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Archive for the 'NORTHERN TERRITORY … AUSTRALIA' Category

THE BRISBANE TO DARWIN (AUSTRALIA) STORY, 2007 … 13 of 19 … `Gove to Cape Don, Northern Territory’.

    

* Rough and ready, Gove Yacht Club … I’m sure it’s `Home’ to many a good time! *

Gove is a great natural anchorage giving protection from all points of the compass (maybe a little rough with a breeze from the West.)

* Very much a Mining Town … most come here to earn a great deal of money in a short time! *

It’s very much a mining Town … mining and processing Bauxite … and apart from living here to make `lots of money’, there’s nothing to recommend it … in my opinion! The `drunks’ at the Gove Yacht Club seemed to endorse the boredom experienced by some of the local workers.

 

  

 

After two nights at Gove … it was off to Elizabeth Bay …Wigham Island and then … through the `Hole-in-the-Wall’. This is a natural `crack’, about an average of 100 metres wide, running straight across one of the Wessel Islands. You must arrive at the entrance to `Hole-in-the-Wall’ an hour either side of High Tide … otherwise, you are battling a huge tidal flow with whirlpools … and there’s little room to maneuver in `The Hole’, once committed. Our little fleet, which had grown by one from Gove, (`Ovation’ with Toni and Darren from NZ) struck the tide perfectly and our passage through was a breeze.

* `Hole-In-The-Wall’ … Do not attempt a passage when the tide is running! *

From `Hole-in-the-Wall’ we sailed to Refuge Bay … an overnight sail to Goulburn Island (a very sacred Aboriginal Island, which the Aboriginals started to burn-off whilst we were there.) There was good evidence of crocodiles in this area with a four (4) metre croc stalking a couple of the yachts. It would float on the surface about 50 metres behind a yacht and just stay still … and watch. They are `chilling’ beasts! Unbelievably, a woman from the yacht being stalked, came to the side of the yacht and started splashing the water with pieces of chicken in her hand!! This FOOL’ESS was trying to coax the croc to come closer … didn’t she consider there may have been a second or third croc in the area?? NO!  

 

* `SPOT-THE-CROC’! You NEVER play games with these Dudes! *

 On to Malay Bay … (and 140 nmiles to Darwin) … Croker Island … Trepang Bay, in the shadow of Cape Don lighthouse. Again we were tipped off that two large crocodiles lived and sunbaked on sandbars in the river flowing into Trepang Bay.   

 

* L/R Helen, Darren, Michael and Toni … from yachts `Piping Shrike’ and `Ovation’ *

So `Ovation’ picked me up in their dinghy and we did a cruise of the river … and sure enough two 4-5 metre crocs sunbaking, as promised. They wouldn’t let us come too close and on `them’ entering the water, `we’ got out of there quick. 

* It was hard to ignore the `strong’ colours of these beach-side rocks! *

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 SIR-11

ooOoo

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THE BRISBANE TO DARWIN (AUSTRALIA) STORY, 2007 … 14 of 19 … `Cape Don to Darwin, Northern Territory’.

* L-R Lloyd (Deja vu), Darrin and Toni (Ovation) … Helen and Michael (Piping Shrike)! *

 The tides are fascinating, but dangerous, in this region … a gigantic movement of water (up to 10 metres at their best) … and forget about trying to sail/motor against them.

The `rule’ for playing the tides from Cape Don to Darwin, is to leave Trepang Bay 4.5 hours before high tide in Darwin. Therefore, it was a simple matter of consulting the local Tide Charts and subtracting 4.5 hours from the Darwin High Tide time. 

* `S V Piping Shrike’ under sail with the Genoa (sail) which tore to shreds a couple of days later! *

As a group we therefore chose to leave Trepang Bay at 01:30 Saturday 30th June ’07.

 

On leaving the bay at Cape Don … Déjà vu was motoring out at about five (5) knots … and on leaving the protection of the Bay the inbound tide swept us away … and within 60 seconds we speeding across the ground at 10 knots. This is scary power, as, if you had a sudden urge to return to Trepang Bay … just forget it … too much water power against you! Being dark also adds to the `terror’, as the swirling water (and the noise), tossing the yacht around, tends to be exaggerated by the darkness. It was a long day through to Darwin … nearly 100 nmiles and due to lack of wind, my journey was very slow … therefore, it was 20:00 hours before I dropped anchor in Fanny Bay, Darwin, Northern Territory … and very glad to be there … I was knackered! 

* You don’t need a line and hook … these guys just jump onboard uninvited! *

* Toni and Darren on `SV Ovation’ (Kiwis, but I wont hold that against them!) *

SIR-12

ooOoo 

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THE BRISBANE TO DARWIN (AUSTRALIA) STORY, 2007 … 15 of 19 … `Waypoints from Lizard Island, Queensland to Darwin, Northern Territory’.

I created a list of way-points for a friend interested in the region … and the exact anchorages I used on the way across. They are reproduced below for those of similar interests. I’ll give you my anchorages from Lizard Island, Queensland:

LIZARD ISL., Queensland, Australia … LAT: 14° 39’ 44S – LONG: 145° 27’ 06E

INGRAM ISL., Queensland, Australia … LAT: 14° 25’ 04S – LONG: 144° 52’ 42E

FLINDERS GROUP, Queensland, Australia … LAT: 14° 10’ 19S – LONG: 144° 14’ 15E

MORRIS ISL., Queensland, Australia … LAT :13° 33’ 15S – LONG: 143° 54’ 23E

LOCKHART RIVER, Queensland, Australia … LAT: 12° 53’ 21S – LONG: 143° 22’ 53E

PORTLAND ROAD Queensland, Australia … LAT: 12° 35S – LONG: 143° 24E

* A schematic illustrating the coastline from Brisbane, Queensland to Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia. (Photo compliments of Google Wikipedia.) *

MARGARET BAY Queensland, Australia … LAT: 11° 57’ 52E – LONG: 143° 11’ 05E

ESAPE RIVER, Queensland, Australia … LAT: 10° 58’ 02E – LONG: 142° 40’ 32E

YORK ISL., Queensland, Australia … LAT: 10° 41’ 30E – LONG: 142° 31’48S

SEISIA, Queensland, Australia … LAT: 10° 50’ 41S – LONG: 142° 21’ 47E

VRILYA BAY, Queensland, Australia … LAT: 11° 13’ 02S – LONG: 142° 07’ 11E

GOVE, Queensland, Australia … LAT: 12° 11’ 39S – LONG: 136° 42’ 20E

WIGRAM ISL., Northern Territory, Australia … LAT: 11° 45’ 48S – LONG: 136° 34’ 31E

`HOLE-IN-THE-WALL’, Wessels Isl., Northern Territory, Australia … LAT: 11° 34’ 06S – LONG: 136° 22’ 25E

REFUGE BAY, Northern Territory, Australia … LAT: 11° 50’ 26S – LONG: 135° 51’ 10E

GOULBURN ISL., Northern Territory, Australia … LAT: 11° 30’ 55S – LONG: 133° 23’ 46E

MALAY BAY, Northern Territory, Australia … LAT: 11° 21’ 24S – LONG: 132° 52’ 50E

CROKER ISL., Northern Territory, Australia … LAT: 11° 01’ 34S – LONG: 132° 33’ 20E

TREPANG BAY, Northern Territory, Australia … LAT: 11° 14’ 31S – LONG: 131° 56’ 25E

DARWIN, Northern Territory, Australia … LAT: 12° 19’ 06S – LONG: 130° 57’ 02E

ooOoo

SIR-13

 

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THE BRISBANE TO DARWIN (AUSTRALIA) STORY, 2007 … 16 of 19 … `Darwin and Boat Servicing’.

RALLY DEPARTING DARWIN 21ST JULY 2007 AND JOURNEYING TO KUPANG. WEST TIMOR, INDONESIA

DARWIN POSITION: 12˚ 25 E … 132˚ 49 S  

* `Fanny Bay’ Beach at low tide … adjacent to Darwin Yacht Club! *

 I like Darwin … I think? … I was shown great hospitality by second cousin Nat and his partner Jessica … and on the other hand crossed paths with two of Darwin’s most un-likable/unscrupulous characters!  My family travelled to Darwin from Carnarvon through the mid-seventies … about eight months after cyclone Tracy literally wiped Darwin from the map. All you could see in those days were the stilts of houses (most houses are built on three metre high stumps to lessen the effects of the summer heat) with the body of the houses blown away! The most enduring memory I have of that visit was to see a household refrigerator embedded in the side of the town water supply tank … about thirty (30) metres above ground level. The same tank seems to be there still!On reaching Darwin I must admit to being `knackered’ … a cute Australian word meaning `tired-to-the-core’. I didn’t realise how harrowing the trip up the East and across the North coast of Australia, had been. Although, made easier by the good company of Mike and Helen of `Piping Shrike’ (South Australians) … and Darren and Tony of `Ovation’ (Kiwi’s)to reach Darwin on adrenalin alone and then suffer a bit of a meltdown, took some focus away from my reason for being there, three weeks before the Rally.   

* My travelling companions across the north of Australia … L/R Helen, Darren, Michael and Toni. *

The underwater sections of the hulls of Déjà vu III were crappy-to-the-max, as I had not anti-fouled them for about 18 months and the sea had relentlessly worn the old anti-foul coat away … allowing the crawly things living in the ocean to attack the fibreglass.  

 
 

* `DEJA VU’ AGROUND AT LIZARD ISLAND, QUEENSLAND … TO WORK ON ENGINES! *

 

 

Déjà vu was beached at Lizard Island, primarily to change the oil in the gearbox of one of the outboard motors. A long time ago the oil/water seals on this leg started leaking water into the ‘box (gearbox) … and my efforts to correct the problem led to the discovery the drive shaft to the gearbox had rusted solid in the spines of the engine crankshaft … this meant it was impossible to dismantle the engine without a great deal of `bastardery’ … meaning a large hacksaw and hammer … loads of stressing (on the engine and me) and a great deal of $$$$ being spent! So an executive decision was made to leave everything in place and up the rate of oil changes by 300%. Has worked so far!The list of `things’ to do in the three weeks in Darwin, seemed reasonable:o Purchase second hand bike for transport … Not required!

o Purchase two C-MAP chips (Navigation) of Indonesia-Singapore-Malaysia-Thailand areas, from Sydney OK!

o Spare belt for auto-pilot Not achieved!

o Buy new mobile ‘phone … cancel CDMA ‘phone OK! 

* Deja vu liftout at `Sadgroves Quay’! Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia. *

o Cancel Telstra `Wireless’ Internet connection to computer OK!o Navigation Charts for Indonesia Not achieved!

o Courtesy flags for countries visited in the near future! OK!

o Quarantine flag (yellow) OK!

o Buy 2nd hand clothes to give away OK!

o Un-twist nylon anchor line OK!

o Indonesian Visa’s for Melanie and self OK!

o Reposition `house’ water pump. Not achieved!

o Fit water filter – already purchased Not achieved!

o Anti-foul hulls … Repair rudder and keel OK!

o Buy `406’ EPIRB OK!

o Food/Fuel/Water/Gas OK!

o Install Asian HF frequencies to radio OK!

o Extra gas bottles OK!

* THE HIGH-PRESSURE WATER GUN DOES WONDERS! *

 

* COUSIN `NAT AND ARIELLE’ … A GREAT HELP TO US IN DARWIN. *

… Modify engine reverse stops OK!

o Buy and install engine prop deflector OK!

o Change engine and gearbox oils/filters … clean spark plugs OK!

o Fit courtesy flag pulley system to mast OK! 

o Visit Doctor for Health check and immunisations OK!

o Replace mast head light with LED light OK!

o Replace screecher downhaul line OK!

 o Buy/fit radar deflector OK!

o Replace missing for’ard ladder step Not achieved!

o Buy spare engine oil and filters OK!

  I needed a `time and motion’ specialist (usually performed by your wife) only there was an acute shortage of such a person … so, another Executive decision was taken and I decided to attack the largest job first … the anti-fouling!

 

Kupang-1

ooOoo

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THE BRISBANE TO DARWIN (AUSTRALIA) STORY, 2007 … 17 of 19 … `The Saga of Sadgrove Quay, Darwin’.

THE SAGA OF `SADGROVE QUAY, DARWIN, NORTHERN TERRITORY, AUSTRALIA!

In a sense this is when I made my first BIG mistake … as I chose to go to a Ship-yard called `Sadgrove Quay’! Nothing much wrong with the yard … it’s just that it’s owned by the crankiest bastard God put on earth … George!

o I was told he is a French/Canadian … and somehow that didn’t excuse him for his atrocious attitude towards his customers.  

* `DEJA VU’ INSIDE THE `LIFT-BERTH’ AT SADGROVE QUAY, DARWIN. *

o He is also meant to suffer from Diabetes … and that didn’t excuse him for his cantankerous, ultra-sour demeanor, towards all, including his staff an wife … o It was also said he had sucked in too much anti-foul paint fumes over the 30 years he had operated the yard … and that didn’t excuse him for his mean-hearted attitude towards charging his customers for such things as, trestles’, a ladder, an ⅛ of a litre of acetone etc., etc.!

o The story goes around his yard that there’s a hand brushed sign on a wall of the Panama Canal saying `George of Sadgrove Quay is a C!#t??*&’ (unprintable) … but THAT the message was half way around the world … do you get the picture?

 George’s saving grace was his charming wife Penny … whom I propositioned early in my stay, to come sailing with me. For some reason she declined … although I did find out later they had accepted a $9,000,000 offer to sell the yard and they were closing down in September ’07.

On having `George’ haul Déjà vu out of the water and following one of his workers water-blasting the hulls … it was quickly discovered Déjà vu had a split port rudder … and a split starboard keel! Bugger! This damage could have been the result of my scraping across a coral reef at Zoe Bay, Hinchinbrook Island, about a year earlier. Melanie was a guest onboard at the time. 

* THREE WEEKS TO GO TO THE `START’ … LOTS’ AND LOTS’ TO DO! *

So the anti-foul job had just been elevated to major repair status! Following a request for a quote for repairs and subsequent inspection by the resident `Shipwright’ (a qualification loosely given) … I was advised he refused to give a quote and would only work on the repairs on an `hourly-charge-basis’ … at AU$60.00 per hour … and that he was very busy? This wacker was asking for a blank cheque! He had definitely been working with George too long! 

 
 

* DARREN, FIBRE-GLASS GURU, GAVE ME ADVICE AND PHYSICAL HELP (I WONDERED WHEN HE WAS GOING TO FIT HIS OWN WORK IN?) … SAVED ME A $$$$$$’S *

* FIRST ASHORE FROM `SV OVATION’ … TONI, 1ST MATE (AND WIFE) OF DARREN. *

Luckily for me my New Zealander mates Darren and Toni, on `Ovation’ had been hauled out the day after Déjà vu and `Ovation’ was placed alongside me in the yard … after they had enjoyed a `verbal’ with George. Darren had very good experience with fibre-glassing (as I had none) and between him, Toni and me, we ended up with an `Ace’ job … well; I guess time will tell, although it did look great. I spent 13 days at the `Quay’, living onboard and still feeling a little `wrung out’ from my journey from Brisbane, Queensland.

  

* MY YOUNGER DAUGHTER `ARIANNE’ CAME TO DARWIN FROM PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA *

My younger daughter Arianne and husband Srdjan (Serge) arrived to stay … thinking Déjà vu would be bobbing around on the glassy waters in Fanny Bay … but no such luck. After one night onboard they found a B & B and enjoyed a luxurious stay there. They were a great help though and many of the items on my list were deleted due to their efforts. 

 

* SRDJAN AND ARIANNE CAME TO HELP … AND RUMOURS WERE RIFE, THEY WERE ALSO TRYING TO `MAKE-A-BABY! *

My second cousin Nat and partner Jessica were also a great help, with the first thing they offered being a 50cc scooter … I had wheels and the idea of a second-hand-bike became redundant. What a difference 50cc makes. It gave me the ability to race around Darwin like a mad thing buying the thousand-and-one items required to make the repairs to the underside of Déjà vu (even hypodermic syringes from a Vet.) It also kept Serge busy for a day, arranging the new gas bottles and having them filled.

 
 

* `SPLIT’ PORT RUDDER …. LOOKING LIKE NEW NOW! *

* WORK NEARING COMPLETION *

Cousin Nat is stationed in Darwin as a Captain of an aircraft which specialises in Airborne Rescue of those in distress at sea and on land. SAR …Sea and Air Rescue (I think!) … and just prior to my leaving Darwin was advised he had been offered a job by Virgin Blue flying their 737 Boeings … the start of a lucrative piloting job. 

* MY GORGEOUS ELDER DAUGHTER `MELANIE’ ALSO FLEW FROM PERTH (WESTERN AUSTRALIA CAPITAL) … AND ROUNDED OFF THE WORKING CREW BEAUTIFULLY! *

Déjà vu came away from Sadgrove Quay looking great … and it only (only?) cost a bit more than $1,300.00.

 

* PROUD FATHER, NAT AND DAUGHTER ARIELLE! *

 

 

 

* `DEJA VU’ … BACK IN THE WATER AFTER THREE WEEKS, A LOTS OF WORK AND SOME MONEY SPENT! *

 

 

 

 Kupang-2

ooOoo

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THE BRISBANE TO DARWIN (AUSTRALIA) STORY, 2007 … 18 of 19 … `An unhappy Electronics Experience’ and `More about Darwin’.

    Whilst in Darwin, (Northern Territory, Australia), I had a local HF `specialist’ look at down-loading the Asian frequencies into my HF radio (which was a model to suit the USA region and therefore full of frequencies for Alaska and other such regions) … a simple job of moving information from a computer to the radio … about $100.00.

o This jerk also recommended installing a system which would also co-ordinate the selection of frequencies between the radio and the computer … about $150.00

* HIGH FREQUENCY (HF) RADIO … FOR SAILMAIL (EMAIL) CONNECTION WHILE AT SEA … JUST GREAT! *

o And why don’t I consider fitting a resident GPS for the two Navigation systems in my computer? About $150.00!o What this bastard didn’t quote on was his labour at $100.00 per hour … and my final account came to $1,047.00.

o It will take a long time to mentally recovered from that `sting’ … and only God knows what my Bank account looks like after Darwin. Luckily I can’t access it from Indonesia … I just don’t want to know!

 

* GORGEOUS DAUGHTERS … `ARIANNE’ (L) AND `MELANIE’ (R) … WE DID HAVE TIME FOR FUN! *

And then my other daughter Melanie arrived and we were a four-some (Melanie, Arianne and Srdjan … Arianne’s husband). With Nat and Jessica’s company we had a great time. Melanie was alone and stayed onboard Déjà vu at the ship yard … hired a car and all three people did numerous things to get Déjà vu back into the water. At this time my brain/system was saturated and many things I wanted to be involved with I had to just let slip by. It was the only way I could cope.Came the morning of departure, Saturday 21st July … I had to ask Nat to haul me up the mast to fit the new LED masthead lamp. This proved a nightmare, as being 16 metres (50 feet) above the water, every dinghy that passed made enough wash to whip me around dangerously. In the end I had the light holding by one screw instead of three and had to leave it at that … to be finished further down the track.

* THE COCKPIT … A LITTLE UNTIDY, BUT THIS COULD BE RECTIFIED `ON-THE-RUN’! *

Onboard, Déjà vu still looked like a bomb had hit it and come 11:00, the start time for the Rally, I had to say to Melanie: “Right Kid, up with the sails we’re out of here!”And that’s how we crossed the line … 30 minutes late! Sounds a bit loose, right … well there were yachts that didn’t get away until the following week … and we were about the 40th yacht into Kupang, Indonesia … faster than the 60 that followed.

Kupang-3

ooOoo

* ARIANNE (L) … MELANIE (C) AND SRDJAN (R) … `DEJA VU’ JUST RE-LAUNCHED! *

* THE SAIL INDONESIA 2007 FLEET … AT ANCHOR IN FANNY BAY, DARWIN … MOSTLY, READY-TO-GO! *

* FANNY BAY BEACH AT MEDIUM TIDE *

* Arianne and Melanie proudly displaying their `Deja Vu’ T-shirts! *

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THE BRISBANE TO DARWIN (AUSTRALIA) STORY, 2007 … 19 of 19 … `Leaving Darwin’.

During one of my visits to Nat (Darwin), I asked if he had access to the file of photographs taken by Coast Watch (Customs) during their fly-pasts (which occurred every day high up on the East coast of Australia and especially across the Gulf of Carpentaria) … as he flies for them on some occasions.   No … not possible to get from Customs … but, he and his crew were flying a training sortie on the morning of the Rally start … and just maybe, his flight path would take him over Deja vu … and maybe his crew could take ‘photos of my ship 

* COUSIN NAT WAS CHECKING ALL WAS SAFE WITH US! *

Half–an-hour after we started the ever increasing whine of Turbo-prop engines announced Nat’s flyover.      

* WHAT A GREAT SERVICE TO THOSE IN DISTRESS! *

Bugger … he went past before we could man ourselves with cameras: “Never mind Melanie, he’ll make a second pass and we’ll be ready!” And sure enough Nat came again … and again … and again … and again and eventually I said to Melanie … “God, I wish Nat would piss off!” (Just joking!)
  

 However, the message is … he got many great aerial shots of Déjà vu under sail! 

ooOoo

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