July 29 - Underway to Indonesia

Position: S11deg44.80min/E128deg16.68min We departed yesterday from Darwin and experienced varying wind conditions for most of the day. By evening, the fleet had separated, and the AIS unit displayed our nearest neighbors. We're now in the Timor Sea, and the first Sail Indonesia Rally stop is in Kupang, Indonesia, where arrangements have been made to clear all the boats in and festivities have been planned.
Pic: Leaving Darwin behind.

July 27

We cleared out of Australia this morning in a very well organized effort by Customs, and also received our official Indonesian CAIT, which is the Indonesian Cruising Permit. After going downtown for last minute provisioning, we returned to Infini for final departure preparations. Amongst other things, we've hauled the dinghy back on deck, organized lines, ran the engine and watermaker, and Sue's been busy making some easy to prepare meals while underway. We have sooo much cruising information about cruising Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, it's information overload. The official start of the Sail Indonesia Rally is 1100 hours tomorrow morning, and weather forecasts predict 20-30 knots from the southeast, pretty much behind us. We're keeping in touch with a few close friends via a daily HF Radio check-in, and all the other boat crews we talked to are, like us, a bit anxious to get underway. Update: Sue's uploaded some more photo albums of our Australian adventures - enjoy!
Pic: Our last sunset pic. from our Cullen Bay anchorage....low tide--the sandbar is exposed!

July 23 -Litchfield National Park

Litchfield Dreams (http://litchfieldtours.com.au/) picked us up at 0700; the full day tour by mini bus to the Adelaide River and Litchfield National Park was a welcome change to our routine. We first went for a boat ride and met some crocodiles...close-up. One of the boat crew held a piece of meat on a long pole and enticed the crocs, after a bit of teasing and leading them on, to propel themselves straight up out of the water to get it. When we looked down the gullet of a 500 kg, 15' croc....let's just say that nobody wanted to fall into the water....The Adelaide River was a chocolate brown color and there was no visibility at all. The many crocodiles that inhabit the river just roam around and do whatever they want....I'm not sure they've changed for the last 100 million years! After our boat ride, we went to the Litchfield National Park. Our bus driver gave a nice commentary of the various points of interest, and we stopped at the Wangi Falls, the Florence Falls and Burley Rock Hole, three popular swimming holes in the park. We also saw the Cathedral Termite Mounds, and had many photo ops. It was about a 12 hour day, and we returned to the boat at sunset.

July 7 - Darwin happenings

We've been here a while and a lot has been going on. First off, we joined the Darwin Sailing Club as visiting members ($10/person/per week), allowing us to use their facilities when anchored in front of the Club at Fannie Beach. There are restaurants, bars and a chandlery on site, and there will be Rally meetings there as well. Interestingly, in past years the Club was also host to the Darwin to Ambon Rally, one in which Infini participated in 1996 with her previous owners. We are learning the bus system here, and have visited the Indonesian Consulate as well as Aus Customs and Immigration a few times. We now have our Social Visas for Indonesia, and the Cruising Permit will be handed out to all the Rally participants on departure from Darwin. We've also been to see Colin at Copytime downtown, a well known yachtie facilitator we stumbled upon in our meanderings. July 1st was Territory Day here, and it's like July 4th in the USA. The fireworks display was the most sensational we've ever seen, and went on for hours. We had joined some friends aboard their catamaran after going to the Mindil Beach Market for a look around.
Picture: At anchor outside Cullen Bay. What a way to practice soccer.The sand bar behind us is completely covered at high tide.