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Darwin (including Natural Disaster 2: Earthquake)

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Darwin (including Natural Disaster 2: Earthquake)


After the excitement of arrival we spent a couple of days anchored at Fannie Bay just enjoying doing absolutely nothing, not moving, not being on watch, admiring the scenery and those fabulous, smokey, red NT sunsets. We arranged to head into the Marina at Cullen Bay on Tuesday morning which meant entering through a lock – our first ever (apart from, as Karl answered when asked by the lockmaster, the Panama Canal – where we had the luxury of being passengers and not responsible for anything at all) so a little anxious anticipation involved. The tidal ranges here are about 7m (difference between high and low tides, compared to about 1.5m in Mooloolaba) so at low tide there's not a lot of water to float in. The Marinas get around this by keeping the depth artificially high by using locks. Otherwise we'd all be aground at the marina at low tide. Not a good look.
We got up on the morning of the move, listened to ABC Radio National …

Torres Strait to Darwin

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Sunday 16th June. Fannie Bay, Darwin. So last Sunday we left the Torres Strait, weighed anchor, it worked, no problems, no panic. Left Horn Island, sailed through the last of the Torres Strait and set course westward. Had a lovely week sailing across the Gulf of Carpentaria and Arafura Sea, arrived in Darwin overnight last night and anchored without hitting coral or anything else. And now we're enjoying a lovely, warm, breezy Northern Territory winter afternoon (only 30 degrees) watching the local sailing club race go past. No cyclones, no drama (well, only a little), no near death experiences. “How dull” you say. Though the trip has aged me and I now probably have to admit to being in my mid (as opposed to early) 40s. Leaving Horn Island was incredibly civilised – the currents suited a midday departure so we had a leisurely breakfast, listened to the ABC Classic Top 100 Composer Countdown (only got as far as Vivaldi at number 6, guessing the top 5 included Beethoven, Bach, Mozart a…

Thursday Island (Waiben)

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Thursday Island (Waiben) Time to round Cape York! Arrrrr. Ok, so not exactly Cape Horn but good enough for me. We set off early one morning to pop across from Mt. Adolphus Island to Thursday Island. And of course there was a drama – the windlass was stuck again (it had brought the anchor up, just wasn't going to let it back down when we got to the other side), I was instructed to potter around the anchorage again while Karl tried to fix it again. He said he was going to have to take the anchor off to fix it, I warned him very sternly not to drop the anchor overboard (that would most definitely be a two splash anchor, even in these croc-infested waters), lots of stress and panic and then it all worked out. Sigh. My nerves can't handle this!



We had a gorgeous sail across though. The sea here is very shallow so it's a beautiful dull green/turqoise colour, it was windy enough to have decent waves with some pretty white breakers and spray, there was enough sun to light up the wa…