On the Brisbane River



Sandy Hill anchorage at Moreton Island near the mouth of the Brisbane River 

On May 16, 2007, we left Mooloolaba bound for the Brisbane River and Rivergate Marina.  We arrived in Moreton Bay and headed south down the channel for a nice anchorage at the foot of Sandy Hill on the southern end of Moreton Island.  The anchorage is home to sea turtles, a variety of sea birds and dugongs.  We saw the first two, but, not the latter.   
We had a nice dinner that evening and enjoyed the sunset in the company of a few other boats. 
Sunset on Moreton Bay
Predominate winds on Moreton Bay are out of the southeast.  So, anchoring in the lee of the island makes for a pretty comfortable night.  From Sandy Hill, you can see the lights of downtown Brisbane about 15 miles away.  The next morning, we weighed anchor and crossed the Bay to the entrance of the Brisbane River.  About six miles from the entrance is Rivergate Marina.  It's a new marina that primamrily caters to megayachts with an emphasis on providing refit services.  The facility is still under development.  But, it is a convenient spot for access to downtown Brisbane.



Brisbane's Gateway Bridge at Rivergate Marina

The marina was relatively empty, so, we had a good choice of berths.  We picked one near the end of the pier so we would have a good view of all the activity on the river.  Brisbane has a good ferry system and we could catch it a short drive away.   


 Condos and apartments along the Brisbane River  


The river winds its way from Moreton Bay through the suburbs to the Central Business District.  Numerous homes have private piers with boats parked in their backyard.  However, most piers offer no protection from the wakes of the many vessels traversing the river.






Final Straw on the river at the end of the rainbow

From our berth at Rivergate, we could watch all sorts of interesting activity.  Besides the occasional large ships that passed by, we also had a good view of large aircraft on international flights making their approach into the Brisbane International Airport, just a few miles away. 




USS Blue Ridge on the Brisbane River

One quiet afternoon, we were leaving the boat to go shopping when we noticed a large ship coming down the river.  It was clearly a Navy vessel, but, it didn't have the light green coloring used on ships of the Australian Navy.  In fact, it looked like a US Navy vessel.  As it came closer, we could see the American flag flying from the masthead.  The crew was lined along the bulwark.  We were the only people on the pier.  We had our large American flag flying from our stern clearly evident to the crew of the Blue Ridge.  We were looking into the sun as they passed, so, I was shading my eyes with my hand in what I realized later looked like a salute.  While I was watching, all of a sudden the crew came to attention, returning my salute.  I must say, it sent a shiver down my spine.





USS Blue Ridge passing Final Straw

The Blue Ridge was in Australia on joint maneuvers with the Australian Navy.  It's the Command & Control ship for the Vice Admiral responsible for the US Navy's 7th Fleet.  She carries a crew of about 1500 sailors and is 638 feet long.   The US Navy aircraft carrier, Kitty Hawk, also visited Brisbane a few weeks later.  She was a big hit with the Aussies and there were traffic jams with up to a two hour wait just to get a look at her.



Typical Australian Golf Course

While we were staying at Rivergate, we visited local museums, vineyards and malls.  But, this view of a nearby golf course was pure Australian.  The kangaroos rule the turf here as well!


Gorgeous sunrise at Rivergate on the Brisbane River 

We had an interesting stay on the river.  The marina will undoubtedly become a more popular spot as the development expands.  With the cancellation of the Dockwise shipment, we decided to leave Final Straw here until January 2008 when she will be loaded aboard Yacht Express for the ride back to North America.
For more on that, go to Shipping Final Straw from Australia to Mexico in 2008.

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