Deanbilla Bay Cruise
From the Deck of Shanda

By Bruce Wieland
Photos by Lyn Wieland, Allan and Phillipa Bolt

Cruise Captain Ray Perry picked a great weekend to schedule the cruise to Deanbilla Bay on Stradbroke Island for the Saturday afternoon BBQ on the beach. The weather was very good with a light SE to NE breeze during the day, and completely calm nights. Water temperature encouraged swimming and the water has cleared up nicely following recent heavy rain.

Shanda got away Friday afternoon and arrived at Deanbilla by 5.30pm to find just a few anchored boats present. We had enjoyed pleasant sailing in the light NE breeze for most of the trip from Manly, with the breeze dying as we approached the Douglas light. We found a nice spot to anchor in 2.5 metres depth at low tide. Breaking out the deck chairs, drinks and nibbles, Lyn and I watched the sun set in the haze over the mainland, then turned our chairs around to watch the full moon rise over Straddie into a cloudless sky. Insect repellent was a must as mozzies and midges joined the party. Lyn and I stayed on deck until 9.00pm just soaking up the ambience.

Following a  good sleep in and a light breakfast we went ashore to explore the old caravan park which has been cleared of squatters by the Redlands Council. The area is slightly overgrown now, but the concrete slabs left there made an excellent platform for our BBQ later that day. Unfortunately, the amenities block is now boarded up, with no water, power or toilet available. There is a sign at the entrance stating that it will re-open prior to Easter 2014. Talking to a local couple on the beach, they suggested that the proposed development has been delayed mainly due to archaeologists needing to research the history of the area with regard to sacred indigenous sites.

Lyn and I then made the short walk to the Dunwich Bakery for coffee and cake. The bay looked stunning from there. It is a beautiful place with its huge Moreton Bay Fig trees.

By early afternoon our fellow cruisers began to arrive. First was the mastless McMoggy with Alasdair and Vanessa on board, closely followed by Ray and Sue on Purr-Fik. At 4.00pm we started to assemble on the beach, carrying our gear ashore over the wide sand flats at low tide, trying not to step on the thousands of soldier crabs. The northern based boats consisting of Allan and Phillipa on Aquilo One, and Ken D’Arcy single handing on Island Time arrived in time to help set up the camp under the trees of the old camping ground. Sadly, Col and Di on Colandi, coming from Cabbage Tree Creek, made it as far as the river before having to return home with engine trouble. Lots of stories were told as we sat in our deck chairs, sipping beverages, and watching the sunset. The BBQ was fired up and the mosquito repellent painted on. By 8.30 pm we agreed that the mosquitoes were winning, so the party was adjourned to the luxury of the McMoggy cockpit. Thankfully the tide had come in by then, so the portage of the gear to the dinghies was relatively short.

The party on McMoggy lasted well into the night with lots of “spirited” discussion. Entertainment was provided  by the very talented Phillipa, who played guitar and sang a very wide selection of songs ranging from John Denver to The Animals. Phillipa has a very sweet voice.

Sunday morning dawned with a clear sky following another calm night. The Aquilo One crew went exploring ashore early. The McMoggy crew were swimming under the boat, while Purr-Fik was taken in close to the beach on the high tide for a bottom wash. Shanda left early as home duties awaited. As we approached Waterloo Bay we encountered the Combined Clubs Race fleet tacking out in very light conditions. The fleet included several MYCQ yachts.

This was another very pleasant cruise weekend with great company in one of the worlds’ best playgrounds.


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