Heading West To Darwin...the time has come
Having reviewed weather forecasts for coming days, we decided early today, Saturday, that we would depart Possession Island tomorrow morning, July 1st, bound for Cape Wessel, 325 nm distant……. as the first stop enroute to Darwin ……and pause there for a bit of a rest at anchor for one or two nights ….and let a bit of heavier weather pass us by at that time. It will be a little light on wind for the first few hours on leaving tomorrow but then we are going to have lots of wind all the way to Darwin according to the weather outlook. And by leaving tomorrow, we will get to the anchorage at Cape Wessel before the seas become significantly heavier making the ride less comfortable.
During the day, most of the others here in the Possession Island anchorage have decided to do the same thing so it will be a bit of a parade…or “flotilla” in naval terms.
The other boats with us are: Kilkea, Y Knot, Miss Behaving, Sara 2, Relapse and 2 Amigos.
We heard from S/V Imagine this morning: Stu and Dale have done very well in relatively light winds; at dawn this morning (an even 2 days since departing here) they had 470 nm DTG (distance to go to Darwin) of the 750 total distance from here to Darwin…..so that seems to have worked out at about 140 nm per day. If we had stayed with them for the passage to Darwin, we would not have done so well: Sea Mist, at 33 tonnes, is 1.5 times Imagine’s displacement tonnage….we have to have more wind to carry Sea Mist along so we still feel it was the right decision for us to turn around on Thursday morning.
Other friends, Leu Cat and Tahina are a couple of days behind us, they may arrive at Possession in the next day or two.
On a worrisome note, our friends of S/V Dignity are struggling through a very tough time ; Steve started having odd symptoms several weeks ago while sailing in Fiji after they had come north from New Zealand with their youngest son on-board with them for the next 6 months +. The symptoms slowly, but progressively, continually worsened. About 3 weeks ago, Steve got as much diagnostic work done as possible in Fiji and, through that, it became clear that whatever was effecting his vision and balance, it could not be assessed in Fiji with that country’s limited medical capabilities. About 2 weeks ago they left their son, Sam, with their catamaran (S/V Dignity) in Port Denerau and flew to Melbourne where Helen has a cousin who welcomed them into their home. Immediately Steve started a more advanced series of diagnostic tests (MRI, Cat scans, spinal taps and most recently brain biopsy). Steve was admitted to the hospital soon after initial assessments were completed in Melbourne and he continues to be kept as an inpatient as the diagnostic work moves along with urgency. By now the extensive medical team have ruled out a number of possibilities but are finding the symptoms/condition to be very complex ..….and rare…. and have not yet reached a diagnosis. Their focus has become more centered around the possibility of MS….but nothing is yet clear. Our thoughts and prayers are with Steve and Helen…. and their extensive network of deep friendships in the sailing community, as well as on land in the USA and the UK are all pulling together to try and “will” a good outcome. We await developments.
In our Australian sailing community we have had some fun doing the regular “cruisers socializing” with morning coffee on one boat and then sundowners with hot and cold munchies on another boat; tonight it was Sea Mist’s turn for the sundowners so we had 10 adults and 2 children join in for a couple of hours of good cruising fun. We are all very much looking forward to more of this as we sail together north/west into South East Asia..
Will report progress along the way….hopefully no boat breakage, crocodile scares or other negative instances.