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Sailng on Windwanderer.
No Photos 28th Jul 2014
Monday 28th July 2014

Monday 28th July 2014

Well hello Darwin, yeap we are here finally, after what should of taken 6 days actually took 8, we actually made it here last night, well into the bay at least.

This bay is huge, it's around 120nm's wide, there is a lot of shallow water around, reefs, and to throw into the mix Darwin has a huge port, there is a lot of activity going down here.

We decided to play it safe and wait till morning to go in, but this caused its new set of stress as you had to be on constant watch.
We decided to go around in a huge circle to avoid hitting anything, or anything hitting us.
We actually counted 20 odd ships anchored and many coming and going out the entrance.
Because of all the shallow stuff around they have a shipping lane going into the port, so if we avoided this we should of been ok, from those huge arse ships right?

Well life was not meant to be easy, apparently for us anyway.
Darwin has a huge tide flow, it's actually around 20feet, that's 6meters, and when it changes it goes at a hell of a rate, which means we don't, it was against us as we came up to the shipping lane, and even with the engine going flat out we were lucky to make 2knts sometimes even 1knt.

This would have to be one of the worst night watches I have done, I was really stressed out about the whole deal, with the shallow water, the cargo ships, beacons flashing everywhere, and also lights on shore  all added to the confusion.
The Captain tried to calm me down, and said at the rate we are going we won't go very far anyway so all will be ok, I was not convinced at all, apparently he has way more faith in me then I do as he went off to sleep with not a worry at all.

So I'm sitting here eyes glued to the radar and chart plotter, jumping up every few minutes to scan the horizon with the binoculars, changing our coarse here and there, when the AIS starts going berserk.

We have two cargo ships coming in and two coming out, oh man, I zoom in on the chart plotter to check our position and we are just about to cross the shipping lane great...not.

Normally this would not be a problem as we could cross over the area in no time at all, and be well and truly away from it before there was even a hint of a ship.
I thought we had enough time anyway even though it would be close, but the speed we were doing was not helping at all.

I watched the first cargo ship bearing down on us, checking the chart plotter, the AIS and watching with binoculars, now it said that it should pass in front of us by at least a nautical mile, well that's fine, a bit too close for my liking in the dark, but actually plenty of room. 
Am sitting here trying to settle my racing heart, when it starts to get closer, and it's aiming right at the side of us, oh man it was going to plough straight into us.
I guess they thought we would be going a lot faster than we were and all would be ok.

I frantically jump up and slow us down so the ship will pass in front of us, this in turn wakes The captain up, he jumps up and we both sit and watch, at the last minute the ship changes course, and goes past us easily.

Oh man one down three to go The Captain goes back off to sleep, I'm sitting here thinking are you kidding me, how can you sleep with all this going on.

By the time the next ship was upon us we were half way across the shipping lane and he passed behind us with no worry's at all, the other two were very slow coming out and we made it over the shipping lane by the time they were there.

So I try to settle down some we had got through all that, when I look up at the chart plotter and there is shallow water about 14nm's away, we were down to doing 1knt at this time so it would of taken us about 14 hours to get there, so no worries, until the tide decided to change right there and now, so now it's going with us and pushing us along fast again, well that was just way more than I could handle, I woke The Captain up, I had battled this nightmare for almost five hours but no more.

I gladly handed it all over to him and went to lay down,  I jumped up several times to show him this and that, but eventually sleep overtook and that was that.

Well tomorrow is anther day.

Next: Wednesday 6th August 2014
Previous: Friday 25th July 2014

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