28 July 2012 (Eastern Hemisphere)

Dear F&F,

We left the anchorage at Alcara (last we wrote), and made the trip in 11 hours, going 96 miles. This average speed was enhanced, retarded and again enhanced by the large tides in the Van Diemen Gulf and the Dundas Strait approaching Darwin. At one time while the boat was going 8.5 knots through the water, we saw a head current slow us to 6.5 knots and a following current speed us up to 12.5 knots!

We anchored in Fanny Bay with about 125 boats. The Darwin Sailing Club is here and the dinghy landings are quite the experience as the height of the tide can move 22+ feet!

The new dinghy wheels were a huge help. We checked in with the Sail Indonesia Rally and found out we could move into the \”Duck Pond\” (Commercial Marina) here in Darwin.

There are four marinas all of which have lock systems due to the extreme tides. We were the ONLY recreational boat in the entire \”Pond\”. Mostly fishing vessels, pilot vessels and work boats were all around us. We had some mechanical and electrical work to attend to, so this was a big help. Getting fuel and shopping was aided by having a rental car which we used constantly.

The big projects were replacing the broken bolt on the port engine. Replacing the impeller on that engine which turned out to require rebuilding the water pump and refreshing our sail drive (transmission) fluids. Lots of other jobs were also accomplished and Nikki is the \”domestic diva\”!….:-)

We took an overnight trip to the town of Katherine and a two hour cruise along it\’s gorge system on the river. We were able to see some Aboriginal rock art, beautiful views and lots and lots OF FIRES!

These fires are intentionally set by the local communities to keep the brush (spinafex grass) down during the dry season.

We had a chance to meet and catch up with some old friends (about 10) who would be participating on the rally.

Yesterday, \”Mr. John VI\” left a day early as he thought he\’d otherwise finish a day behind everyone else.

Today, the wind has come up at 15-20 knots exactly from where we want it. This is the first day this has happened since we arrived 18 days ago and hopefully a good omen!

We cleared out of Australia yesterday \”en mass\” and received our Indonesian visas as well. We\’re all packed up and ready to go. I\’ll start putting out position reports again today!

The rally departs in 90 minutes, just us and 110 of our closest friends! See: www.sailindonesia.net for details.

Enjoy and KIT, Scott and Nikki…..