Going Over The Top– By Brian

It’s one of those wonderful brightly lit nights where the full moon dances on the wave tops and you can see the entire horizon even though it’s well past midnight.  Delos is sailing “over the top” having left the Gulf of Carpentaria behind.  We have 20 knots behind us and we’re cruising along under reefed jib and mizzen making an easy 7 knots.  Everyone is asleep (except me of course) and it’s really peaceful out here.

I’m enjoying a cup of Australian Defense Force Instant Coffee.  Actually enjoying may be an over statement as it’s not very good coffee, but it is hot.  We left Wulguru island in the Wessell Group this morning.  Yesterday we went for a bush walk to see a bit of the Outback and returned to our private beach were we’ve been alone since arriving, only to find we’d been invaded by the Australian Defense Force.

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Exploring the rugged interior of the island.

It seems they patrol these waters looking for general troublemakers, miscreants, and “lost” Indonesian fishing boats that “accidently” set their nets in Australian waters.  Anyway these guys roll around in inflatable boats slightly larger than our tender on Delos for up to a month at a time.  They are 6 men in two boats, dressed head to toe in camouflage gear and look pretty imposing.  Since this is Aboriginal land half their contingent is Aboriginal.  They live off “bush tucker” which is Australian for living off the land.  Fish, Lobsters, land critters, whatever they can catch they eat.  No tents, no amenities, just 6 blokes in their little boats for a month.  Pretty hardcore.

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At first we thought we were in some sort of trouble but it turns out they were just interested in having a chat.  Apparently they don’t see many cruising boats with the likes of us around these parts.  We immediately invited them back to Delos for a cold drink and a gear rinse with our fresh water deck hose.  They were stoked for ice, tonic water, and L.A. Ice (a generic coke-like liquid we buy cause we’re on a budget).  We traded stories about what we were doing, sailing, and their lives patrolling this desolate portion of Australian waters.  They were cool guys and reciprocated by giving us one of their of their CR1M Australian Defense Force Emergency rations saying how disgusting they were as they were made in New Zealand and the Lamb was terrible.  More of that good-natured ribbing that happens between Aussies and Kiwi’s when we say Josje is from Kiwi-Land.

The lamb wasn’t great, tasting more like canned chili, but the BBQ Beef and plethora of chocolate bars and energy drink mixes certainly made up for it.  We’ve been snacking on it for three days now.  Thanks guys!

Darwin in two days!

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