06 April 2017 | St Lucie Inlet, Florida
02 April 2017 | Stocking Island, Exuma
01 April 2017 | George Town, Exumas
30 March 2017 | George Town, Bahamas
22 March 2017 | Elizabeth Island, Exumas
09 March 2017 | George Town, Exumas
04 March 2017 | Thompson's Bay, Long Island
03 March 2017 | Stella Maris, Long Island
02 March 2017 | Long Island
26 February 2017 | Crossing from Water Cay to Comer Channel, Jumentos
25 February 2017 | Double-Breasted Cay to Thompson's Bay, Long Island
23 February 2017 | Double-Breasted Cay, Jumentos
19 February 2017 | Hog Cay, Jumentos
16 February 2017 | Duncan Town, Ragged Island
14 February 2017 | Hog Cay, Jumentos
10 February 2017 | Hog Cay, the Jumentos
06 February 2017 | Duncan Town, Ragged Island
05 February 2017 | Hog Cay, Ragged Islands
05 February 2017 | Duncan Town, Ragged Island
Bundy to Darwin Cruising Notes
16 January 2011 | Australia
SSCA Commodores' Bulletin Jan 2011: Bundy to Darwin Cruising Notes
Friday the 13th
13 August 2010 | Darwin
We were all ready to leave, except that it was Friday the 13th. "I'm not superstitious, just careful," says Burger. But since the washdown pump died while I was cleaning the deck, he had something to keep him busy for an extra day at anchor ...
But it was indeed a very unlucky day for someone: Before we dinghied ashore to spend our last Aussie dollars on lunch, I watched a couple of young guys playing with their black dog next to their fishing boat, which they had let fall dry on a sandbank during low tide (there are huge tides in Darwin). When we returned an hour later, an ambulance was parked at the ferry dock, and the dog I had seen playing with his owner was brought ashore in a police boat. He had just lost his best friend. We learned that while we were having lunch, the fishing boat had fallen over and crushed one of the guys scrubbing the bottom.
Gorgeous Gorges and Crocodile Hotel
11 August 2010 | Kakadu and Katherine Gorge National Parks
After the Jumping Croc Cruise we drove on to Kakadu National Park and hiked up a hill to see lots of ancient Aboriginal rock drawings. That night we stayed at a Holiday Inn shaped like a crocodile! But the only way you knew you were inside a croc was to see the postcards and photos of it.
The next day we took a cruise on the Yellow Billabong where we saw an amazing variety of birds in the wetlands--ibis, heron, ducks, eagles, hawls, pelicans--and lots of crocs, who were impervious to the birds since they prefer fish. We also saw a lone dingo stalking the birds, and a herd of wild horses.
On day 3 we took an early morning breakfast cruise on the river through beautiful Katherine's Gorge National Park, and later went for a swim in a "plunge pool" at Edith Falls. The pool was actually the size of a small lake. The water was a tad chilly but I managed to convince Burger to take a dip with me.
09 August 2010 | Adelaide River
Just back from our little mini-vacation ashore, three days of touring in the Northern Territory south of Darwin, where we finally got our croc fix. Seven thousand salt crocs live on the Adelaide River, we were told, where the thing to do is a Jumping Croc Cruise to see them leap in the air for hunks of meat. Funny how animals who beg for food don't look quite so ferocious. They actually looked kind of cute, sidling up to the boat and being coaxed to perform. Reminded me of the time that "cute" barracudas did the same thing in the Bahamas.
06 August 2010 | Mindl Market, Darwin AU
Wow, take a look at this video clip!
Mindl Beach Market
05 August 2010 | Darwin, AU
Last night we walked to Mindl Beach for the Thursday night market, and it seemed like all of Darwin was there. Dozens of multiethnic food vendors, street entertainers and live music kept the huge crowd happy.
The sky turned a stunning red at sunset as we walked back to the Darwin Sailing Club for a drink before returning aboard. We then watched the DVD of Crocodile Dundee to get us in the mood for our trip tomorrow: we're going walkabout for three days, to the area where the movie was filmed. Well, we'll hardly be roughing it: a guided safari tour of Kakadu and Katherine's Gorge National Park.
Across the Top End
30 July 2010 | Darwin, AU
Whew, were we glad to drop anchor in Fannie Bay, Darwin yesterday! Strong wind, currents and shallow waters made for a "washing machine" passage with four nights at sea, interrupted by one blessedly peaceful night at anchor in the shelter of the northernmost Wessel Island.
We dinghied ashore (photo shows Burger launching the dinghy using the crane on the radar arch) and stretched our legs on the long sandy beach of the uninhabited island, where I took some great photos of Burger posing with a whale skull bone. Egg on my face: we discovered later that the chip hadn't been inserted in the camera! The sun was so bright that I didn't see the "No Chip" display message.
We also saw croc tracks but no crocs. A bit creepy wading back to the anchored dinghy!
It's a Long Way to Tipperary ...
23 July 2010 | Thursday Island, Torres Strait
... Tipperary Marina in Darwin, that is, at the Top End of Australia. That's our goal as we set off tomorrow from Thursday Island, one of the Torres Strait islands between Australia and Papua New Guinea to the north.
Since leaving Bundaberg four weeks ago today, we've sailed approx. 1,200 miles inside the Great Barrier Reef, mostly long day hops with a couple of overnighters to speed up the trip. We now have another 670 miles to go across the top to Darwin. After a couple of weeks of sightseeing and reprovisioning there, we plan to cross Indonesia to Bali, then on to Singapore and Malaysia by early October.
For the record, our trip up the coast took us to Scarfell Is., Shaw Is., Hook Is. (in the Whitsunday's), Townsville, Port Douglas, the Low Islets, Hope Is., Lizard's Is., Bathurst Bay, Morris Is., Portland Roads, Shelburne Bay, Escape River, then around Cape York to Horn Is. where we're anchored now, just across the channel from Thursday Is. Whew! That's 14 stops in 24 days! (We arrived here four days ago.)
The Modern Lighthouse
21 July 2010 | Queensland Coast
Some lighthouses on Queensland's coast are serviced per helicopter. Their position shows up on our AIS screen.
19 July 2010
Luckily it was just a parted seam. We doused the mainsail and stuffed the damaged part down the hatch so Burger could mend it with our Sailmaker sewing machine.
Strong Wind Warnings
17 July 2010 | Underway Inside the Great Barrier Reef
After waiting a few days for the "strong wind warnings" to abate before leaving Bundaberg, we hardly had any wind at all and had to motor on our first day out. Since then we've learned to ignore the warnings unless 30 knots or more are predicted, which hasn't been the case yet. Sailing downwind with 20-25 knot SE trades is ideal, especially since the Barrier Reef protects us from ocean swells, so we've been enjoying mostly swift passages of 8 knots and more.
Never Smile at a Crocodile
13 July 2010 | Morris Island
The centerboard got stuck as we were anchoring at Morris Island, an idyllic little sand cay five miles offshore. Burger donned flippers and mask and dove down to have a look, and we were able to fix the problem.
A catamaran anchored next to us, and soon thereafter we were visited by singlehander Michael and his friendly dog, Speedy Gonzales. We invited them aboard for a drink and a chat and wound up trading bread, jam, milk and coffee for delicious mud crabs and barramundi. "I saw you in the water when I came in," he smiled, "a four meter croc was swimming here a couple of weeks ago, wonder if he's still around." Hmmm ... Next morning Michael took Speedy for a walk ashore, and reported that the croc was sunbathing on the island. Yikes!
Cook's Look and Giant Clam Garden
11 July 2010 | Lizard's Island
A large lemon shark welcomed us upon arrival, swishing around as we anchored in Watson's Bay near sunset. Next day we hiked up to Cook's Look, where Captain Cook once sought a passage through the reefs for his ship The Endeavor. Later we cooled off with a swim around a large coral patch called the Giant Clam Garden, where the clams grow to three feet in diameter!
Ouch! Stubbed Toe!
08 July 2010 | Port Douglas
We stopped in Port Douglas to do some errands and take a daytrip to the Daintree Rainforest, but unfortunately a badly stubbed toe while tying up in the marna slip prevented me from wearing the required closed shoes, so we gave it a pass. PD was a hot, humid but lively little tourist town, gateway to both Daintree and the Great Barrier Reef. Each morning hundreds of Aussies arrive here by bus and clamber aboard high-speed catamarans for the trip out to the reef. They disembark onto huge floating pontoons complete with a restaurant and other amenities, and from there they snorkel and dive in buoyed sections of the reef. Late afternoon the sunburned but happy campers return and flock to the bars along the waterfront for sundowners before bussing back to their hotels.
Captain’s Nightmare: Filling Fuel in Water Tank!!
05 July 2010 | Townsville
After decades of constant reminders not to confuse the fuel and water fill holes on deck, guess who goofed! (Hint: it wasn't Nancy.) It took two days to remove the fuel and all traces of smell and taste from one of our two stainless steel water tanks.
That took place at Townsville Marina, where we spent the Fourth of July watching a speedboat race: huge noisy engines with 1,000 hp each, boats speeds of150 mph.
On view at the local museum were the relics and a reconstruction of the HMS Pandora, which had been sent from England to the South Pacific to apprehend the mutineers from the Bounty. The Bligh Passage, Cooktown, the Endeavor River ... many are the reminders of the colorful history that took place here.
Cockatoos for Sundowners
01 July 2010 | Hook Island, Whitsunday's
This pretty cockatoo joined us for sundowners in the cockpit while anchored in Nara Inlet on Hook Island. We were just back from a hike up the hill to see Aboriginie drawings in a cave. We watched as a whole flock of cockatoos took roost for the night in the surrounding trees.
Back Aboard in Bundy
25 June 2010 | Bundaberg/Queensland, Australia
We found Halekai in good shape after 9 months on the hard. After she was launched we spent the next few weeks cleaning, shopping and stowing (me) and fixing, fixing, fixing (Burger).
They say that the definition of cruising is fixing the boat in exotic places: here's what Burger did to prepare Halekai for the next leg of our journey:
1. Diesel engine maintenance and trouble shooting starting problems: checked compression: replaced 2 glow plugs and 2 feed lines, installed check valve in fuel line; replaced starter battery; adjusted idle speed. Engine starts somewhat better.
2. Fabricated new alternator bushing on lathe; replaced bolt.
3. Tightened propeller shaft seal.
4. Fixed corroded connections on diesel heater. It still doesn't start, but we're heading to warmer waters.
5. Fabricated new cockpit dryer cap on lathe.
6. Repaired corroded light fixture after Nancy flooded it while washing the cockpit.
7. Engineered, welded and installed new pulpit side lights, including wiring.
8. Replaced steaming light and deck floodlight on mast.
9. Replaced VHF antenna on mast.
10. Upgraded wifi antenna system on radar arch.
11. Replaced SSB antenna connection on backstay.
12. Reversed worn jib sheet line.
13. Recaulked leaking cockpit windows.
14. Fixed leaking prism on foredeck.
15. Installed new house batteries.
16. Installed ferrites into generator cable tree.
17. Replaced dinghy valve and repaired leaks.
18. Fabricated new vacuum hose attachment.
19. Put hinge on mirror in aft head.
20. Created problems with new boat computer and then fixed them.
21. Installed electric outlet in aft cabin.
22. Repaired chain counter magnet.
23. Fixed corroded zippers in cockpit enclosure.
24. Installed ferrites in solar panel charging system.
25. Mobilized both water tank floats.
26. Fabricated new cupboard lock insert on lathe.
27. Replaced 3 cabin lights with LED's.
28. Replaced 2 gaskets on aft hatch.
29. Installed AIS alarm.
30. Installed gateway for 3G wifi distribution.