we sailed off the anchor at about 06:10h and headed north on our route to Cape York, i had created a route with all the required waypoints to follow all the way up the inner reef shipping channel, across the top of cape york, thru endeavour strait and into the start of the gulf of carpentaria. we had a lovely sail with steady breeze from the south east of 15-20k all day and thru the night. we had to time the run to take advantage of the strong tidal currents around torres strait and avoid having to sail against them. this was definitely the trickiest part of the remaining trip with no engine power if we got in trouble. luckily the strength and direction, of the wind meant we were able to maintain good boat speed and not worry about it.
as we headed north towards the end of the first day, right on dusk, i caught another nice spanish mackerel, my 3rd for the trip, and the only ones caught on the boat – i must win the inaugural lumiel fishing comp i think!
it was a busy night on watch as many of the legs on the edge of the shipping channel were short and the changes in direction required frequent gybes, so it was with great relief that we rounded cape york at dawn and slipped down and out thru endeavour strait and by late morning we were in the gulf of carpentaria with about 310nm to home!
that afternoon the breeze dropped out to very light and we struggled to sail at anything over 4k, which was frustrating as it was much less than forecast. then suddenly near dusk it sprung up and just kept increasing – until about 9pm on sal’s watch we were flying along with 30k gale and very confused and wild seas.
i reduced sail until we just had a tiny bit of headsail out and we just slowed her right down got her comfortable and spent a long, tough night bouncing our way into the gulf slowly.
today,tuesday, we waited till dawn then put some more sail out and cracked on, breeze still around 20k and a big swell, straight down wind so surfing and sailing!
wednesday was another mixed bag, becalmed at times, 25k at other, rain squalls, but we steadily ticked off the miles towards gove and thursday morning at sunrise we were abeam of nhulunbuy and then sailed in between wirawawoi and bremer island towards gove harbour. the last few miles was a hard slog as a 15k south easterly sprung up and we had to tack all the way into the boat club anchorage.
at 11am, and after 1810.74 nautical miles and 2 months we were finally home with lumiel!
the joy of arrival was tempered with the devastating news of the passing of my malu, just the day before i got home, here is my tweet as we sailed into gove harbour.
“My happiness with arriving home is offset by the tragic news that my malu, (father), D. Gurruwiwi has passed. Arnhem Land & the world will mourn the loss of the Galpu clan leader, Yidaki master, husband to Dhopiya, father of many and an inspiration to all. Nharma yalala, malu.”