Jul 98 Updates

July 1, 1998

Got into Darwin a couple days ago after a very fast passage from Thursday Island.  The first 2 days out were the toughest. We had wind from the Southeast right on the beam (makes the boat roll back and forth).  Hardly anyone got a decent amount of sleep.  The seas were of good size also, averaging around 12 to 15 feet and 30 to 35 knots of wind.  After the first two days, things calmed down just a bit, but not much.  Our best day was 205 miles.

We got buzzed by a Australian Coast Guard plane towards the end of the third day as we were approaching Darwin. They scan the area for drug runners and such.  A quick check in with them over the VHF and all was set right.  A side benefit of the radio chatter: Our friends on Truant, a 55 foot sailboat we met in Tahiti, heard us and hailed us on the VHF. Lester and Sheena have their two children on board and are also taking time out from the “real world” to sail the globe. They caught up with us and we proceeded to Darwin together.

After we set the dock lines at the Cullen Bay Marina, Alex decided to fly back to Brisbane to see Miranda before she heads towards Indonesia on Absolut Freedom (see previous updates).

So, we’re cleaning up the boat and down the dock walks our newest crew member, Mark Vernon. Seems he was able to find us before we got to call him.  The boat now has; 2 Compaq laptops, Mark’s G3 Mac Powerbook, Nick’s broken G3 (the screen got totaled, a huge crack all the way across, Ouch!), 3 digital cameras, one working 8mm video camera, one busted 8mm video camera, and numerous 35mm SLR’s. On the way down with our friend Jamie is, drum roll please, a new digital video camera and the SSB Email setup.  We are going to be totally wired! Give us a few days to put everything together, and then the updates will fly!

An added bonus of July 1st here in Darwin is that it’s Territory Day.  For you Aussies following along, you know what that means. For everyone else, it means that today is the only day that fireworks are legal in Oz. We are running out to get a bushel full. Just gotta remember to aim away from the mainsail...

July 7, 1998

Man oh man is it hot!  It’s been a steady 30 degrees Celsius or above for the last couple of days.  Darwin has just recorded the hottest July day on record.  Considering it’s the winter season down here, that’s saying something.

Jamie Noble arrived bearing supplies and we’ve just about got the SSB Email hooked up. We’ve also added one of those whirlybird wind generators to the stern of OOB.  Should give us about 16 to 17 amps of juice to the 24 volt batteries to help with the power usage.

Plans have changed somewhat and now we’re going to make a straight shot to Cocos Keeling from Darwin.  We’ll be leaving around July 14th for the 2000 mile passage. Should take about 13 to 18 days depending on the winds.

We’re going to be doing a lot of sightseeing while we’re in Darwin.  Just came back from Catherine Gorge yesterday and we will be stopping by Kakadu National Park today or tomorrow.  We’ll be sending Jeff some more pictures and journals to post to the site soon.

RealAudio Update from Bill, July 7th (87K)

July 14, 1998

Jamie Noble departed on the 11th for New York and Nick yesterday, via Singapore, London (for Dad's B-day) and  then New York.  They will both be missed, especially Nick who has made a lot of fans along the coast of Oz.  He's just one of those people whom everyone likes.

The Over the Top Rally (last leg, Gove to Darwin) just pulled in a few days ago. A bunch of boats, most of which will continue on in the Darwin to Ambon race.  Marina filled up and we had to move to a private slip.

Running down the list of things to do before we leave. Finalizing the new route and departure date.  Looking like Darwin, Cocos, Chagos, Seychelles, Mayotte, Madagascar, Mozambique Channel and then down the coast. Need charts for that. Should depart by the end of the week or the weekend at the latest.

Still to do: finish installation of wind generator, finish installation of Hella fans for berths...finally!!!  Get the Pinoak working. Check all systems, i.e. engine oil, belts, etc. Provisioning, fueling, customs, puppy papers, fishing lures, visas......

Just got back on Friday from Kakadu National Park. Way cool!! Flew up there on a small Cessna, saw billabongs, Aboriginal Art, flora, fauna, etc. Will write a more detailed account before we leave.

RealAudio Update from Alex, July 14th (60K)

July 17, 1998

It's currently 07:00 and I've just gotten off the SSB with Bob off of "Gypsy Spray".  He's a single hander heading basically the same route we are, initially Cocos Keeling. So he has about 1980 miles ahead of him and no wind.   His GPS blew up and he's running off of his backup as he brushes up on his celestial!  We have four, just in case the backup of our backups backups, backup blows.

Anyway,  I'm spending today putting together all of the charts we need to make it to Cape Town.  There are tons of them! Probably as many charts across the Indian Ocean as there are from NYC to Darwin!  Unbelievable.

Here's our checklist for the next couple days. If anyone thinks we're on a beach drinking Pina Colada's all the time, look at this list:

Carpenter for port bunk.
Install Fans (7)
Finalize installation of wind generator
Install netting on lifelines
Change oil and check engine and belts
Arrange for duty free fuel.
Finalize Pinoak installation
Purchase necessary charts.
Return cell phone to Brisbane
Finalize the puppy’s papers and permits
Adjust T valve on refigeration system
Check on necessary visas for new location
Inform customs of departure date
Purchase new lures
Pay final phone bill
Check rigging

Otherwise everything is ready to go! We're all getting a bit "stir crazy" at the dock, but with any luck we will depart Australia on Saturday morning at 08:00. If we get this Pinoak gizmo working, we'll actually be able to give you our position and status report every day we're at sea!  This should be pretty cool.

July 18, 1998

Good news! The Out of Bounds web site was chosen as the Extreme Sports Site of the Year by Wild Wild Web!  As I’ve always mentioned, with all the time that goes into the designing and updating of this site, it’s great to receive some recognition. You can read the full lowdown by checking out the Wild Wild Web site.

The departure from Darwin has been moved forward to Monday, July 20th. Will update the site again on Sunday night.

July 20, 1998

We’re off! We’ve just pulled away from the fuel dock here in Darwin after filling up the tanks with duty free diesel.  We also filled up two 6 gallon (25 liter) jerry cans with some extra diesel in case there are very light winds.

We figure that if we can average 150 miles a day (a tad conservative), we should get to Cocos Keeling in around 13-14 days. We’re still working on the Pinoak SSB Email system and hope to have it up and running shortly. The propagation (interference) was supposedly a factor in Darwin Harbor. If the SSB Email won’t work, we’ll be calling Jeff in New York via the AT&T High Seas Direct set we have attached to the SSB.

We are leaving mainland Australia with a tinge of sadness. We met some fantastic people and saw some incredible scenery.  But then again, it’s time to move on. This is Suzie’s first open ocean passage and she is really looking forward to the journey.  Mark is also looking forward to getting some blue water miles under his belt.  Check out our Enewsletter for more info!

July 22, 1998

Note from Jeff:  No word from the crew as of yet. I assume that they are still trying to get the PinOak SSB Email system to work.  Keep your fingers crossed and hopefully they get it up and running.


Karla, Suzie, Bill, and Jamie out in Darwin before the start of the Indian Ocean passage

New!!  Photo update from Kakadu National Park (thanks to Jamie for bringing back the digital pics from Australia)

July 28, 1998
Note from Jeff: Heard from Bill via the AT&T High Seas direct SSB phone patch. Well, um, actually, my roommates took a message (I have to leave my computer sometime...).  Bill reports that they have passed South of Bali, Indonesia and are on course for Cocos Keeling. They should arrive sometime Friday night, July 31st.  Seas have been running around 12 to 15 feet with winds in the 25-35 knot range. Top boat speed so far has been 10.8 knots.

For everyone that emailed in and asked if the tidal waves affected OOB, don’t worry. The waves hit the Northwest section of Papua New Guinea (with tragic loss of lives), over 1500 miles away.  As a matter of fact, even if a tidal wave passed a boat on the open ocean, you would hardly notice it. A “tidal wave” travels close to 600 miles an hour and only wells up when the sea gets shallow. 

Unfortunately, the PinOak system is not up and running.  Bill and crew will try and have it reinstalled and tested in Cocos.

For all those interested, Nina (Alex’s sister) had some incredibly cool Out of Bounds baseball caps made up.  As soon as I get my hands on a few, I’ll offer them on the site.  They are white with an American flag on the front with “Out of Bounds” written underneath.  On the back, it says “Swan 46/102” (46 meaning the size of the yacht and 102 representing the hull number). Thanks Nina!

July 31, 1998
Well, I can’t exactly say that Out of Bounds has made it to Cocos Keeling yet. I did, however, receive a garbled message on my answering machine that sounded like Bill said that they were about 60 miles out from Cocos. Either that or he said “Coconuts are good for you”. I don’t know, you be the judge...  Will get back to everyone when I hear more. Cheers, Jeff

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