LETTER from Eivind & Heidi____AUSTRALIA, Bye bye September - October 2009
OBS - the plan was to catch something else...
Frances, Ted and Frances father have been sailing almost all life!
The Hole in the Wall.
Also the Sailor wanted to have some view through "the Hole in the Wall".
Empire on her way in to Tipperary Waters Marina.
Eirik gets the first stamp in his pasport.
Helen and Iain checking out Empire - they like it best on shore.
Early training is important...

Time to leave the big continent of Australia – we will be back

After rounding Cape York we were no longer sailing north. We altered the course to west and the ”end”-destination was Darwin. The plan was to give Eirik his 6 month vaccination before leaving Australia. Therefore we didn’t have the intention of arriving in Darwin too early.
After sailing across the Gulf of Carpentaria in light winds we anchored in Gove Harbour. Many yachts were anchored outside Gove Yacht Club. In most of the yachts people were living onboard in Gove for a long time, but some were just passing by. When we told that we were staying only one or two nights, the local people were smiling. They had heard this story before – and knew we were going to stay longer. Because of the friendliness and the hospitality of the people in Gove, one night suddenly became a week.

In Gove we also got to know Frances, Ted and Bjørn. They lived in their yacht Kaylie anchored outside Gove Yacht Club – for the fourth year. Australian Frances was born with long voyaging parents. So was also Swedish Ted. Frances and Ted even met many years ago on a long voyage in their parents yachts. Their 15 year old son Bjørn don’t know any other home than their sailboat. First time Bjørn attended “regular” school was when s/y Kaylie settled outside Gove. Before that, his parents did all the teaching onboard, when sailing all over the world. Onboard s/y Kaylie they also sailed in Patagonia – a few years before Empire sailed in the same area.
Even though we have been on our voyage with Empire for some years, we felt like beginners meeting people like Frances and Ted. In a few years when Bjørn has graduated from high school, s/y Kaylie will throw off for another long voyage…

Young and not so young
On our way inside The Great Barrier Reef we met some sailors on a longer voyage, but we did not meet any sailors our age (note – Eivind still thinks he is twenty-seven). Most of the sailors we met were several years older (not our intension to offend anyone?). When we met Kate (24) and Rob (31) onboard the Canadian boat Aries Tor, it was very nice to meet someone “about” our age. We didn’t only have many of the same interests, we were also heading in the same direction – towards Thailand for Christmas.
When we hoisted the anchor outside Gove, we were looking forward to meet Aries Tor again – wherever that might be…

Test of manhood
The Guarapari Rip – or “The hole in the Wall” is situated a bit north of Gove. In these waters “The hole in the Wall” is counted for as the test of manhood. “The hole” is a narrow passage between two islands, where the current can set with up to 10 knots. The narrowest spot of the passage is only as little as two Empire lengths wide… The Captain voted for a run through the “hole” with the current on “full speed”, but the Mate put her foot down. Instead we aimed for the small opening one hour before high tide and sailed through on a nice breeze with the current setting about 6 knots. Aries Tor sailed through just before us and waited on the western side, with their engine on full speed laying still in the current, video-filming Empire’s passage through.
Light winds and flat sea was the main ingredients the rest of the voyage towards Darwin, and the fishing was good. The fishing competition between Aries Tor and Empire, which Eivind bragged on winning, was easily won by Team Empire. In addition to two small (2x4kg) Bluefin Tuna and one 7kg Wahoo, we caught a 12kg Bluefin Tuna just before entering Darwin harbour.

Last stop in the country we fell in love with
Darwin is a small outpost in a deserted area of Australia. The city may seem a little boring at first sight, but as soon as we got to know the city we found it friendly and interesting. We tied up in Tipperary Waters Marina, even though the anchorages around the city are pretty good. Everything turns out to be much easier with a baby and a stroller, when we don’t have to do the long dinghy-ride ashore.
To be allowed to enter one of the marinas in Darwin, the hull has to be inspected on the outside for shells and algae, and the seawater-intakes have to be disinfected. It sound as it is a thorough process, but it is easily done by a diver – and the authorities cover all expenses. The three marinas in Darwin are located in three different enclosed saltwater pools. All boats have to be locked in and out because of the huge tidal difference. We were locked in to Tipperary Waters Marina at high tide. To enter the lock with a boat drawing two meters, the tide has to be at least 4 meter above low tide…
We made good use of the connection that was established with Ian’s sister (see earlier letter from Australia) in Darwin. Via Helen we received several packages for Eirik and some for Empire. From the company SeaBa in Norway we even received a (car) childrens seat with floating devices. The company develops safety equipment for children in boats, and they had heard that we got a child onboard in Australia.
If you are about to check out of Australia, you have to make an appointment with Customs a few days before leaving. This is so that they before the meeting can check their systems to see that you have behaved well during your stay in the country. Two days before the meeting a custom officer called and told us that he had found that everything was not alright. He had discovered that Eirik didn’t have any visa for his stay in Australia – something we of course knew. Eirik was born in Australia.
Luckily this was just a formality. After a short meeting at the Immigration Office, Eirik got the visa stamped in his brand new Norwegian passport.

Bye bye, Australia
We planned to leave Australia together with Aries Tor, but Eirik got a spotted heat-rush so we postponed our departure until the heat-rush had calmed down. Then we also got the time to visit Darwin Maritime Museum and the Crocodile-park in the centre of town.
Eivind’s birthday was celebrated as we threw off and headed for Indonesia. We planned to sail the 1000nm directly to Bali to check in to Indonesia there. Underway we discovered that it would be more clever to check in to Indonesia in Kupang on the Island (West-) Timor (still Indonesia). This way we would avoid the temporary import fee for Empire that the authorities in Bali try to claim, which is said to be 20 to 50 % of the boat value.
We anchored off Kupang in the middle of the day, after a four day long voyage from Darwin – most of the hours propelled by the engine.
We soon realized that we had arrived in a “different” world…

Even in the cockpit the fan
is important.
Heidi and Eivind.
No wind - somewhere
between Australia
and Indonesia.