Give me the coffee …

Give Me Coffee to Change the Things I can 
and Wine to accept those that I Cannot


We left Thursday Island heading west for Darwin. This being Australia, it doesn’t look far on a map but the reality is 750 nautical miles. For comparison, that is roughly London to Rome. At our normal speed that should take us a bit over a week.

The first 300 miles are across the top of the Gulf of Carpantaria and takes you far from land. We met cargo ships the first few days but after that there was nothing except a few Asian fishing vessels and us.

After the Gulf, the Wessel Islands extend about sixty miles north into the Arafura Sea and offer bays to anchor in on their downwind side. We were heading for Two Islands Bay which was described as untouched white sand and see-through tropical water.

The first day both wind and tide were our friends and we covered almost 120 miles in 24 hours. We were on a roll. The second day the wind dropped and the tide slowed. All the previous day’s gains were lost and we had to accept that we would reach the islands after sunset the following day making an entry to the bay impossible.

On day three the wind strengthened but then dropped again in cycles throughout the day. With every degree further west we traveled the sunset would be four minutes later. At one point it appeared we were going to win the race. But only briefly.

A cup of coffee and a serious look at the chart showed another Bay a tiny bit closer. The entry was not as good nor the protection but we could make it ten minutes before sunset. With the anchorage in view and the sun still in the sky we turned upwind setting course for the island and 

nothing happened!

The current out of the Gulf was so strong that we could not sail against it. We tried the motor and could only make one knot which would have us entering the bay in pitch black which we were definitely not going to try.

We re-set the sails, set up the wind steering and turned back downwind heading for the huge red sun that was balanced on the horizon. Heidi made gin and tonics and we set course for the next island 270 miles away – that is only London to Luxembourg.

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