Ready to leave Darwin
Fri 22 Jul 2016 06:56
The last 3 weeks in Darwin have flown by. We found out it was a requirement for sailing in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand to have an AIS transceiver (Class B) fitted - for those not in the know - a marine Automatic Indentification System transceiver, which uses satellite based location system i.e GPS. This was an unexpected expense and gave Syd a lot of headaches fitting it and getting it operational, but it is now up and running. It is quite ironic that Indonesia would require this as most Indonesian ships do not even have radar and if they do there is no-one who knows how to operate it! But it certainly does make sense when we negotiate the infamous Malacca Straits in Malaysia. The expenses continued and the local Yacht Shop which was strategically placed next to the Darwin Sailing Club made a lot of money not only from us but from the other 40 odd boats on the Rally.
Aside from boat expenses we had to get gas bottles refilled – it is necessary to carry at least 3 as gas refills are not readily available and all our cooking is by gas.
Then there was an awful lot of food stocking up to do. We have a freezer packed full of meat now and plan to not have to shop again until Bali other than fresh vegetables.
Wine stocking up was a bit tricky as there are strict alcohol laws in Northern Territory due to the large aboriginal population. Wine boxes hold a maximum 2 litres and are restricted to 1 per person. Also the drive through bottle shops only allow sales to people in vehicles (Syd managed to get his bicycle re-classified as a vehicle!). Alcohol in Indonesia is scarce and expensive as it is a predominantly Muslim country.
We used the bikes a lot and found wonderful cycle paths everywhere and cycling into Darwin CBD took us about 30 minutes. Everywhere is very bike friendly even to the point of being able to take them in an elevator that went down to the Waterfront Precinct with it’s wave pool and man made beach and swimming lagoon surrounded by bars and restaurants.
The weather has been gorgeous, wall to wall sunshine and temperatures around 30C most days. We found a lovely 50 metre swimming pool close by and swam there most days. I managed a trip to Alice Springs and Ayers Rock (Uluru) which was mind blowing – I felt I had seen an awful lot of sea and wanted to see what the landlocked red centre of Australia was really like – it definitely did not disappoint.
Over this last week we have had a BBQ at the Sailing Club, the technical briefing at the Hilton and today did Customs Clearance so we are ready to leave. The start is at 11.00am tomorrow Saturday, 23rd July and the forecast is windless (for the start anyway). I’m pretty sure the wind will be blowing in the Timor Sea. Estimated length of trip is 3-4 days to do the 468 miles to Kupang. So it is bye bye Australia, we have loved being here. A big thank you to all the wonderful people we have met in our travels here over the past 2 years.