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Monday, June 25, 2012

June 25, 2012 - Anchored at Guruliya Bay, Raragala Island (NT, Australia)

We awoke at 5:00 AM this morning and were weighing anchor at around 5:30, however, there was so much heavy, thick gray/black clay and shell stuck to the rode and to the anchor that it took us until 6:00 to actually get it washed and the anchor secured. It was absolutely as black as midnight outside, so as we moved out of Irverell Bay (Gove Harbour), I stood on the bow with a big spotlight calling out obstacles, such as mooring balls and other yachts to Frank. Lord, as my beam danced about I hope I didn't accidentally shine that bad boy into someone's chamber of dreams. As we approached the bauxite-loading wharf we picked up the early traces of sunrise. It was a lovely morning for a sail.

Immediately we harnessed 20 knots astern, but also got the choppy wave action that jerked us side to side for about the first hour. Eventually we settled into a very comfortable downwind sail picking up the escort of some friendly dolphins who torpedoed through our bow wake for a number of miles. The waves had turned into big breakers and thank goodness we were surfing them along with our friends who now and then would shoot into the air giving us a little sideshow. We enjoyed a beautiful sail through the first pass of the English Company Islands (details on our "Where Are We" button of the website). It was a cakewalk through that pass as we caught the flooding tide that helped us through. This area is very pretty, dotted with lots of small islands, pretty sand beaches and apparently pearl farms. We then negotiated the second pass just as easily. Our pleasant day continued.

Eventually we approached The Wessell Islands where we would thread the needle through The Hole in The Wall, a narrow pass between Raragala Island and Guluwuru Island that is only about a mile long but is very unusual. On approach we couldn't even see the pass. In fact we were nearly upon it before the break in the islands was apparent. We were awed by the rock structures that comprise these islands. They actually resembled giant flat slabs heaped upon one another. We were completely overcome by their beauty. Going through the pass was a spectacular experience, and one that we feel blessed to have been able to undertake. This is another rare treat that few will ever encounter.

Just as we were emerging from the pass I sat down at the Nav desk, about to send in our position report when Peter from Renegade hailed us on the radio. He was stopping at the English Company Islands but wanted to recommend an anchorage to us on the other side of The Hole in The Wall. We were originally just going to come through and then drop the hook at a beach on the lee shore to the left of the pass. This other anchorage, however, was   about 5 miles further down the coast. We took his advice, and arriving at 1:00 PM, we anchored in this amazing remote and unusual Guruliya Bay. We are now in sacred Aboriginal lands and are not permitted to go ashore, but that's quite alright because it is blowing like Colorado out there and we are happy just to sit, read a book and enjoy the scenery. We traveled some 53 miles today and truly enjoyed ourselves.

Tomorrow we have another overnighter to look forward to and have many miles to cover to the next stop, so a 5:00 AM departure is required. The Captain has advised me that this one will be only 34 hours. No worries, Mate!

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