A few days after we arrived back in Darwin, James returned to Seattle for three action-packed weeks back at work. While he was gone, Jennifer got Dirona and Spitfire ready to leave Australia and head out across the Indian Ocean to South Africa. Of the three pleasure-craft marinas in Darwin, we chose Tipperary Waters mainly because it was the only one that would take a reservation several months in advance as we planned the US return trip. We’re very happy with the choice. The setting is beautiful, and the marina is secure and close to downton Darwin.
Highlights from July 14th through Aug 4th follow. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at http://mvdirona.com/maps
Some countries we’ll be visiting over the next year require a health certificate showing proof of continuous rabies vaccinations. Because Australia is rabies-free, rabies vaccine is a controlled substance that requires government approval to bring into the country. Darwin My Vet Service ordered the vaccine for us a few months back and arranged a mobile appointment to give Spitfire a checkup plus the rabies and other vaccinations. Spitfire got a three-year rabies vaccination in Hawaii, and isn’t actually due until January 2016, but we wanted to have the shots done here so he’ll have a respected Australian health certificate.
To prevent the outbreak of aquatic pests, the Northern Territory Department of Fisheries screens all vessels for their biosecurity risk before allowing them into a Darwin marina. Depending on the vessel’s history, a free inspection and/or treatment for marine pests might be required. Here the the Department of Fisheries is performing their monthly marina inspection for possible outbreaks. The small tupperware containers each contain a sponge that was suspended in the water so they can monitor what is growing at different levels. They’ve not had an outbreak for quite some time, but if they do discover one, they’ll dose the whole marina with a copper-based treatment.
Our last wax was in the Gold Coast less than five months ago, so we weren’t quite due. But the UV rays here are harsh, and we won’t have another opportunity until much later in the year when we reach South Africa. Froggies is doing a great job and the boat is back to shining again.
Keith Pennicott, the Tipperary Waters Marina manager, asked as we arrived if we had any dogs on board. James said no and Keith said “Good. Do you have any cats on board?” “Uh-oh”, James thought as he responded “Yes, we do have a cat on board.” Keith again responded “Good.” Keith and his spouse Lea live on board Tientos across the walkway from ours. Their three cats and Spitfire spend a lot of time eyeing each other.
Dinner on Akitsushima III with Norio and Jo-Anne Matsushita. Norio has circumnavigated seven times, and they’ve completed one circumnavigation together. They’ll be heading to Indonesia with the Sail Indonesia rally in a few days. Norio is from Japan, and Jo-Anne is from Richmond, BC near Vancouver. They lived aboard in Vancouver for a number of years and cruised the Puget Sound extensively. It’s surprising to be so far from home and end up moored right beside people from our area. The Pacific Northwest does seem to be a base for a lot of world cruisers.
Jennifer’s first haircut in a year. It had gotten really long–this is after it was cut. Lisa at Fuse did a great job. It’s nice to have the fringe (as they call bangs here) and the ends all even and cleaned up again.
Besides the lazarette freezer, we also cleaned out the Sub Zero. In this photo you can see the design change we made at the yard to replace the teak grill with a teak piece that extends from the bottom freezer drawer to partially cover the equipment. This improves airflow and allows easy cleaning of dust buildup.
At the “everyone welcome” Sail Indonesia barbecue. Standing near the marine office giving an orientation are our neighbours Keith Pennicott, the marina manager, and his spouse Lea. They’ve spent much time in Indonesia and will be retiring there next year. Lea has just published a cruising guide on the area.
Making a batch of Teriyaki chicken fried rice to portion and freeze for the Indian Ocean trip. We generally cook regular meals while at sea, but when conditions are rough or we’ve gotten busy with something, it’s nice to have a quick and hearty meal available.
Jean and Matt from Superted V heading out through the lock. This is the last time we will see them for quite a few months–the next time probably won’t be until South Africa. They’ll be spending five weeks in the Kimberley before crossing the Indian Ocean. We’ll be leaving Darwin in a couple of weeks and likely will be ahead of them most of the way across.
Caitlin Holley of the Australian Department of Agriculture examining Spitfire for his health certificate. Unlike the US, where the health certificate is generic and just lists vaccination history and test results, the Australian health certificate is tailored to the country of destination. And you must meet all that countries import requirement’s for the health certificate to be issued. Caitlin also endorsed Spitfire’s rabies vaccination certificate. We now have sufficient paperwork to get him all the way to the US eastern seaboard. And finally, Caitlin issued the export certificate required to take any live animal out of Australia.
At Australia Customs to pickup export paperwork for our temporary imports. With appropriate import paperwork in advance, goods can be brought into Australia duty- and tax-free temporarily for up to a year. The goods we brought in by pallet and on our return trips to the US came in this way. On leaving, export paperwork is required to document that the goods did leave the country. We needed to use a broker for the import paperwork, but did the export paperwork ourselves.
Vacuum sealing dry goods into storage cannisters to reduce size and better preserve them. For the Indian Ocean run, we’re doing similar preparation as when we left Hawaii. Other than fresh produce, we don’t plan to buy anything between Australia and South Africa, about two months apart. We have a new vacuum-sealer, a FoodSaver V2244. Our previous sealer, a FoodSaver Professional II, eventually died after about 15 years and a couple of “rebuilds”. The new one is more compact, and still is compatible with our storage canisters. We have four canisters and use them to store dry goods such as sugar, salt, flour, rice and pasta. They have been very useful on this trip, particularly in the humid tropics. We also seal some dry and frozen goods in storage bags.
With the crocodile threat, we’ve not been able to dive the boat outside the lock since leaving Lizard Island. We don’t like diving the boat in marinas, and won’t have an opportunity before the Indian Ocean crossing. So Froggies Detailing, who waxed the boat earlier, cleaned the bottom as well.
Froggies took a GoPro down with them and sent us some pictures. The bottom looks clean and barnacle-free now. Our zincs were in surprisingly good shape given we’ve not changed them since the New Zealand haulout nearly two years ago, but the main prop zinc was totally missing. Froggies put this new one on for us.
James returned to Dirona today after three action-packed weeks back at work in Seattle. Pictured are some of the parts and supplies he brought back with him, including a new Tilley hat for Jennifer, courtesy flags for the next set of countries we’ll be visiting, a swack of DVDs, and some litter pads for Spitfire.
Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.
On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at http://mvdirona.com/maps.