Tuesday, July 05, 2011

We have arrived in Darwin safe and sound, 2000 from our starting point in Yamba, whopee. Here we are after visiting Customs to start the process for our departure from Australia. We are sporting our free Customs toques, the preferred head gear for sailors in the dead of the Australian winter. We heard the weater report yesterday and it was a chilly +30 degrees celcius in Darwin, go figure, why wouldn't they hand out lovely lightweight sun hats????

Check out the shell Barry is holding. He found it on a beach near a resort we stopped at just around the corner of Cape Don. It had been on the beach a long time and is pretty bleached out but it is huge, quite the find.

Barry took this shot as we were sailing along in 10 knots of breeze. The currents were huge as we rounded Cape Don and passed through the Van Diemen Gulf just north of Darwin. We did manage to get these tides right so had it with us, we were not so fortunate going through Hole in the Wall. The last blog I wrote was all about getting to Hole in the Wall at the correct time so we would have the tide with us. Well guess what, after the flood tide flowing west to east in Thursday Island, around Cape York and all across the Gulf of Carpentaria, it actually flows east to west through Hole in the Wall. So we got there and the tide was running about 4-6 knots against us. We had taken down the sails and were making about 2 knots through the gap, when we hit a narrow spot and

we were down to 0.3 knots of forward motion. The engine was howling at max revs and we were making no headway, sails to the rescue. I unraveled the genoa and soon we were making 1 knot over the ground and we slowly made out way through, WHEW! So much for going the scenic way!! Notice the current in the picture, the rock was very layers and worn into intersting shapes.

Hole in the Wall as seen on our electronic charts

Barry finally caught a fish in Australian Water. This is after trailing a line for over 500 nm, at the minimum. This is a spanish makeral, we had him for dinner shortly after this shot. We visited a fishing store in Cooktown and the fellow there recommended a simply silver hook and said the makeral really go for them. He was right, we should have consulted an expert 500 miles ago!

We arrived in Darwin in the dark about 9:00 P.M. We usually do not come into port in the dark but the entrance was pretty straight forward and we droppped anchor at the back of the fleet. The next morning we went ashore, caught the bus downtown and charged around doing what was required. We went to Customs, we headed to the Indonesian Embassy to apply for our Visa's, I made a doctor's appointment to renew my prescriptions and Barry and I both had our eyes tested and ordered new glasses. We managed a bit of shopping and then headed back on the bus. We were very pleased with the amount we had done, now for more of the mundane chores such as laundry and boat chores, waxing the fibreglass and more coats of varnish. The tropical sun is just deadly. We only broke one thing on the way up, a block on the main sheet, at the moment Barry is sawing the bolt that sheared on it so it can be replaced. We are contemplating buying an AIS ( Automatic Identification System) which sends and receive electronic signals from other boats, (required on all tankers). I am not convinced it is necessary but it would be another safety system, it tells you where boat are and at what direction and speed they are travelling. It also identifies them by name so you can call up those big tankers by name and they are more likely to respond. Someone said it was a requirement in Singapore Harbour. Our radar is getting pretty old and rather than replace it I guess AIS is the way to go.