Monday, 21 December 2009
Blown apart gulf – Joseph Bonaparte Gulf
We nervously headed out the Berkely at 8pm in the dark. The moon was not expected up for another few hours and Simon fought to hold our course in the dark against the cross currents just out the river. We knew we were going to cross the worst sandbanks about 1nm out and were literally sweating on there being enough water. We breezed over in the last hour of the tide without hiccup and set a course for Darwin.
We had varied wind – some good, light and calm and sailed, motor sailed and just motored our way across the gulf. On the last night out we got hit with a particulrly nasty storm. I was on watch and when I saw lightening hitting the water up ahead I thought it was time to wake Simon up. I had already tried to get him to shorten our sail without success so when he came up and said, “Shit it’s black” I suspected we were in for trouble. We had no time to reef the main as within seconds we were hit, the wind going from calm to 45knots instantly. We heeled right over and we swung into battle stations. Si at the helm, me battening down, all the while our path being lit up by lightening bolts. The thunder was deafening, the wind was tossing us around like a rag doll and then the rain starting sheeting down. The worst was over in 30 mins and the fear receded to the back of my mind like a distant scene from a movie and with my eyes heavy we carried on Darwin bound.
We anchored the next night before Darwin waiting for Barra B to sail the last leg in company. As it turned out they were held up in another storm and we only caught sight of them heading into Darwin. Chatting on the VHF, a voice came up calling Barramanda. That’s me I thought and replied, “this is Barramanda go ahead”. I was promptly advised, “this is the Australian Navy, please change to another frequency Barramanda”. Looks like the nickname is going to well and truly stick around now, even the Navy is onto me.
Oh well, Darwin here we are! First stop the vet this afternoon for Baby T.