We had champagne sailing conditions from the Montebello islands to the Dampier Archipelago. Wind was on the beam, about 11 knots - and with the current with us we were sailing at 7knots or more almost the whole way.
As we approached, the wind died and we motored a bit to get in. Anchoring off Malus island for a couple of nights. It was a little bit rolly as swell seemed to creep around the eastern arm every morning but by mid-afternoon it had usually calmed down a bit. Not enough to get off the boat - so we did a few boat jobs getting ready for the Kimberley.
The next day we headed into the port of Dampier - Hampton Harbour and anchored close to the beach. The advantage of larger tides is that if you arrive and leave during neap tides, you can sneak inside most of the other anchored boats.
We met up again with Mad Fish who we’d seen in Exmouth marina. They were still here waiting to get their new mainsail delivered and installed. They gave us the lowdown on where to find some rock art and tips for town. I’d hired a car from the airport, which meant next morning we cycled the 11km up and over the hill, across the salt flats to collect the car.
Now the manic provisioning continues. We hope we can do all we need here and then skip Broome entirely. Broome is problematic because of the large tidal range and shallow sloping beach. It means you have difficulties with the dinghy (dragging it up above the high water line), not to mention lugging any shopping down the beach to the dinghy. Fuel is also difficult - so we plan to brim fuel here, and then sail as much as we can, and refuel at Dogleg Creek if we need to…(despite the reputed $3+/litre price).
We’ve heard from other boats arriving into Broome from the Kimberley that the latest outbreaks and state border closures have caused their WA entry passes to be invalidated. This is a ludicrous situation given boats have been in transit in the Kimberley since before the latest outbreaks began. Hopefully common sense will prevail, though WA is not known for that unfortunately… We have the opposite issue - entry passes into the NT (and thus Darwin) can only be applied for less than 7 days in advance. We won’t have internet access at that point, so we have to hope that they don’t change the rules again whilst we’re in the remote Kimberley region!