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PostPosted: Oct 4th, '14, 02:54 
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We had been talking about doing the Hervey bay whale watch cruise for a couple of years but things had got in the way. At the start of 2014 we decided to sell the boat (again) based on the fact that we just can’t find the time to use it enough. After a couple of months on the market the boat started getting more interest and I got scared that she would sell (again). So we pulled the ads down and decided we would do the Hervey bay trip in the September school holidays.

Sunday 21st of September was spent getting the boat ready including taking everything heavy out of it and putting it in the car. While I was doing this, the wife was packing all the cloths etc into a couple of bags and they too went into the car. We got up about 5.30 on Monday morning (an amazing feat for my wife and kids!) and were out on the road by about 6.30am – made it around the corner and I decided I wasn’t happy with a last minute mudguard modification I had done the day before, and so had to mess around with that for half an hour or so.

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Soon we were on the M1 heading north (very slowly in the morning peak hour traffic). Once across the gateway the traffic thinned and we had a pleasant drive north for the next 3 hours however the car temp gauge was really starting to climb on the hills! About an hour out of UranganI pulled off the road and checked the oil and water (knew I forgot something). The oil was very low and so I unhooked the boat and left it on the side of the road with my wife and kids while I backtracked to a Shell for some oil. While I was gone a farmer arrived on a tractor – he said he couldn’t believe it when he saw in the distance, a huge boat sitting on his property and had thought that Father Xmas must have come early this year! Once the car had some oil, we were back on the road with no problems. We arrived at Urangan boat harbour to a lovely 27 knot southeaster blowing straight onto the ramp. Now we love our Mac, but I’m a realist so I’ll just straight up admit – light weight +_ huge freeboard + no draft = a PIG of a boat in high winds in a tight marina!

It’s a brilliant 4 lane ramp but the pontoon is separate from the ramp and a float on trailer and guide rails make for a very easily launched boat. I backed her off the trailer and over to the pontoon no problems. Then we motored around to our berth - yes the seawall cuts out a few of those 27 knots but it was still a little scary getting into our berth. We spent two great nights at the marina and the wife loved our time there so much and the great hospitality provided by the new managers Deb and Bob, that we decided to stay for a third night. There is a few restaurants at the boat harbour and we chose what was clearly the most popular (Had to wait for a seat compared to only three people in the restaurant next door). Now we are kind of cheap and don’t generally go to restaurants and unfortunately I have to say that this just reminded me of why. I won’t go on about it too much but I’m a bit of a pie man and paying 18 bucks for a pie which had a grand total of 7 chips on the plate next to it and a bit of green - I just wasn’t that impressed. For anyone with young children I highly recommend the free water park on the esplanade. Our children had a great time running around there for 3 hours or so. Right near the water park in Main Street is an award winning pie shop and they have tasty pies for only $5 or so. As recommended by Ian and Marie on TSP we utilized the services of the Urangan butcher, visiting them on the second day and asking them to cryovac a heap of meat in meal size portions and freeze it for us which they happily did. When we picked it up, they even told us the tides for the next day!

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We motored out of the boat harbour the next day and found we had the wind on the nose. The wind is virtually always on the nose for us so that didn’t put us off and well, the Mac is a kind of nice trailer sailer in a headwind ;-) A few hours later we were making our way into Coongul creek, pretty easy to find your way in but beware of the tree stumps. Congul is crystal clear on a flooding tide but turns a tannin stained coca cola brown as the water ebbs away. It is a beautiful little spot and we had it all to ourselves. The fast moving tide caught me out and we ended up drying out on a not so fun angle.
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We had a fun activity planned for the kids here. We had made a nice coffee stained old looking treasure map and stuck it in a rum bottle which just happened to be on the beach as we went for a walk :wink: Earlier while the wife entertained the kids, I had snuck off into the swampy looking area to the south of the creek and buried two small wooden chests containing fake gold coins, rubies, plastic necklaces, seashells etc. So off we went on the treasure hunt into Dead Mans swamp anxiously looking over our shoulders in case Blackbeard should appear! The kids just loved it.

Then we realized that we had unfortunately forgot our Magna BBQ. Don’t get me wrong, we love our Origo, but she doesn’t do much of a job of roast beef or thick T bone steaks!. I have an emergency exploder (gas camping stove) in the boat and we thought we would do our best with that but then realized we had no gas canisters (three months of planning really payed off eh!). Now thankfully there is mobile phone/internet reception at Coongul and so I decided to give Kingfisher resort a call and to my surprise the shop had two gas canisters in stock which they would hold for me for a day. So the decision was made to set sail for Kingfisher resort the next day, rather than Wathumba creek which had been the plan. Of course the next day the wind had veered right around and there was a decent headwind on us as we left the creek which produced some nice little waves. My wife was lookout on the foredeck and got soaking wet which I found most enjoyable.

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The wind veered again to a South Westerly - you guessed it, virtually on the nose all the way to Kingfisher. I put the jib up but decided we were too close to the wind and I couldn’t be bothered messing around. The swell was getting bigger and bigger and my crew were all starting to feel it and so took seasickness tablets. For some reason, I am very lucky and just don’t get seasick. Mind you, I can remember times in my youth while serving on HMAS Brisbane, having to strap myself in my rack and being absolutely certain I was going to die after being violently ill for days. The Gunnery mess on Brisbane was up forward, a fun place to be in 10 metre swells!

The seasickness tablets made everyone drowsy and sure enough they all fell asleep and let me battle on for a few more hours. We reached Kingfisher around lunchtime and found a bit of shelter anchored north of the jetty. We stayed there for a bit (crew still happily asleep) while I spent some time getting the boat shipshape (doing the washing up which was still sitting in the sink from the morning fried spam sandwiches). The wind was veering again, but for the first time, in our favour, around to the South and then southeast and so I moved around to the south side of the jetty and let the tide go out leaving us high and dry. We went up to the shop and bought the gas canisters and a few other bits and pieces and then went to “The Sandbar” for a swim in their pool, a beer and a great huge $28 pizza. We tried both the meatlovers and the Kingfisher supreme over the next two days, and the meatlovers was the hands down winner, although we also bought a $10 cheesy garlic pizza with each and they were brilliant!

Arriving back at the boat we found the boat high and dry and the rental segways flying around everywhere. It was interesting seeing the reaction and some of the comments of the tourists seeing a sailing boat sitting on the beach far away from the water. There was a group of drunken Germans riding Segways and the largest one had no sense of balance at all and kept falling flat on his face. His friends thought this absolutely hilarious and would stop to take photos whenever he fell. My wife was out in the cockpit and one of them stopped next to the boat and said in his loud drunken German accent “don’t doz things verk better in ze vater” and sped off. While there I met a nice bloke on the beach who amazingly a year earlier had been in contact with me as he was interested in buying my boat. He had ended up buying a 26 foot motor boat and told me he expected he would just make it on his 200 litre tank from his departure point of Tin can bay, to Urangan marina. I told him, that we had not yet sailed and had been to Coongul and then to Kingfisher and out of my 4 x 22 litre tanks onboard, I had used about 12 litres cruising at around 2000ish revs (maybe 5.5 knots). Etecs are pretty economical at low revs and 4 tanks gives a huge range. While at KingfisherI decided to top up that tank anyway. It is a fair walk from the beach to the Kingfisher resort general store and so finally my plastic collapsible hand trolley was put to good use!

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Last edited by 9erPaul on Oct 4th, '14, 10:27, edited 7 times in total.


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PostPosted: Oct 4th, '14, 02:56 
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On the Saturday night there was a wedding reception just up from where we were drying and I was a little worried about being high and dry near a massive group of drunken 20 somethings, but thankfully that ever faithful huge Sandy Straits/Hervey bay tide came rushing in which allowed me to pull us out into deeper water. Early the next morning I rowed our inflatable in to dump the rubbish in the bin near the toilets, only to find a campfire still burning and the bin missing. The toilet lock on the male toilet there does not work (same as the female one on the shower in the Sand Bar). They don’t really seem to be that big on maintenance at Kingfisher resort but they definitely make good pizza.. After my morning ablution (splashing a bit of water in my face), I rowed back out and went to start the motor - no start, batteries dead. Luckily Etec 50s can be hand started with the help of a bit of rope they are supplied with so I happily pulled out the manual to work out the procedure but found that section was missing from my manual.. I’m sure I could have worked it out but thankfully after turning the fridge off and giving the batteries 10 minutes rest, the ever reliable Etec flashed into life.
Now there was only a couple of knots of breeze blowing and we had a long journey planned (Kingfisher to Wathumba creek) and so off we went under iron Genny. Not long after passing Moon Point we spotted another Macgregor under sail although he was barely moving. Since we still had about 16 miles to do and I had 2 young children already complaining about when we would be at the next beach, the decision was made to motor on. We arrived at Wathumba Creek about 2 hours from low tide - I think it was about 1.30pm. I tried an approach based on the co-ordinates from a video on Youtube and found the mark to be way off, so I took the wife’s advice and approached from a totally different angle and sure enough we were soon in the creek The wife was on the bow as a tree stump lookout in the crystal clear water. We saw many stingrays and turtles on the approach and in the creek which is totally crystal clear and like a huge great swimming pool. I kept pushing the mark button on the GPS as we were entering the creek and have created a little track which will get you safely in 2 hours before low tide with nothing below 80cms of depth. If anyone wants me to post all the co-ordinates, just say.

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As you can see in the images below, Wathumba creek is a truly beautiful spot, at high tide it is just a massive crystal clear swimming pool, a sand spit, and the ocean. It is also a camp ground though, very popular with 4x4ers and there was some yahooing going on one of the nights we were there. If I had a bit bigger boat, I could happily stay there for months. In fact there is a fellow in a Cat who pretty much does live there. Leaves his wife at home and spends months at a time anchored up that amazing little piece of paradise with its white sand and crystal clear waters. We cooked some juicy T bone steaks on the Exploder and they turned out real nice! Unfortunately we found that one of the gas canisters we had bought at Kingfisher resort was a dud and so we were back to having meat in the freezer but no way to cook it. I tried cutting up a roast and frying it on the Origo but that wasn’t going so well so we fed it to a school of bream hanging around by the boat. Back to canned hotdogs and tuna… We were also having some battery problems, although I have since taken them out the boat to find them low on water so hopefully all should be okay.

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The next day, as soon as the flooding tide floated us, we left the creek, and went searching for whales. I finally got to spend half a day sailing which was very relaxing as the kids and the wife did some drawing in the V berth. I saw a mother and calf breaching and head over towards them. They disappeared but we sat there listening to the amazing sounds of the mother talking to its young calf and the calf responding for about 10 minutes. I have never heard whale song before but now I understand what all the fuss is about. Later we saw the Spirit of Hervey Bay in the distance and dropped the sails and scooted over there at about 9 knots. When we got near it I cut the motor and we saw a mother and calf swimming straight towards us. They swam by a few metres away which was just great. A number of people on the Spirit of Hervey bay were taking photos of us. I guess to a non-boatie, it must look odd to find that when you go 26 miles off shore on a big tourist boat to see whales, you will see small sailing boats with families on them also happily looking for whales which can be a lot bigger than their little sailing boats. We went back to Wathumba about 1.30pm and it was of course easy following in our GPS track. Unfortunately I screwed up in the creek and forgot to pull my rudders up before reversing into a sandbank. The Mac has a sacrificial dagger board and rudders (which has been a good thing for me!), so I guess I will be rebuilding a rudder in the next few weeks.



Soon a Mac 26X arrived and I had a short chat with him. About an hour later we saw a nice Farr coming into the creek. Next morning a kayak approached and sure enough it was fellow TSPer Rugboots, from the Farr. Nice to meet ya Spencer, see ya up the creek next year!

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We had a quick breakfast as the tide came rushing into the creek and were soon underway bound for Urangan. Since we had no way to cook, we had decided to head back to the Marina. We were amazed to find we had internet and phone access at Wathumba and so had rang Deb and booked a couple more nights. If you go out to Wathumba looking for whales, you should try and spend some time heading along close to land because it is just beautiful. Being in 10+ metres of water that is like a big swimming pool is just fantastic. We stopped at some huge sand hills and climbed them for a photo session. Soon we were underway again and I spotted a whale in the distance flapping its tail this way and that. Here we had our most fantastic whale experience of the trip. The mother was happily just hovering below the surface keeping watch but the calf was clearly interacting with us, flapping its tail at us with its head out the water and we could see one eye looking at us. As we moved around slowly, the whale would also move around flapping its huge tail in our direction about 7 metres from us.

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We arrived back at Urangan at about 4.30 and hassled Deb and Bob for a security key and to get our car out of the secure storage. We then spent the next morning getting the mast down and stowed and doing a bit of shopping. After that we took the kids to the water park for a few hours and I of course had to get another pie. A very nice and well looked after Seaway 25 elite arrived in the berth next to us some time during the day. As to be expected, during that final night in the marina, the wind started howling again, Remember, Wind howling + tight marinas + magregor 26 = not fun! Anyway, with a nice fella from a big Cat nearby casting our lines off for us, we were off around to the pontoon near the public boat ramp. The wind was howling straight into the ramp and the ramp has rocks on both sides. Thankfully it was low tide so not that far from the pontoon to the ramp and at low tide, there is pebbles on the side of the ramp that the pontoon is closest too. I backed the car and trailer in and got the missus to throw a line to me on the shore. I got her to then put a line on the stern cleat and take a turn on the cleat on the pontoon and gently let it out so the boat got blown towards me on the shore. I then walked the bow onto the trailer while she kept the line taut and we got Little Annie on the trailer.

We took all the heavy stuff out of the boat in the carpark and packed it in the car and finished securing everything. I used to secure the furler to mast etc with rope but have only recently realized how much time can be saved by using big cable ties. Then we walked back to the marina and had showers before giving Deb a box of chocolates for all her help and telling her we will see her next year! We had a good drive home stopping at Beefies Pies for a fantastic Pepper steak pie! My wife who is not really a pie sort of girl, decided to have the curry and even she was very impressed and suggested I buy another to take home! Soon we were fighting our way through the Gateway peak hour traffic and not long after, cruising through the cainfields with a brilliant sunset to our left. We arrived home, put the boat in the backyard and went to check on our chickens – only to find that our 21 year old neighbour’s dog had broken through the fence (once again) and torn two of my children’s pet chickens to shreds. That was followed by a huge shouting match and him with smile on his face, and his young girlfriend, assuring us that it was our fault and that there is nothing he can do when at work and his dogs may come in again and kill the remaining ones.

Ah, its good to be home – Not!



For this message the author 9erPaul has received thanks: 3 Castle 610 (Oct 7th, '14, 17:34), DD58 (Oct 4th, '14, 16:19), pdandy (Oct 4th, '14, 09:30)
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PostPosted: Oct 4th, '14, 09:12 
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Awesome trip report, thanks for sharing makes me very jealous to be land locked at the moment, looks like it may be dinghies for us maybe christmas before they can complete the repairs on Aurnia :(

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PostPosted: Oct 4th, '14, 09:57 
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Must have missed your post Mike, what happened to your boat then?


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PostPosted: Oct 4th, '14, 10:15 
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Wow! What a great report. You can't sell the boat now.

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PostPosted: Oct 4th, '14, 10:36 
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Sounds like an awesome trip Paul. Forgetting canisters etc is pretty normal. Really like the family involvement. Not to mention the whales. Fantastic photos

I read that Pajeros use a bit of oil as they get older. Is it a petrol model? (Always looking at options to replace my 25 yo Maverick).

This is a trip I would really like to do.

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PostPosted: Oct 4th, '14, 10:50 
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Thanks guys,

Oh and here is a photo of the loot from our treasure hunt I described in the Coongul creek section. Yes it was a lot of work and cost me $40, but the kids still think it was great.
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Last edited by 9erPaul on Oct 4th, '14, 11:55, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Oct 4th, '14, 10:54 
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Yes, petrol Pajero. Its been a great car, but it sures likes juice. Next will definitely be diesel.

And Yes, this is a trip you, and everyone else, must do! :D


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PostPosted: Oct 4th, '14, 17:32 
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I want to do a treasure hunt!!!

What a great trip report! You have the luckiest kids on the planet I reckon. We have been out to Wathumba three times, and on 2 of those occasions we have had kids on board too - except they were our allegedly grown up '20 something' daughters. (The daughters are aged in their 20's, not a total of 20) A really good cruise can be even better with lovely kids on board. A trip like this is where a Mc really comes into it's own. We were on the Castle, and a week at a time for a family is enough. We would love to go back there again, but with the lovely cruising grounds of South Australia in our backyard, Qld seems a long way away. Fortunately, we can live vicariously through you in these great trip reports.

Ian and Marie


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PostPosted: Oct 5th, '14, 07:56 
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Thanks for the comments and Ian and Marie, you're welcome to help dig up the loot next time. Until then, I have put together a little vid of the treasure hunting expedition here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xm_124tVM5U



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PostPosted: Oct 5th, '14, 12:33 
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I could not have enjoyed that Treasure Hunt more, even if I had been there. Amelia summed it up beautifully. Precious.

Marie



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PostPosted: Oct 6th, '14, 09:27 
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lasting memories, brilliant stuff. Well done.
Regards T.


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PostPosted: Oct 6th, '14, 09:32 
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Hi Paul. It was great to meet you in Wathumba. I met another TSP'er in Coongal (Mark and Bronwyn on their new RL24, Hummingbird). My son is starting to think TSP is a weird dating site. I enjoyed your log. But I have to say you are crazy! Why did you not ask for some gas? Having run out before, we take heaps (like 10!) and I could easily have given you a couple!!
Regards, Spencer.

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PostPosted: Oct 6th, '14, 09:44 
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Great report and photos Paul!

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PostPosted: Oct 6th, '14, 11:31 
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We really wanted to do another day at Wathumba Spencer, its such a magnificent place, Geez, I didn't even think to ask you about the gas!! :roll: Next year the Magma will be with us! :D

If ya click on this photo, there are a few other photos of you entering the creek in that folder:
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PostPosted: Oct 6th, '14, 17:13 
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Thank you for the photographs. It is great to have pictures of us on the boat arriving at Wathumba - not just of the boat by itself. We laughed at your treasure hunt - your children should remember that for a long time to come. You have some great photos. What camera do you use? And is your video on a Go Pro?

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PostPosted: Oct 6th, '14, 22:11 
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I'm working on a video of the trip at the moment and will save it in a higher res than I did that treasure hunting video. The camera is an Fujifilm XP60 underwater camera I bought a few months back for $148 posted. We are quite happy with it. Pictures are decent and the video quality is considerably better than my Sony handycam (now about 6 years old and originally cost us $650). As is common on these types of camera, you can hear the cameras autofocus on the saved video if you are filming quite stuff.

So the better quality looking video in that treasure hunt was taken with the cheapo Fujifilm and the poor quality with a Sony Handycam. Mind you, I saved that treasure hunt film in a really low res setting so its pretty poor quality.

Actually we were talking about getting a bit better video camera tonight. I'm not real sold on the Go Pro. I don't like that fisheye look and I don't like the fact that it has no viewing window. I'm thinking about picking up one of these:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAFCjwiIZPE


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PostPosted: Oct 8th, '14, 16:18 
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Wont be to everyone's taste I'm sure, but heres a vid of bits and pieces from our trip:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDqa00VRfT8



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PostPosted: Oct 11th, '14, 12:52 
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Wonderful family video Paul .. Well done!



Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk



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PostPosted: Oct 16th, '14, 18:58 
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Thanks Lofty, my initial goal in getting into trailer sailers, was to create some lasting family memories and we have certainly done that. In fact, the most amazing family memories we have are pretty much all with the boat 8)


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PostPosted: Oct 17th, '14, 23:13 
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Inspired. I would love to do a trip like that one day!

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PostPosted: Oct 18th, '14, 09:03 
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Thanks for sharing your holiday - what a great trip. Lucky kids! I'm sure Isabella Jane is hoping to bob around there sometime soon. Water looks wonderful. Keep the boat!!

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PostPosted: Mar 17th, '15, 07:55 
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Was bored and dreaming,,,, so put together another video of bits and pieces from this trip..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6zOinefxP0


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PostPosted: Aug 25th, '15, 23:51 
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Paul do you still have those coordinates for getting into Warthumba? Could you please post them? Have you been back this year yet and if so were they still accurate? We should be up there in a couple of weeks.

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Steve & Denise Fisher
"Top Shelf" (NX25) Kilcoy


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PostPosted: Aug 28th, '15, 20:45 
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Joined: Oct 2nd, '10, 21:50
Posts: 40
Location: Box Hill North
Has thanked: 10 times
Have thanks: 4 times
Inspirational stuff. Sitting hear in Melbourne's winter those waters look very inviting. Thanks for sharing


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