Crossing the Gulf of Carpentaria

Written by David Townsend

4, August 2008

Position 10°48’402S 138°44’876E

Gulf of Carpentaria, Arafura Sea.

150Nm NE of ‘The English Companys Islands (Australia).

Hi dear friends, thank you for following my journey. Here is this week’s update.

I have been at sea now for eight days since leaving Cairns on-route for Darwin and the Indian Ocean.

Life Onboard:

I am back in open sea sailing mode as I cross the Gulf of Carpentaria, a gap of around 325Nm across the North West of Australia. With steady albeit relatively light winds of 12kn I am making steady progress of around 5kn.

Some six weeks ago I started this passage along the East coast of Australia to cover the 1,800Nm to Darwin on the North West coast. My initial thoughts on the Great Barrier Reef (Marine Park) was of how dirty the water is, this however is not surprising with the amount of shipping using the inside route to reach their port of call leaving there rusty bilge water laying on the surface more so around the anchorage area of ‘Mackay’.

‘Whitsunday Islands’ the tourist, sailing, boating and holiday area located to the North of Mackay whilst another must see island known affectionately as ‘Maggie’ off the coast of Townsville or to give its full name, Magnetic Island. Once North of Cairns the water quality improves dramatically, indeed my last few days before rounding Cape York especially so, I wrote this in my journal;

“Sailing under a sky so blue, not a cloud to be seen. Sea of turquoise full of life, dolphins dancing in and out of my bow wave, whales swimming along my starboard side whilst sea turtles swim past my port side. All this in one afternoon! A very fine day indeed.”

The following night I rounded Cape York and entered the Torres Strait, for the next five days I would be steering due West before rounding Cobourg Peninsular then SW for a day before heading due South and Darwin.

The Boat:

No problems onboard although like all vessels Pinta needs constant work to keep her 100% sea worthy, it is hard to believe that her last mini refit back in New Zealand was only six months ago yet my list for her next major refit  has just stared, no doubt it will continue to grow. I intend to carry that  before my return to England where she will be placed on the market to sell.

I have spent the past few weeks playing with different H.F. antenna arrangements to try and get the on-board email working, indeed I have managed to get a connection once or twice but no further, I will continue experimenting.

Fair winds, calm seas.