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Darwin (Australia) to Benoa (Bali) - Days 1&2, Sat/Sun 1/2 Sept07

Left Cullen Bay Marina lock at 0840 to start passage to Bali. Cullen Bay marina was a pleasant place with convenient chandlery, helpful staff and plenty of nightlife with lots of restaurants/cafes around - useful for wi-fi Internet connection also. No.4 bus in to town stops fairly close by. Main drawback was lack of food shops close by.

Despite supposed strong wind warnings, I'm writing this in a glassy calm sea - wind is all of 3knots from SE & I have had the 'iron horse' on since leaving! Only good thing about that is I can play music & switch on lights and fans to my heart's content! I've been busy cleaning brightwork below decks - aft cabin, galley & head are all sparkling and main cabin almost so... with calm conditions continuing, rest of boat should be spotless too, very soon. It always feels rather weird when it's so calm
out here with nothing else in sight - seems to emphasize the emptyness of the ocean.

Radio emailing is causing a problem again - I can't understand why voice transmissions are so good & strong, yet my Airmail program for emailing only transmits at less than half power...annoying since I have spent so much time this year trying to get my radio comms sorted out... yet again! I can, with difficulty, connect in OK to New Sth Wales, but not Brunei which is closer... most odd. I've been told to check for interference but that's not so easy under way solo - I must find a weak stn & then
turn all elecs OFF, check signal strength and one by one turn elecs back on... Got rather worried earlier when my laptop transformer died..... fortunately I found another which had played up previously but so far seems OK - if the transformer goes, that means the laptop is down & really puts an end to emailing both by SSB radio and via InmarsatC (satellite) so I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Sat. afternoon, I had an Australian Coastwatch plane swoop low over me - I called them on VHF to ask if they'd seen any other sailing vessel headed for Bali - 'no'!

Had a nice tide pushing us for 6hrs (ebb) when we left, but when it turned we were losing ~1.5kn - made 8.2kn for a time but then it became 5.6kn!

Thought I'd try the pre-cooked lambshank, in sauce, that I got in Cairns, with potatoes & broccoli for dinner - it's very good - definitely to be recommended!

I've changed my ship's time back by half-an-hour from Darwin time (wich is GMT+8.5hr!) which roughly puts me in local time - simpler to be working in complete hours' difference from GMT.

Distance travelled over 24hrs to midday Sunday was 157ml by log (although from GPS positions it was only 144ml - shows effect of current on log reading), with 777 ml to go.

Written by : Mike

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