November 21, 2006 - May 16, 2007
Our arrival at Bundaberg was a welcome end to a really lousy passage, and Bundaberg Port Marina was particularly welcoming. The quarantine dock was occupied when we arrived, so we had to anchor briefly. But when the dock cleared, they had two men meet us on the quarantine dock to take our lines and help us tie up.
We had to deal with customs and quarantine - easy and not so easy. Customs was relatively painless. Quarantine was a pain. But we have faced worse, and we endured.
We were cleared in, and we were assigned a slip in the marina. When we moved Passage to the slip, there were the same two men to help us tie up again. Hey - we could get used to service like this!
We had friendly local neighbors whom gave us lots of needed advice re where to find 'stuff' we needed. There's nothing like local knowledge. There were also many cruising boats in the marina, and we got to visit with friends that we had not seen in a while. More boats were arriving daily, and it started getting a bit crowded. But many (most?) of the cruising boats were heading south to Brisbane for the season, so the crowd would soon thin.
Bundaberg and the surrounding area is much more rural than we expected. It is a huge sugarcane growing region, but there are also abundant fruits and veges. It is quite pretty and definitely farm country, and we are thoroughly enjoying it.
We had been looking forward to seeing some of Australia's wildlife, and we were told that there were kangaroos just outside the marina, so off we went shortly before sunset. We quickly saw four 'roos' just outside the marina. We watched them for a few minutes, then we decided to wander a bit further afield to see what we might see.
Nita nearly stepped on a four foot snake along our route. Australia has the world's most toxic snakes, and 80% of the snakes here are venomous. So one assumes that every snake is lethal until proven otherwise. A four foot killer! We have since learned that the snake was a carpet boa constrictor, and it is not venomous. It is, however, still a very big creepy snake that would surely have killed Nita with a heart attack if it had bitten her.
Once Nita's heart resumed beating, we wandered over to the next field. There we saw another four roos including one joey that was still nursing. They really are everywhere.
So far, our plan had been to move Passage south to Brisbane for the season. So we rented a car and drove down to check out Brisbane and find a marina. And although we really liked Brisbane, we greatly preferred the marina in Bundaberg, so we decided to spend the season here. On the way back north to Bundaberg, we spent a day at the Australia Zoo and had a great time! We spent that night along the coast in Caloundra, then we returned 'home' to Bundaberg.
Here we will stay until some time in April when we will again head north. Lots to do between now and then!