Day 64, Year 3: A Planning Day
Date: Saturday, July 12, 2008
Weather: Beautiful Northern Territory Winter Day; Temps in the Upper 70’s
Location: Fannie Bay, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia

Our first adventure today was walking up the hill to the Parap Shopping Center for the Saturday morning markets. This shopping center has a laundromat, a butcher shop, a cheesecake shop, a tiny Crate and Barrel type store, a small gourmet grocery store, a Chinese restaurant, and on and on. And on Saturday mornings, vendors set up their stalls all around and sell everything from veggies and flowers to earrings and clothing. We have not seen such beautiful flowers since the market in Papeete in
Tahiti. And of course, there were the food vendors selling everything from wonderful crepes to chicken satay and tropical fruit smoothies. Many of the same vendors that we saw at the Mindil Beach Sunday night markets last week were at Parap today. I fell in love with a pair of earrings last week at Mindil Beach and when I saw the exact same pair today, Mark bought them for me. They are cut from something called zebra rock and according to the little description you get with the purchase, this
stone is a geologic anomaly found only beneath the waters of Lake Argyle in the Kimberley Region of Western Australia. The rock is banded with colors ranging from dark red to brown to grey to tan and white and I fell in love with it. So I now have my little piece of the rock.

On our way back to the Sailing Club, our daughter-in-law Jo’s friend, Jane, drove by us and stopped to say hello. She had not met Mark the other day, so he got to meet her and her son Tarick. When we got back to the Club, we thought we would quickly get some internet work done. But once again, we could not get connected to the wireless. Although it said there was a strong signal, no other cruisers were able to connect and there is no one to talk with about the problem until Monday morning. We
had wanted to research some of the various tourist attractions in this part of the world and check out accommodations. We ended up doing this by looking at the few pamphlets we have collected and calling a few places on the phone. All camper vans in Darwin are booked until August and most of the accommodations are also booked. We have decided to rent a car with Donna and Gerry on Scot Free II and do a couple of day trips next week. If we find somewhere to stay, fine, but if not, we will just
drive back here each night. We are hoping to visit Kakadu National Park to see the Aboriginal art sites at Ubirr and Nourlangie and then go to Litchfield National Park to see some of the fantastic waterfalls and the giant termite mounds. If time and money allow, we might go further south to see the Katherine Gorge. We will check on renting a car on Monday and hope to do our sight seeing on Wednesday through Friday.

Planning all of this took much longer than anticipated and we didn’t get back to Windbird until mid-afternoon. I worked on naming photos the rest of the day while Mark changed the engine oil, transmission fluid, and all of the fuel and oil filters. Tomorrow is taken up with the Beer Can Regatta and then Monday morning we pull up anchor to go to the fuel dock to fill-up with diesel. I just can’t believe we have been here for a full week and I can already tell that this next week will be gone before
we know it. I’m still looking for that day of rest, but not sure it is in the cards.