Further adventures with the Mothership & T

Sunset. Hervey Bay.

This post could have started in many different ways – but right at this moment M and I are suffused with and beguiled by serenity. The Smalls are ashore in a motel with the Mothership and T – we got back aboard half an hour ago, walked in, both inhaled the lack of questions, bickering and general brain-suck – and exhaled in a beatific stereo.

“What did we DO?” I asked M. “Why did we think children were a good idea?!”

“I have no idea what we were thinking,” said M. “In fact, I don’t think we were.”

Right now we are not treating the dusk beachtime walkers of Hervey Bay to a display of our gymnastic sexual prowess on the front nets – we are both on the couch with a cup of tea each – him with a new book and me doing the writingz. Actually, I lie – he’s just gone to sleep.

It is quiet. No one is hungry, no one is asking us anything…. Without having had children, of course, I wouldn’t know to relish this kind of peacefulness, I would just consider it a reliable norm of my ongoing existence – you have to SUFFER in order to APPRECIATE the things you once TOOK FOR GRANTED. And so here we are.

We haven’t seen the Mothership and T since they visited us in Tasmania in January – but it doesn’t seem as long as that. We keep in touch with voice messages, email and occasional Facetime. But six months is a long time for a Nana not to see her Grand-Smalls. They were both SO excited to see her – Small DB had a countdown going on the wall…

They arrived on Friday, bearing wondrous gifts. I got two boxes of the stuff I spent ages looking for each time we stopped somewhere along the coast of New South Wales.

My Favourite Tea

There was wine, champagne, presents for Smalls and secret chocolate for me. I call it Mental Health Chocolate. The Mothership also muled a late birthday present (is there any better kind?) to me from SWWNBB – and it was particularly glorious because I had completely forgotten I had told her about it. This. This book that (so far) seems to be all about me…

We wasted no time, and sailed to the mouth of the Mary River. M and I used to live near River Heads (which is the town there) and have been interested to see that they (the eponymous ‘they’) are still endeavouring to flog off blocks of land in River Heads, describing it as ‘the gateway to Fraser Island’ and ‘a hidden gem’. When in fact, as anyone who lives here knows, it’s a place that is generally only pleasant if you are surrounded by a mosquito net and/or soaked in insect-repellent.

Cruising down the river. M, T and the Mothership. Mary River.

The Nana and the Smalls. Mary River.

The Smalls. Mary River.

140/365 • my darling @zoetheseaquoll - you're a peach - had to take a picture of you in my hat, in your pjs with my new book • . #maryriver #frugalhedonist #9yo #queensland #abcmyphoto #bellalunaboat #cruising #river #sunshine #Winter2017 #eastcoastaustra

We motored our way down the Mary River – a known crocodile residence. It took a LOT of hours – five – we eventually reached the Mary River Marina just before sundown. I’d called ahead a few days before to see if they had any room, but only one mooring had been available. However, as we grabbed the mooring, we called them again and were told that a boat had left – we could pull up at the pontoon. GLORY!! Not since Bermagui have we tied up somewhere.

We plugged in the power. We filled up our water tanks. Topped up our poor batteries. And even more remarkably, T sneaked off and paid for us to have two nights there. SO. GRATEFUL. Because, in comparison to what we are used to, it was really quite expensive. But very lovely. I love rivers.

Morning at the Mary River Marina

The cafe that we had previously known as ‘Muddy Waters’X is now called something different – and after T and M found out that the beers were $9 each, we didn’t venture to investigate any further.

Our exploration of Maryborough on Sunday was perfection. When we lived up here, M and I loved to visit the town to drool over all the Queenslander houses and visit its multiplicity of op-shops. It appeared to have hardly changed at all – Queens Park is looking gorgeous, and has been enhanced by the addition of playground instruments under the shade of one of the enormous figtrees..

Queens Park instruments. DB. Maryborough.

M, Mary Poppins, and Daisy Belle. Maryborough.

Later we walked through town – lots of empty shopfronts – and the railway station is gorgeous, but abandoned…

Maryborough railway station sign.

Sadly abandoned station. Maryborough.

…but closer to the river the houses become increasingly spectacular. How is it that you can admire a town so fully, and yet know that you couldn’t ever live there for any length of time? It’s odd. Maybe you just have to bite the bullet and live there, assimilate, integrate… It would all be easier living in this…

One of the best. Maryborough.

Four out of six of us showered – which was revelatory. All the washing was done and the boat was thoroughly aired out all through the sunshiney Sunday. We dined on risotto and waved fond goodbyes to Maryborough at about 7.30am on Monday morning, as we had to keep the tide with us to the mouth of the river. It’s a five hour journey and we did not want to navigate the river at low tide – it was dicey enough at high tide…

We ran aground quite spectacularly about two thirds of the way downriver. Snapped both the sacrifical rudder sticks. M put the anchor out so we could assess the situation – we worked out where a channel was and made our way toward it, steering with just the motors, as the outgoing tide tried to drag us on to a nearby sandbar. The water was so muddy, it was impossible to see the gradients underneath and the current was running at three knots. Unlike the rest of the jaunt, I did quite a lot of running about. Rudders up. Rudders down. Sticks out. New sticks in…

The Mothership and the Smalls were oblivious – deeply immersed in a card game of ‘War’ around the table in the main cabin. Once out of the river, the wind came up – we sailed back toward Torquay with just the jib up – and had to motor the last little bit as the wind was blowing from straight in front of us.

The Mothership and T vacated Bella Luna (with some alacrity) and got themselves a good sleep in their motel bed. They are just a short walk down the Esplanade…and excellent setup. We were all glad to be back.

Tiny DIY floating jetty. Mary River.


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