Busted at Bundaberg!


Friday Freedom crawling with Customs Agents

We spent another day relaxing at Pancake Creek. In the morning we checked the crab pot, but alas, no crabs. We repositioned it and headed over to the other side of the inlet to enjoy looking at the small coral reef while the surface was flat and calm. Thoughts of our friends shark ravaged crab pots kept us from swimming too far from the beach.

As the tide made it’s way out we walked the ridges of sand flats, looking across to where the bushfire in the Rodd Peninsular National Park still burnt, coming seemingly closer to our shore all the time. All that smoke made for another grand sunset and moon rise which we veiwed from behind the security of our insect screens! Laughably our crab pot had become stranded again by the tide and was proving to be a comfortable perch for a huge white bird who would have deterred even the dumbest of crabs!  We left just predawn, rounded Bustard Head and headed south to Bundaberg. On the whole a great day’s passage, but slow with the wind on the nose the whole way. By late afternoon we were down to a double reefed main but at dusk we removed the reefs when the wind died out significantly.

We made our way into the Burnett River and tied up at seven pm. The smell of curry wafting across the marina had us ravenous and as soon as Fling was sorted we dashed to the Baltimore Cafe searching for the delicious smell….

Foiled! It was being cooked aboard another yacht so we sated our hunger with pizza’s and chilled white wine, totally unaware of the drama unfolding just across the lawns of the marina.

The marina is quite full at present with Port to Port rally yachts. A total of 84 visiting and returning to Australia yachts have been filtering into Bundaberg Port Marina since early October, crossing the Coral Sea from Port Vila. One, which arrived five days ago, sailed by a young Spanish crew will not be leaving anytime soon. During our dinner on Friday evening a large team of Australian Federal Police, Customs agents and Forensics specialists descended on the yacht and commenced searching it. Cars coming and going through the roundabout near the Marina were also searched. The search on the yacht continued all the next day and they removed somewhere between 40-45 kilo’s of heroin. (Local word has it at 400 kilos!) This morning the yacht was removed from the water and impounded. SV Friday Freedom has now been dubbed S V Friday Lockup by the rally participants! Our bus driver told us the young Spanish couple had recently won an award for ‘best pirate costume’ during the rally!

Today we joined several rally cruisers on the courtesy coach to the Shalom Markets. I found it quite interesting to hear their first impressions of Australia. One cruiser was astonished to see so much birdlife, whilst others were amazed at the low cost of fresh food at the market. Another cruiser suggested we should have been at the market at 6am to get the ‘best pickings’, and I reflected he had probably not yet had a chance to realise Australia’s bounty after crossing the Pacific. We came back to Fling loaded with Mango’s, Avocado’s, Limes, Spring Onions and a huge bag of fresh mint, coriander, basil and dill which, given that we really didn’t need much speaks volumes of the quality of fresh food available at very reasonable costs.

The fish marketing factory next door has just opened a factory door shop, so this afternoon I topped our fridge up with Panko crusted whiting fillets, cooked tiger prawns and the local speciality, spanner crab meat. All local, and all for very reasonable prices.

Tomorrow we will head off to Hervey Bay, getting closer and closer to our end destination….



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