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Ready for Indonesia

July 19, 2015

We are anchored off Horn Island in the Torres Straits just north of the Australian continent (lat 10 35.9S long 142 14.4E). We are fully provisioned and checked out of Australia and will be leaving for Debut, Indonesia, tomorrow. The trip is 640nm and should take us 4 or 5 days. We are very excited to be headed for Indonesia, a country we have been reading about for the last two months.

We finished our Sail 2 Indonesia rally briefings and festivities in Cairns and started north on July 6. We day-hopped up the Queensland Coral Coast and made the 500nm trip to Horn Island in eleven days. We shared anchorages with other rally boats and got to know a lot of new friends. The rally fleet consists of 50 boats so we do not travel together, but with that many boats we are never really alone.

The Coral Coast is a very desolate part of Australia with absolutely no services for most of the trip. The anchorages were much better than we had expected and the sailing was great. We always had plenty of wind from behind us and since we sailed inside the Great Barrier Reef we had only moderate seas. The weather was surprisingly cool for the tropics but still pleasant.

We spent two nights at Lizard Island, known for its exclusive resorts, where we climbed to Cook’s Lookout atop the only mountain. Captain Cook used this vantage point to find a passage through the Great Barrier Reef to open ocean. He was fearful that he was sailing into a closed bay that he might never get clear of. We hoped to dive here since it is the last place where it is safe to swim (no crocodiles) but the weather was rainy and windy so we decided to continue on. Even with our mid-morning departure we covered the 70nm to Cape Melville by dusk and anchored in the dark with 30kts of wind.

The passage north is filled with many sand spits and reefs that we had to navigate around. There is an international shipping lane inside the Great Barrier Reef and we continually dodged commercial carriers. The deepest water we saw on the trip was 100 feet and that was in the middle of the channel. We often were sailing in 40-60 feet of water.

We spent a night in Escape River near the northern tip of Australia. Crocodiles laid on the sand spit in the river and would slip into the water to feed. They would do the death-roll with each fish they caught.

We have been disappointed in the dolphins that visit the boat and then quickly leave, unlike the friendly dolphins of California that stay for up to an hour. But we found that we could use the saltwater wash-down pump to spray water at the dolphins and they seemed to like it. They would stay with us for up to 30 minutes, often surfacing to enjoy the spray.

The anchorage here at Horn Island is three miles from Thursday Island with its stores, supermarkets, and bakery. There is a ferry service that gets us there and back. The sandy shore along the anchorage has crocs and NO ONE goes swimming.

Our next post will be from Indonesia.

Rally briefing shows our route through Indonesia

Rally briefing shows our route through Indonesia

The lighthouse on Low Island

The lighthouse on Low Island

Climbing to Cook's Lookout

Climbing to Cook’s Lookout

Lizard Island

Lizard Island

View from Cook's Lookout

View from Cook’s Lookout

Monument at Cook's Lookout

Monument at Cook’s Lookout

One of many sand spits along the way

One of many sand spits along the way

Rounding Cape Melville at dusk

Rounding Cape Melville at dusk

The anchorage at Lizard Island.

The anchorage at Lizard Island.

Birds on Morris Island

Birds on Morris Island

Enchantment anchors off Morris Island

Enchantment anchors off Morris Island

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Sandie entertains dolphins with saltwater spray

Sandie entertains dolphins with saltwater spray

Red rocks at the entrance to Escape River

Red rocks at the entrance to Escape River

Approaching Albany Passage

Approaching Albany Passage

Cape York at the norther-most end of Australia

Cape York at the norther-most end of Australia

Enjoying friends aboard Sun Chaser

Enjoying friends aboard Sun Chaser

The ferry to Thursday Island

The ferry to Thursday Island

Crocodile in the anchorage at Horn Island

Crocodile in the anchorage at Horn Island

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Giant Pelicans at Horn Island

Giant Pelicans at Horn Island

From → Travel

One Comment
  1. Randi Bolton permalink

    Fair winds and following seas! Those crocs were humongous….crickey!

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