David & Valerie Allen
Tue 19 Oct 2010 01:04
|12:26.98 S 130:51.10 E|
Sunday, October 3, 2010
After leaving Lizard Island on September 23, 2010, we sailed direct to Darwin with only a single overnight stop at Mt. Adolphus Island in the Torres Strait. That was the quietest anchorage we have yet experienced- enough wind to keep the wind generator happy and calm seas for a peaceful night's sleep. We were joined there by ISLAND KEA II and MOONSHINER. The early crossing of the Sea of Carpentaria was ideal cruising. Never before have we encountered such high and comfortable following winds coupled with almost flat seas. It was a sailor's dream!
In fact, the entire passage was very agreeable- except for the four hours we spent bashing against the current when we "turned the corner" at Cape Don to head south towards Darwin. Even that unpleasant experience was offset by the wonderful "toboggan ride" we had going through the Howard Channel- up tp 9.5 knots with the current!
It was dark when we approached Fannie Bay anchorage just north of Darwin. ISLAND KEA talked us in and we did the same for MOONSHINER. It was a bit like a rocking horse for a while, but then we all got a great night's sleep.
The next morning we learned that the de-musselling boat would be arriving in five minutes. All boats going into marinas in Darwin must be treated for a saltwater relative of the zebra mussel, especially is they stopped in Cairns. We didn't stop there, but wanted the disinfectant treatment anyway since we didn't want our intakes blocked with mussels. Besides, there was no charge for it. All the boats who arrived the day before had completed their treatment (and the 14 hour wait before turning on the engine) and abandoned us at a rate of one every fifteen minutes.
Next morning we made our way around darwin Harbour and into Frances Bay. We almost missed the lock, but recgrouped before we hit shallow water and ran aground. I have never known of a marina where it was necessary to enter it via a lock. But here, the waters go so low it is necessary to use a lock to keep the levels in the marina high enough for the yachts. It was actually a fun experience- much easier than in Panama!
MOONSHINER entering the Tipperary Waters Marina lock
EXCESIOR TRAVEL aka BLUE MAGIC had organized a mass trip to the Mindl Sunset Market. Actually, it was back at Fannie Bay! We wandered around the stalls sampling the food and looking for drinks. Water and soft drinks were eventually found, but, since it was Sunday, no alcohol was available except at the nearby Casino. Tom, from ISLAND KEAS II managed to get two beers there before they asked him to leave because he was not conforming to their dress code (leather bush hat and thong sandals).
Strolling around Mindl Market
At one stall we heard a lot of cracking (like the sound of firecrackers) and watched a whip snapping exhibition. People were invited to try it. Dave was persuaded to try and did very well! Unfortunately he didn't purchase one as there isn't a lot of whipping space on a small sailboat!
There was a fabulous beach, but, as it was now October and box jellyfish season, no swimming was allowed:( Everyone congregated on the beach just before sunset to socialize and to watch the sun go down.
gathering for sunset
the wait was worth it
On our way to the taxi stand to get back to Tipperary Waters we just had to stop and listen to the man who could play four digereedoos at once!
impressive, but in small doses