Just a brief summary of our trip up the coast of Australia from Scarborough Marina, Queensland to Darwin, Northern Territory: May 4 to June 29, 2011
We sailed about 2,174 nautical miles over 57 days. Total of 334 hours of sailing at an average speed of 6.5 knots (7.5 mph). We dropped anchor at 24 different bays and harbors (including 3 marinas) – with time spent on shore hiking and sightseeing at 13 of these. We only swam and snorkeled at two places due to the abundance of crocodiles and lack of clear water in most places. The” Great Barrier Reef” did not live up to its reputation and we have started referring to it as “The Pretty Good Barrier Reef”. Maybe it was just a bad year here due to a big cyclone and lots of rain earlier in the season. Maybe we are just spoiled after 4 years of snorkeling in so many unspoiled islands across the Pacific. In any event, despite our inability to get in the water, most of the coast of Australia was very interesting to see; almost totally uninhabited with mile after mile of beaches, sand dunes, scraggly trees and some pretty impressive hills. Just a few towns here and there with lots of miles of land off limits to all but the Aborigines. We had some of the best sailing of our trip because the barrier reef cuts off most of the ocean swell so that one can sail along on smooth seas and there are steady trade-winds pushing you along in the right direction. Great fishing as well.
We befriended at least 25 couples on other boats on the way – almost all of whom are going to be part of the rally to Indonesia leaving Darwin on July 23rd. (About 100 boats currently signed up for the rally)
Looking forward to spending the next 3 weeks here in Darwin – enjoying the luxuries of living at a marina – unlimited power for lights and fridges, easy access to stores, and lots of opportunities to walk and visit with other sailers.