Friday, July 22, 2011

Darwin Happenings

We are ready to leave tomorrow morning, we have spent the last week visiting spots in and around Darwin, interspersed with that are boat chores and social evenings. We became millionaires when we visited the bank and got out some Indonesian cash. This 100,000 bill is worth about $12.00 Canadian, so we have over 4,000,000 on the boat at the moment, I am sure I will have to do a lot of mental math once we get there. We also visited the Indonesian Embassy the other night and we sampled the food they had and watched the entertainment. They had some great dancers and some singers that had lovely voices. We learned a few Indonesian phrases and got some great handout about where we should go and what is offered there. We have been told that patience is required and things are done on Indonesian time and you can expect plans to change at any time. I will have to get used to "island time" again.

We visited a few sites around Darwin this week. We visited oil tunnels that were built to store the oil for the forces in WW II. They were built in the huge rock cliffs on Darwin Harbour. It was a real feat of engineering. They had photos of the bombing or Darwin posted on the sides of the oil tanks. I guess they kept the severity of the bombing in Darwin secret from the rest of Australia in order to keep up the country's morale. On our way back to the boat we stopped off at an old WW II hanger. It now houses the antique car club in town. The hanger is located right in the middle of a residential district, right beside it is a 4 story apt. block. The old runway is now a major street. Barry thought it was very unique that they have kept the hanger and let the neighbourhood grow up around it. I know that Graeme and his Dad would have appreciated these old cars. Yesterday we walked up the hill and visited the Fannie Bay Gaol. It was opened in 1883 and the last prisoner was transfered out of the jail in 1979. We were a bit surprised to read that when the war broke out and they evacuated Darwin and they needed the jail to house the troops, they just let all the prisoners go and told them they had to fend for themselves, I sure hope they didn't have very many violent offenders in there at that time.

I was going to get Barry to shut the door and shoot the bolt but I realized that I couldn't reach around and open it, so I decided I shouldn't chance because he may just have thought it might have been fun to leave me in there for awhile!!!! It was a pretty grim place with big thick walls where they kept the more dangerous criminals.

Barry went and visited the Air Museum and I guess they had a B52 Bomber in there. Barry was surprised at how small the cockpit was, he said it was quite cramped inside.The museum also housed the famous Spitfires with the painted sharks on them .

We were also very lucky to receive two packages from Canada this week. My family has come through in spades and helped beautify the boat . My Mom, bless her soul, has made another table cloth for the boat to match our new upholstery. She also, with her wonderful colour sense, choose some material to match the upholstery, both the items I received from her will enhance our living space considerably.The second package I received was from my sister-in -law Barb Shanks. She very generously made new covers for our cockpit cushions. The set we my buddy Helen made 4 years ago were wearing out, the sun and the salt had just about done them in. Our cockpit is now suitable for guests at all times. Before I received this new set of covers when I was expecting company I would take the old covers off because of the hole in one and the stains of the others. I have been enjoying sitting on the new ones all week. They shipped them to us at considerable expence to make sure we received them before we left and we really appreciate the fact they did this. THANKS VERY MUCH TO BOTH SEAMSTRESSES!!

I am not sure what the internet connections will be like in Indonesia, so although I will send in blogs to my brother to post you may not get many pictures for awhile. I have a few chores to complete on the 2 1/2 day trip to Indonesia, I need to sew a flag, this one is dead easy, red on the top and white on the bottom and I have some material left over for when I make the Tongan flag. I also bought new bug netting for the hatch opening and have a little sewing left on that before it is finished. We are going in for breakfast in the morning then the mass start of over 100 boats at 11:00 A.M. That should be an interesting exercise. I hope there is enough wind to sailing in and we don't have to loll around trying to stay out of each others way. We'll take pictures.