Around Australia by Tandem

Queensland Hospitality

Near Gympie. Jaimie and Sue Cook’s house, Margaritaville, high on a ridge overlooking lush paddocks and bean fields. Tropic clouds, silver billowing things, moonrise, heat lightning and an enveloping warmth. A five-candle chandelier casts shadows on a gecko on the Queenslander verandah; frogs, insects, and the distant calls of yellow-tailed black cockies give shape to the night. The expanse of ridges bend the late tropic light, moonlight washes the clouds and we are still. We sit with Jaimie and Sue at a long hardwood table, after tea, the crockery shoved aside, last glasses of wine low, and talk of culture and politics of our two nations. The gecko stalks a moth, he quickly takes it, but finds it difficult to swallow the huge wings. It is comical, unless you identify with the moth.

 We have mutual friends, Nancy and Peter Hardy, and stayed two nights with Jaimie and Sue. We went sailing at the coast, as part of Sue’s work as a reporter for the Gympie newspaper, and talked, petted dogs, enjoyed a bit of domesticity for awhile. Thank you both. You live in paradise, I reckon.

 At Boonooroo, we identified five new birds, with the help of visiting birdos (birders) with good scopes. Fun to get excited about birding again. Queensland has a huge number of species.

 Getting To Know Songlines
At the Bundaberg visitor’s center, Judy O’Donoghue invited us to come stay with she and husband Leon. They had a nice little apartment just for visitors and it was filled with sailing memorabilia along with another small room in their house. We keep meeting sailing people here on the coast, and after hearing of our method of travel, insist we consider sailing next. Judy and Leon lived around the world, two circumnavigations, for a period of seven years. They sold a charter business in the Whitsundays, left it all behind and loved the life. Leon’s health keeps them anchored in Bundaberg now; Judy teaches sailing and runs the Bundaberg Sailing Club, and Leon plays golf and bowls. Their house is filled with racing trophies from races as long as around Australia, and across the Atlantic. Serious sailors. We spent most of a day with Judy at the club, asking all sorts of sailing questions; and Judy knows the answers. If she didn’t, we met Nevil, owner of the most beautiful boat we have ever seen, Songlines, a 46 foot catamaran that has sailed all around Australia and around the Pacific. Nevil designed and built her from Western Red Cedar and epoxy. He showed us his design criteria, and we learned a great deal about what makes a serious sailing yacht. We fell in love with Songlines.

                                      Nevill and Songlines at our first meeting in Queensland  Nevil, yacht designer, genius      

Future note: We returned to Bundaberg a year later to crew on Songlines throughout the South Pacific, Fiji, Vanautu and New Caledonia four four months. Find that adventure on this site. Nevil has since sold Songlines and she’s been all plushed out. We hope she gets beyoned the breakwater often,  and let loose to run, she’s a throroughbred.


Around Australia by Tandem — 2 Comments

  1. Sounds like a true Aussie welcome to get you underway! Have a fabulous time. Can’t wait to read more reports, and see your slides this winter at FHTV.

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