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Thurs9th/Fri10th Aug07 Gulf ofCarpentaria

Sailing well still - each day, it seems the wind backs slightly as morning progresses, to become ESE, so I have to pole out the genoa. It makes quite a speed difference - we went from under 5 knots to well over 6kn. Then, by late evening, wind veers again to SE, enough to have to take the pole down for overnight. Last night, I tried leaving it out, but ended up having to take it down at 11pm - with no moon (actually saw crescent of new moon this morning around sunrise). The current is varying with the tide - and now, around springs, will be the maximum tides. Fortunately, the flood current (W-going) is stronger than the ebb (E-going) presumably because there's an underlying W-going current anyway. So we are helped along more than slowed down as the tides vary over the day. It has been very 'rolly' over the past 2-3 days - the SE swell has built up now to a good 2m every 4-5 secs and is guaranted to knock the boat about quite badly every so often!

Very relaxing now - the grey overcast of this morning has disappeared and been replaced by a blue sky, so there's nice sunshine - but the air feels very cool with the following wind. I'm actually sitting reading books again, in between emails etc. But got very frustrated this morning when I particularly wanted to send an email today (being Friday) - just could not get a radio connection despite trying all possible stations & frequencies over & over, so email still not sent. I think that in the early evening propagation tends to be best, but I haven't previously had quite such a problem connecting in the morning.

From time to time, I'm checking the steering cable & quadrant under the aft bunk (have to move mattress etc, first!) - all seems fine, although cable a bit looser than it should be.

As I write this, around 1.40pm (EST), we've 436 mls to go to Darwin, ETA Mon 13th, hopefully. On arrival, there'll be a delay while strong liquid is poured into drains & left to work for 12 hrs or so before we're permitted to pass through the lock into Cullen Bay Marina area.It's a measure supposed to try to prevent green mussels getting into the inner Darwin waters.

Written by : Mike

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