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Truck Stops of The Sea

Oct 8, 2008

Location: Darwin
Author: Sam Englender
Having spent the previous night’s anchor watch searching out growling nearby crocs, most shipmates groggily made their way up to the deck for an early departure from the Tiwi Islands to Darwin. We spent another windless day on passage listening to the motor and dancing our roasting feet across the scorching decks. In hopes of impressing the Darwin pilot (a local official who boards the ship to direct it into port) and any customs officials, staff and crew spent off watch hours tidying up both personal and public spaces. We drew near Darwin at around 2:00pm, at which point we spotted the pilot boat making way and quickly threw on shirts in hopes of making a good impression. While none of us knew quite what to expect, seeing a man covered head to toe sporting a 6 inch beard and a ninja-like headdress (crafted from a t-shirt, of course) cruise up to our boat was definitely not on the list. The “ninja-man” helped another, much less burly man onto the boat and we headed for the dock. We knew that we were heading towards an industrial marina and that we would likely be docking behind an oilrig or something of that nature. En route, we had fantasized about the marina being an “oceanic truck stop” with brawny boats, husky men and maybe even a greasy diner. The actual marina, however, turned out to be much more tame. Aside from a fortress of a customs ship, and a dock height generous enough to accommodate 8 meter tides, the marina seemed normaleven disappointingin its lack of showers. However, nature did not disappoint and as we put the finishing touches on Simon’s parallel park job, a downpour officially welcomed us to the City of Darwin. We head to bed tonight trying to forget about the more terrible scenes of White Squall (the class video of the night) and instead dream about tomorrow’s day full of boat appreciation, provisioning and the much anticipated, long awaited: night out.