Day 55 – Sailing in Darwin

Drove back across the Arnhem Highway to Darwin to meet Rodney at the sailing club where we met Captain Tim and their mate Bill, who were our lovely sailing guides for the afternoon on Tim’s awesome 24-foot ish catamaran. They were all keen sailors, so we were glad that there was a fair bit of wind blowing around the harbour.. I think we got up to about 12 knots at one point!

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We talked boats and sailing with Tim and found out about the history of his boat, which he had renamed “The Life Aquatic” – apparently it had belonged to a 70 year old fellow in Queensland who had gone out on his own and tragically disappeared overboard. They’d found the boat drifting in the shallows in remote northern Queensland many weeks later and the family had sold it to Tim as is, so he had spent a lot of time resealing the hulls and redoing the rigging, putting on a new mast, and the interior of the hulls still needed to be worked on but that was happened in the wet season when everyone has to dry dock their boats because of the crazy cyclone weather in Darwin. If you leave your boat on the water in the harbour during the wet, you usually don’t have a boat by the end of the season!

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More chatting and drinking and snacking and sailing around the west to Stokes Wharf and parliament and being told some hilarious stories from the lad’s youths making mischief growing up in Darwin. A few tacks and jibes and we pulled up in the shallows at Mica Beach near Mandorah. The good thing about the catamaran was that Tim and Rodney were able to pull her right up on the sand rather than anchor her in further out, so we went for a swim. The water up here is so salty! And the water on the beach was all shimmery and golden from the crushed up mica flakes in the water – Rodney reckons the phrase ‘all that glitters is not gold’ was coined by Captain Cook when he saw Mica Beach.

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Smash set up some hermit crab races and the crabs were not that cooperative, she managed to get some nasty claw nips from the meanest ones, and the lads skimmed stones and we explored around the rocks.

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Another swim and we clambered back on to the boat for more beers and pawpaw salad and banter. We cruised back over to the harbour and watched another glorious Darwin sunset and snooped on other people’s boats that looked untouched, much to Tim’s frustration (“Why have a boat if you don’t sail it?!”) and then it was time to get in the dinghy back to land.

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We all headed home to Humpty Doo where Chris had cooked up yet another incredible meal for everyone and collapsed in a heap from the exhausting day of boating and drinking and lounging around in the sun. So much fun!

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