Day 12 Thursday Island – Darwin

The kiln's at Essington settlement

Latitude; 11°08’S

Longitude; 132°06’E

Distance run in the last 4hrs; 23.8NM

Average speed; 5.95 knots

Once ashore we follow the track which immediately takes us to the settlement. The settlement is quite spread out over 2 kilometres and the track leads out along the coast and gradually heads inland and around back on to itself. They had quite a established settlement with a hospital, hospital kitchen, quartermaster store, officers mess, a kiln for making cement out of
coral, a sawmill, a black smithery, a well and finally a cemetery.

The only graves with headstones were the Captain’s, priest and doctor. There was a plaque with all those that lost their life here and an interesting observation was made by the Cook’s mate Eddie as he pointed out that there were six people that died on the same day. The magazine had graffiti from the Marines signed and dated which was impressive to see. Some of the crew even spot a croc swimming when they are on the costal path. It really is a special place to visit and we were only too happy when the ranger called up and said that he was going to come out and visit the ship.

It is 1800 before we have all the crew back onboard but the plan is to have dinner and then watch a few movies on deck under the starlight in this wondrous bay. There are many giggles had while trying to watch Victoria attempt to play the guitar.

Relaxing on the beach at Essington before heading back to the ship

The morning brings another mesmerising sunrise, this seems to be the speciality of the Northern territories and it really is spectacular to witness.

The word of today is * ‘Studdingsails,’ today we are aiming to set the Fore topmast Stun’s’l and the Fore Course Stun’s’l. We heave up anchor at 0900 and miss the professional crew meeting to set sail. Once under way we loose the sails and get as much set as possible, before pulling blocks and lines out of the foc’sle for the stun’s’l. Shortly after 1100 there is an announcement to come on deck to watch the Fore topmast stun’s’l being set. It is a spectacular view to see the sail set and we wait with baited breath in the hope to see more being set.

All’s well.

  • Studdingsail (stun’s’l) – a sail only used in fine weather, with the wind abaft the beam, outside the square sails of a ship.

Fore topmast Stun's'l set