Friday, July 11, 2008

Use it before you loose it

With our arrival in Darwin now only three days away, we've suddenly realised that we've been overly parsimonious with the rationing of our fruit and veg. Anything remaining will be taken by the Australian quarantine authorities. We still have left the following confiscatable items:
  • 1/4 jar of honey
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 pamplemoose
  • 4 lemons
  • 4 limes
  • 6 onions
  • 6 bananas
  • 1 cabbage
  • 6 potatoes
  • 1 large yam
Most exciting of all I found a clove of garlic hiding under an onion (we thought we'd run out over a week ago). OK our fresh ingredients aren't going to make Jamie Oliver salivate, but for us it's three days of feasting.

The rationing has been lifted and instead our motto has become: "use it before you loose it". Using some of yesterday's yellow fin and making a bumper portion of pasta salad ceviche I disposed of ½ a cabbage, 2 onions, 3 limes and 1 lemon. Then banana bread consumed the bananas, 2 eggs and the remaining honey (substituting for sugar which we've run out of).

Think the quarantine officer will have thin pickings onboard Kika.

I've been studying the tides for our entry into Darwin and have learnt a new phrase -"diurnal inequality". I think it means that the pattern of high and low waters which occur twice daily aren't evenly spaced. Also one of the low-to-high waters is half the range of the other. Confused? Me too. It makes an interesting change to have to worry about tides in a significant way again - I think Gibraltar (other than the Torres Straights and the approach to Whangarei, New Zealand) was the last time.

There are three tidal gateways on the approach to Darwin that you'd like to pass with the tide or at least slack - Dundas Strait (entry to Van Diemen Gulf), Clarence Strait (exit of Van Diemen Gulf) and the approach to Darwin itself. I'd initially worked out our entry using the closely spaced high-waters which would give us 15 hours to cover 130 miles; 8.5 knots average - that's pushing it a little for Kika. However if we wait for the next high-tide we have 19½ hours to cover the same distance at a much more realistic average of 6.5 knots. The upshot is that rather than entering the Van Diemen Gulf at 22:30 on Saturday we're going to wait until Sunday morning and enter at 09:00.

It raises the stakes in two races. The first race is between ourselves and the sun. We'd like to arrive at an anchorage close to the entrance before dusk. The second race is with Mata'irea. Waiting for 10½ hours gives them a chance to catch-up with us so we'll have to use all available sail and short-cuts to keep up with them through the Gulf.

Position @ 18:00 (GMT +10): S10° 50.2' E134° 37.8'
Distance to Van Diemen Gulf: 136
Daily run: 150

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