At some point during our sail up to Darwin, the propeller shaft seals on the sail drives leaked water into the gear box which meant that we had to have them replaced. We had to haul her out to do this, and even though you can put a catamaran on the beach, because we were not sure how long it would take. We couldn’t take that risk and get caught on the incoming tide, so we found a boatyard and booked India in to get her fixed. BIG MISTAKE! During the haul out she was damaged quite badly, in fact they cracked her port hull. This meant that our two day stint on the hard doubled to four days and we had the misfortune of working with the most unprofessional, shonky cowboys we have ever known. They refused to admit liability – fine with us – Ian can fix the damage. They also refused to pay for the materials and of course charged us for the extra time we spent there. We were bitten to death by sandflies and the place was filthy. The only enjoyment we got was listening to all the other yachties who were in there complaining about the place! Lesson learned – visit boatyards before you haul out.
Darwin is a great place. We had a good friend living here who came and spent the weekends with us, and a couple of friends were visiting family and we caught up with them. We spent most of our time fixing boat things and socialising at the Darwin Sailing Club.
We completed all our paperwork for East Timor, and arranged our visas to the Indonesian Rally. The marinas are full and Fannie Bay , where we are anchored, is filling up with Sail Indonesia Rally boats. Leaving Australian waters is so close now we can smell it.
During our couple of weeks in Darwin we experienced Territory Day, which is the national day for the Northern Territory. To our surprise, fireworks were on sale everywhere. It is illegal to sell them in WA but up here in Darwin, everyone seemed to be buying them. The firework display started at dusk, and we reckon there must have been thousands and thousands of them as the whole of the shoreline was alive with them. We also spotted 5 fires in bushland bordering the beaches, which added to the colour! With the blue and red flashing lights of the fire engines, the flames and all the colour of the fireworks themselves, we had a great view from India. The next morning India was covered in ash and the air was thick with smoke….. but it was a great night.
We did eventually put India up on the beach, to check out everything and enlarge her lettering as the Border Force had not been able to read her name while we were in the Kimberley. It took longer than we thought, because so many people came up and had a chat, but we were able to get her back out on the high tide. Beaching her was a first for us, but I suspect we will do it whenever we can – it sure beats hauling her out in our book!
9th July 2016
The day finally arrived when we were leaving for East Timor. 8 yachts gathered at the start line, including 4 cats. We were surprised when the ABC came up and asked us for an interview – another first for us. At 10am we left Australia and headed for Dili.