5 July 2009

Cairns to Cape Melville

The last leg to Cairns we have light winds and again we struggle with a flog of five birds that won't give up trying to get passage on Alexandra, at last we get rid of them. Thursday July 2nd at 09.15 am we are moored in Cairns marina and at 11.00 all formalities to set foot on Australian soil are done, so we make a start with filling the water tanks, rinsing the boat, etc. Then we walk in 10 minutes to town for some shopping and a good coffee on one of the many terraces. All people you meet are tourists and there is a relaxed atmosphere with all sorts of shops and a lot of pubs and restaurants.
We catch up with John and Win, sailors we've met in Darwin before, ex-Dutchies, and we have a very pleasant time together. After happy hour on board Alexandra we go to town again and have a meal at the stylish Irish pub. It's still crowded everywhere on the streets and the many terraces. Also temperatures are very pleasant 20-25 C.

Friday morning we get the dinghy ready and in the davids and again we walk to town to the market for fresh veggies and fruit. The choice is overwhelming and of excellent quality! Back on board we drink coffee with new sailing friends who want to know a bit more about the sailmail and SSB radio procedures. At 11.30 am we are ready to leave the marina again on our way to Darwin.
There is a brisk wind of 20-25 knots from the SE (at last), so going north we have the wind behind and we can make a good speed of around 7 knots, in the night a bit less. Our course is partly in the shipping lanes for the big cargo ships, so we have to keep watch carefully. There are about five vessels passing us that night.

Saturday we still have good winds, so we sail on and don't stop at the beautiful Lizard Island (we've spend 3 weeks there 3 years ago). All day we do 7-8 knots and when we pass Cape Melville in the evening, the current runs with us and we see over 9 knots on the GPS, a really fast passage! In Princess Charlotte Bay, halfway Cairns and Cape York, we sail under an almost full moon into the small channel between the Flinders islands to a quite anchorage for the rest of the night. Slideshow Cairns