Monday, June 14, 2010

Last stop in continental Australia

Finally we have arrived in Darwin, our stepping stone to crossing the Indian Ocean. I have started my voyage in Australia by being hit with a $522.00 fee for a 10 minutes visit by Quarantine administration. This time round, it was free, but still we had to have the hull and intakes inspected by Fisheries administration, then some biocide product injected in those intake, followed by an interdiction to move the boat, start engine or genset and use the heads for 16 hours ! If we were carrying pests on the hull, we have happily carried them around Australia for three months. And we had anyway two coats of antifouling applied just before leaving New Zealand. And if we were not entering a marina but just anchoring outside Darwin, for example in Fanny Bay, then there would be no inspection. But I suppose it does not help to try and make sense out of any bureaucracy regulation.
Darwin is a very big city with 100,000 people, skyscrapers and all. The marina where we are is very nice, with lots of yachties in there and a small city in its own right, like restaurant, mini market, post office box, a deli, and a bus stop. But we are roughly 20 minutes walk from the city. One of the first things that we did after entering the marina and giving Papy Jovial a good shower (she had not seen fresh water since Port Douglas) was to put together the bicycle so that I can easily go to town.
On Saturday night, our neighbours took us to town where there was a Greek festival. The greek community is very big in Australia and there were a lot of people there. Music, dancing, beer, food, everything needed for an evening of fun.
We will be staying here for almost two weeks. First, we will go to the carinning stand in order to fit the new variprop. Then, the routine maintenance before an ocean crossing, servicing the winches, servicing the roller furler, checking out the sails, equalizing the batteries, etc... We will then do the provisionning for a month as we don't expect to find much in the Cocos/Keeling.
Our neighbours are trying to convince us to sail the Kimberleys, but I know that it would mean a lot of motoring in the lee of this big continent, and therefore the need to go down to Dampier since there are no facilities in Broome and we would have to jug in the fuel.
The final decision is not made yet, but it looks to me like a straight shot to the Cocos.
Another thing that we were able to do was to upload all the pictures taken since our last internet connection. There are more than 150 of them. Go and enjoy !

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