After picking up our Rally packets last week we kicked into high gear in our attempt to get Destiny and ourselves ready to leave Australia. People are giving us so much advice about what to do and how to prepare that we have been siphoning through it all and are realizing that the organizers are not providing the most sound and accurate advice. I'm so far not impressed with these Sail Indonesia folks, at least on the Australian side of things. Apparently none of them live here, have lived here or have even been here to reconnoiter Darwin. We have no idea where they get their information or how current it is. According to several Aussies who have sailed extensively throughout Indonesia, some of the information in our packets is a bit over dramatized, and then in some cases it is not dramatized enough. We suspect that quite a bit has actually been taken from peoples' blogs and put together by some clever rally organizer because the organizers are not cruisers. OK – enough griping but seriously, although we are happy to be going in an organized group to Indonesia we are disappointed in the organization of this organization!
We are very grateful to have had the car for several days, and would recommend this outfit (Bargain Car Rental) to anyone wanting a referral. They are honest and forthright which we have not been able to say about any other car rental outfit in Australia. Absolutely no hidden fees or tricky clauses in our contract, and the car is nice – and new.
Darwin has much to offer if you are into food, Aboriginal art and markets. There is a market nearly every day or night of the week somewhere. We went to the Thursday night Mindl Beach Markets and literally ate our way through. There are hundreds of vendors selling everything from clothing to knick-knacks, art, junk, souvenirs, home crafts and we suspect lots and lots of things we will find in Bali for 1/10 the price. You could get a tattoo, a piercing, and apparently just about everything but fruits and veggies. I couldn't resist picking up a few things to send back to Jen and Trace and now have to figure out how to ship them intact to Texas. We enjoyed listening to the live bands until an Aussie Reggae band took the stage and then our ears had had enough so we called it quits. We were so covered in Deet and dust when we got back home we took our second showers of the day before going to bed.
Saturday my laptop froze up and wouldn't shut down. Rather than fool around we took it straight back to the repair shop. They tinkered and determined it may have something to do with the software on my Telstra "dongle" so the technician uninstalled it and reinstalled an updated driver. We hope this is it for problems on my Mac. If not I'll have to wait until the end of the year and take it into the Apple store in Singapore. We continued our sweep of Darwin, picking up parts and working on boat projects the rest of Saturday and on into Sunday until the very minute our car was due back. We walked back to the boat and arrived covered in red brown dust. Darwin right now is hot, dry and dusty, however there is a humidity element. It reminds me of Texas in the summertime when the grass looks fried and a fine coating of dirt settles onto everything. I cleanse my face at night and the cotton ball comes away nearly black! Imagine what our lungs must be taking in. Our eyes remain red and a bit swollen. It isn't really so different here than Texas, Arizona, Fiji, Vanuatu; we are just really spoiled having not been in this climate for a while so I think we will acclimate by the time we get through the year. Being a 55-year-old female in this climate is the pits that only another female in this stage of life can appreciate.
Frank is still trying to get our AIS fully operational. I do not understand that problem and have given up trying, because I have my own troubles with the blasted sewing machine. I'm about to burn the poor thing up. As I sew it is beginning to vibrate and little knobs and bit pieces are flying everywhere. I spend more time trouble-shooting than anything but at the end of the day am just happy to have a sewing machine. If I whine too much it may hear me and shut down altogether – oh dear, we can't have that because I can't buy a new one here! I keep bugging Frank to consider the possibility of adding 220 to the boat. We can only run US appliances because the entire boat is wired for 110. If it is possible to add some 220/240 lines then in the event we need new appliances I won't have to wait until we get back to an American territory to replace them. As it stands I cannot replace anything that goes. This is something I'm not going to sink my teeth into too much because it is a sore spot with us that Island Packet Yachts didn't consider this when building a "world cruising yacht". I just pray that something can be done for us when we get to Thailand. Nothing can be done about it now – I'm just in a gripey mood I suppose.