FROM THE LOG #52

Cape York to Darwin
Over the top of Australia

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Area covered in this report
(Click on any photo or map for a blow up - and remember to close it)
As we told in the previous report, we rounded Cape York, the most northerly part of Australia on May 9th 2009. According to the cruising guide there is an anchoragein the bay just to the west of the cape, inside York Island. We arrived on a spring low tide and could not get past an uncharted sand bank, with less than a metre of water, and decided to anchor in the lee of York Island.
The light house on York Island
Our anchorage shown on electronic chart
Lookin SE at ancho behind York Island
The electronic chart (above middle) shows our position at anchor. I have indicated the sand bar. The chart appears to be slightly off to the east as we are shown on top of the reef on the SW point of York Island. The reef can be seen as the darker area under the surface on the photo above right, taken aboard Scorpio at anchor.
The supply ship arrives once a week
Greg at the pier in Seisia
A trip to the bottle shop
The next day we sailed to Seisia, a small village with a well protected anchorage. We were greeted by Greg Bethune, who owns and operates Carpentaria Seafaris, a fishing charter business. Greg told us that we were the first cruising boat arriving this season. We were treated almost like Royals. For more about this area, take a look at Greg's web site HERE.
A day at the office
Darwin Sailing Club at Fannie Bay

Two days later we set sail again and headed for Darwin. We decided to sail non-stop all the way if the weather would be favorable. The first two days were quite uncomfortable, which is common in the Gulf of Carpentaria when tidal currents, waves and swell move in oppostie directions and produce a washing machine movement. The conditions improved after we passed Cape Wesel, but the fourth night was again pretty rough.

The last night was windless and we motored for almost 24 hoiurs before we dropped the hook in Darwin's Fannie Bay, exactly 5 days after our departure from Seisia.

Low tide at the travel lift
Finally on the hard
We've hauled out in 17 different yards

We were now in a hurry to find a yard where we could leave Scorpio on land during our coming trip to Finland. To our surprise we found that there are no all-tide haul out facilities in Darwin and when we arrived it happened to be neap tides. We had to wait 5 days for high tide to be high enough to permit entry to Spot On Marine in Ludmilla Creek, the only yard available.

Our flight to Finland was on the day after the haul out so we had little time to take care of the usual preparations. When we return to the yacht in mid July we will face the same problem: the vessel has to be launched quickly because the tidal range will be decreasing rapidly preventing an exit from the creek. Consequently we will not have time to apply the anti faouling paint ourselves but need to employ somebody to take care of this while we are away. See the BLOG for more about this dilemma.

The engine water intake was full of weed
The propeller shining like new
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