This blog is about my wife and I sailing our 13m sailing catamaran around Australia during 2012 2013 and 2014. We will sail from Brisbane at the end of April 2012 and slowly head north anticipating that we will arrive in Darwin for the cyclone season and head west when safe to do so and complete the circumnavigation.
There are a few handy websites when visiting this area this
is one I found helpful.
The Gove Boat Club is a friendly club and very laid back
which is what the Northern Territory is. It does have some Aborigines that try
newcomers out to buy them a beer. They come over very friendly and introduce
themselves and tell you about the place and their people and then hit you for a
beer we had such an experience. Our second sunset at the club an Aborigine
approached us to buy a painting, it was quite nice but we did not want to
encourage us in being a target. The next thing Gavin who we bought a beer for
the night before approached Nancy with the same painting selling for the price
of a beer $5.50 he was either stoned or had been drinking, Nancy again refused
to buy it. A local on the next table told us that they had probably stolen the
painting from one of their mothers and that is why it was only being sold for
the price of a beer. It is quite sad that this happens.
(Gove Boat Club, there is a pathway to the left that leads to the showers, toilets, laundry and out the front rubbish bin, at the begining of the path near the beach is water taps)
The club was shut down last year but reopened again and the
current manager started here just before last Christmas, he and his wife run
the club and are very nice people.
You can take out a temporary membership ($10) and that will
entitle you to use the facilities like showers, laundry and they have a
careening stand that you can go alongside and top up with water at high tide.
There is water available at the path to the left of the club where you can fill
containers which we did at high tide, not so far to walk. When the tide goes
out here it leaves mud flats so pick your times when going ashore.
(This is Gavin who asked for his photo to be taken then asked for a beer)
As far as anchoring here it is a matter of finding a space
between the other anchored or moored boats, naturally the local boats have the
closest to shore spots but the depth is pretty much the same across the
anchorage area. It is a well protected anchorage for any wind direction. The
only fault is the dust that is stirred up by the stock piling that is all along
the anchorage and if the wind turns then you get the soot and dust from ship
loading from the refinery.
There are some moored boats here that you would not take to
sea, they have either been left to rot or they are living accommodation for
blokes that work at the refinery or mine, but I suppose that many mooring and
marinas in Australia have a lot of these boat/yachts that have been neglected.
It always surprises me that some boats left to rot in marinas yet the owner is
paying marina fees to let it stay and rot, why don't they get rid of them.
Nhulunbuy is approximately 12kms from Gove itself so we have
stayed around here for a couple of days and we hire a car on Monday to go into
Nhulunbuy to get fuel. I tried to get fuel from the Perkins wharf but
unfortunately they do not open weekends unless you pay over $300 call out fee
on top of the fuel cost. They could not fit me in until Wednesday and we are
hopefully well on our way by then. So it is still going to be expensive for
fuel here as the bloke at Perkins said you pay top price at the BP service
station plus the hire car fee. We need to hire a car anyway because we need to
buy some of that amber fluid called beer and here you have to obtain a permit
to buy it which is a law of the Northern Territory to reduce the alcohol
consumption of the Aboriginal people. Further more you can only buy a certain
quantity. So if you're heading this way stock up big time but keep it on your
We also need to ask about a permit to enter Aboriginal
grounds if we want to go ashore along the way to Darwin. We sent them an email
months ago along with one to WA for a permit we have had the WA permit since
the 16/08/12. Other yachties that have applied for them have never received the
permits or they have completed the journey prior to receiving them. One tries
to do the right thing and we do not get a result.
We need do some shopping and we have been told by the locals
that to shop at Woolworths as it is the cheapest for groceries and alcohol.
Thanks to a couple of the SICYC friends that came along yesterday
to see if they could do anything for us, Greg Smith and his mate Clem came
along yesterday (Saturday) in their dinghy to say hello and see if they could
get anything for us. Greg's wife Jan had made contact with me through FB and
said she would let Greg know we were arriving here and to call in. Greg is here
to help Clem take his yacht south. They called back today with some welcome
items for us. We sat and had a chat and I gave Clem some charts I had printed
to where we have been and he is going and briefed him on some of the anchorages
and where water and fuel can be obtained.
Today (Sunday) after the HF radio SICYC sched, breakfast
andlistening to Macca on Australia All
Over we pulled the headsail down as it needs a bit of re-stitching on the UV
protection strip some of the thread had damaged. So Nancy and I put the forward
cover up and used that as our tent workshop, with sewing machine and generator
we went to work stitching the UV strip. Gove seems to get a daily blow of wind
although there was not much at sea the land form appears to accelerate what
winds available, not that it is strong but it makes it awkward when trying to
get a sail back up in place. We waited for near sunset when the wind dropped
and we set to getting the headsail back on the furler. Nancy was winding the
halyard with the winch whilst I manhandled the sail in place of the guide into
the furler. When the sail got close to the top Nancy needed a break on the
winch so we exchanged places. Then I saw stars, as I ducked under our cover and
came up to the winch I did not see that Nancy had left the handle in the winch
and crack went the head. Not having much hair up there these days to cushion
the blow it cracked the head and the claret flowed, I had blood flowing down
the side of my face and dripping off my chin. I did the apply pressure with my
hand and got Nancy to go and get a cloth to press down on the head. The sail
was up flapping about in the breeze so after a couple of minutes holding the
cloth on the wound we had to finish the job which we did.
When all was finished I thought I had better get cleaned up
so Nancy got the Detol antiseptic out and clean me up then I had a wash down
followed by getting some liquid back into me for what I lost, a couple of beers
(The sunsets are great with this continual smokey sky)
Monday - 22/10/2012
Had a rough night sleep with the old head, I had to sleep on
raised pillows and lay on my back to make sure I did not re-open the wound, I
woke up half way through the night with a terrific headache so got up and took
some Panadol, the night was very still and when I went into the cockpit I could
see the refinery with all lights and the reflection of it in the flat sea so I
took a photo without my glasses on and hoped it turned out alright.
(The refinery at night, with the still water making a mirror image)
We hired a car or should I say a dual cab ute from Mannys Rentals – tel. (08) 89872300,
he would be the cheapest hire car in town, the dual cab ute is not new and he
works from home but for around $65 a day for the utility is well worth it when
you compare prices at other places that are over $100. He will come down to you
at the harbour drop him off on the way to town and pick him up on your last run
for him to take the car back. So if you want a work horse to get stores fuel
etc this is the cheapest way to go.
town the first job was to get the first load of fuel as I knew we had to get
two lots so we went to the BP service station and filled the five containers a
little cheaper here than Seisia at $1:93 per litre. We then returned to the
boat and decanted the fuel into the tanks then returned to Nhulunbuy to get permits to enter Aboriginal lands on
the way to Darwin for when we would like to go ashore at some of the islands.
We actually sent Darwin an email in July/August and never received a reply. The
young lady at the Northern Lands Council was very good and we filled out a form
and she said she would email us when she has done the permit. She did point out
some islands that we are not allowed to land on unless it is an emergency.
thing we had to go to the Justice Department for a liquor license to purchase
beer and wine. This is necessary due to the control of the drinking problems in
the NT mainly with the Aboriginal people although there are problems with some
Europeans. We were told that we would be put through the third degree from the young
lady that issues the permits, we did not experience this in fact each office
that we had attended today and there were three the ladies working there were
very helpful. I think the secret is treat them as you wish to be treated. I
wear a hat to protect my solar panel and when I go into someone's office to
talk to them I remove the hat, it is a sign of respect and let's face it, it is
me that needs something from them so it pays to be polite.
Then we had
lunch at a cafe and then went off to have a look at the Roy Marika lookout on
the hill named Nhulunwhich also known
as Mt Saundersand then returned and started
the shopping which is always fun with my dear Nancy, she writes out a shopping
list but I don't think she takes much notice of it until we are at or near the
check out and then looks at it and then realises she has forgotten some item
and what we have in the trolley I am sure is more than what was on the list.
Grocery shopping finished and loaded into the car then we go to get the good
stuff, beer and wine. During weekdays you can only purchase alcohol between
1400 hours and 2000 hours and only certain quantities. This is the rules in the
to the harbour and I had to make two trips in the dinghy with all our goods
which was the remainder of the fuel required the groceries and the grog. After
I returned the car after filling with fuel I did our last water run to top up
our water tanks. So we are now ready to sail or motor in the morning depending
on the winds.