Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Marinas – A necessary evil.

7-11 October 2015

When cruising we always prefer to live on the hook and anchor somewhere rather than hop from marina to marina. In fact we’d stay out of marinas entirely if we could. The $50 to $80 per night they charge is much better spent on fuel, food and drink in our opinion. However marinas do make life a lot easier when it comes to provisioning the boat with groceries, fuel and water.

Sitting at Great Keppel Island with three days of forecast heavy weather coming up we took stock of our position. We still had over 500 litres of fuel but it had been over two weeks since we had left Bundaberg and last filled our water tanks. The starboard water tank was now dry. There was more than enough in the port tank to sit out the coming blow but maybe not enough after that to go all the way through to Airlie Beach in the Whitsunday Islands. A marina visit to refill the tanks was going to be needed at some stage.

Keppel Bay Marina was just across from us at Rosslyn Bay so we decided we might as well be tied to the dock in crap weather now rather than risk the weather being good and wasting it when we would have to stop in Mackay further up the coast. We could fill our water tanks, top up with fuel and Karen will always take any opportunity available to restock our fresh vegetable, salad lines and fruit.

Great Keppel Island disappearing astern as we head for Rosslyn Bay
After a nearly a week of strongish South Easterly winds, the swell was still running fairly well so we had a bumpy downwind sail over to the mainland on Wednesday morning and were tied up in the marina by lunch time. We’d hoped to only stay a couple of days but the wind got up into the high twenties, gusting over thirty,  later in the day and blew for the rest of the week.

Fortunately the marina kindly allocated a berth that was easy to get in and out of for our old school full keeled boat.

The Marina very generously provides two hours free use of a courtesy car during your stay so we took advantage of it to drive into nearby Yeppoon where Karen loaded two shopping trolleys with all sorts of good stuff from the supermarket while Rob unsuccessfully did battle with Telstra about our three month old 4G Wifi dongle which had died the previous weekend. Telstra staff member says “Yes it is covered under warranty. We can send it away for you and they will either fix it and post it back to you or send you a new one.”  Rob, “You have boxes of them on the shelf. Can’t you just swap it for one that works?” Telstra rep, “No we can’t do that. It has to be sent away and posted back to you.” Rob, “Fantastic! The address to send to is Our Dreamtime – somewhere off the Queensland Coast.  Bloody useless twats!

The weather had abated enough by Sunday morning that we cast off before lunch with full fuel and water tanks, fresh provisions a plenty and restocked wine and beer supplies. We sailed over to an anchorage on North Keppel Island  to rest up and retire early as the alarm was set for 11.00PM. We would be rising and getting underway on an overnight and much of the next day passage around the Shoalwater Bay Military exercise area and up to Hexham Island or further on to the Percy Group of islands depending on the weather.

MARINA REVIEW: Keppel Bay Marina  ****


Nightly rate for our yacht (14m inc davits) – $59 AUD  (including GST, water, power and car parking)

The marina is located behind high breakwaters and would appear secure in all winds other than full blown gale from the North where surge could be an issue.  The berths are very wide and most easily accessible. Marina fingers are not gated and are open to the public to roam around.

There is a self serve fuel dock at the fisherman’s side of the harbour. There is a very small lightly stocked chandlery located adjacent to the marina’s reception area. Bathroom facilities ensuite style in a demountable building.  Coin operated laundry onsite. WIFI available. Other facilities at the marina include a restaurant.

There is no supermarket near the marina. The closest is about 15-20 ks away in Yeppoon which has all services. The marina provides a free courtesy car limited to 2 hours use once during your stay and a regular bus service to Yeppoon stops in the car park.

This is a pleasant enough marina we would happily return to.

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