Perfectly Preened Gold Coast

Thursday 16th November 2017

View from the cockpit

The mornings start crisp and early here with a 4.45am sunrise. However by six the warmth of the sun is coming through and feels good on my back, the traffic is just beginning to pick up as the first commuters make their way to work. For company I have a striated heron, he is using next doors lines as a convenient perch to fish from. He is a regular on the pontoon and has been nicknamed ‘grumpy’, with his stern expression, hunched shoulders and beady eyes, he appears to be permanently cross.

Tight rope walking

In fact there are lots of birds around and they are all very different than any we have seen before. It’s not just short legged herons, there are the Australian pelicans which are white with a pink beak instead of the dark feathers and dark beak we are use to, the pigeons have prominent crests on their heads and huge ibis wander through the parks and preen themselves in the shopping centre.

Ibis in the park

There is plenty of greenery to encourage them, narrow strips of park run between the inner Broadwater and the road and fill the area running north behind the Beach and ocean. Everywhere is just so, walkways for pedestrians and cyclists wind through the neatly cropped grass, water fountains are perfectly placed to fill bottles and wash sandy feet, the town planners appear to have considered every direction to enhance the views. Manicured gardens fill the grounds of the huge apartment blocks and public spaces, perfectly pruned flowering shrubs line the roads and tall structural pines soften the harsh edges of the towering buildings. A little too perfect? Maybe, but we have to admit to enjoying it all so far.

A neat and tidy five minute walk from the marina is Main Beach and the open ocean. A continuous stretch of sand runs for ten miles from the Southport Seaway, through Surfers Paradise all the way to Burliegh Head. As we stood staring out to sea, it felt very familiar, all our lives we have enjoyed watching the surf come in, the wind in our hair, but peculiarly, from the beach, this water feels like it has nothing to do with the ocean we sail in.

Back in the marina the locals are making us feel at home, the boat a couple of berths up invited us to join them for pizza, bizarrely we have hooked up with a friend we haven’t seen for 26 years who now lives on the Gold Coast and a lone yachtsman we first met in Grenada has just sailed in and is joining us for a G&T tonight.

In between walking, shopping and eating we have been working very hard, the front cabin is now clean and dry. Rick has taken advantage of our berth having a pontoon both sides to clean out and reseal between the capping rail and the hull, he has reseated the forward fairleads, rewired the reading lights and resealed all the screw holes and anything else that looked like it might let water in.

Only the test of a big sea will tell us if we have succeeded and hopefully we won’t be in one of those again for a few weeks.

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