Saturday, July 12, 2008

Racing the Sun

The first race against the sun was a draw. We watched the sunset as we motored at top-speed towards the anchorage, but it was still light when we dropped anchor in Port Essington.

This morning we calculated we'd need to average 6.5knots to make it to the anchorage in time. Initially we had a stiff breeze helping us along at 7knots so all was looking good. By mid-morning the wind eased and changed directions so we dug-out our cruising chute and accelerated away again.The wind finally died a couple of hours before sunset so we resorted to some engine assistance. Just enough time to notice the beautiful sandy beach, a couple of huts ashore and the perfectly calm anchorage before the light vanished.

Overall it's been an exhilarating day, hand-steering with the cruising chute, catching our first sight of Australia since the Torres Straight, having a small school of dolphins stop by to play on the bow wave, seeing an enormous turtle before it caught sight of us and disappeared and finally making it to a perfect calm anchorage before dark so we can have a rest before tackling the Van Diemen Gulf tomorrow.We've a 5am start to make it to the entrance of the Van Diemen Gulf for the tide. Hopefully we'll meet up with Mata'irea for the second race. They're 40 miles behind us, so they might stop in the anchorage for a few hours sleep or more likely they'll slow down to time their arrival at the entrance for the tide.

Long day tomorrow, we expect to arrive in Darwin around 4.30am on Monday morning after some intricate navigation on route.

Port Essington anchorage: S11°08.61' E132°08.37'
Daily run: 146.6

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