Arrived at Thursday Island
So tomorrow, we leave Australia from the administrative center of Thursday Island, just past the northern tip of the Cape York. The past few weeks we've been sailing successfully through the dangers of the Coral Sea. I've seen a lonely seagoing turtle, the fine coral beaches at Lizard Island, sunrises and sunsets, dolphins playing with a fish underneath the bow and surfing the waves, many anchorages we didn't have time to go ashore at, reefs we didn't dive at, a torn sail, huge freight ships doing 20 knots (RVH did 6 maximum so far), kilometers of coconut trees on Chili beach near Lockhart, the hospitality of folks in "the last outpost of civilisation" (Portland Roads), some great Aboriginal art at the Lockhart River Community, amazingly huge white sand dunes on Cape York and lots and lots of ocean. I've felt sea-sickness, home-sickness, missing-the-internet-sickness, love of the sea and an assortment of other emotions. The past weeks have been a huge learning curve, nothing we could have done in port would have been preparation enough for raising anchor, docking, motoring out of the harbour channel, navigating, raising and lowering sails, helming, 30 knot winds and big swell. We've survived so far though and I'm looking forward to open-sea sailing without constant dangers all about, which we will probably get some of during the next 3 weeks sailing to Kupang (Timor).
Unexpected, but pleasant, has been the lack of distraction provided by the Internet, I've found I've been able to work on my personal free software projects more effectively without it. That is, when we have generator power available (ships batteries are old and not so good). It is times like these I wish I had 1) a Debian mirror 2) a distributed VCS (quilt will do for now though) 3) tried to get wireless working before I left 4) solar panels.