logo Pearl of Persia
Date: 19 Sep 2013 09:48:48
Title: Adios Australia

We arrived in Australia (Mackay) in cold wet blustery weather on July 26th
and we leave it from Darwin in very hot and humid conditions nearly 2 months
on.
The sailing has been among some of the best we have done since leaving
Antigua, with great winds and the protection of the barrier reef giving us
flat seas to enjoy the sail.
After crossing the Gulf of Carpentaria we passed through the 'English
Company Islands' all Aboriginal lands and off limits, and on to the Wessel
islands, long thin pieces of land protruding 80 miles out from the mainland
into the Sea of Arafura. The option was to sail around the northern tip, a
half day detour, or through a tiny passage between two islands that we had
seen on the charts, known as the 'Hole in the Wall'. We had seen no other
boat for three days but had agreed to meet two others at the entrance to the
'Hole' and as we approached the specified latitude and longitude just after
dawn, we spotted the two masts in the distance. The land ahead looked just
like a continuous cliff of shattered rock and it was only when we were half
a mile away that we could spot the passage and as we entered, the wind,
waves and spray quickly calmed and we were in another world. Jagged cliffs
just 20 metres each side of the boat and then after a mile we were through
into protected water on the other side. We were tired after three nights at
sea so decided to anchor and recover before the final push on to Darwin.
Three more days would see us there and each evening we found lovely deserted
places to drop anchor, where we could enjoy the sunset and get a good night
sleep. As we were approaching the final anchorage before Darwin, on the edge
of Van Diemen Gulf, and still a mile from land, Sussanne was up front
preparing the anchor when we spotted a huge 4 metre salt water crocodile
swimming by. It was a sobering sight as it glided by, the whole length of
it's body visible. The swimming suits stayed safely stowed away for yet
another night.
After a thousand miles of coastline without so much as a light, for Darwin
to appear on the horizon the next day, with a few 'skyscrapers' seemed out
of place.
There are always lots of jobs to do after a few weeks at sea, but we did
manage a trip inland to the Mary River wetland area, which compared to the
barren scrub we had seen from the sea, was teeming with life. The river was
full of flowering lotus plants, with incredible birds, and crocodiles
resting in the shade on the bank. Tomorrow morning at first light, we leave
the organised, world of the west and in three days enter the chaos of
Indonesia

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