Any landing you can walk away from

Have I mentioned how thin the water is around here in Southport? Our goal was to stage Escape Velocity for our assault on Brisbane, pronounced Brisbin down here, so it was anchor up at first light, whereupon we promptly ran aground in soft sand. After some judicious application of reverse thrust by Yours Truly our happy ship was off, wary of a less than auspicious start. We were in for another day of more motoring. After tip-toeing through some incredibly thin water in a circuitous course running from marker to marker, even though we’d already discovered that that was not a guarantied depth but more of a hopeful Aussie depth, we found our anchorage for the night. It was a little rolly but it offered modest protection from ocean swell and wind behind Potts Point. 

At first light we were back on the throttles winding our way towards Moreton Bay, on the lookout for the ship channel into heavily industrialized Brisbane River. We could see the huge container cranes far before we could decipher the entrance markers to the channel. 

This is a busy port so we had to dodge three massive cargo ships and attending tugs just on the way in. Finally we passed the turning pool for the large ships but it seemed they turned the river over to zig zagging catamaran ferries running here and there at high speed. I found it impossible to anticipate where they were heading next. This is the kind of river that meanders around in a snake like fashion, sometimes tight and narrow and at others, wide and lazy. Slowly the tall buildings of downtown Brisbane hove into view. 

I confess the energy of a city draws me in and finally we could see the mooring poles of the city marina. Even with the currents swirling we still decided to edge into the mooring pole field and give it a go. After all this is not our first rodeo so we fancied a spot of pole dancing. The approach looked good and just as I slipped the port engine into reverse for a critical pivot move the whole boat started to shudder violently, but no thrust. I tried again with the same result. Let’s see, I have swift swirling currents, I’m partially stuck between two poles, and I only have one engine 21 feet from the other! Somehow the current pushed EV’s stern just enough to clear the rear pole and I leaped at the opportunity to spin the boat out of there. I could turn to the left reliably but anything to the right required a lot of speed and space. We were forced to try to anchor in a crowded anchorage with limited maneuverability. It took a couple of tries but we got the hook down with out hitting anything. 

Medicinal dark and stormies were called for due to the condition of the skippers knees! The first one went down quickly and as I tilted the backup, I could have sworn that I heard a didgeridoo across the river at Kangaroo Point. It turns out that it wasn’t just the rum. Dozens of painted aboriginal people were chanting and dancing, blowing white powder into the air, playing didgeridoos and that other thing that they whirl around in a circle. 

That’s pretty cool, but then I noticed several people rapelling down the palisades above Kangaroo Point, past the sheer rock face used to quarry ballast for ships in the past. People were strolling along the National Botanical Park right in front of us. I think I’m going to like it here.

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