Saturday, June 18, 2016

Darwin: walked and found

        I walked into and around downtown Darwin yesterday.  Probably a total of only three or four miles, but my unused legs felt it.
       After lunch of a chicken and avocado salad, a cold beer, and an ice cream cone for dessert, I wandered around, found the two supermarkets I remembered and most of the items I need to provision for the next long passage.  I bought a few items, some scones, a snack mix, a lime, and a box of wine.  I tried to buy two boxes, but was told that the store has a limit of one box per customer a day. Hmm.  
        I took a taxi back to the sailing club.   There are buses, but I didn’t want to wait.
        At the sailing club, I showered and then rowed back to GANNET.  For the second successive day, the row out was harder than the row in.  The wind had backed to the north and was blowing hard on the beam, causing me to have to work to keep from ending back in downtown Darwin.  There was enough chop to make climbing from dinghy to GANNET difficult.
        As soon as I was aboard I realized that I had left my bag of groceries on the bench in the men’s shower room.  This is not a place where I turn around and row back in a second time.
        So, no lime in a gin and tonic, no boxed wine, no snack mix, no scone to dunk in my morning coffee.
       Today I rowed in at 11 a.m.  The wind has been light all day and the rows in and out were relatively easy. 
       When I had the Avon secured, I went to the shower room and there untouched just where I left it was my grocery bag.  Good people. 
        I did not forget to bring it out with me this time.


        I have always been in Darwin in June, and I have always sailed from Darwin to Bali.
        There are fewer boats here than in the past.  I think only a half dozen are in transit.  The rest are local.
        The closest boat to GANNET is a catamaran perhaps a hundred yards/meters away.  Four other boats are anchored within three hundred yards/meters.  Oddly they are all unattended.  On deck as I am at sunset, I see their anchor lights come on, presumably with a photo-sensitive switch.  But no one is aboard.  I’ve seen men power out to two of the boats during the week, spend an hour, and power back to shore.


        In addition to having one of the most brutal rows to shore, because of smoke from bush fires and dust rising off the desert to the west, at this time of year Darwin also has consistently spectacular sunsets.
         The one above looks to me like a painting by Turner.