Possession Island, QLD > Darwin, NT: Day 4 (2015-07-14 - 05:15 UTC - 12:27.101S 130:49.369E) - DTF 0 nm - arrival at Cullen Bay Marina
Left Alcaro Bay at Cape Don after catching up on a bit of sleep at 01.00h local time (meanwhile on Darwin time, UTC+9.5 hrs) in light winds to get the favourable rising tide into Van Diemen Gulf, and all seems relaxed until we round the cape: crashing into crazy steep short waves (wind against tidal stream, an awful combination) and the wind picks up to 25-30 kn, which is not comfortable sailing when beating into it. A rude awakening from the relaxed downwind and broad reach sail we had thus far and a nasty surprise at the end of our trip, only partially made up for the favourable current we’re riding. Have to fold the solar panels down as the port side gets hit by big waves and this will continue for some 45nm or 6-7 hrs before we can change course to a broad reach. Once we change course, the wind is less of an issue, but the sea is wild due to the currents, coming from all sides. Later in the morning the wind gets lighter and the waves subside, making the last leg a comfortable sail.
At 14.45hrs LT we tie off to the dock waiting for the lock to open that separates Cullen Bay Marina from the Gulf with its 8m tides. Once inside we tie up at our berth, clean up the boat and then get a warm welcome by Alex and Iris of SY Alaeris, whom we’ve been chasing for 2 months. Here we’ll have some 12 days to do the last bits and pieces of boat jobs, get our provisioning of stuff we cannot get in Indonesia and meet up with the other cruisers of the Sail Indonesia Rally, which is supposed to depart from Darwin on 25 July for Kupang, West Timor, only a 480nm (app. 3 day) passage.