Thursday, October 25, 2012

Gove and Nhulunbuy

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 boat.

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 and  listening 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 fixed that.
(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.

Once in 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.

The next 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 Nhulun  which also known as Mt Saunders  and 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 NT.

We returned 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.





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