It’s an oddly comforting feeling turning up in places that you have some familiarity with. True, we often don’t penetrate further than a kilometre or so inland, but we do have to forage for supermarkets, boat parts, bulk food shops, libraries etc and this means that we get a reasonable knowledge of the area we have anchored near.
Brisbane occupied us for about ten days. Goldfishlike, I relived exactly the same feelings from a year before. Like this:
“Oh hooray! We’re anchored in the river in the MIDDLE OF THE CITY! It’s so AWESOME here right next to the Botanic Gardens!! Let’s go to the library! My favourite cafe – ‘Bean’! That fantastic bookshop ‘Folio’… Wow… it’s really hot, isn’t it? I forgot how hot it could get… Sweat is dripping down my back. Oh, whoops, I forgot to get something from the supermarket…let me walk back up Edward Street for the fourth time today. Hey! Lets go on a family bike ride along the river… Oh.My.God – why must it take us 90 minutes just to get our shit together to get off the boat…? Yes. Yes, you HAVE to wear a helmet. Yes, I’m sorry it’s uncomfortable. No, you DO have to wear it, it doesn’t matter if you cry. KEEP TO THE LEFT, KEEP TO THE LEFT, KEEP. TO. THE. LEFT. Yes, lets spend more money on lunches while we’re out…”
And I didn’t even include the two nights we were crooned to sleep by a very angry sounding death metal band playing enthusiastically to thousands of people about 2km away… Or bounding out of a deep sleep to massive banging noises, assuming M was holding on to the end of the jib in a freak windstorm and being pounded and whirled about like a raggy-doll…. or maybe just shot by river terrorists… Oh wait – it was just another fireworks display with the launching barge about 100m from the cockpit. Brisbane appeared to be celebrating… Wednesday.
There was also the plashing and rolling caused by the wash of the ferries that run up and down the river. So, just as it did before, Brisbane’s general exuberance wore me down to a sort of wafer-shape, and it was time to go…
(This is not to discount our joy at the museum, the library, the money the Smalls made while busking or the lovely time we spent with our Brisbane besties – @talesfromthewild)…
We were almost thwarted in our attempt to leave when the Brisbane River would not give up our anchors. The current there is so strong (maybe one day I will write about howFoamy slipped his rope and immediately travelled four and a half kilometres up-river… maybe when the memory is not so raw) that we had two anchors out.
M, with admirable presence of mind, had attached a little red floaty buoy to our second anchor chain so we would be able to see where it was when the time came to haul it up. Four or five hours later it was gone, “Some fucking motorboat’s run over our buoy. Bastards…” He continued to vent in a curmudgeonly manner… until the tide dropped and TADA! there was our red buoy! It had been obscured by the water… M did his best to look contrite, and promised to lengthen its rope….
However. Up at about 5am or so to catch a ride on the tide to the river mouth, the red buoy had disappeared again, and breakfast became a leisurely exercise, punctuated by doing laps around the deck seeing if the buoy had emerged. Finally we found it and M went to sort things out. Sods Law ensured that our primary anchor chain and the secondary anchor rope had not only become entwined but the primary anchor seemed to have hooked on to a car body or some other kind of detritus on the river bed. We were going nowhere. M managed to extract the second anchor, but its rope remained entwined.
With no idea which direction we should turn Bella Luna in order to untangle things, we just manoeuvred around in a hopeful manner, whilst praying we wouldn’t have to cut our losses and leave the rope, chain and remaining anchor to join the rest of the crap lurking under the water. Somehow, almost dragging the bows under on several attempts, we freed things enough to be able to haul up the anchor. Up came a mess of rope – and I spent a large chunk of the journey back downriver lying horizontal on the nets, untangling it all – we needed a functioning anchor by the time we made it to Southport.