darwin nicole's version
05 August 2012 | kupang
10-20 ese fine clear skies a bit humid
> Sorry for a very big gap in our blog entries. ATM we are actually in Kupang, but I thought I would fill in a bit of the last month.
We were anchored in Fannie Bay for a few days before grant had any luck in getting a hold of a mechanic… apparently there aren’t many and we discovered that “NT –Northern Territory) actually means Not Today, Not Tomorrow, Not Tuesday, Not Thursday. So you have an idea of what we were up against to try to get someone to look at and work on the engine and gear box leaks that occurred on the trip to Darwin from Seisia.
We finally got a guy to come out and then organised to get into a marina on the Saturday (we arrived on Tuesday) so he could work on it.
Getting the boat into the lock to get into the marina was another nail biting experience we don’t wish to repeat-EVER! It was like trying to thread a needle getting our 27 tonnes, 50 ft of boat into a narrow entrance with rocks on either side and with a lock wall right in front of us! Thankfully we had Kelly and another friend to give us a hand, and the lock master was very helpful too. We got ourselves safely tucked into what would become a bustling, busy marina packed with yachties frantically working through their “To Do Lists” before the rally start.
When we found out how much the marina stay was going to cost, we were really hoping that it wouldn’t be a long stay.
In the meantime, Grant emailed about 40 resumes out to companies in the Darwin area. Basically, he had resigned himself to the fact that the rally dream 2012 was slipping away and we might as well try to find work. As nice as Darwin is in the “winter/dry season” with lots of activities for kids etc, I was NOT really keen on the idea of spending a year in a city where + 30C is average temp rain or shine, you cant swim at the beautiful beaches cause the crocs and jellyfish AND we had no friends or family anywhere nearby, not to mention the astronomical marina fees!
We talked about many other options, but I was close to giving up the rally dream too. After a week in the marina, the gear box leak was “fixed” (although it leaked again on the way to Kupang!!) and the engine leak remained a mystery that wouldn’t be able to be looked at until after the rally left anyway. Finally the decision to join the rally was reached about 2 weeks before the departure date, I was actually VERY surprised that grant was in favour after shelling out way more $$ than expected and our savings dwindling. But we decided that we could live quite cheaply for the next 4 months in Indo, and we would go back to work in Oz for the summer. As of this moment, we still don’t have a set in stone plan about work, or whether we sail or fly back, but we will have to sort that soon. The only solace in this was that it is NOT just us facing these boat obstacles, trust me, everyone we met has had some sort of problem(s) that they were trying to fix in Darwin!
Our next hurdle, once we decided to go was getting our crew organised. Unfortunately, our terrific crew Kelly had to go back to Canada too early to be on the whole rally, so we were looking at the people who answered our post on the sail indo wall about crew. We got a few responses and were able to meet an experienced young, American couple who seemed really keen (although I had my reservations that old clunky Wandoo wasn’t quite up to speed for their liking) and we needed to make a decision before the 20th so visas could be organised. Meanwhile, our other 2 crew options fell flat… but then I got a call from another American guy on the 17th. We brought him out to the boat to have a chat but told him that thew other couple did have “dibs” but had to make that decision soon. That guy was Meetal.
On the 18th, the American couple told us that they were still really interested, but then on the 19th, they ditched us…damn. I called Meetal immediately and told him the spot was his. He had some limited sailing experience, but we weren’t getting picky about experience now! So we started to put all the late crew visa procedures into motion. On the Sunday night, Meetal told us there was a girl he met in Darwin that was going to crew on a boat not in the rally, but that fell through. We decided to tell them that if they wanted to share a cabin and bed, she was welcome to hop on IF sail indo and the consulate. That was Becky. As it happened, the visas went through and all crew was good to go.
So we started excited about actually leaving Australian waters for kupang which is 470nm, about 4 + days sail for us. Grant gave Meetal and Becky a crash course in the boat, but it must have been daunting for them heading to the open ocean on a strange boat with no experience! We are not sure how long they are staying on - or if we WANT crew for longer, that will be decided later.
So the 2012 rally was happening... despite the stress of not knowing what we were doing, I was able to enjoy the kiddie part of Darwin with the girls. We were regulars at story time at the library and the school holiday “fun Bus” each week. We also met a little yachtie playmate for Elora, A 10 month old little American girl name Dylan. Her mom, Liz is a new mom and grant was glad that I finally had someone else to baby talk with. We actually have a bit of a baby club; there is also a 6 month old American boy too. I was beginning to feel bad for Ameliana cause the closest yachties kid in age to her was a 6 year old girl with 3 older brothers, and all the other kids were over 8 yrs… BUT at the big organised BBQ, we found Maya, a 3.5 yr old little girl sailing with her parents and grandparents! Needless to say, they became fast friends and we parents are very happy too!
We were able to get to Litchfield National Park for the day with Kelly when we hired a car. Kelly had only just been there, so she told us exactly where to go. It was sooo nice to swim under the fresh water waterfalls! And no crocs either! The girls had a great time swimming too. We also took in the free water park in Darwin, which was excellent, but a bit of a long bus ride out into the burbs, so we only went once.
The last week was a whirlwind of last minute preparation and jobs. We were back out an anchor so we had to coordinate dinghy rides.
We said goodbye to Kelly on the 20th, we were all sad. She became a good friend to all of us and we will miss her. Who knows, she may just resume her crew position on wandoo next year!
Stay tuned for the account of the crossing
> The Wandoo crew!