Yep we’re still here in Darwin! The weather seems to be getting hotter and hotter after the cold spell when we first arrived. The marina is also a bit quieter as the Sail Indonesia Rally left Darwin for Kupang on 21st July. For weeks yachts have been gathering in Fannie Bay and in the marinas, coming round the top from the east or up the West Coast.
Skippers have been frantically getting done all those jobs which, for one reason or another, were pushed into the last minute; fitting booms, installing HF radios, filing up with gin. Crews were filling up with duty-free diesel and stocking up on provisions. We found ourselves in the middle of all this frenzied activity and helped out where we could. At the end of the day we’d all relax with sundowners and a meal on someone’s boat – santai, santai!
Old friends of Neil’s Harry and Halley flew in from Molloolaba. Their friend Frederick had entered his boat into the Rally and they could not resist the temptation to sail to Indonesia and spend a month sailing and surfing along the south coast of Nusa Tengara. We spent a happy evening with them at the Darwin Sailing Club.
That night ABC Radio Darwin were doing an outside broadcast there because of the cruising fleet leaving the next day. Frederick and Halley had their guitars with them and had their 15 minutes of fame playing “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” for the people of Darwin!
We went along to the start of the Rally with Mike and Linda on Hanelike. We towed our dinghy behind and sailed with them around to Fannie Bay. There were over 120 yachts in the Bay – it was quite a sight. Strong winds were predicted so everyone was anticipating a quick passage across to Kupang with some good sailing. We puttered around between them saying goodbye to the people we’d met and wishing them happy sailing.
The start line looked like organised chaos but the boats that were racing got an early start ahead of the fleet. We saw Australia Maid cross the line and she went on to win the race on handicap. Unfortunately our friends Erica and Alan on Indulgence II had engine starter problems and were unable to cross the start line with everyone else. We ferried a mechanic across to them from the beach and he sorted out it all out and they were on their way later that day.
The good news is that we’ve finally sorted out our transport problems! It’s OK to walk from the marina into town but it’s too hot to walk much further. The taxis here are incredibly expensive and we kept missing the buses. Anyway we’ve bought a couple of push bikes!
Neil got a Giant mountain bike from Cash Converters for $180. I couldn’t find anything my size that had two brakes or more than one gear so I bought a shiny new shopping bike from K-Mart with a bell! It’s great to have wheels again!
We’re off for a ride now – more later!