July 28, 2018    |   After 569 days in Australia it's time for us to set sail. We'll be leaving in two hours, just enough time for one last schooner. Cheers!

July 27, 2018 (Day 4,075)
Quick Fix: 12° 27.0 S / 130° 49.4 E
Conditions:  Wind: Variable  Sky: Clear

Shiny Happy Pulpit People
We're back in business! We finished the installation of our new pulpit (requiring five hours squeezed inside a dusty anchor chain locker in 95 degree temperatures fastening nuts to bolts we couldn't see, or feel, deep within the gunnel cavity). I also serviced our engine, generator, outboard, installed a new fresh water diversion valve, a new syphon break, tapped and installed a new grease nipple and rewired our navigational lights. Yep, our work here is done. We will transit the locks Sunday morning and with an ebbing tide, and light winds, begin our 460 nautical mile passage across the Timor Sea to Indonesia. Southeast Asia is a region we have mixed feelings about. It's far from Polynesia and the quiet uninhabited tropical isles of Oceana, our happy place, but rather is an area where government bureaucracy, bribes, pollution and congestion can all be expected. Still, that's all part of the adventure, right?



July 26, 2018    |    After two weeks of boat projects and passage preparations we took a day off to go walkabout in Berry Springs National Park to find the tallest termite hill.

July 20, 2018 (Day 4,068)
Quick Fix: 12° 27.0 S / 130° 49.4 E
Conditions:  Wind: Variable  Sky: Clear

Third Time Locky
Last week Dream Time transited her third set of locks. Her first set was in 2007 when we motored down America's ICW and through the Dismal Swamp, appropriately named as it was little more than a drainage ditch. The second set in 2009 was significantly more impressive and the Panama Canal Locks carried us from the Caribbean, into the Pacific Ocean, and to a region that for 8 years was a cruising high. And a few days ago we entered Cullen Bay Marina. The tidal range in Darwin is an impressive 25 feet so marinas control their water depths to keep out tides and crocs. There's a one-time $200 lock fee for guests, but as we're here to repair our pulpit, all marina, lock and project fees are covered entirely by a friendly Australian insurance company. So even though we've got plenty of work ahead, including cleaning our hull under the waterline, we're in a croc-free zone with a really good bar at the end of the dock.


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!