- We’ve been refused permission to rest and resupply at Cocos Keeling and Christmas Islands.
- Indonesia has shut down.
- Permission to visit Mauritius is needed from four separate organisations, including the Prime Ministers office. A red tape nightmare.
It leaves one option (if we want to reach South Africa by November and avoid the looming cyclone season) Reunion Island.
A French Territory since 1638, Reunion Island is just 30-miles wide, covered in mountains, ravines and tropical forest – 40% protected Unesco World Heritage site. It has the most active volcano in the world – Piton de la Fournaise ‘Peak of the Furnace.’
However … the exotic delights of Reunion Island are 4450 nautical miles away from Darwin.
Getting there means the longest passage of the entire circumnavigation, over 1000 nautical miles longer than our previous longest leg. And we estimate it will take us five weeks.
But, we’re going for it. We’ve done our research and planning and are all set to go.
Sailing conditions on the Indian Ocean will be mixed. Over the first couple of weeks we’ll have variable winds before meeting the consistent trade winds which typically reach 15-25 knots, but gale force at times.
We’ll then encounter a south/south westerly swell coming up from the southern ocean which can make for an uncomfortable motion. Hello Kwells!
Admittedly, it’s daunting. Two people, a small boat and a long time at sea on a whopping great ocean. But, to be honest, we can’t wait to get back out on the water.
Life in the Australian Northern Territory
The heat and humidity in the frontier town of Darwin is driving us European softies insane. It’s 38 degrees outside and 42 degrees on the boat. With no air con Baggy is a little sweat box of misery … we drip, scratch mysterious bites, can’t sleep, try to contain an ant infestation, swipe away flies and struggle to do the simplest things from 10.30am-5.30pm.
OK, that’s the worst part over with.
Over the last three weeks the epic outback of the Northern Territory hasn’t ceased to amaze us.
We’ve just returned from a camping road trip to Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks.
Northern Territory photo highlights ….
Picture the scenario: it’s early morning and I’m out running, alone, on a deserted road near Yellow Water Billabong. Paul’s safely back at camp enjoying a cooked breakfast.
I round a bend and stop. A two-metre high, male water buffalo is stood in the middle of the road …. staring at my red top.
I consider using the Crocodile Dundee hypnotising technique. Decide against it, turn around and pick out trees to climb! Eventually, I have no other option but to tentatively return. The buffalo’s gone back into the bush and I’ve never run so fast back to camp in my life!!
Yup, we’ve had an awesome Northern Territory experience; and if it wasn’t for the heat we’d be sad to leave. A short video of our Darwin and Northern Territory escapades can be seen on YouTube here.
But, leave we must.
So, what now?
Border Force Australia are clearing us out of the country on Thursday. We’ll be alright.
✔️We’ve got enough dried goods to last us till November
✔️We’re carrying five hundred litres of water and have a strict water rationing plan of 10 litres a day. Hello saltwater washing!
✔️Rations of 0% beer is one each, every three days, with a packet of twiglets
✔️Baking and cooking is thanks to 2 x 4kg gas cylinders and 22 litres of meths (for the stove – honest).
✔️Stacks of books, podcasts and grand musical and creative projects are planned to keep us entertained.
Trusty Yellow Brick will be pinging our location every 12 hours.
But … we very much look forward to writing again when we finally reach Reunion Island.