Marcy arrived in Darwin just after sunset on Tuesday July 8. The following couple of days were filled with the usual new city activities. We checked in with customs, loaded water onto the boat and inspected the haulout facilities located in the middle of nowhere - a long hot walk out of town. We found that the grocery stores are located close to the bus line and both the mall (which in un-American fashion closes at 5:30PM most days!) and downtown are quite handy by bus. We made a trip to Bunnings
hardware store to get some items and started getting the boat ready to cross the Indian Ocean. It's a long way to Africa from here, with only a couple of stops on the way. The only boat haul out facility in town is up a creek that dries at low tide. We could only haul the boat and then re-launch on the highest of tides. Also, it's so far away that it would be impossible to run to the store for quick supplies without a car. We decided that our biggest job, a repair to the rudder lower bearing,
will be done in the water and we'll plan to haul the boat when we get to South Africa. It's nice to have that decision made.
Friends on Te Wai Pounamu (Kiwi) rented a car and together with Kassoumay (Brit) we've been sharing the expenses of the car for the last week. It's been fantastic to have a car for the errands that are hard to complete such as filling our lp gas bottles (3rd try was a charm) and getting plumbing parts from a specialty store in the industrial district. We've also used the opportunity to buy heavy items such as beverages and canned goods. The grocery shopping list is almost down to fresh items that
will be purchased next week. Our participation in the car rental ends today and we'll be focusing on boat repair jobs. That list is always long.
While in Darwin we've gone to the museum, done some wildlife spotting and gone to a movie. The museum is a combination natural history museum, art museum and marine museum. The displays are well done and interesting. We also went in search of wallabies at sunset one day and saw 2 at a nearby park. They reminded us of small wild deer with huge rabbit ears and of course those huge back legs. We sat in the car with the binoculars - Peter had planned well, and watched them nibbling on the dry grass
at the opposite edge of a field. They were very wary and as some pedestrians came out the road the wallabies disappeared quickly. Our Sunday night adventure was planned by Jenny and Eddie of Te Wai Pounamu. We used the last night with the car to go to the Deck Chair Cinema. This outdoor movie theater plays a different movie every night and the movie on Sunday seemed the best of the offerings for the week. It was an odd German movie with english subtitles. The chairs were sort of comfortable
and the mosquito repellant mostly worked. The highlight of the evening was the marsupial working the sides of the seating looking for snacks. It looked like a large slow rat with a lemur head.
While we've found that cruising isn't all sunsets and cocktails we have been most comfortable here in Darwin. The end of any day ashore involves returning to our dinghy through the Darwin Sailing Club, where as visiting members we have access to to hot showers, a wonderful bar, restaurant, and pleasant views of the anchored fleet of sailboats. It's not in every port that we're anchored in front of a welcoming yacht club!
Labels: 2008 - 06 - 07 Australia