It's amazing what you can do with a bit of effort. And patience. And help.
I can't believe that it was only a few short years ago when I'd bought our little 27 ft. Columbia yacht, and had Jack Finlay help me bring it down to Geelong from Melbourne. I didn't know a halyard from a shroud, and thought a sheet was something on the bed. At the start of our voyage to Darwin from Geelong, Mary had never been outside of Port Phillip Heads.
But we'd made it!
Ably assisted by Keith the Lockmaster, we were soon tied up at our boat's Wet Season home, surrounded by big cruising yachts from Hamburg, Tokyo, Auckland and even Apollo Bay! Darwin is a true international port. The skipper of the Japanese boat tied up next to us has circumnavigated the world. Eight times. And Keith the Lockmaster has sailed to Indonesia. Nine times! And I'm sure there's a lot more stories to be told in the marina as we get to know more neighbours.
So we're in fine company, and spent a hot, sweaty week or two preparing the boat to leave in Darwin's extreme weather for the duration of "The Wet".
We caught up with some old friends during that time, and generally tried to re-acquaint ourselves with the city that we'd enjoyed, and where we'd first met in the early seventies. Gasp!
And in a flush of enthusiasm, I bought a new, bigger outboard motor for the dinghy. (Anybody want a slightly-(ab)used 2 HP Yamaha?)
But we had things to do back home in Torquay, and despite the appeal of just hanging out on the boat and enjoying sundown drinks in the cockpit, we had to clear the decks, tie down the shade covers and head for home, family and the Summer in the South.
Fortunately, we found a free rental car that needed delivery from Darwin Airport to Melbourne Airport, and were soon heading south by road....some 3000 kilometres or so. It was a nice drive, a different take on Australia to what we'd experienced on the boat, and much easier.