07/22/2012, Fanny Bay, Darwin, AU
Yesterday we continued to prepare for our sail to and through Indonesia. We will be spending about 2.5 months there, slowly making our way up their archipelago. The country has over 17,000 islands and as we island hop through their country our trip will take us over 2500 nm. We have learned that most of the western world stuff that we use on our boat will not be available where we are going so it is important to stock up now with things that we think we may need. This includes selected foods.
Yesterday, I filled up our propane tanks and the jerry jugs that I had emptied into our fuel bladder. We also worked on cleaning the boat since our Darwin friends, Brian and Gayle, were coming over today for an American BBQ dinner.
Today was more of the same. I scrubbed the deck while Mary Margaret cleaned inside the boat and cooked. However, as I was finishing up I saw a huge tower of smoke rising in the distance. Someone had put to fire a large field and the smoke and ash was being carried by the wind toward us. Soon it was raining ash on my nice, newly cleaned deck. In no time the deck was covered with black soot and ash. I was sooo pissed. Oh well, what can you do?
At 1400 I motored the dinghy into shore to pick Brian and Gayle up. To my surprise, I could not get the dinghy all the way to shore because it was a very low tide. We have a tidal range here of about 8 meters and this was the lowest tide we have seen since our arrival. The dinghy wheels just stuck in the very fine sand so I left it there, about 100 feet from shore.
I waded into shore and soon saw Brian and Gayle walking down the launch ramp toward me carrying a bunch of goodies. Gayle had made a killer dessert and they had brought a large bunch of bananas from the banana tree in their backyard.
We wading out to the dinghy and began our trip out to Leu Cat. Brian and Gayle own a Lagoon 440 that is in the charter fleet in the Whitsundays. It was built that same year as Leu Cat: 2006. Brian was anxious to see Leu Cat and discover how we had retrofitted her for blue water sailing. Their boat comes out of the charter fleet this November and they would like to take her cruising for a bit.
After Mary Margaret had completed giving Gayle and Brian the grand tour of Leu Cat, I introduced Gayle to my favorite part of the boat. Soon, she was laying back and gentling rocking in our hammock. She too fell in love with the hammock and soon was looking like a long time cruiser. She just needed a drink in her hand to be complete.
We finally made our way back into the salon where all kinds of appetizers were served. Mary Margaret had made a vegetable dip from scratch that was to die for. Gayle had brought a wheel of camembert cheese and a spinach dip that meddled well with the goodies that were being served.
Around 1630 I fired up the grill and put on four racks of spareribs that had spent the day in our solar cooker. In no time their outsides were crisped up golden brown and I was slavering on the homemade BBQ sauce that Mary Margaret had whipped up.
Soon we were sitting down and enjoying the feast that included homemade pasta salad and coleslaw. Gayle never had tasted BBQ ribs before and she ended up loving them. As the finishing touch, she brought out her homemade chocolate toblerone mousse, topped with whipped cream and a strawberry. Man, was that good!
As we caught our breath from that great meal, we went forward again. Gayle climbed back into the hammock and we all watched the sun slowly sink into the horizon and it left us with a brilliant dark red sunset. It was the perfect moment to end a perfect day!
These are our good friends Dana and Mark of S/V Northfork. To our surprise, they boogied up here in two weeks, leaving from the Whitsundays to join the Rally. They had thought they were going to stay in Australia for another year while their new baby (Mark Jr.) gets a bit older. However, they changed their minds and here they are! Isn't Mark Jr such a cutie pie!! Thank goodness he takes his good looks from his mother!!!! That is Stuart and Shelia of S/V Imagine, holding Mark Jr.
Here is another shot of our table at the BBQ. I had to include this one also because it shows Stuart of S/V Imagine. He is the one of the left who is blocking the view of Mary Margaret
07/20/2012, Fanny Bay, Darwin, AU
Boy, I sure could use a big dose of youth right now. I remember those good old days when we could work hard all day and party late until the night and wake up the next morning and start all over again. Now, as I have crept past the age of 62, I am having a hard time getting this old carcass out of bed after staying up past 2200 hours.
This morning we got up early so that we could get the boat ready to weigh anchor and motor the 7 nm over to Baileys Fuel to fill up on duty free fuel. Earlier this week I had secured our duty free form from Customs and with so many boats here for the rally, I was getting nervous that I would not be able to secure an appointment to refuel. Plus, Baileys Fuel had put out a notice that starting Monday, they would no long service yachties since the prawn fleet would be back and Baileys Fuel would be too busy with them to worry about yachties. However, yesterday I called and was able to get an appointment for 0900 this morning. It was the last slot that they had available. Whew!
On our way over, an Italian boat raced in front of us and cut us off. I just knew he was going to slip into the fuel dock in front of us and we would have to wait. As it turns out, he had the 0830 time slot but he arrived 20 minutes late. We arrived 5 minutes early. We circled for a bit and finally were waved in to the pier to tie up. However, we could not start fueling because the pump next to us was not working. Thus, we had to wait for the Italians to finish before we could back down into the space he had tied up to. While we were waiting we watched with fascination as to how incompetent the Italian boat's crew was. There were four men and they kept bumping into each other as they moved the fuel hose from jerry jug to jerry jug, spilling a lot of fuel in the process. It was a bit entertaining to watch.
Finally, at 0930, it was our turn. We filled our two tanks and the remaining jerry jugs that we had. All told, we took on 513 liters, which is about 135 gallons. The duty free fuel cost $1.12AU a gallon. At the gas stations in Darwin, it is costing $1.53 a litter so this was a big savings. It certainly was a lot cheaper than the $1.75 a litter we paid at Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays and $2.12 a liter we paid at Seisia, up by Cape York.
I had wanted to fill our deck fuel bladder but the fuel nozzle was too big for its opening it. Darn. I had to wait until we returned to our anchorage to transfer the diesel from our jerry jugs into the bladder. Now, I will have to take the jerry jugs to a gas station and fill them there tomorrow. To add insult to injury, I will end up having to pay full price ($1.53 a litter) since you need to buy a minimum of $300 worth of fuel to qualify for the duty free status.
While I was with the attendant paying our bill, Mary Margaret was left on the boat. As she patiently waited for my return, she watched the tide rapidly drop and, as it did, so did our boat. Soon the stern dock line was extreme taunt. The attendant had not left enough slack in it to account for the drop in tide. As she was contemplating getting the rigging knife and slicing through the stern line, a young family walked by and she asked if they would loosen the line. The young man did so and our stern dropped by over a foot!
After the fueling was behind us and we had returned to our anchorage, Mary Margaret and I next drove around and started our provisioning process. By the time we were done with phase 1 of provisioning, it was 1730 and we were bushed. However, at 1800 we hopped back into the dinghy and headed to shore. Tonight was the big Sail Indonesia BBQ bash!
This is when I wished that I still had my youth and all the energy the young ones have. The BBQ certainly was party central. Our fee for the rally included this wonderful BBQ and drinks. We saw a lot of old friends and soon we were in the party mode. Party, party, party! Yep, this cruiser's life is pretty good!!
The food was great, the wine and beer hit the spot and it was great to be with good friends. A great time was had by all!
Tomorrow, the work on the boat continues. Plus, I get to schlep our empty propane tanks and now empty jerry jugs around to get them refilled. Lordy, get me some more of that youth!!!!
There were all kinds of live entertainment throughout the evening at Mindil Beach Market. Besides a couple of stilt walkers, we had a couple of bands playing and, as the evening progressed, a number of fold singers. It was great!