After finally leaving Guruliya Bay we sailed down to Firefly Pass between Warnawi and Alger Island, went through the pass and then across Donington Sound to the West end of Inglis Island, along Inglis Island, thru Malay roads and back into Elizabeth Bay. I called up the Pearl Farm on the radio to let them know we were going to stay a few days and also asked if would be able to come over and have a look at the operations, as we have never gone ashore to have a look in all the years we have been coming past!
The darker colour is our track from Guruliya Bay to Elizabeth Bay and the red track is from Elizabeth Bay to home. We spent 3 days in Elizabeth Bay waiting for what we knew would be the best day for sailing back to Gove. On the second day we went over and had a grand tour of the Pearl Farm, its a fascinating business, firstly there is just the absolute remoteness of the location, only 25nm from Gove, but only accessible by boat or helicopter. At the height of their season there are about 40 workers on the farm and Diana, the manager, explained the whole process from spawning their own oysters, right through pearl seeding and harvesting. Since taking over the pearl farm from the previous owners, Clipper Pearls have spent a lot on new buildings and upgrading old ones.
They have quite a large Indonesian workforce as they also own pearl farms in Indo and so its a good source of experienced workers for them and a great opportunity for their workers to come to Australia, and earn extra money for their families. We were also able to buy a couple of kilos of pearl meat from them, which is very hard to get normally.
Cleaning the nets that protect the growing baby pearls on their frames.
We finally left Lizzy bay, yesterday, Saturday, and had a superb sail all the way home, I had not expected to be able to sail it in one tack, but the wind was more Easterly than predicted and we were able to lay Gove Harbour after coming out thru Malay Road and round Breakfast Island. We picked up the mooring in the late afternoon after nearly 3 weeks cruising the Arnhem Land coast, after tidying up a bit we headed into the boat club for a nice long hot shower and a nice scotch fillet for dinner! Its been an incredible trip, we battled a but with the wet weather in the middle but it was super fun and Sal has grown so much in her confidence and ability with all the systems on Lumiel. We are already looking forward to the next extended trip in the future!