Schiehallion sailing boat
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It was nearly time for us to leave the marina and start our voyage. We were both very excited about that but at the same time nervous. There were still some jobs that needed doing but in my mind there would always be some job or other and we could just sort it out as we went. As a little test we invited my youngest brother Toby and his wife Tara and their baby/dog Sally for a day out.

Camera shy Sally can fetch sticks all day.

It was actually the first time we anchored Nautilus so we made sure it was good and set and waited aboard for a while to check she wasn't dragging. We all piled into Onion, our dingy, and headed for a long empty beach. There were a few small kangaroos around and they slowly came closer to us and in the end were eating out of our hands. Pretty cool start to the adventure!

Terry and Lois of Marina’s Edge at Hope Harbour had been looking after Nautilus since I brought her in 2014. They run a really nice marina with a family vibe. They have been extremely helpful, giving us lots of advice and help with local contacts. We’ve watched many a sunset on their patio while enjoying a beer and a chat. Terry used to play guitar with Uriah Heep and Lois was a professional yacht skipper so they have had interesting lives.

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We cast off the lines early, Terry and Lois waving goodbye. I was excited and felt ready to finally commit. We motored down the river to the Broadwater then turned north. Between the Gold Coast and Moreton Bay there is a long stretch of very narrow and shallow waterways to negotiate. It meant motoring for about 6 hours but we were ok with that, Nautilus has a new 50hp engine and she purrs along quietly hardly using any diesel. We anchored for lunch at a spot while waiting for the tide to fill in. When we got going again I though we could take a little shortcut. No sooner had I said that out loud and we hit a big sandbank! Nautilus did a bit of a nosedive and Ylva and I held on. Luckily nothing was damaged and we backed up, turned around and went around the correct side of the channel marker and made a point of not taking any more shortcuts!


The whole way up through these waterways we came across sunken or wrecked boats. Considering the amount of work we had done to make Nautilus seaworthy it was sad to see these boats in such a bad state.

We made sure we found a good spot to anchor before sunset and then sat back and smiled at each other. After all the cleaning, fixing, organizing etc. we were finally doing what we had come to do.

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