Darwin harbor was discovered by John Lort Stokes aboard the Beagle in 1839, and it was named after Stokes’ prior shipmate, Charles Darwin. Gold was discovered nearby at Pine Creek in 1871, and Darwin grew rapidly. However, Darwin became somewhat known internationally during World War II when it was an important base for allied forces in the Pacific. During the war, Darwin was attacked 64 times.
Darwin is the northernmost city in Australia. It is a long way from nowhere, and it takes considerable effort to get here whether by road, air, rail, or water. Partly because of its isolation, we didn’t expect much, but it is a nice place.
Darwin was a pleasant surprise for us. We were surprised at the quality of the facilities at the Darwin Sailing Club which is the ‘home base’ for the Darwin-to-Kupang Rally that we are sailing with. We have found it easy to get around town, and town has most of what we need. There are multiple marinas and chandleries, and even the bureaucrats in the customs office were pleasant.
Passage had brief but intimate encounters with two Fijian reefs last year, and her bottom paint was scratched. We had planned to haul her out and paint her bottom in Bundaberg, but we did not get it done. So we opted to do it in Darwin before heading north. We hauled her out at Sadgroves Quay in Frances Bay on July 9. We did our minor repairs and painted her bottom then relaunched on July 17 – an 8 day haulout.
We returned to Fannie Bay where we spent our final five days in Darwin cleaning up the boat and getting ready to sail to Indonesia. We anticipated limited provisioning opportunities in Indonesia, so we loaded up on stores and looked forward to moving on.
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