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Gove Harbour



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Gove Harbour and the town of Nhulunbuy exist only for the purpose of extracting bauxite from the ground to be shipped south to Gladstone for processing into Aluminium.  This is one of only four places on the northern coast of Australia where foreign yachts can check in (Darwin, Weipa, and Thursday Island are the others).  It is also one of the very few places where supplies can be purchased.

After extracting ourselves off the rocks of Elcho island, we made our way threw a very pretty area known as the Company Islands.  These are islands covered in rain forest surrounded by perfectly flat water.  After 4 days of pounding into the wind and waves, it felt like paradise.    From the Company Islands, we made our way south to Gove Harbour.

The boating scene in Gove is centered around the Gove Yacht Club.  This is probably the friendliest club I have come across in my travels.  I think that this was partly due to the fact that just about everybody there was a cruiser from somewhere else as opposed to the usual collection of locals.  Anchoring out in the bay we rowed into the beach and hit the yacht club for a much anticipated shower and beer.

Gove Sunset 2.jpg (49114 bytes)

Sunset in Gove Harbour.  Most of the boats here are Aussie cruisers that came north for the winter and are heading back home.

Having cleaned up, sitting back with a group of men that were taking a catamaran north to Indonesia and across on the Indian Ocean for Europe.  We were in the middle of a religious argument about multi-hulls vs. monohulls when I looked across the room and there sitting not 20 meters away was a face that I never see again.  Phil, from Le Dragon du Maud, was at another table having a beer and chatting with some other cruisers.  I had not seen his boat when we pulled in.  I was looking for it this time as he had told me he would check into Australia in Gove, I figured he would be in Sydney by now.

It seems that Phil's luck had gone from bad to worse after leaving Bali.  In Indonesia he had run over a log that took out both rudders on the boat.  Fortunately he had the centre board down far enough that it protected the sail drive.  If that was not bad enough, while coming around the Wessel Islands heading into Gove, the boat was struck by lightening again, taking out his navigation lights.  Some boats are just not lucky I guess.

We stayed in Gove for 4 days.  Inke and Meno went off exploring the area, while I cleaned up the boat and did some minor maintenance work.

Nhulunbuy is a very friendly place.  The yacht club is situated about 8 kilometers from town.  There is no bus service but hitchhiking is very easy.  All one has to do is stand by the road and indicate that you need a ride and cars come screeching to a halt to pick you up.  They would usually go out of their way to take you where you needed to go.

While I was getting Dragon's Toy cleaned up, Phil was putting the rudders back on le Dragon du Maud around the corner at the boat yard.  It started to look like he would be ready to go about the same time that we were.  This time I managed to talk him into travelling with us, at least as far as Caines.  That way, if anything broke on his boat again, he would least have some help near by.  So on the 14th of November, the two Dragons left Gove harbour and headed east.

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Last modified: February 01, 2009