Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Groote Eylandt

Groote Eylandt Archipelago was our first stop on the Western Gulf. It’s the biggest island in the group fringed with many smaller islands offering hundreds of gorgeous secluded bays and sandy coves. We sailed into Dalumba Bay on the south eastern shore and dropped anchor in a beautiful little cove, well protected from the howling wind that had now got up to 30knots. We sat down for a big meal before heading off the bed at 5pm exhausted. Just as well the bay was secure as we both slept like logs until 8am the next day!

Dalumba Bay was a real highlight for us being the most untouched anchorage we had ever been in. There was no footprints in the sand, no rubbish ashore and hours of walks and exploring to be had on the rocks, cliffs and caves surrounding the bay.

We were well rested by the time we sailed around to Port Langdon. Sounds busy – but was really another deserted anchorage. We didn’t have our permits to go ashore, as the whole archipelago is aboriginal freehold land and permission must be sought from the traditional owners before landing in certain areas so we headed off first thing the next morning to sail the northern shore. Picking up the anchor we found some industrious marine critter had been hard at work laying eggs and carefully tying them to our anchor chain.

Next stop was Bartalumba Bay where we again could not go ashore. Just as well as the locals were hard at work burning the area sending a thick fog of smoke across the boat reducing visibility and choking us when the wind changed.

Our final stop at Groote was on the Western shore, the main township of Alyangula. What an amazingly nice and friendly place. We visited the local club which is the only place you can drink – alcohol bans being in place and I enjoyed a heavenly cool glass of NZ sav blanc – Giesen no less! What a treat after weeks of no wine!! We visited the local cultural center and explored the township.

The entire time we sailed across the Gulf and around Groote, we saw no other boats and the only contact we had was customs who have been regularly overflying us and calling us up – normally in a plane – the helicopter came so low to us it was quote exciting.

We were sad to leave as this was one of our favorite stops but the Kimberly’s are still a long way off so up came the anchor and Western Gulf here we come.

PS – Sloop says thanks to the generous and anonymous donation from a boat at RQ of a pack of squidggies – another one of his “finds”. We caught a cod on it and it just so happens to be Sloop’s favorite fish.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

Sloop, you thief.