Day 42, Year 3: Cape York!!!
Date: Friday, June 20, 2008
Weather: Beautiful Day; Winds SE 20
Air and Water Temperature: 74 degrees F
Latitude: 10 degrees 41.400 minutes S
Longitude: 142 degrees 31.370 minutes E
Location: Cape York, Queensland, Australia
Total Miles Today: 26.65 nautical miles

We’re here! We made it to the northern most point on this continent by 11 o’clock this morning and spent the rest of the day onshore walking to that northern most point of land and just enjoying the views. Our trip through the Albany Passage was fantastic. We did have the tides right and we flew through at 8 to 9 knots with only 10-12 knots of wind. That is faster than Windbird can normally move. The Albany Passage was beautiful and we truly enjoyed our walk out to the point. Cape York is a peninsula that literally just slopes into the ocean. You might expect that this huge country/continent of Australia would end with something more dramatic, but not so. Cape York is not dramatic and you can almost throw a stone across from one side to the other, but we just soaked in the moment and the subtle beauty. At the very, very tip there is a sign stating, “You are standing at the northern most point of the Australian continent.” It took us 42 days to get here from Bundaberg, but we actually sailed only 216 hours for a total of 1,220 nautical miles. Windbird’s average speed was 5.66 nautical miles per hour. Not bad for this slow (but sure) boat.

Obviously we safely escaped the Escape River this morning and did it with a flotilla behind us when we started out just after sunrise. Windbird was leading Aqua Magic and Scot Free out, and then four other boats fell in behind us. It might have been an interesting sight if I could have looked back, but I was at the helm with my eyes glued to the monitor. In order to lead us out safely, I was following our track in yesterday exactly. I don’t take my eyes off that monitor when the navigation is tricky, but I think Mark did get a photo. Once we were out of the river, things relaxed a bit and we enjoyed our sail to the Albany Passage and really enjoyed the sleigh ride through it. As I said above, the walk to the top of the top was just delightful. It is not high, but everything for miles and miles is even lower, so you feel like you can see forever. Actually you are just seeing the islands of the Arafura Sea, but today that was “forever.” We enjoyed seeing the huge “ant hills” on the Cape. Actually they are termite mounds and they are certainly taller than I am. When we got back to the beach, the tide was out and we were thankful we had come in with Scot Free II who happens to have dinghy wheels. It would have been a long, long, long haul carrying our dinghy out into the water. We stopped by the catamaran, Reflection, to visit on our way back out to the boat. Doug and Jeanette were coming back from their walk to the end of the peninsula just when we were starting ours and they invited us for cake and coffee when we returned. Now what self-respecting sailor can refuse that kind of Australian hospitality? Jeanette was one of the “grandmothers” I met at Lizard Island and she and Doug are the most gracious hosts I think we have met out here. And speaking of grandmothers, I am really missing seeing Sam. I’m not sure what triggered it, but I am really homesick for him tonight. We got a message from him a couple of days ago telling us that he really misses us as well.
Here’s what he had to say: “er
/h l fv tnm,mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmt0099 b
n jh nh eqeeeeee bQnb 1qa nq bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb”

080620 Day 42 Escape River to Cape York
Day 43, Year 3: Cape York to Seisia
Day 41, Year 3: Tomorrow is THE DAY - Over the Top