The top end bit

Sun 3 Jun 2007 15:57

So this will test if we still have any readers its been a long time since our last little stories and travellers.

After our little river venture we needed to make some progress around the Australian coast, I had preplanned

For about a months cruising  to achieve the distance from Bundaburg to Darwin and we were getting behind on

Our dates we where also having minor problems with kit on the boat, The Genoa Roller reefing kit was not working

Properly and my attempts to repair it had resulted in losing bits into the sea, Our new Propeller bought in NZ was

Also not working as it should, so whilst sailing in the Whitsundays we arranged to pull into Arlie Beach so that the

Yacht riggers  could look at the reefing system, Arlie beach is the Mainland centre for the charter fleets that sail ect

Around the Whitsundays. Anyway the stop was a total success the showers & Laundry at the Marina where first

Class the reefing kit was rebuilt a small grub screw had come undone allowing the system to unscrew itself and move

Up the forestay,  So after a two day pit stop we were good to go we would push straight on to Cairns about 300 miles.

 All went smoothly up to Cairns arrived at marina at 09.30 on the 27 april. Niamh had plans to meet up with Friends

Flying from Ireland they where to meet up in Darwin on the 3rd of may, We still had nearly 1000 miles to do inside the

Great Barrier Reef past cape York and across the Gulf of Carpenteria then on to Darwin we would not make her

Rendezvous sailing with Penguin, So she decided to travel cross country on a 4x4 bus arriving exactly on time on

The 3rd.  As Colin was still on walkabout somewhere this left Will and I to get to Darwin. This was going to be an

Interesting few days passage making as we would be travelling inside the Barrier reef  and would have to stay inside

The shipping channels night and day for 500miles. On the28may at 0630 Niamh left for the bus trip and at1100 hrs

Penguin left bound for Darwin via Cape York, and Thursday Island. 

  The trip north could not have been smoother we decided on 3hr shifts through the night and day, the winds stayed

Light and from the SE perfect. I plugged into the GPS about 40 waypoints which would snake our way through the

Coral reefs and up to Thursday Island. The initial plan was that should we arrive at a good anchorage in the early evening

We would take advantage and get a good nights sleep, but we seemed to pass all good stopping places either in the middle

Of the night and before 3 in the afternoon,  So we sailed for three days and nights before finally getting a good nights

Sleep at Cape York. The passage inside the Barrier reef had been where Capt Cook in Endeavour had been grounded

On coral  so we past first Endeavour reef and also Cooktown  on the mainland where Endeavour was beached to enable

The hull to be repaired. Thursday Island was also named by  Cook as he past by it on Thursday.   The land north of Cairns

Gets more sparsely populated the further north you Travel, so on finally reaching the Northern tip Cape York, It was totally

Deserted of Human population. We Anchored ourselves in the bay by the Cape and tempting as it was to go for a swim the

Fear of crocodiles and strong currents combined with our lack of  good sleep meant after a small celebration we went off

To our bunks for a full night .  The following morning we continued north to Thursday Island this being the only part

With any human population, the area being the centre of what was a very profitable pearl diving industry. We were able

To replenish our stores with fresh produce and a couple of beers where drunk in Australia’s Highest Tavern and a walk

Around the town and Museum where all accomplished in the afternoon. Another good nights sleep and off early the

Following morning at seven with the tides. Two hours later we where out into open water with 700miles still to go to Darwin.

We took 4 ½ days to get their the highlights being the fishing competition won with a 4 ½ ft Kingfish beautiful eating  but we

Only managed to use 1/3rd the rest given back to the sea, We also had our nightly visits from the Australian Customs and

Coast watch aircraft, they would fly over every evening and check out who we where chatting to us on CH 16.

 So at 1800hrs on the 7th of may Penguin arrived off Darwin Yacht Club Where Niamh was already at the Bar ordering

The beer. Timing is everything is the Penguin Moto once again the sun was setting as the Anchored was going down,

Twenty minutes most of the penguin crew where together having a well deserved beer at the Club Bar, although it

Had been a close call for Will to decide if beer and food was more important than sleep.

Cape York The Northern tip of Australia.  Not many Australians have seen this bit!


 Our Main reason for choosing Darwin as our port of Departure from Australia was that we should be able to arrange

For Visas and cruising permits for Indonesia  from here, this turned out to be the case but took a complete week to

Sort out we left still requiring a final stamp on the Cruising permit, which we hoped we would be able to get sorted in

Kupang West Timor. Our time in Darwin was spent walking backwards and forwards between  Aus Customs, Indonesia

Consulate Internet café and making phone calls to a shipping agent in Java, but Finally on Monday afternoon we were

Issued with 4 Indonesian Visas and on Tuesday the15th at 7 o’clock the Australian Customs came to clear us out of Australia.

By  07.30 we were on our way to Timor.


So that’s good night from Will and Rob in the Gulf of Carpentaria Northern Territory Australia.