First night in Darwin, arrived with the high tide at 8.30 this morning. Thanks to Tony Sommerville, another ex-Rockinghamite and David Omness from Darwin Sailing Club who kindly ventured out in a boat at 6.30 this morning in order to get me through the lock into Bayview Marina. I've never seen a lock before and it was an interesting experience. Just a recap on the last few days as I haven't had a good satellite phone connection to be able to update the blog. Three nights ago I had a ship come on the radar about 3AM, their usual time to visit, this was a bit different in that it was coming from the north heading towards me. Every time I altered course it followed me and I was starting to think that maybe it was pirates coming to do a raid. Armed with my mate Mal's leatherman that he left on the boat in Townsville, I was ready to take them on! I hope you can picture me with a leatherman in my good right hand ready for the fight. I radioed to see what their intentions were with no response. They still drew closer. I then turned the deck light on so I was completely visible and a minute later I had a call on the radio and it was just a customs boat trying to sneak up on me. I had quite a few encounters with customs or marine patrol boats all the way across, its actually good to see the north of the country under a very watchful eye.
I also seemed to always have the company of a dolphin over the past two days, quite a small species. A couple of nights ago with the full moon I was sitting on deck and it leapt out of the water a few times, really high, right in front of the moon. It was as if it was staged, quite beautiful to be out there watching it.
The final part of the trip into Darwin had yet another surprise in store. Going past Bathurst Island, I hooked into a tidal flow that was running with me, but against an opposing wind. Went flying down the side of Bathurst Island at times doing over 8 knots but with an absolutely out of control sea state. Waves rolling over the boat from bow to stern, it was just like going the wrong way up rapids really fast. It was a one hour thrill ride I'll never forget!
Will do a blog in the next couple of days with my plans for the next leg. I have to have a rethink on how I tackle it as the situation with wind against current in these northern areas is extremely taxing on myself as well as the boat. In fact, there were times when I wished I was back in the Southern Ocean and I never thought I'd say that. I probably had only four hours sleep in the last two days out there.