West of Darwin - Day One - 12 26.283S 128 11.454E

Mike and Liz Downing
Fri 6 Sep 2013 05:57
Underway again, and west again! Didn't get the time to add pictures from Kakadu and Darwin - something for when we next get good Internet. Locked out of the marina at 0615 yesterday to ensure we had plenty of water in the channel and to get a full day to get clear of Darwin before nightfall. That was achieved with the help of a good wind from the east and a strong tide in our favour. So the start was good, but the wind dropped down overnight and we even had a couple of hours of wind from the northwest (ahead of the beam) - that wasn't in the forecast! But it's come back again from the southeast so far today and been quite strong in the gusts, so progress is good again. It will be interesting to see if it follows the pattern of strongish during the day, easing during the evening and light overnight. The wind has kicked up quite a lumpy sea and we're rocking and rolling when one of the bigger waves goes through. Makes putting poles up and down quite interesting! The position above is our noon position today. The noon to noon run was 128.4 miles and we had covered 166 miles to that point. Jacaranda is accompanying us and we've stayed within VHF range so far. If tests on their SSB are successful later today, we may wander further apart as no two boats sail the same, but we hope to stay in radio contact. A pod of 6 or so dolphins came to play while we had lunch. It was good to see them so early. They were spotted dolphins, not ones we had seen before (bigger than the Atlantic spotted dolphins). No birds as yet, other than, you guessed it, the man made variety - we were overflown (low level) by the friendly Customs flying machine and gave our details. Wonder if that will be a daily visit like it was on our way to Darwin. The only other event so far today was having to change direction and give way to a fishing boat trawling. All this sea and we end up on a collision course! We've been asked if we could swim at Darwin. They remove several hundred crocodiles from Darwin harbour each year, so no! We liked the Darwin climate, what we experienced of it - very hot (32C+) during the day and only a little bit cooler at night - it's what a tropical climate should be like! It's a bit hot to work out in the open, but otherwise it's fine. If the marina had a swimming pool it would have been perfect - we've suggested it! Every day there we had clear blue skies from dawn to dusk. Could happily have stayed longer, but time and tide...... The changing seasons are important on this leg, so we have a schedule to follow.