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Thursday, July 5, 2012

June 30 - July 1st, 2012 - Darwin at Last – and Another Crash of My MacBook!!!!

Where was I last? Seems things have been a blur. Where has the time gone? It went the way of the wind, which by the way here in Darwin is full of ash from the bush fires. Destiny is getting black flakes all over the deck and in the cockpit. Our sinuses are clogged and we look as if we've been crying for days from the irritation to our eyes. We have to be sure the screens are closed at all times to try to keep the ash out of the interior and to keep out those awful "no-see-ums"/"nono's"/sand fleas – pick your name for them - that are plaguing us. The other night we were eaten alive in our beds because the screen on one of our cabin windows was off. They are vicious. We are both covered in bites and burning from the little buggers – our legs and arms look like we have the measles. Other than that and the ashes we like Darwin very much.

A little update on our getting here:
From Popham Bay it took us two uneventful days to get into Darwin. The stops were lovely and calm as far as anchorages go. No drama. As we cleared the Clarence Straight, marine traffic picked up as yachts were heading out for a race and fishing boats zipped past.  Soon my captain shouted "Land Ho! Hello Darwin". We were so excited about finally making it here, our nerves started twitching with anticipation.
We'd been advised to refuel as soon as possible because once we are in the marina we'll be "locked in" until we depart with the rally. We arrived at the Cullen Bay fuel dock at 1:30 PM on July 1st. It was a bit dodgy getting moved into position, and in spite of the assist from several maritime police we managed to pop a fender. Scared the heck out of me because it was only a couple feet from where I stood and sounded like an explosion. I could tell Frank was a little unnerved by all the distractions about us, however, we got safely fueled up and then moved along to Tipperary Waters Marina.

Tides in Darwin can vary from 7 – 10 meters (that's up to 30 feet), depending on the time of month and year (sounds like us women!). The level of the marina is several feet above that of the harbor; so in order to get into Tipperary Waters we entered a lock that would fill with water, raising us to the appropriate level. Rodney the Lockmaster made our experience going into the lock a cakewalk. He took the stern line from me and then talked us through the procedure as I walked forward to control the bow line, and Frank returned to the helm. I was so excited! I'd never taken our yacht through a lock before. Fortunately we entered at hight tide, so the lock didn't have as much work to do as it would in a few days during "king tides.
In the lock and filling with water to raise us

Frank manning stern line as water is raising us - halfway there

we have about a meter to go (I'm manning the bow)

almost level, getting ready to enter marina

This particular one accommodates just one boat at a time, and it is a tight fit. Once in the marina, several neighbors came along to help us into our berth. This will be home for the next 28 days. By the way today is July 1st: Territory Day which is similar to our 4th of July. Tonight there will be festivals and fireworks. But it is late afternoon and we are thinking we'll just have dinner at one of the restaurants at the marina and watch from there.

Before we set off exploring our surroundings, I was going to sit down to finish up my journal when I heard a "pop!" and smelt a burn as my laptop went black. I don't believe this – I just bought this new Mac Book in February. I seem to be bad voodoo for computers. It went completely dead. I quickly got in touch with Apple Care in Australia. They directed me to an authorized dealer in Darwin because there is no store here. My stomach did several flip-flops in the meantime, because I was also backing it up when this happened. The external backup also went dead. Seems to be a theme with me.

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