The boat engine is purring, the cat is full of fish, Beloved is tinkering with his splicing kit (putting a loop in a line for the tender) and I’m in the Captain’s chair guiding us into another delightful, if a bit windy at the moment, bay. After an unexpectedly long sojourn in delightful Darwin, ‘Opal Lady’ is once more continuing her way around the Australian coastline; this time heading east across The Top to Queensland.
Since leaving Darwin, we have spent over a week pottering about in the Port Essington area (it deserves a lot longer). “What do they export from there?” I was asked – it’s not quite that kind of port. This is how I explained to help my mother work out where we were (and moderately difficult it was via txt on a sat phone too). If you start at Darwin (Northern Territory) and head north (up the map, using conventional orientation) you bump into two big islands (the Tiwis – been there, done that, loved it). Then chuck a righty and pop over to this ferny-looking bit of land sticking out (towards WA) from the top of Australia; that’s where we are at the moment. This afternoon we moved up to the entrance of the bay near the ranger station (we’re trying to reduce the next run to Croker Island by a few hours as the wind is promising to be a bit feisty). Anyways, there was civilization in the form of a phone tower, so I sent mother this photo.
The pen is pointing to Darwin and we are the disproportionately large red boat about 160nm (300ish km) to the east.
It’s going to be a slow trip to Queensland. I have stocked enough tea bags and ginger nut biscuits for 3 months; if it takes longer than that I fear we may have missed the turn at the pointy bit on the top of Australia, and in these COVID19 times that could be very problematic.
For this leg we are hoping to get to Gove (650km east of Darwin) in time for a yachting regatta that a few of our friends from Tipperary Waters Marina are attending. I don’t think much of our chances of qualifying in any class for the regatta, even if we do hang a handkerchief from the boom as Michael of ‘Natsumi’ suggested. But it should be a bit of fun.
Peter is putting to good use all the extra fishing tackle he NEEDED to buy in Darwin (mumbling something about supporting local business).
I have really developed my sea paws lately, even if I do say so myself. In recognition of this progress Mum has put up some rather spiffy netting along the walkway that I quite like to stroll down (Mum says prowl). It took a few attempts for her to get it neat enough to pass my exacting standards and I believe there was a rather unfortunate pocket knife incident that involved a wee bit of blood, but it wasn’t mine and has all been washed away now. Mum knows I can still jump over the railings if I wanted, but the netting does provide some confidence regarding my accidentally slipping on the walkway (and after that rather disturbing chat laying out the consequences of my going overboard I think a little netting is the least she could provide). We are just off to inspect the results.