayak, stowed in its locker beneath the forecastle berth since our paddling forays in the Marquesas. We worked with such a sense of urgency that later our Japanese neighbors aboard Puka Puka II told us they thought we were practicing a fire drill. We paddled downriver again, fearful that if the dinghy had been abandoned, it would have washed to sea with the outgoing tide. Two hours later we returned; our search in that direction had been fruitless. We continued upriver, crossing under the traffic bridge and steering for Harriot Island. While paddling against the current my arms ached from the unaccustomed exercise. Yet each curve and river bend lured us on, ever hopeful that around the next corner we would discover our dinghy. And discover it we did. High and dry on the bank, caught between boulders and coated in mud, lay the dinghy. One oar was missing, and the outboard had been damaged. Fortunately for us, one of the painters had become tightly wrapped around the propeller shaft. This must have killed the engine before the thieves had much of a joy ride. This dinghy was our only link between shore and home, and we were thankful we had it back.

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The dinghy was our only link between shore and home, and we were thankful to have it back.

The outboard engine was in need of repairs, so in Suka's cockpit Ray dismantled it. Thereafter, we resolved to lock the dinghy to the jetty with a stout wire cable whenever we went ashore, and to keep the boat in a condition less inviting: dirty, somewhat deflated, without outboard motor, and with only a rough board lashed to a broom handle as a replacement for the lost oar.

The story has 109 pages. This is page 65.
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Page Links
GV 001: Title Page
GV 002: TOC
GV 003: Dedication
GV 004: Preface
GV 005: Prologue
GV 006: Beginnings
GV 007: Work Done
GV 008: Making Ready
GV 009: Departure
GV 010: Sailing Credentials
GV 011: First Lesson
GV 012: Sextant Navigation
GV 013: Safety Harness
GV 014: Murphy's law
GV 015: Spirit of Adventure
GV 016: Holding On
GV 017: First Big Storm
GV 018: Storm Intensified
GV 019: Rolling Violently
GV 020: Mizzen Sleeping Bag'sl
GV 021: Freeing the Propeller
GV 022: Visits by Birds
GV 023: Crossing the Doldrums
GV 024: Nearing First Landfall
GV 025: Land Ho
GV 026: Fatu Hiva
GV 027: Trek Inland
GV 028: Anchor Watch
GV 029: Passage
GV 030: Hiva Oa
GV 031: Skin Diving Circus
GV 032: Almost Like a Jungle
GV 033: Polaris Missile
GV 034: Taiohaie Bay
GV 035: Cascade Hakaui
GV 036: Taipi Bay
GV 037: Cyclone Lisa
GV 038: Cyclone Nano
GV 039: Passage of Patience
GV 040: Tuamotu Archipelago
GV 041: Tahiti
GV 042: Cyclone Reva
GV 043: Secret Sharer
GV 044: Moorea
GV 045: Cyclone Veena
GV 046: Aftermath
GV 047: Good Weather in Papeete
GV 048: Huahine
GV 049: Raiatea
GV 050: BoraBora
GV 051: Rarotonga
GV 052: Tonga
GV 053: Fresh Air
GV 054: Tongan Feast
GV 055: Excursion to Maninita
GV 056: Mariner's Cave
GV 057: Fiji
GV 058: Ndravuni Island
GV 059: Mara Island
GV 060: Aneityum
GV 061: Noumea
GV 062: St Elmo's fire
GV 063: Breakwater Reef
GV 064: Bundaberg
> GV 065: Life on the Burnett River
GV 066: Engine Sabotage
GV 067: Flying
GV 068: Aground in Round Hill Creek
GV 069: Gladstone Confinement
GV 070: Tropical Queensland
GV 071: Trip into Townsville
GV 072: Cairns Sojourn
GV 073: Cramped Cooktown
GV 074: Lizard Island
GV 075: The San Michelle
GV 076: Lost Mummy Cave
GV 077: Land's End
GV 078: Darwin
GV 079: Christmas Is
GV 080: Passage
GV 081: Cocos Keeling
GV 082: Crossing the Indian Ocean
GV 083: Rodriguez
GV 084: Mauritius
GV 085: Reunion Cirque de Mafate
GV 086: Reunion Cirque de Salazie
GV 087: Passage to Africa
GV 088: Kruger National Park
GV 089: Richards Bay
GV 090: Durban
GV 091: Port Elizabeth
GV 092: Cape Town
GV 093: Storm Passage
GV 094: St Helena
GV 095: Passage to Brazil
GV 096: Fortaleza
GV 097: Passage to Caribbean
GV 098: Bonaire
GV 099: Passage to Panama
GV 100: Panama
GV 101: Panama Canal
GV 102: Medidor
GV 103: Costa Rica
GV 104: Passage to Acapulco
GV 105: Acapulco to Cabo
GV 106: Baja
GV 107: Home Port
GV 108: In Retrospect
GV 109: Next Time
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