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Darwin to Cape Don


Fannie Bay North


Leaving Darwin was not nearly as bureaucratic or challenging as getting in.  No customs to clear, no immigration, etc.  Just pay the dockmaster for the berth, untie the lines and go.  Opps, almost forgot, need to exit through the lock gates.  Now the lock when it is working, operates from 7:00am to 4:00pm.  At 3:00pm Inke, Meno and I were still getting things stowed on the boat, trying to get the newly repaired compass aligned, and say all of our good-byes, when I remembered that we had to be out the lock in the next hour.  A quick plan of exit, some fancy dinghy work to clear the lines from the other boats that were in our way, and we were off.  We pulled into the lock at 3:55, just in time get out that night.

Now, you may wonder why we wanted to leave at night.   Actually we did not.  The plan was to leave at 5:00am the next day, but since the lock would not open until 7:00, we had to anchor out for the night.  So out we went, back around to Fannie Bay, again anchoring just as the sun went down.

The following morning, we were up well before dawn, and under way just as the first light of the day arrived.  Now, you are probably asking yourself, why leave at such an uncivilized hour?  Well, the tides going into and out of Darwin, range to 7 meters, the current in and out of the harbour can flow upto 3 knots.  On a little boat like Dragon's Toy, you want take advantage of currents like that.  So off we went with the falling tide.

As usual with cruising, you can catch a tide that is favorable at one part, but then completely miss it at the next critical point.  We had a fast ride out of Darwin but when we reached the Vernon Islands in the Clarence straight, north of Darwin, we were fighting the tide and wind.  The trusty Yanmar topsail managed to pull us through though.

As we turned north from the Vernon's into Dundas Straight heading for Cape Don, we were started to make some time as the tide turned again.   This was fine until we arrived at the cape to find ourselves now in the full fury of the prevailing easterlies and a wind against tide situation.  This made for a very rough ride.  By the time we had cleared Cape Don, Inke was sick and Meno and I were both a little queasy.  I actually became truly sea sick for the only time on the journey. 



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Last modified: February 01, 2009