Day 14 Thursday Island – Darwin

failed attempts

Latitude; 12°28.5’S

Longitude; 130°49.6’E

Distance run in the last 7 hrs; 42.9 Nm

Average speed; 6.1 KN

As the afternoon approaches the heat gets more intense but thankfully there is a slight breeze making it slightly more bearable. As we approach our anchorage we send our crew aloft for the last time to harbour furl the sails. At 1500 we standby to drop the anchor at Shoal Bay, where we will spend our last night before arriving in Darwin. We are all desperate to dive into the sea because of the prickly heat, but can’t take the chance with the local wildlife and so we opt for the next best thing. The deck hose is fired up and all those wanting to cool off get the chance to be blasted on the deck and even those that don’t want to cool off don’t have the option!

Mel getting soaked against her will!

The afternoon is spent with the crew practicing their Sod’s performances while the professional crew get prepared for the mess deck dinner. There is much laughter, as some of the guys attempt to play the didgeridoo and epically fail!

The mess deck dinner takes place and goes excellently as always with fantastic food and great company. It is sad to know that we will be saying goodbye to new friends in the morning but celebrate the last night, with great group and individual performances from our experiences in the last 14 days. Our compare George sets the atmosphere for the night
assisted by Peter.

In the morning we are up early to heave up the anchor and make our final descent into Darwin. The crew enjoy breakfast on deck altogether, instead of in the usual watch system. The sea is like a milk pond and there is not a breath of wind. The pilot boards the ship at 1000 and helps guide us into our very, very difficult position on the wharf. As we come close to the wharf we can see very large crowds assembled to see the ship come into Darwin. It takes everyone by surprise to see so many people and makes us instantly feel very welcome. Coming on to the pontoon is very tricky due to the depth and also the available space. There is no room for error, so all the professional crew are fully aware of what needs to happen and in what order to ensure that the berthing goes exactly to plan.

By 1330 the crew are saying their goodbyes and leaving the ship. It has been an epic journey with new experiences for both the professional crew and the voyage crew. We have witnessed some of the most beautiful vivid night skies and the most spectacular sunrises that I have ever seen in my life. We have sailed in places that are so remote and unexplored it really has been an opportunity of a lifetime for all. Fair winds.

All’s well.

The pilot boat departing after the delivery of the pilot