Sailing south from Fraser Island was a smokey affair—a bolt from the previous night's lightning storm had struck ground setting the island on fire. We upped anchor with the sun at 0430 to cross over a sand bar stretching between the southern tip of Fraser Island and Australia's eastern coast before the winds picked up.
We were glad we made the effort to time the pass early as conditions got heavier over the course of the day; while we were enjoying 18 knot winds on our beam and cruising down the coast, the chirping on the radio reported standing waves in the area and that the sandbar had become largely impassible.
We were underway for the better part of the day, until about 1600. The water went from jade green to deep blue as we left the sandy straits for Australia's open coastline. We picked up an ocean breeze and a moderate swell as we went, enjoying views of the beachy coast, sandstone cliffs, and the Glasshouse Mountains.
Mooloolaba is a popular Australian resort town, so the exposed beach we sailed past was sprinkled with beachgoers and lined with hotels. We crossed through a small and treacherous opening into the duckpond-like conditions of Mooloolaba Harbor, a network of canals and extravagant modern homes ('McMansions' the guidebook calls them) situated at the mouth of the Mooloolah River.
We spent three nights and two days relaxing in town, eating at fish shacks, trying to avoid getting scorched by midday heat, and getting to know the local white ibis and osprey (reminded me of a few other osprey we were hanging out with in San Diego!).