Blogging has the opportunity to record the present and presently we are cruising the coat on leave. Having experienced the wonders of the reef at Fitzroy and Lady Musgrave, it was time to visit land again as we had a bit of weather. We chose the Gladstone Marina run by the staff at the Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC). It is a very different experience for a marina builder to visit a marina as a customer by water as opposed to when we usually rock up by road. There are just lots more questions for starters.

When the decision is made in planning offshore there are a host of questions such as;
When can we get in there and on what tide?
Do they have any berths available?
What facilities do they have and can we re provision easily?
Will it be a bow or stern in berth on port or starboard side?
How can I contact them when there is no phone reception out here?
Where can I get a bulb to make the repair to the blown nav light?
How long can I wait to wash the salt off everything including me?

There is a lot going on and this was in relatively good conditions. Image with a bit more weather tossed in, how important the safe harbours and marinas are to our marine industry. These facilities are important and in same cases critical to safe passages at sea. Luckily the GPC had the foresight to install the marina as a buffer between port operations and the general public. It has wonderful facilities and beautiful parkland along the foreshore. They have excellent laundry, showers and toilets, fuel, chandlery, tackle shop and a welcome pack for every visiting craft. This pack is in a tote bag with their name on it which is really smart as it will stay on the boat as a reminder to visit again.

Tessa in the office was wonderful to deal with and very friendly. She answered initial contact by email that was easiest form of communication and confirmed berth availability. Not only that but he specified the berth number, color, and port side berthing so the first mate does not always ask “which side for the fenders?”, when you have no idea. These little things mean a lot.

So we get settled in and the local marina network cuts in with Ivan and Joe providing local advice on where to shop and even provide extra tools to fix a busted pipe. People in marinas have the most interesting stories.

We proceeding down the coast for an overnight in Pancake Creek which was wonderful. We walked up to the Bustard Head Lighthouse which is totally maintained by volunteers in better condition than ever! The views are incredible. After this we visited Bundaberg Port Marina which once again has great customer service with forward warning on port or starboard berthing and someone on hand to take your lines and welcome you to the marina. There is a complete folder given to each boat on local activities and items of interest. We were even lucky to meet up with Ian Reynolds on his Riviera 56, Investigator IV on a trip north while they had stopped to refuel at the marina.

As a customer of our customers, I can say we were most impressed. Marina businesses are doing a great job for an integral part of Australia’s social heritage. Come and visit a marina soon and be inspired by the many people you will meet living life’s adventure.

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John Hogan

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