Saturday, July 17, 2010

Around Darwin

July 15, 2010—Our first week in Darwin has been very busy. The first night that we were here, we joined Tin Soldier and Airstream for dinner at the Darwin Sailing Club. The food was excellent, and it was great to catch up with everyone since we had not seen these two boats for a year.

We returned to the boat and more than ready to get a good night’s sleep. It was a bit rough, but we secured the dinghy at the side of the boat and went down below. About 30 minutes later, I went above to check on the dinghy and saw that the waves had become much bigger, and they were really tugging on the dinghy lines so we decided to put her on deck. It was a bit of a struggle with gusts of 30 knots, and now we had our dinghy wheels on, which made it more difficult to pull her aboard. Anyway, we got her all secured, but then we noticed that we were much closer to sv Panache than we liked. We sat in the cockpit for awhile and watched. We also checked our GPS position, which indicated that we had not drug the anchor.

Steve was so tired that I told him to go below to get some sleep while I stayed on anchor watch in the cockpit. About two hours later Neville from Panache called on the radio about our position. We told him that we were keeping an eye on it but that our starter was acting up, which was the truth, so it was difficult for us to move. We agreed to just keep an eye on the situation. At one time we were swinging about one and a half boat lengths in front of Panache. I sat on watch until 3 a.m. when Steve came up to take over until 7:30 in the morning.

It was a very long night and the radio was going for much of the time. John and Renee on sv Scarlett had a boat drag down on them, and it hit their dinghy and their wind steering. That boat had no engine, had lost their anchor and dinghy and were adrift. Renee had to call Darwin Harbor to send out a rescue boat, and then they re-anchored Scarlett. The winds continued to blow between 25 and 30 knots until around 4 o’clock. I don’t think that anyone got much sleep that night.

The next few days were busy working to locate boat parts and do some grocery shopping. On July 9 we decided to move into a marina so that Steve could pull our transmission. We were required to have a Fisheries diver check the bottom of our boat and also put some treatment in our thru hulls. The next day we left for Bay View Marina, which required going up a river with all sorts of boats anchored in the middle of the channel. Entering the marina also required entering a lock. After we were inside the lock, the dock master Trevor closed the lock to the river, filled the lock, and then opened the lock to the marina. It was our first time to do this, and it was very interesting.

We also decided to rent a car because Steve had too much running around to do. That, in addition to buying a cell phone, made life so much easier for him. I kept busy doing laundry and working to clean and clear out any unnecessary items from the boat. As it turned out, we were not able to pull our transmission without taking the boat out of the water--not going to happen, so we will just make due for now. We did, however, decide to stay in the marina so that we have water, power, and laundry.

Darwin has been surprising for us. It is not easy to get boat projects done here, and we are again struggling to find good internet. Our expensive marina does not have any type of internet at all, which means loading up and trying to find one. Most of them area slow and frustrating, but I guess they are better than nothing. That is one of the reasons that I am so far behind on these blogs—the other is that I just didn’t get to it when I should have. I plan to post another blog this week before we leave for Indonesia on July 24.

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