Header image  

The Adventure ....

 
  
 

 
 
ships log
Wednesday 23rd July 2008
Darwin, Northern Territory

Hello everyone,

Here we are in Darwin, and a couple of milestones achieved - firstly it’s now a full year that we’ve been on the boat (it’s a wonder that no-one got pushed overboard !) and secondly, it’s the end of the Australian part of our cruise. There’s a certain sense of satisfaction in travelling 5500 nautical miles without hitting anything, and now we’re looking forward to the next leg through Indonesia – but more on that later, here’s the update since last posting.

After a brief but enjoyable stop-over in Gove, where we stocked up on fresh food, we headed off north into the Wessel Islands. The seas were quite rough until we went through the “Hole in the Wall’ into the Arafura sea. This is a strange but natural gap between the islands giving small boats a potential ’shortcut’ from the Gulf of Carpentaria into the Arufura Sea. This natural canal turns into a raging torrent as the huge tides try to get from one side to the other, so timing it right was crucial if we didn’t want to play at kayaking – we picked it right, and slipped quietly through at slack water.


Hole in the Wall

anchored off Liverpool River
Hole in the Wall
anchored off Liverpool River

Port Essington

Victoria settlement ruins, 1840
Port Essington
Victoria settlement ruins, 1840


The sailing as we headed west towards Darwin thru Arnhem Land was delightful – we had calm seas and fair winds all the way. The vastness of this part of Australia is overwhelming. We took 2 weeks to travel this section and apart from a couple of very small settlements dotted around, there were no people, no ‘civilization’ – just a beautiful and totally remote coast.

Port Essington was an interesting stop for a couple of days. It’s a large natural harbour, roughly the size of Sydney harbour, which was the site of the British attempts to establish a colony around 1840. Not surprisingly, it failed due sickness (malaria and similar)and lack of water, but the remains of the village called ‘Victoria Settlement’ are still there and provide an eerie but fascinating walk. The whole area is national park, with the only access via boat.

Then, the last run into Darwin, which we finished off in great style with a 100 nautical mile marathon –setting off at 3am to use the strong tidal flows around the Tiwi islands to get a boost – I have a vivid memory of sailing in the pitch black darkness (no moon) for an hour at speeds that didn’t drop below 9.5 knots for a full hour (this may not sound much to non-yachties, but for us it’s a big deal, around 50% on top of our normal speed !)


burning the land

spectacular sunrise over Arhem Land
burning the land
spectacular sunrise over Arhem Land

Northern Territory sunset

A thermal spring with no crocs, Berry Springs outside Darwin
Northern Territory sunset
A thermal spring with no crocs, Berry Springs outside Darwin


This time of year, the aboriginals are burning the bush to allow re-growth, so for our entire time in the Northern Territory, we’ve had the ever present smell of smoke and the boat gets covered in ash ‘fallout’ - though it does create some amazing sunsets.

In summary, the sailing in the Northern Territory has been a delight, and in fact our whole trip up the coast from Sydney has been pretty easy (although it must be very hard going back the other way, against the trade winds and currents. Glad we don’t have to worry about that for a while).

In Darwin we’ve had a busy week or so, getting ready for the Indonesian Rally. We’ve been to customs, applied for and got our visas, and made countless trips to the shops to stock up on essentials, which has to be ferried out to Destiny on our tender. We’ve also had a couple of ‘social’ events with the fleet of around 120 boats. While the rest of the country seems to be in the grip of winter, we’re enjoying delightful sunny days with temps reaching around 30, and warm evenings.


Sail Indonesia fleet takes over Darwin Harbour

Beer Can Regatta, Mindl Beach, Darwin
Sail Indonesia fleet takes over Darwin Harbour
Beer Can Regatta, Mindl Beach, Darwin

sailing with the MPS

your correspondents in Darwin
sailing with the MPS
your correspondents in Darwin


Our duty free allowance was delivered a week ago, and we’ve had strict instructions not to open it until we leave Oz – so I sit and look at it longingly, I think it’s a new form of torture or something.

Anyhow, the big event starts next Saturday 26th July 2008 with 120 boats gunning for the start line at 11.00 am – should be exciting ! The leg to Kupang will be around 4-5 days (hopefully) and then on to explore a number of locations for the next 3 months, arriving in Singapore around early November.

Internet access will be far and few between and we won’t be able to update as often as before, but promise to do so whenever we can. On the other hand, should be some good pics !

Until then, “ Selamat tinggal” from Destiny III
B & G

PS:
Here’s our latest movie clip, which I’ve called “Destiny kicks butt!” taken from another (bigger and faster) yacht, showing our secret weapon in action. Our big ‘purple” MPS (multi-purpose sail) is great in light winds as it allows us to keep the boat moving when other boats are almost at a stop. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did! (Note: We’re cruising, not racing – but if there’s another boat going the same way, then it’s ON ! :-)