The race is on!

With the cyclone season out of the race course, we are back on the saddle! We crossed the start line on 1st of May at Bundaberg with the target of crossing the finish line in Darwin around mid July, a distance of almost 2000 nautical miles. 

Rain or shine, we keep on sailing north!

The first part of the challenge was known territory. Therefore, when the conditions were right, we were advancing fast, trying to make the most of this advantage. Day and night sailing. 

The nights were pretty daunting as we slalom amongst an agglomeration of islands, reefs and shallows with the strong tides messing with our sailing course. Some of us are stronger than others, keeping straight on course without being put off by the daunting sound of the roaring waves braking on the black shadows of the islands visually cutting Mehalah’s course until we get really close. Some are not…the end result being that the stronger are in charge at night! 

From distance it looks like our course will take us through the islands; when getting really close things start making sense. Only the Captain had the balls to keep the fort at night…

It was pleasing to see places in a new light. A new atmosphere, a new vibe. It is fairly early in the sailing season compared to when we sailed up last year. Not many boaties or tourists to share the beauty with, so pretty refreshing! Plus, there always are new corners to discover and things to do, that we will have missed in the past because the winds were forcing us to move on before the time. 

Enjoying our regained freedom!

After a short ‘time out’ in the Whitsundays, sailing north from there, we eased the foot off the throttle, in an attempt to enjoy what the new race course has to offer. There are northern towns and tropical islands – all sheltered by the wonder of the Great Barrier Reef that extends for more than 2,000km north. 

Leaving the Whitsundays behind for new pastures

We are now in the ‘good country’, as local sailors call it! Gliding along beautiful blue waters, flat as a pancake for most of the time. No sandbars to cross. No annoying swell. No seasickness. Just pure enjoyment and off the scale fishing. 

‘The good country’ also throws at us some rougher seas, especially in the vicinity of islands

With T&Cs, of course. Cause the ‘good country’ comes with its perils, most notably its sleek sneaking crocodiles. They tend to stay around the coastline in muddier waters, but there were occasions when they have been spotted much further afield. So, we are keeping our guard up, binoculars on deck and wits about. 

Despite Australia extraordinary alluring power, we have to keep the race at the back of our mind and move with the winds towards our final Aussie destination, the tropical town of Darwin, capital of the Northern Territory, densely populated by Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. 

On approaching Cape York Peninsula we will be embarking on the ‘off road’ part of the racing course. We will be losing all connection to the world, reconnecting again once in Darwin. The Northern Territory is mostly aboriginal land. Traditions, customs and ways of living are strictly followed, internet and social media not being part of it all.

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