SEA GEM LOG
October 17, 1999
DARWIN TO BALI
stay in Darwin was split between two locations for the boat.
We were first at Sadgrove Quay, where before and after having Sea
Gem hauled, we were on a mooring. After we left the mooring
we went into Cullen Bay Marina. Cullen Bay has
a very upscale marina which is part of an overall development of
single-family residential, condos, apartments, hotels and stores
and restaurants. All the buildings are oriented to the bay
and, like all other marinas in Darwin, is controlled by locks.
The harbor master is also the lock master. Your treatment
depends upon who is on duty, as one guy is friendly and helpful,
the other is curt and unpleasant. Entering the bay through
the locks we had a turbulent ride up, but later as we made our exit,
we were almost on a high tide, and it was a piece of cake.
Watching the boats being "locked through" is a form of
local entertainment and I have some suspicion that the control of
the water flow may have something to do with the current mood of
the guy in charge.
While we were in Cullen Bay we were docked next to a delightful couple, Graham and Merrideth Sunderland, on their catamaran,
Stray Cat. They were friendly and helpful and invited us for dinner one evening to a gourmet meal which included kangaroo grilled on the
barbie. They are Australian and travel with a pussy cat named Wolfgang.
official start of the leg from Darwin to Bali was
at 11:00 on Sunday morning. As we proceeded from Cullen Bay
to the starting line a large, most unusual looking, vessel
proceeded through the harbor at an alarming rate. From our
vantage point it appeared they were going to run down a small pleasure
craft which was anchored, with the occupants fishing. Of course
it missed them but the speed, size and wake were impressive.
The ship looked like something out of Star Wars and we found out
later it is an Australian troop and equipment transport and can
carry tanks, vehicles and over four hundred armed troops at one
time. We were told it can cruise at fifty knots and has stealth
Darwin Harbor is larger than Sydney Harbor. With the situation in East Timor, it is a troop staging area, as well as receiving station for refugees, and a very busy place. Darwin was
bombed by the Japanese during World War II and in many locations there are reminders of what traumatic times those were for the people here.
As I write this log we are still on our way to Bali. If I could use one word to describe the trip it would have to be HOT. We have had very little wind and the sun beats down on a slick sea.
We have motored almost all the time so far and we do not see any change in the forecast. One day we did have a breeze and it was welcome.
have been visited by a large school of dolphins and a very
tired and persistent Booby bird that stayed with us
for a day. Charlie thought he was sick but after his
long rest he disappeared, flying off while we were not watching.
It is neat to have wildlife visit like that except for the calling
cards they leave which are very staining and hard to get off the
We should be organizing the boat so that we will be ship shape
for our guest, Dave Wollard, who is meeting us in Bali. It is so hot that any exertion starts a river of perspiration. So far we are doing the minimum in the way of boat chores and just
drinking lots of fluids to replace what is lost. The little 12v. fans we have are a great help and the cockpit is comfortable as long as you are out of the sun. Early morning and late afternoon
when the sun is in the cockpit are a challenge. We are enjoying all the fresh produce we purchased in Australia, especially the salad material and avocados and mangoes. I thought
we would never catch up with the mango and avocado season but we have and they are wonderful.
Until later from the Sea Gem at sea. . .