Just as I thought I was through the worst of it, the reef decided not to let me pass without having a more up close and personal encounter to remember her by. Last night I was almost through the channel around Cape York, open ocean literally within view, when I noticed that the boat had stopped dead! My worst nightmare really (or one of them). In keeping to the edge of the channel to get out of the way of the many ships passing through, the bottom of the keel ended up scraping on a small piece of reef, bringing Spirit to a standstill. I was probably stuck for about an hour before the incoming tide lifted her clear. Apart from the very bottom of the keel, the rest of the boat is fine and I managed to sail off and continue. I will have to get someone to dive on her and check out any damage in Darwin. I guess the whole incident was the result of a couple of really intense days sailing with very little sleep. I have noticed how much fatigue will cloud my thinking, and I feel really fortunate to have escaped the incident so lightly. My state of mind after that was not so great, and I'm just glad I am now out of there. Today I managed to get much needed rest, put the boat back to rights after everything was thrown around the cabin in the swell and surf of the previous couple of days and get my head back into gear to focus on the rest of this leg.
Winds have eased off a little, as has the swell, I have put up the storm jib to balance the boat better and Spirit continues to make good time toward Darwin. It's as if she knows she's rounded the corner and is heading for home, and is almost sailing herself there!