Who would have ever planned a trip to Gove, Australia? It is not on the regular itinerary of most travelers and yet we are very happy it was on ours. The locals are among the friendliest and most hospitable folks in all of Oz.
Last night we did go into the Gove Boat Club, a large and very friendly gathering place – in fact it is all there really is in the anchorage here. They have it all – a games area, book swap, huge bar and restaurant, great big outdoor area, complete with a large playground for the kids. It is all fenced in and quite safe. Although there are croc warning signs about and notices to be careful getting in the water when fishing from shore, launching or disembarking your dinghy, we saw none. Frank is beginning to feel quite sad about not seeing any Salties. I'm very OK with it. We started with Happy Hour at 5 PM, soon joined by Paul and Glor, Keith and Christine off Scallywag and also Peter and Evelyn from Renegade. Not long afterward we met Ann, Mike and their crew from Callisto. We enjoyed a wonderful evening in spite of the fact that the All Blacks match was not being televised here. Big time Bummer for our Kiwi friends, and for us as well. We got the low-down on getting into town for groceries, etc., and decided to make that our focus on Sunday.
Today, Sunday, we caught up on emails and I got to Skype "chat" with my good friend Jeri Lyn, then phoned my folks and my daughter. It was great catching up with them all. Our 8-year old grandson, Trace told us today was the best day of his entire life (his words). He has been saving his reward tokens forever (my daughter rewards good behavior with little tokens that add up to real dollars after a while), and he finally committed enough good deeds to purchase an iPod touch with his own money. He was so precious! OK, that has nothing to do with our adventures but I'm so proud of both my daughter and of Trace for their positive attitudes I had to brag here a bit.
At mid-day we went to shore, walked out to the roadway in front of the Boat Club and hitched a ride to town. A very nice lady picked us up returning from the airport with friends who are visiting from Darwin. We had a very nice conversation on the way in. It turns out that at least one of them is going to Austin, TX at the end of the year. We told them we have good friends there and family all over Texas so we promised to get in touch in Darwin and gave them our email addresses. We do hope they will email us. You never know.
We got our grocery shopping done and then walked back out to the road to hitchhike back. A nice guy who had emigrated here from Chile picked us up. He is a driller for the mines and on the way back, drove us past the longest conveyor belt in Australia and quite possibly in the world. It carries the bauxite from the mines to the refinery, some 19 kilometers away. Amazing!
On the way back to Destiny, Scallywag flagged us down to stop by for tea. We got onboard and Christine picked up her camera saying, "We want to show you some pictures". I didn't have my glasses on but it looked like they had taken photos of us bringing up the anchor in some place that had a LOT of mud, but then the pictures were not ringing any bells and it looked like two men, not Frank and I. We couldn't figure out what they were about. When I picked up a pair of reading glasses from their table, I saw that was two men on the bow of Destiny, but we still couldn't figure out where this had taken place and when, and furthermore what they were doing with our anchor. So we asked. They all calmly replied, "About an hour after you left the boat today". Oh my God! Then reality hit – this was Keith and Paul in the photos. They said the wind had picked up considerably and at the tide change, Destiny began to drag. Marion aboard Avant Garde happened to look out her window and remarked to Colin that Destiny was in trouble. He hailed Scallywag, and then jumped into his dinghy. The men all converged on our boat and by then Destiny was quickly and literally rushing backward on a collision course with another yacht. They managed to get our anchor up to find that a mooring line was wrapped all around it, and this is what had caused it not to be able to re-set. It was literally covered in mud and mooring line. They managed to get the line unwrapped, knocked the chunks off and re-anchored our beloved Destiny before she hit any other boats. After hearing the story, tears erupted from my eyes, my lip quivered and my stomach became a hard knot. Frank was speechless. These guys were our Angels today.
Tonight over twenty of us met at the Boat Club for drinks and dinner. Frank told the club manager to put all of Avant Garde and Scallywag's (and crew) drinks on our tab. It was a very small thing we could do to offer our thanks and gratitude to these wonderful friends. We really enjoyed a lovely evening with everyone. Most of them are sticking around until Wednesday or Thursday to depart, but we are leaving in the morning, very early. So going home tonight was a little sad. Keith and Christine are flying home to NZ from here. We sure hope to see them again. Frank wants to be "anchor's aweigh" at 5:00 AM tomorrow. Oy! Yoi! Yoi!
Next stop: The Hole in The Wall