Day 51, Year 3: Gove Harbor to Wigram Island
Date: Sunday, June 29, 2008
Weather: Beautiful Day; Winds SE 10-15
Latitude: 11 degrees 45.701 S
Longitude: 136 degrees 35.021 minutes E
Location: Wigram Island, Northern Territory, Australia

Our sail from Gove Harbor to Wigram Island was delightful. We were part of a convoy of about twelve boats that left the harbor this morning heading west. The winds were light so most of the boats in front of us put up their spinnakers. We followed suit and had a short but great spinnaker run. Then the winds piped up to about 17 knots and that is when we take down the spinnaker and put up the headsail. Once we took the spinnaker down, we then had all our sails up and made our way around Cape Wilberforce. We made a last minute decision to continue on past our designated anchorage of Elisabeth Bay and went on to Wigram Island. As far as we know, most of the other boats went on through the Gugari Rip (The Hole in the Wall) today, but something in their calculations of the right time to start through the pass were off. According to the information we heard from those going through at 3:15 this afternoon, they had a 4 knot current against them. It should have been slack tide. And the last radio communication we heard at 3:50 pm indicated that boats were still encountering a negative current of four knots. Some references say to use Gove tides minus one hour and others say to use Darwin tides plus two and half hours in order to hit slack tide and go though with just a bit of current in your direction. And of course, those two calculations do not give you the same passage time. If you wait too long into the tide cycle you can get from ten to fifteen knots of current, and since the pass is narrow that can be tricky. So we will talk with folks on the net in the morning and see if we can adjust our passage time so we won’t have a negative current. At any rate, we should be spending a relaxing morning here and heading to the pass in the early afternoon. We are probably three hours away and will probably go through around 5 o’clock tomorrow afternoon and anchor just on the other side. Then very early the next morning we plan to start a 200 mile overnight passage across the top end of the Northern Territory to a peninsula that is 200 miles from Darwin. Once we reach the Coburg Peninsula we will day hop for a couple of days and then make the last 100 mile run into Darwin in an overnight passage. We are going to arrive in Darwin later than we had hoped, but still in plenty of time to get ourselves ready for our sail to Indonesia.

The highlight of today was a pod of dolphins that played in our bow wake for more than half an hour. They put on quite a show and made our day. These waters are teeming with life and Scot Free II caught a big Wahoo today that we all enjoyed for dinner tonight. Some of the boats going through The Hole in the Wall today caught as many as four fish. Maybe it will be Windbird’s turn tomorrow.

080629 Day 51 Gove Harbor to Wigram Island
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Day 52, Year 3: Through The Hole in the Wall (Gugari Rip)
Day 50, Year 3: Day Trip to Nhulunbuy and Yirrkala