Darwin, Australia
 July 14, 2018    |   read entry >


July 14, 2018 (Day 4,062)
Quick Fix: 12° 25.5 S / 130° 49.1 E
Conditions:  Wind: Variable  Sky: Clear

A Mile From Darwin
We've arrived in Darwin, yes, but we're still a mile away. Fannie Bay's twenty-five foot tidal range means that, unless we want to be left laying on our side, this is as close as Dream Time can anchor. At low tide sandy mud flats separate the end of the concrete boat ramp from the water's edge by the length of a football field. The Darwin Yacht Club recognize that this can be prohibitive to their members so they provide complimentary trollies for those who wish to commute their craft at the bottom of an ebb. It's a long haul (this photo shows just a mid-low tide) and launching your day sailor requires a level of dedication and endurance that is usually reserved for those training for an triathlon. The most recent croc sighting in the bay was April 10th, which is reassuring as it's time to dive over the side and give Dream Time's hull a clean under the waterline. Locals have suggested, without a trace of humor, that Catherine should keep watch.


July 10, 2018    |    Fannie Bay - That's right, we've made it, last port of call in Australia - Darwin. All aboard! Indonesia, next stop...

July 6, 2018 (Day 4,054)
Quick Fix: 10° 53.3 S / 132° 29.7 E
Conditions:  Wind: 20-30/ESE Sky: Clear

After a week in the Wessels we're back at sea, sailing west across the top of the Northern Territory with 20-30 knots of wind on our backs. It'll be a three day / two night passage, a mere hop as we draw closer to Darwin, our final port of call in Australia before heading north into Indonesia. The passage has been uneventful except for a feathered friend who joined us today. After a few clumsy landing attempts, with a near beak-first collision into our wind generator, our hitchhiker settled onto a pleasant perch behind the solar panels. It seemed entirely indifferent to our presence and had no objection to a little light petting and questioning. It stayed with us the entire night, gimbling with the waves under a starry night. By morning he was gone. But he did leave us with an impressive reminder of his visit - a thick layer of potent fishy bird poo that caked our entire solar panels and half our cockpit canopies.


July 4, 2018    |    Absolutely no idea what's going on in the world - a week of complete solitude in the Northern Territory of Australia.


July 4, 2018 (Day 4,052)
Quick Fix: 11° 17.4 S / 131° 47.9 E
Conditions:  Wind: 25/SE Sky: Mostly clear

Signs of Life
We've crossed the Gulf of Carpentaria, 300 nautical miles of open water separating the top of Queensland from the Northern Territory. We're anchored in the remote Cape Wessel region and for an entire week we have been utterly alone - no planes have flown across our sweeping arc of cerulean sky and no boats have drifted within sight of our anchorage. Even beyond the horizon our VHF returns no radio traffic, the radar screen has found not a single metallic fix, and no vessels have wandered within AIS range. We feel more isolated here than even the tiniest uninhabited atolls we've visited in the South Pacific. Traces of human life, however, are visible on every beach - plastic bottles swept together by wind and wave. We even found the remains of an old dugout canoe. Indonesia is just 200 miles north, a region where plague proportions of floating trash and debris are legendary. Perhaps it's an unfortunate sign of things to come.


July 3, 2018    |   Cape Wessel, Northern Territory - A cliff hanger.

July 3, 2018    |   Cape Wessel, Northern Territory - Exploring Two Island Bay.

July 3, 2018    |   Wessels - We're in a new territory, the Northern Territory, and it's super remote up here. The only tracks to be found are those of lizards and wallabies.

July 1, 2018 (Day 4,049)
Quick Fix: 10° 50.9 S / 142° 21.7 E
Conditions:  Wind: 25/SE Sky: Mostly clear

A Ride to The Top
Driving to the very top of Australia's continent is much like setting off on an offshore sailing passage - you really want to have the right gear. Military grade 4x4s, for example, rigs with tough suspension to navigate across bone shaking corrugation; super chunky tires and a few spares; an electric winch to pull yourself out of trouble if the above fails you; a satellite phone for emergency calls if the winch fails you; a roo bar for unfortunate marsupials that hop across your headlights; and an engine snorkel so you have the option, at least, to drive straight through raging rivers so deep that even your windscreen is underwater. We already sailed around the northernmost point of the Australian continent, and last week we actually stood on it, thanks to our new Aussie mates, Frank and Wendy, who thought it would be 'criminal' to be this close to the top and not make the pilgrimage. Thanks for the ride, guys!