North Goulbourn Island to Coral Bay, Coubourg Peninsula on to Darwin…..

08 -10, July 2012 (Eastern Hemisphere)

Dear F&F,

When we woke up in Mullet Bay at North Goulbourn Island, we saw that new friends \”Silver Girl\” had just arrived and went to sleep. They, and \”Mr. John VI\” did a day/night/day passage from Howard Island where we\’d left them three days earlier. We enjoyed our day sails! They both had a pretty rough night, so we\’re glad despite the tide problems and not so great anchorages that we were able to get good night sleeps!

We actually sailed toward Malay Bay and caught up to Mr. John where we found anchorage in Mount Norris Bay was best due to the wind shifting to the East. The smoke from the burn offs at the Aboriginal communities was quite thick. We even had ash on our decks the next morning.

We heard as we arrived from \”Georgia J\” (Tiburon, California), that they could smell the smoke 50+ miles offshore.

The challenge of today was sailing through the Bowen Strait. The strait is not really charted and we used our guide books and a literal photocopy of a chart they put in the guide as our \”guide\”. Fortunately, it all went well, but we did have to move out of the main channel for a commercial barge (June Virgo) and almost ran aground. The water got down to 7 feet! (2.1 meters). Once back in the channel, it was easy from there.

There was no wind today and the predictions are for less tomorrow and the next day. We are anchored in lovely Coral Bay where delightfully, the resort radioed us and asked if we\’d like to come to dinner tonight. As a treat, we\’re going ashore as will \”Georgia J\”. \”Mr. John VI\” won\’t be in for a few hours, so they\’re likely to just relax aboard for the evening.

This the first anchorage on the \”NT\” coast that has looked anything like the Pacific Islands. Shallow, pretty and picturesque.

Nikki is threatening to learn how to use the sextant and try her hand at celestial navigation. She\’s into it! With modern GPS, celestial has gone the way of the horse and buggy, but it\’s still really cool to know how to do.

Tomorrow, we\’ll most likely head the 30 miles to Alcaro Bay and then jump to Adams Bay just East of Darwin. Darwin the next day (our Wednesday) to Fannie Bay.

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.

KIT, Scott and Nikki