I laid down for my rest after posting yesterday's journal last night. When Frank awakened me at 12:30 AM for my watch the winds had picked up and we were sailing along at a comfortable 7 - 8 knots. The sky was clear and the stars were out in their splendor. I spent the better part of my watch just looking at the stars, catching glimpses of a few shooters zipping across there wondering how many billions of years ago they had actually burned out. The big dipper is massive and very low in the sky here. It is fascinating to look at so many constellations that are not visible to us in the northern hemisphere. So I spent a good bit of time contemplating these things. The moon although only just bigger than a smile was shining brightly across the water. The sea was competing for attention as well and as we surfed the large waves they collided with our bow wake creating a blast of sparkly phosphorescence. God is indeed showing off tonight.
Unfortunately the bliss didn't last, for during Frank's watch the wind died and the skies clouded over completely blanketing the stars and moon. When he roused me at 6:30 AM we were motoring. The day was an unusual one alternating between flat seas and no wind to lots of wind, cloudy skies and choppy seas. Then the sky would clear, waves would calm down and we would once again move along at a brisk pace. There is a nasty red haze in the air that has our throats getting scratchy, my eyes burning and getting puffy and causing us to sneeze a lot. We don't know if it has to do with bush fires or red dust being kicked up from the desert winds of the vast Northern Territory, nevertheless, it is mildly irritating.
We spotted several sea turtles drifting by, which is more than we've seen on any given day of sailing. They are so cool to watch. We think they are as curious about us as we are them, and nearly each one of them would bob along, taking a good look at us and then either dive or bob away before we could get a picture. Obviously they are not bothered by Salties.
We arrived at Croker Island, Somerville Bay at 4:30. It is desolate here, and if we didn't know where we actually are we might think we are in Baja California. Sure looks a lot like it. We have the entire bay to ourselves. Since leaving Guruliya Bay yesterday morning, we've come 231 miles, 34 hours, and of that trip we ran the engine 15.4 hours. I say this because we left Gove alone because all of the other cruisers were waiting until Thursday to leave when the winds calm down because they thought the winds were too high to get out in "it". Those poor guys are all going to have a lot of motoring ahead of them. We'll spend the night here and then head to Coral Bay where Rick and Robin from the catamaran Endangered Species said they had enjoyed a great meal at the resort there last year (hope it is still there). From here it looks like a short 5 ½ hour trip.
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