Shakedown to Keppel

For our shakedown cruise, the unanimous decision was to head to one of our favourite locations, Great Keppel Island. We departed the Gladstone Marina at 0500 on 9 December on our southward journey - by doing the opposite and heading north!! Had a lovely motor sail through The Narrows and anchored at Fisherman's Beach in time for a late lunch. The excitement of being back doing what we love, saw us head straight into the water. We looked like a floating car park with a couple of kayaks, a SUP, blow up floating toys and the dinghy all fighting for space to tie up behind Windana.

The weather was perfect, so we enjoyed day after day playing in the water, walking the beaches and simply relaxing. What I found funny was that the kids (now teenagers) requested things like home made muesli, bread, yogurt, etc just like we used to do. At the moment, we were fully stocked with the supermarket variety, so these treats would have to wait. Made up for it with wonderful batches of muffins and plenty of sundowners.

Enjoyed the anchorages at Long Beach and Svendsens Beach. The weather turned quite wet and windy, but we still managed to get out in the kayaks; put up the Christmas decorations; make more muffins (as the bananas were dying); and do plenty of relaxing with good books. We especially loved long walks on the beautiful flat beaches and proudly executed a starfish rescue mission.

We also managed to take a few photos of "The Santa Hat" that we kidnapped from our local orthodontist just before Christmas. We took various pictures and had great fun posting them to the Fanelli Dental facebook page.

As always, there was some maintenance to be done. Tony decided to take a look at one of our props which seemed to be cavitating. In the process of removing it, he accidentally dropped it and, yes, it went straight to the bottom. Thankfully we were only in about four metres of nice clear water. Sarah immediately dived into the water and up she popped, propellor in hand. Phew!

Sarah and I met a fellow kayaker, Di from a neighbouring catamaran La Perla and we explored Leekes Creek together, marvelling at the number of stingrays and fish. Meanwhile Tony and Les (Di's husband) enjoyed some wife-free time talking all things nautical. By the time we returned from our paddle, the guys were preparing for departure, as the forecast was for stronger SE winds.

Upped anchor together and had a rather lumpy crossing back to The Narrows where we anchored for the night. Had sundowners and a lovely dinner on La Perla. The next day, by the time we emerged out the other side, the wind was up to 30 knots in the Gladstone Harbour. That, combined with all the "traffic" and ensuing wash, resulted in a very bumpy trip to the marina.

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