Day 55, Year 3: Valencia Island to Port Essington
Date: Thursday, July 3, 2008
Weather: Another Beautiful Day with Williwonk Winds
Latitude: 11 degrees 08.775 minutes S
Longitude: 132 degrees 08.440 minutes E
Location: Black Point, Port Essington, Northern Territory, Australia

At some point today, Mark and I both uttered our frustration with the “williwonk” winds. We both used the same word and we don’t know where it comes from. I think we made it up based on ‘williwaws’-the winds that sweep down from high points into an anchorage and almost blow you over. They are strong winds, but they are not consistent. Well, that is what we had today. We would have 8 knots for a minute or two and then 25 knots for another minute or two. Trying to figure out which sail configuration to go with was hopeless, but even with the crazy winds, we had a good sailing day and reached our destination by 3:00 in the afternoon. That gave us time to go ashore and visit the Ranger Station here. The highlight of that visit was that we got to see a sand iguana (best guess of the Ranger) up close and personal. This was on the way to the station. And I must mention the tracks we saw on the beach where we landed the dinghy. We thought we saw crocodile tracks and a huge hole where the crocodile must have laid eggs. But when we got the station and talked with the ranger, he was sure it was turtle tracks. This was much to our relief. We visited the cultural center at the Ranger Station and read some of the history of this area. This land was inhabited by Aboriginals. Long before Europeans arrived there, the Aboriginals were trading with the Macassans from Macassar in Sulawesi, Indonesia for trepang (sea cucumbers or ‘beche-de-mer’). The Macassans then traded the trepang with the Chinese who considered it a delicacy. In the 1830’s, the British tried to establish a small, isolated community here. After more than a decade of trying to establish a settlement, the settlers left Victoria. It is hard to imagine how they must have felt after spending eleven hard years trying to make it here. We had hoped to get to see the ruins of the settlement, but it would be another day’s sail to it and another back, so we are not going to do that. Instead, we are moving on tomorrow to Alcaro Bay near Cape Don and from there staging our last overnight to Darwin. We really are ‘almost’ there.

080703 Day 55 Valencia Island to Port Essington
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Day 56, Year 3: Port Essington to Alcaro Bay
Day 54, Year 3: Arrival at Valencia Island