AT THE TOP, finally
30 July 2011 | Mt Adolphus Island in the Torres Strait
AT THE TOP, finally. Today, as I dropped the anchor at Mt Adolphus Island, the first leg of my voyage back to the USA ended. After approximately 1500 miles up the east coast of Australia with numerous stops, some in very questionable anchorages and, for the most part, in strong winds, we have finally reached the 'TOP'. Many a time was repeated in my head the words of a colleague of mine who completed a circumnavigation with his wife last month. "Dave" he said, "the fun part is over... from here west, its all work". Gosh, I hope he's not completely right but so far...
We are now in the Torres Strait, a unique place in the world as it is the coincidence between two great oceans: in effect the Pacific from the east ends here and the Indian Ocean in effect begins here. At same time two big land masses, Papua New Guinea in the north and Australia in the south are separated by a mere 75 miles making this one of the great natural 'funnels' of the world. The trade winds are perhaps the strongest and most prolonged found anywhere on the globe and the currents in this narrow space of water can move up to 6 knots.
Everything changes at this point. I transition from coastal sailing to open ocean sailing. Upon setting out from Mt Adolphus and with a little bit of luck my first stop will be Christmas Island - over 2000 miles of open water. At that point, I will be officially in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Im always awed by those kind of water distances and, to tell you the truth, can never quite get 'my mind around it' until Im there.
Shearwater seems strong and ready, all systems are functioning well and as for me, well, I learnt some good lessons here on the east coast of Australia leading me to a deeper understanding, indeed respect, for Shearwater's powers.
More from the Torres Strait in the next days.