Sailing off


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cape Don to Darwin - delayed due to network coverage

Pay attention to the line on the sea surface - tide change

Relaxing in the early afternoon at Cape Don
 17th June  Arrived in Cape Don early afternoon to enjoy a little rest before our -we thought than second last stop before we reached Darwin.Cape Don is a tricky place in terms of very strong tides that are actually visible on the sea surface. There are time of the day when the currents can reach up to 6 - 7 knots and that meant that we had to be well informed and very certain of our moves. The position of Cape Don is also a little tricky with reefs and rocks on both sides which leaves little space to manoeuvre the boat. Our plan was to leave during the dark hours around 4 am to get the best tide configuration to get us to the next place - Hotham.
Knowing that we would be sailing trough a very narrow passage full of rocks and reef Robert decided to sail trough it during the day which meant that we would have clear line to follow on the GPS in the dark.

Looking tired at 4 am...our last night sail before reaching Darwin

That was indeed a brilliant idea and one that helped enormously. The plan worked in part.The tide was much stronger than anticipated and it swung the boat very strongly sometimes 90 degrees from side to side. I was getting a little concerned and in situation like this we both had to stay focused and alert. That is where experience comes in handy necessary. It can be very disorientating when faced with a situation like this at night.Robert decided to use much more power and just power trough the short stretch. IT WORKED ! The rest of the sail was reasonably fast that day so much so that a decision was made to continue to Darwin as the tides were absolutely perfect for this.
Pay attention to the colour difference...that is tide change.
 Tides are very strong around this area.

Once we entered the light blue water we have slowed down quite considerably.
We were hoping to reach Darwin before dark as it is a large port with reasonable traffic - just like your city traffic. We much preferred not to do it at dark.Well it did not quite worked out like that. As we were approaching Darwin the Northern Territory sky welcomed us with the most amazing colours at sunset - so appropriate for this part of the world. We had our way point worked(this is like your map points) out so that we knew where we were going to anchor for the night. All was going well and than Robert decided to stop/slow the boat as he could not match what he saw on GPS with visuals. After working trough all the markings again it was a matter of marina being tucked in behind land which gave different visual impression.
Tinker tired and being supportive. Got into a little trouble for taking pictures.
This was a self portrait.

Robert working out the confusion in the middle of the port

This is the very first we could see of Darwin.Fires burning.

Just look at the welcome sunset The Northern Territory has put on for us.

Absolutely brilliant colours!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!and so NT
We arrived in Darwin at Fannie Bay which is the most popular anchorage on the 18th of June. There was another little dilemma to contend with before we anchored in total darkness. Not even one boat had anchor lights on! We were not sure if that was a NT rule and it made it difficult to find our way around all the invisible to us anchored boats very difficult. The city lights made it more difficult too. Our friends from Night Rider assisted.BIG THANK YOU. We celebrated the end of a long journey with some champagne and salami being really pleased with ourselves and our achievement. We still had to move to the marina in the morning. It was not exactly a breeze. There were boats  triple mored (parked) in the channel ( that is like  triple parking a car in the middle of a busy road ).Some of these boats swayed around.Not exactly a perfect picture.
Darwin welcoming us - on the way to marina

Have a look at the big boat supposedly owned by Gerald Depardieu
and compare the size to Golden Legend.

The marina lock from the outside. It looked very narrow and it was very narrow.
The lock keeps the water from flowing out of the marina
therefore keeping the water in the marina at a certain depth.
We made it to the the lock. This was our first experience with a lock. The friendliest lockmaster with his companion a little dog with the presence of a man guided us trough the process which I found nerve wrecking. We finally arrived and even managed to get in to a very tight 15m berth with a 17.5m boat.

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