We are now past the top of the continent of Australia. Yesterday afternoon we arrived at Blackwood Bay on the west side of Mount Adolphus Island after a very fast sail from Margaret Bay. Our coordinates are:
S 10 degrees 38.63 minutes
E 142 degrees 38.62 minutes
The last time we anchored this far north was the Galapagos Islands. This is, of course, the farthest west Sabbatical III has ever been.
Yesterday we sailed in 20-25 knots winds that pushed the boat along at 8 to 8.5 knots. Three freighters passed us in the channel during the sail in what seemed to be slow motion. There seems to be a 14 knot speed limit in the channel along the Great Barrier Reef, so a freighter going north (which is all we saw) only closes on us at 6 knots or less. Our AIS makes us aware of then more than 20 miles away, and tells us that they will approach us in 3 hours. In three hours we can have lunch, take a nap, and then deal with freighter traffic. If only it was this way all the time with freighters.
The wind, seas, and currents are all perfect for our departure across the Gulf of Carpenteria starting tomorrow morning (June 19). We will leave here (Mt. Adolphus) at about 0930 local time and catch the strong tidal steam as it turns to the west along our various legs through the Torres Strait, following the Prince of Wales Channel. It is 361 nautical miles to Two Island Bay in Marchinbar Island. The course is about 265 degrees magnetic once we clear the Straits. The forecast is for winds of 15-20 knots from the southeast andd seas less than 2 meters for the whole trip to Marchinbar.
The attached map shows where we have been where we are, and where we are going. The yellow icon is Scarborough (Redcliffe), our starting point this year, the green icon is Mount Adolphus Island, our current position, the white icon is Marchinbar Island in the Wessel Islands, our next stop, and the red icon is Darwin, our last stop in Australia.