Sailing west again

Pearl of Persia
Andrew Lock
Wed 4 Sep 2013 07:09
Lat 10:38.3S Long142:38.1E
Yesterday morning we finally passed the northern tip of Australia, Cape
York, and moved into the Torres Straits. The Cape itself is pretty non
descript, no towering cliffs but just low scrub and sand dunes. We were
sailing several miles off, so only saw it in the afternoon haze. Passing the
Cape meant we could finally sail west again and closer to home. The wind had
been building for three days and by now was whistling around us, so we took
shelter behind Adolphus Island for the night. It's always amazing coming
into the protection of land when the wind and sea have built up. Having to
hold on and shout to each other, soon becomes quiet and 'all calm'. A short
sail next day brought us to Thursday Island, an Australian outpost in the
Strait, where we could re provision. It had a strange third world feel to
it, its main purpose being a base for shipping and immigration control from
SE Asia. Looking at a map the Torres Straits shows blue between Australia
and Papua New Guinea. I imagined it would be a deep clear sea but in reality
it is a maze of shifting sand, rocks and reefs, most of it no deeper than 10
meters. Ships need to keep to very specific channels to avoid going aground
so as we left this morning, we zig zagged through the channel markers,
leaving behind us Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday Island (no mention
of Monday) and moved into the 'Prince of Wales Channel'. We had been in the
Pacific Ocean for 6 months, since Panama, and we're finally leaving it
behind, with the Coral Sea, and out into the Gulf of Carpentaria, towards
the Indian Ocean. Next stop Darwin in a week. For several hours, we have
been surrounded by water of the most intense turquoise.... swimming pool
blue....... for as far as we can see. The water is still only 10 meters
deep. Due to computer problems Photos later when we arrive.