Today was a Big Day. We had about 45 more miles to round Cape York and reach Thursday Island where we will clear out of Australia and sail to our first new country since we arrived here in December 2016. The wind would be a little better if we waited another day, but we’d done all the chores we could, and besides, after three weeks with only very slow satellite communications we were ready to catch up with the world, post some photos and meet up with other boats.
Leaving the Escape River was nearly as uncomfortable as entering but once out and turned on our course we had a nice run up to the Albany passage, a narrow slot where the current runs fast. We already had a fair push from the usual tidal stream.
Jack got a little worried as we approached the passage because there appeared to be a breaking wave across the entrance. It turned out just to be the clash of swells coming from two different directions and not a shallow bar, and we passed it with very little turbulence.
Once inside the passage the water was flat calm and the current pushed us along faster than we usually go, but with no effort from us.
Before long we were squirted out the other side and only a few miles from rounding Cape York, the northernmost point on the Australian mainland.
Rounding the Cape was one of those emotional moments we experience now and again. We know we will soon be leaving Australia, our home for more than 19 months. Sailing up the seemingly endless Queensland coast has been challenging and wonderful but it’s all behind us now and we’re starting to turn our sights toward Indonesia and beyond.
We estimated our trip to Thursday Island to take about eight hours but with the fair currents and tidal streams it was in reality only a little more than five hours. Our destination was Horn Island, a more protected leeward anchorage and we found plenty of room in clear blue water and good holding. Depending on ease of final provisioning and various admin we need to accomplish before we leave high speed internet again we expect to be here a week.
It’s time to celebrate with the good bubbly Alex and Diana brought for the purpose. Tick another one off the bucket list.