Saturday, 22nd August, 2015

Luna Quest
W. Eric Faber
Sat 22 Aug 2015 09:13
Noon Position: 12.26S 130.49E

Daily logged run: 125 miles to arrival time at 6.45am

Since noon yesterday we have been on the engine to get to Darwin as the wind had failed completely. Tidal streams were very random, both in direction and strength. Julia took the watch in the evening, marking our progress on the Admiralty paper charts. At midnight the tidal streams had halved our progress from that earlier in the evening when we were making over 7 knots. We increased the revolutions of the engine to give us 5 knots. It was now my turn to take watch and mark our progress on the chart. Soon we were faced to negotiate a narrow channel between two reef islands, when to my consternation a ship was entering the same channel from the opposite direction at 6 knots. First, I saw its steaming lights, then its port light, then its starboard light and we were still winding our way into the passage. The tide was setting us across and I just hoped the watchman on the vessel would have seen our little floating home battling its way into the passage. I kept going up and down the companionway to check the chart and check the vessel’s position. A voice came on the VHF radio while I was down checking our progress. A foreign voice with an Australian accent. I answered and told him our position. Yes, he said, he knew where we were and had already passed us. I leapt on deck to check and could see his stern light disappear behind us. What a relief! He must have known the waters and diverted a little to port to avoid us. We had passed starboard to starboard although I had intended to pass port to port as is the convention. As we entered the passage the tidal stream turned to push us along at 8.3 knots! The tidal stream had turned from a north westerly direction to a full westerly direction! As soon as we came through the passage we could see our way clear towards Darwin. Julia took over the watch again at 4am to navigate her way into Fannie Bay, where we arrived at 06.45. It was not until 07.45 that we were happy with our anchored position. After a cup of tea we took our bunks and slept till around 1.30pm.

We shall be at anchor in Fannie Bay till Monday morning when we have to undergo a bio security inspection, followed by a 10-hour quarantine period before being allowed to find our way to Tipperary Waters marina. There will not be another blog now until we set sail on Sept. 1st for Lombok.