We sailed to Margaret Bay (behind Cape Grenville) yesterday (Wednesday) in brisk winds and somewhat confused seas. It was a fast sail. We decided to spend the day here today and rest and plan our next passages. Some other Rally boats came in today and Laura joined them for a walk ashore while I worked on issues of tides, currents, and winds. There was a small (8 foot) crocodile on the far end of the beach, so Laura and her companions walked the other way.
The usual course from here is to sail to Escape River (80 miles north) and anchor, and then proceed around the tip of Cape York the next day via the Albany Channel, ending up at Seisa. However, it would be dead low tide when we arrived at Escape River, made very low by the full moon, and we have had a friend who recently went aground there. I do not want to enter the river at anything less than half tide. Moreover, the next day it would be difficult to avoid an adverse current in the Albany Channel. So we now have a different plan. We will leave here at 3:30 am and head for Mount Adolphus Island going outside of Albany and north of Cape York. That is a passage of 90 miles. The bay on the west side of Mount Adolphus looks like it would be secure. Cape York is the northern most point of continental Australia.
After a day of rest, we plan to sail well north of Cape York and take the Prince of Wales Channel through the Torres Strait and on to Marchinbar Island at the north end of the Wessel Islands. This latter passage is about 360 miles and will take 48-56 hours depending on conditions. Our friends on “Wombat of Sydney” anchored at Two Island Bay at Marchinbar Island last night and said it was very secure and provided me with lat-long and entry info. From the Wessel Islands we will plan the rest of our journey to Darwin, which will then be just a few days more away.
In going from Mount Adolphus to the Wessel Islands we are crossing the Gulf of Carpenteria, or as some sailors call it, the Gulf of Crap-iteria because of the uncomfortable sea conditions that are common. Looking ahead, we see a weather window of somewhat better seas starting on Sunday so we hope to cross the Gulf on Sunday and Monday and arrive at the Wessels on Tuesday morning. We will try to post an update from (uninhabited) Mount Adolphus Island.