Sunday, July 28, 2013

Van Diemen Gulf

Our spirits were high as we sailed out of Darwin on the beginning of the Sail Indonesia Rally. There were supposed to be 87 boats sailing over the 'starting line' but getting cruisers to do what they're told is like herding cats as many boats left the day before, the night before and some weren't planning to leave for a few days.

The timing of our arrival at Howard Channel was perfect, just as the current changed to be in our favor. This time we took the southern channel and though narrow, navigation was pretty easy and the 4+ knot current made up for the lack of wind. Initially, we planned to do a run straight through the 110-mile long Van Diemen Gulf but decided to hole up for the night just off of Cape Hotham. We ran the calculations and decided that we could leave the following morning at the civilized hour of 0700 and catch a favorable current out of the Gulf and into the Arafura Sea. Unfortunately, the winds were almost nonexistent so we wound up motoring almost the entire way.

Now we're waiting in a small bay near Cape Don as if we were to leave now, we'd wind up arriving in Saumlaki, Indonesia well before dawn. It's better to get some rest at anchor and leave later tonight, maybe somewhere around 2200. There's a good forecast for steady winds in the 20-25 knot range and we should make the crossing in about 36 hours.
At 7/28/2013 4:56 AM (utc) Rutea's position was 11°31.02'S 131°38.99'E

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