29 June 2012 (Eastern Hemisphere)
We just arrived in Gove, Northern Territory. The “NT” is so remote, it’s not yet a state! (They’re working on it!). We are truly in the “B of B” (back of beyond) up here. I suspect there are less than 30,000 people (except for Darwin which has 30,000 people) in the entire northern 1/4th of the country. Think if only 60,000 people lived in a line between Boston, Massachusetts and Portland, Oregon north to the Canadian border!
The aside small world story is that as we arrived, we saw six boats heading out, most of whom are in the “Sail Indonesia Rally” leaving from Darwin in three weeks. One of them hailed me and told me he was a former patient! Amazing!
Most of the land here is “Aboriginal Lands” and cannot be legally gone onto with prior permission. It’s so remote, I’m not sure how many visit stops I’d want to make in any event. The entirety of Australia from 150 miles north of Brisbane all the way past Darwin for several hundred miles is crocodile country. That’s like from Washington D.C. to Washington State, OVER the top of the USA! You can’t really swim and so far, the water in the entire GBR (Great Barrier Reef) has been pretty murky.
I have internet for the moment, so I’m taking advantage of it.
Gove is a bauxite mining town. It’s the basic material for Aluminum. There are possibly 3,000 people here and this is one of the largest towns in the NT. It may even be the second largest to only Darwin!
It’s hot and lovely, the crossing was bumpy which was expected across the Gulf of Carpinteria (Yep, same name as the Beach House). We were “buzzed” by Aussie Customs and they radioed us by name. They are constantly on the lookout for people from Indonesia, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea trying to enter the country illegally. Drugs too I suspect.
The AIS system we have is like an airplane transponder and gives details to those with a receiver about our boat. It’s especially handy for identifying big ships so we don’t go “bump in the night”….:-)
Next we’ll report our shoreside endeavors and soon we’ll head to the famous “Hole in the Wall” experience; a very narrow pass with lots of current that gets us from one side of the Wessel Islands to the other. As we were given a pretty good copy of a cruising guide for the “NT”, we may do some day trips to Darwin instead of just sailing on through. The rally doesn’t leave till the 28th of July, so we have plenty of time.
The tides and currents up here can be huge. Second only in range to the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia. Darwin can see 7.5 meter (24 foot!) tidal ranges. Fortunately, looking ahead only shows 3-5 meter tides. That’s still 10 to 16 feet. It will make anchoring out and dinghy-ing in quite a challenge.
Stay tuned, more soon… Scott and Nikki