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Thursday, June 21, 2012

June 20, 2012 Seisia, Queensland, Australia

Yesterday evening a group of cruisers gathered on shore at the lone picnic table adjacent to the town's boat ramp. We have traveled back in time to the days of prohibition. Seisia is dry. The assembled yachties were grumbling about the grocery store not having any beer which is something I didn't notice when we were in there. Of course I absolutely would have snapped to this awful reality had I still been drinking. There is no liquor store (bottle-0) and apparently no place to consume spirits at all. People were actually sneaking drinks and hiding the bottles in their coolers.
Anyway, several conversations were going on at once all around us. I kept getting drawn into one conversation or another to find that topics ranged from Salties (the saltwater crocodiles), to drinking (or the banning thereof), schedules and plans to cross the Gulf of Carpentaria. This is what I gleaned from it all:

+ Some people claim they have seen lots of crocs; some at Margaret Bay, some on Morris Island, several at Escape River and some very large ones here right on this very beach. We must be blind because we have not actually seen any ourselves.
+ Those who had thought they would be stocking up on booze here will just have to ration their stores until they get across to Gove, a mining town on the other side of the Gulf that surely sells liquor to the miners.
+ Schedules for departing here depend primarily on the weather and secondarily to the amount of booze in the individuals ships stores
+ Plans range from southing along the coast to pick up a better wind angle to going straight across to Gove or more northerly to either the "Hole in the Wall" or to Marchinbar, all depending on the weather and the current.

There appears to be a lot of anxiety about crossing the Gulf, which many refer to as "The Gulf of Crap-entaria", because it is very shallow and apparently exposed to a nasty current and all sorts of strange phenomena that often make it utterly ugly to cross. No one seems to be able to explain exactly what causes this and no one is eager to go. It's only a 2 - 3 day voyage and Frank and I aren't as worried as some who are studying GRIB files and angsting over it. We just want to get it over with. So at the end of all the discussions I think most of us are leaving on Thursday.

That was yesterday. Today it is raining. Has been all day. Frank has tried countless ways to repair the water-maker hose and has finally agreed to take Peter from Renegade up on his offer of a spare one he has onboard. I spent most of the day catching up on emails, blogs and taking care of personal business, and I baked cookies for Peter and Evelyn in a gesture of gratitude for the hose. To Frank's dismay we only kept 5 of them. We had thought of going to shore for a walk, but outside of the fenced-in compounds it really isn't safe to walk around with Salties on the loose. By the way, the campground, park, fishing club and playground are all fortified with fencing. Now we know they aren't all in prison as it appears - they are just protecting themselves. What a strange way to live. I didn't take any of this to heart yesterday when we were walking around and still would have gone back in today had it not been raining and had the wind not been blustery out.

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