25 July 2009

Two weeks in Darwin

July 13th we arrive in Fannie Bay in Darwin and the first days we're busy with organising our trip to Indonesia. We'll join the Rally Sail Indonesia and in the Darwin Sailing Club we meet some members of the organisation committee who provide us with additional info. We also meet some yachtie-participants and we enjoy drinks and a meal together. Tuesday is the last Briefing of the Rally in the Holiday Inn Hotel. There are interesting presentations and again we get to know more participants including a Dutch and a Belgian crew and two Australians we've met 7 years ago in Mooloolaba.
We have to organise our 'social visa' at the Indonesian Embassy and we get a diver under 'Alexandra' to check if we have any dangerous aquatic growth on the hull before we are allowed to enter one of the Darwin marinas. On Wednesday we are moored in Tipperary Waters marina and use that as a base for jobs and provisioning. There is a bus service running to town, washing machines and again new participants of the Rally to meet.

It's warm in Tipperary marina and we install our sun covers. Saturday July 18th is the formal start of the Rally, but we've decided to postpone our departure and sail straight to Ambon to join the Rally there. On Sunday we visit the beautiful Northern Territory museum with an excellent Aboriginal art collection, a fine display of natural history and on DVD the story of Sweetheart, the saltwater crocodile that has caused so much trouble and death in this area and has finally ended up in the museum (stuffed). We are together with new British friends Susan and Keith from the yacht 'Baccus' who are delayed as well because of the breakdown of their generator just three days ago. After a coffee on the deck of the museum we stroll along to Mindle Beach for the yearly Beer Can Regatta. A lot of locals did their utmost to build something fast and seaworthy from empty beer cans (the children used soft drink cans). After display time in the morning there are the races in the afternoon. For a bit of shade and something to eat and drink we enter the Mindil market with also on Sunday a lot of food stalls and opportunities to grab a souvenir, sun hat, massage or (Aboriginal) painting.

Life in the marina is pleasant and easy although there are still some jobs on the list. Wednesday we can do our shopping in the big Casuarina shopping centre, so that'll leave us with only one run for the fresh veggies and fruit just before we leave. In the marina there are two other Dutch yachts, so there is an exchange of experiences and info. Friday is a public holiday and then Monday July 27th is the first opportunity to get fuel and clear customs to leave Australia. Slideshow Darwin