Upon arrival at Manly we anchored just outside the marinas sea wall.
From this location it was only a short 5 minute commute in the 2.7m inflateable tender.
Powered by an 8hp Yamaha outboard engine purchased while at the marina in Coomera the tender was quite spritely.
However to get the tender up on the plane it requires the operator to let go of the tiller and crouch forward while at maximum revs.
This is no problem while the engine is brand new and the controls quite stiff but becomes more risky as time goes on.
Nonetheless it is the accepted method of getting on the plane and is unlikely to change until we take the spill that is most inevitable.
Quite apart from the beauty of waking up moored in Morton Bay was the pleasure of commuting via tender.
It is so nice to be able to motor thru the marina and tie up to the stairs on the sea wall that runs along the main street of Manly.
On Saturday was the farmers market on the grassed area atop the sea wall.
Sunday also saw a market but this was the arts and craft version and in the same location.
Sometimes there was also a movie night were a large inflateable screen was erected and everybody brought their families, chairs and rugs.
If I recall correctly Paper Planes was the movie featured on the night we attended, I may have been a little drunk so my memory is a little hazy.
Being a pleasant commute by tender and a very short walk to the pub along tree lined streets has the unfortunate side effect of making it very easy to just have one more drink.
This is not helped by the inviting beer garden and laid back locals.
I may have been quite drunk most of my time in Manly.
We spent several days moored outside the marina catching all manner of sea life and some of them very tasty.
Towards the end of the week we decided to move to a marina berth so we would have access to mains power and fresh water.
While we didn’t need mains power for much other than charging camera, phone and laptop batteries it was a nice extravagance.
The fresh water on the other hand we needed most desperately.
Slappers habit of using fresh water to wash the decks of the cat had us chewing thru water very quickly.
At that time we didn’t have an alternative when it came to washing the boat.
That would be rectified a few weeks later.
Living moored in a marina apart from being crazy expensive wasn’t the the ideal place to be.
Needing to take a morning after dump often meant a frantic and definitely too long run from the berth to the toilets on land.
There were several days when I made it with less than seconds to spare.
Then as now we have a knack of getting the berth furthest from the toilet/shower block and somehow constantly rocked by boat wakes that no one else seems to suffer.
Aside from adding to the coffers of the Manly pub our priority was to clean and prepare Slappers apartment ready for rental.
Somehow we managed to drag that out for a week and that week has left me feeling quite attached to Manly.
On the Friday before we were due to head north Slapper extended an invitation to his sister Peta and her husband Grant to come for a cruise around Morton Bay.
Friday dawned clear and still.
The bay on Friday morning was smooth and free of ripples end to end and therefor impossible to sail across.
This being the case we motored at 7 knots from the marina at Manly to a bay somewhere near to half way along Morton Island.
Peta and Grant took the tender from our anchor point to the shore and went for a secluded wander for an hour or so.
Slapper and I set out a few baits and bagged a few whiting while watching a largish shadow cruising around the back of the boat.
Slapper grabbed his bait caster and got half a pillie out into the path of the shadow.
The shadow barely hesitated as it engulfed the bait and took off for the horizon.
Several frantic minutes saw Slapper losing line from his bait caster at an alarming rate.
I suggested we hop in the tender that Peta and Grant had just returned in and chase the shadow to maybe regain some line before the spool ran out.
With all the grace of a cow on a bike we mounted the tender and took off after the shadow.
Some skillful coaxing saw slapper regain all his spent line with just the leader between him and the shadow.
It was then that we saw what the shadow was.
A 5 foot long Shovelnosed shark, not too bad considering it would have weighed at least 25kg and Slappers line was only 8kg.
While Slapper and the 8kg line was up to the challenge sadly the rod was most definitely not.
With a thumb fingering the spool to coax every last kilo from the line the Shovelnose finally came fully to the surface.
Both Slapper and I were congratulating each other on some fine chase work when the Shovelnose gave a last surge towards freedom and Slappers rod exploded into 3 pieces.
I couldn’t help laughing.
Lesson learned, never use heavier line than the rating of the rod, but then who hasn’t done just that?
Text and photos by Fingers.