Sunday, November 4, 2012

Seven Spirit Bay Resort - Port Essington

Tuesday - 30/10/2012

(Seven Spirit Bay Resort with Nancy enjoying a swim)

When we got to Seven Spirit Bay and called the resort they answered us alright so we were getting out so it must have been the Customs vessel that had the problem. They did not come after us anyway.
(The view from sittin in the swimming pool)
(Nancy with Graham at the bar)
When Nancy talked to Vicki at the resort she was very friendly and invited us to come ashore for a swim in their pool. So after a nanna nap we ventured ashore and as soon as we arrived Kim was there to welcome us and she had brought the golf buggy to pick us up and take us to the resort. Kim explained that the resort is in close down mode for the wet season and they did not have any guests with the last leaving yesterday although they do have one more late arrival tomorrow. Kim explained that it was the chef's day off but she could ask him to cook us dinner if we wanted or we could have dinner with the staff as Vicki was doing the cooking and they were having a BBQ. We said we would love to join the staff and have dinner with them if she did not mind. We got to the resort and Kim introduced us to her husband Graham and some of the other staff, Chad the chef, Vicki who we had spoken to on the radio and her husband Ian , Petite a young French lady, Franci and Lukas who are a young German couple. Petite, Franci and Lukas actually leave tomorrow as their term of employment has come to an end as part of the wet season close down.

Kim explained that if people still wanted to come here in the wet season they would still take the bookings as there will still be some staff here, but it is very unlikely people would come in the wet.

The resort is a get away from it all resort no TV no mobile phone service or internet with the exception of the office that has internet and phone. The resort is very nice with a great swimming pool with gardens all around it and the occasional visit from the wallabies that hop around the lawns with some night a banteng visits.
(Wallabies hoping around the lawns)
(Some of the flowers in the garden around the swimming pool)

We had a couple of drinks at the bar and a chat with Kim and Graham before we went for a swim, it was good to have a swim we have not been able to do that since Lizard Island due to some big lizards in the water named crocodiles, there are also the box jelly fish.

After a swim it was time for dinner it was good to sit down with these people they are a great bunch with good sense of humour. The BBQ tonight was also a send off for the three staff that were leaving so we were privileged to be able to join them. Dinner was great with steak, prawns and salads with pepper sauce and Franci had made an authentic German apple strudel. Naturally as we are guests we were paying customers but Kim just charged us staff prices, Kim has run a tab there for us so we just pay for what we have before we leave. After dinner and a bit more of a chat Kim drove us back to the dinghy and we have organised to go back in the morning and Kim is going to take us on a 2 hour tour.

This resort is quite isolated you can only get here by plane or by boat and it can be difficult for the staff if a lot of people drop in unexpectedly in the preparation of food. In normal places a lot of things can be pre-prepared, most restaurants and resorts in major cities can get away with it because they have a large turnover of people. At a resort like this one they may have a number of guests for a few days or weeks then nothing for a few days so you cannot keep pre-prepared food ingredients everything has to be made at the time of need so if a few yachts turn up and state they want to stay for dinner it puts a lot of work on the chef plus the other side is the amount of stock that they have at the time. Kim told us that they were running low on stock and was awaiting the supplies that are arriving tomorrow.

So yachties and boaties out there I do recommend that you call in and meet these friendly people but it may be of benefit to these people if when you enter Port Essington to give them a call on Ch16 VHF radio and give them a bit of notice. The first night in the port you will probably anchor at the rangers station because you have to report into them to let them know your intentions so it is possible to give them at least one days notice, two days if you are going down to Victoria settlement ruins. Port Essington has a number of nice anchorages, there are a couple of no go zones where there are Aboriginal living areas and sacred sites. Some anchorages this time of year can get a little rollie with the northerly winds but not uncomfortable.

Wednesday - 31/10/2012

 This morning we headed ashore at 0800 hours to meet with Kim at the resort as she was taking us on a tour, a 2 hour tour at very reasonable price we set off on the bush tracks to the beach at Kennedy's Bay  and then over to the micro bat cave that had a number of the micro bats up huddled on the roof of the cave. Apparently there used to be more caves and many more of these bats but cyclone Inga that hit in 2005 washed away the caves and it has taken a long time for the bats to come back. These bats are an endangered species. From there we went to Gunners Quoin which is a high lookout over the sea and at low tide it had exposed the sand bars and rock formations. Kim had looked after us all the way with drinking water fruit and nuts to eat.
(Kim and Nancy at Kennedy Bay)
(Kim getting us some refreshments after our walk along the beach)
(The beach where the micro bat cave is, this clif face had quite a few caves with bats prior to the cyclone in 2005 where the caves were washed away. A small amount of micro Bats have now returned.)
(The varied rock and formations along the cliff face) 
(The only remaining micro bat cave)
(The Micro Bats in the roof of the cave)
(The view from Gunner's Quoin) 

We returned back to the resort and had a cold beer before returning on board for lunch and a rest, Kim said that we could stay ashore and hang around the swimming pool if we wished. But I think a little rest aboard is in order and we will go ashore in the afternoon for a swim and dinner.

After our rest and clean we went ashore at around 1600 hours we met the manager Leith who had returned from a trip to Darwin, a nice young man in his late 20's they say he is a bit of a dare devil spear fishing in these waters  and removing death adders from around the place when they get too close to the resort, they have a young croc in an enclosure at the resort that is due for releasing and they say that's a job for Leith after having a talk with Leith we then  had a swim the water was like having a warm bath after a long soak in the pool we went and had a drink then we joined the staff out the back for dinner. We could have gone in the restaurant and had dinner a'lacarte but the staff are great people to be with, this is probably not the normal situation but I think we were allowed to do this because they were in the wet season closing down mode.  We had a fine meal and a few laughs and a good chat before returning on board after fixing up our tab for the tour, drinks and meals.
(The young 2 metre crocodile that is due for release, make a nice handbag)
(Making short work of a good size piece of barramundi)

The resort is a five star resort and if staying at the resort you will have top service and very fine meals with a very good chef, the price to stay per night might sound a little expensive but five star resorts are a little that way it is no different to any other five star resort prices. This resort however, has the added cost to running in an isolated area all stores have to be shipped by one of the barge companies from Darwin, they have to run their own power station and pump their water so there is a lot of expense in running such a place. In talking of water here they pump water from a natural spring the water is that clear and high quality out of the ground that they have a license to bottle the water if they wished to but at this stage they do not.

We have enjoyed our time with these people and we have made some new friends to keep in contact with, it has been a very enjoyable few days. (Craig and Kerry you should have called in).

To our new friends at Seven Spirit Bay Resort, thank you for a most enjoyable time.
(Chart showing anchorages in Coral Bay and Seven Spirit Bay being the southern anchorages, electronic charts are acurate when passing through the shallow sections)

Tomorrow we sail or motor as there is hardly any wind for the next week. We will catch the end of the ebb tide to get out of Port Essington and then pick the flood tide going west when we get out to sea.

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