Thursday, July 10, 2008

July 9, 2008 - Darwin Dash, Day 12

"What would the memory of my sea life have been for me if it had not included a passage through the Torres Strait . . . along the track of the early navigators?" - Joseph Conrad
Pilot Whales

With two and a half knots of current assisting us, we shot out of the Endeavor Strait into the Gulf of Carpentaria, both of us relieved to have the Torres Strait behind us. While I agree with Mr. Heart of Darkness - our circumnavigation certainly wouldn't have been complete without a passage through the Torres Strait in the wake of Captain Cook - we're awfully glad to have this right of passage behind us. The last few days have been some of the most challenging of our trip.

In the end, despite the obstacles, we feel that we made the right choice in taking the less traveled southern route from Raine Island through the Great Barrier Reef and into the Torres Strait. We shaved many miles off this passage to Darwin by not going all the way up north to Bramble Cay to pick up the Great North East Channel. We avoided most of the commercial shipping traffic and much of the adverse current that gives the Torres Strait its infamous reputation. We also had a better wind angle and calmer seas for the 135 miles from Raine Island to Cape York than our friends on Increscent Moon have had in the Great North East Channel. For the past two days they have been beating their way down from Bramble Cay in 30-35 knot winds, while dodging a dozen ships. We'll take downwind sailing over beating any day of the week.

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