Day 78, Year 3: Passage to Indonesia, Day One
Date: Saturday, July 26, 2008
Weather: Not a Cloud in the Sky; Winds SE 10 (NE in afternoon)
Location: Passage from Darwin, Australia to Kupang, W Timor, Indonesia
Latitude: 12 degrees 16.845 minutes S
Longitude: 130 degrees 21.154 minutes E
Miles to Go: 439

What a fabulous day! I must admit I have not been particularly excited about heading to Indonesia. Not that I don’t want to go, I just think we have been so busy that we haven’t had a moment to think about it. But when a hundred and seventeen sailboats from all around the world approached the starting line this morning, it did get exciting. Due to the light winds many boats had out their spinnakers. It was really a beautiful site. A local tourist boat, the Spirit of Darwin, was at the starting line loaded with people cheering us on. At exactly 1100, we all sailed (most assisted by motors) away. There were many local boaters out for the send off as well, so Fannie Bay was overflowing with boats of all sorts and sizes.

It is 467 miles from Darwin to Kupang. In the past five hours, we have traveled about thirty of those miles. We started out motor sailing wing and wing, but quickly had to put all sails out to port. The wind direction changed from southeast to northeast due to an afternoon sea breeze, so we are currently on a beam reach with only eight knots of wind. As I am writing this, Mark is on the radio waiting to check in. The net is being run by Sail Indonesia today and tomorrow, and then Dave on This Way Up, with Mark on Windbird as back-up, will run the daily check-in net. The boats report in according to alphabetical order, so Windbird is dead last.

As with any port we have visited, we did not get to do all we wanted in Darwin. It is a beautiful time of year to visit there. The weather has been incredible. We have hardly seen a cloud since our arrival there. We regret not getting to spend more time with Jane, the good friend of our daughter-in-law Jo, but we want to thank her so much for greeting us when we first arrived and giving us so much wonderful information that guided our Darwin visit. Thank you, Jane. And we are hoping to see you in Bali in September for a reunion with Jo.

We have never traveled with this many boats, so tonight will be interesting. We will have to be very alert. Depending on speed, we will be out here three or four nights, but hopefully by morning the boats will have spread out more than they are right now. We are closer to the front of the pack right now, but I am sure many boats will pass us during the night. We really needed to clean the bottom of our boat before leaving, but the fear of meeting a crocodile kept us out of the water. This morning we saw one of the lethal box jellies floating by Windbird. They are not supposed to be out and about this time of year, but it was there and I was glad we had not ventured into the water. We will move a bit slower than usual because of the fouled boat bottom, but we will take care of that once we reach Indonesia.

After three months of sailing in Australia, it is now time to switch gears. Tomorrow’s job is to start reading through the reams of information given to us by the rally coordinators. Once we start reading about all of the wonderful things we are going to experience in Indonesia, I think the excitement level will rise even more.

080726 Day 78 Darwin to Kupang Rally Start