Francette calls it my 'scrogneugneu', when I moan about something that 'isn't what it used to be': Thirty years ago, a plane journey cost a fixed, unchanging price, you took your ticket and that was it; this month, to visit my son Manea (who has taken over the Gameloft company - video games - in Brisbane and my granddaughter Charlie, a one-hour journey, I had to choose from at least a hundred options - I'm not exaggerating, timetable, class, seat in the plane (on the front, in front of an exit, how much hand luggage, how much checked luggage, vegetarian meal? Halal, gluten-free? Cancellation insurance, local insurance; and do you want a hotel, and a car? All in all, making my reservation took longer than the trip itself.
Back in Lake Macquarie, with its sometimes strangely stormy skies, I was joined by Arnaud, who knows the boat well, and who had come to give me a hand for a few weeks.
We set sail under grey skies, and then things got better, and we found some of my favourite spots on the Australian coast:
Coffs Harbour with its fantastic fishermen's cooperative, then Iluka, definitely one of my favourite spots, so peaceful with its little pontoon where you can go ashore in a dinghy to eat fish and chips.
Back at sea, heading for Queensland; a night at anchor in the shelter of Moreton Island, famous for its sea cicadas, known here as Bugs; and off to the Great Sandy Strait: A short stop at Tin Can Bay Marina, another in the vast anchorage, sheltered from all winds, called Garry's Anchorage; another night spent dry on a shoal, sheltered from Big Woody Island, and here we are in Hervey Bay, where we went to visit two twin brothers who are building a very light Mumby 48 catamaran, undoubtedly much faster than Banana Split!
Tomorrow, Friday, I'll be going to see Ridley Scott's Napoleon at the cinema near the marina.
In the coming week, we may go as far as Bundaberg, unless we head for the Brisbane region; we'll see, it depends on the wind...
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