Lat: 12 18.397′ S
Long: 126 21.726′ E

It is day three of our passage to Bali in very light winds. We’ve been using the motor on and off and still only averaging about 100 miles/day, but in such calm seas, we are able to function on the boat as if we were at anchor (except for the sleep deprivation bit). We are now only 200 miles from Ashmore Reef and looking forward to stopping to sleep and to check out the Australian-operated marine reserve there.

Our last days in Darwin were busy and fruitful. Woolworths delivered our bags and bags of groceries right to the boat ramp, and we were able to load them into the dinghy and get them onto the boat in one trip. It really could not have been any easier. However, between catching up with our friends on S/V Marionette who had just arrived, selecting a couple of Aboriginal paintings, going to the Aboriginal documentary, getting duty-free diesel from the wharf on the other side of town, and clearing out with customs, we didn’t have time to stow the groceries until the following day (Tuesday) when we were underway. Normally we wouldn’t have weighed anchor and set sail for another country with bags and jugs strewn all over the boat, but we knew that we would be motoring in light winds with plenty of time to get organized.

bags A few groceries

Darwin was definitely the place to pick up Aboriginal artwork. There are galleries on each corner of the city center, and we had fun perusing them and trying to decide on a couple of pieces. We ended up bypassing a large one that had the "wow factor" but would probably lose its luster after a while (like a shallow supermodel) and opted instead for a slightly smaller and more subtle but very interesting painting patterned after a lizard’s skin as well as a smaller, more traditional painting representing a mother and child. In general, the quality and unique style of the paintings that come from the tribes of the Northern Territory is extremely impressive, so much so that I am interested in importing several pieces to sell in the U.S. at some point.

painting “Manjala” (New Born Baby Song) by Bummalibina (“Penelope”) Green

The documentary entitled "Our Generation" was screened at the Deckchair Cinema, a really nice outdoor theater next to the city park. It was a full house of mostly "non-indigenous Australians" (white folks) as well as some indigenous peoples from the Northern Territory (NT) tribes. The documentary was created by a white Aussie woman who had spent some time living with one of the tribes and was there when the white officials came in 2007 to investigate child abuse. It sounds like they went on a hunting expedition in all of the NT Aboriginal communities based on limited evidence of abuse, and in order to do so, had to suspend the Racial Discrimination Act. This is one of many governmental policies and practices that was denounced in the documentary. Some compelling information was presented such as the United Nation’s declaration of the Aussie government’s policies as racist. Also, the life expectancy of Aborigines is lower than that of any other Indigenous people in the world, due in large part to the many diseases that affect them in their over-crowded living conditions (up to 20 people living in a 3-bedroom house!).

In a nutshell, it seems that the oldest society in the world (30,000 years old according to carbon dating) was not only displaced by the newest society in the world but was then expected to assimilate, with very poor results. We left thinking that it would behoove the Australian government to expend their funds, efforts, etc. in ways that better fit the Aboriginal customs and beliefs instead of imposing upon them a lifestyle of Western-style poverty and a feeling of indignity.

OK, I’m off my soapbox now. There’s not much else to report. We are just getting spoiled by having so much peace and quiet with just the two of us on board. The boat is in good shape except that the roller furling for the jib is "getting stuck" (my version of a technical description). Dallas is not happy about this after just paying hundreds of dollars to have the bearings replaced in NZ. Hopefully sorting this out won’t occupy too much of his time when we are in Bali, as we both can think of better things to do!