Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Darwin: by Dad


I hope you are all well.

Just stepped off the plane at 7:00am so am a little jet lagged but here we go. I was last in Darwin in 1985 and what I remember is how hot, humid and isolated the top end is. Although when I was there it was the wet season, also referred to as the crazy season. After four days, not having any way to escape the intensity of the heat and humidity I climbed into the Austin 1800 and drove non-stop (stopping for fuel only) to Cairns.

The Darwin that greeted us on this trip was certainly much kinder. Jen, the photographer, and I arrived prematurely and occupied our time with researching the area, contacting media and finding some fun things for Zac to do once he arrived. Jen and I were the only crew on this trip as our resouces did not allow for the production crew or Marianne to fly out. So between Zac, Jen and myself we tried to capture all the footage and photos that we could in the time that we had. In our frustration and lack of patience we decided to get some arial footage of Zac out there sailing since his last position report still put him two days out and we had already been waiting three days. Just after booking the tickets the weather had lightend and Zac's progress had slowed so this was like a little boost of morale and added necessary footage at the same time. We caught up with Zac fifteen miles out of the Dundas Strait. He was 'merrily' sailing along in about a 10-15 knot afternoon breeze. I made radio contact with Zac once and then my handheld VHF died. He waved at the plane as the pilot made numerous passes alowing us to maximize footage on equipment. By the way, if you have never tried capturing this type of footage, it is a lot harder then it might seem. The time passed al too quickly and it was time to head back to Darwin through the Dundas Strait, down the side of Melville Island over the Veron Island and back to the airport.

The following day, Dan, the owner of the Capricornia Motel where we were staying offered his father in law's boat that he had at his disposal to go out and catch up to Zac. What a great opportunity! John knight also came along. John has been helping and advising with much of the navigation up at the top end. We caught up to Zac, who was just clear of the Vernons with an unfavorable tide change and was being swept back towards them. We took all our photos and footage and tossed him a big beef roll and a cold drink. It was a little more personal than the plane the day before and with his position and conditions we worked out that Zac would be in Cullin Bay, Darwin in the early hours of the morning. John Knight and I had arranged to meet at the yacht club and keep in radio contact giving advice and way points to Zac until he was at anchor because of the complexity of the anchorage and tidal situation. Around 3:00 am the hook was down and time for all to catch up on some well earned rest.

Customs spent the best part of 2 hrs on the Intrepid and cleared them into Australia. Then up with the hook and over to the dock where the media had been waiting for the best part of two hours. Although tired Zac was in rare form answering all the questions. We fueled and filled the water tank of Intrepid and had good meal at a resteraunt close by. We took Zac around and showed him the motel, yacht club and the Spot On Boat Yard, which was where Zac would haul his yacht. Mike and Sue, the owners, have been so helpful and generous. Zac had to wait for the high tide before they could haul his yacht due to the sand bars and shoaling areas. Mike made a phone call to a friend of his, Allistair, and we met the following day. Allistair is a shipwright and keen sailor and before I could look around he just started getting stuck into what needed to be done. What a huge blessing. Sunny, Allistair's helper, and he are top tradesman. They are fast and efficient. They knocked out a huge portion of the work very quickly and voluntarily. I was extremley relieved and pleasantly surprised. When Zac had rested, he went off with Jen to do a bit of sight seeing compliments of the NT (Northern Territory) Tourism Board. Zac swam with crocs, had a tour around with aborigines, had a trip up the Adelaide River and saw the jumping crocs. He has been having a great time in Darwin. Thanks to all the awesome people and support he's been getting. I left a little prematurely to get back to the states due to our economic climate and it's effects my business. There was still much work to be done to Intrepid, and I trust that Zac will see the importance of executing the list before heading out across the Indian Ocean. My last day in Darwin was spent picking up supplies all day long and checking out of the motel. That evening, Zac and I went to Allistair's house for dinner and met up with his family. What a fine meal! It was great to really relax in good company. We left Allistair's house and headed for the store to reprovision with the nonperishables and went back to the Intrepid to say our good byes.
Now on to the next chapter. The Indian Ocean awaits. A young man is purposefully finishing his preparations. The tide will turn at 4:00pm Dawin local time Friday. God-willing he and Intrepid will be on that tide.

Below is a list of the work that intrepid had done in Darwin:

1. Clean fuel tank (problem still occurred after Port Moresby)

2. Change Racor fuel filters (Intrepid has dual Racor 500s)

3. Tighten tiller arm

4. Tighten packing gland

5. Fix or replace faulty bilge pump

6. Caulk all leaking areas

7. Put on repaired genoa

8. Lubricate wind monitor, change out chaffed lines

9. Fill alcohol resevoir for stove

10. Paint antifoul on bow

11. Attach main sail to out haul

12. Fix port cockpit scupper

13. Replace Raymarine 1000 & 2000 tiller pilots (replaced 2000 waiting for the 1000)

14. Replace computer

15. Replace computer keyboard

Thank you all for praying and being a big part of what Zac is doing.




Blogger Anita said...

G'day to you Laurence!!

Some trip to Darwin, you'll have to rest (if possible) when back in the states!

Many thanks for taking the time to share your news from Oz, much appreciated as I imagine you were very busy making sure all was in order. That was quite the "to do" list!

Glad to hear that Zac had some down time. Sounds like he did some great sight seeing!

Looking forward to the next leg of the adventure!

God speed
Waterloo, NY USA ~_/)

September 24, 2008 at 2:02 AM  
Anonymous Rory Gogan SINGAPORE said...

LS, Thanks for the post. I was in Wisconsin drinking beer so i havent been hear a PC in while which was nice. I didn't know the PC got trashed? I thought it was his IPOD and the radio he dropped in the sink? Glad U had a few nice meals in Oz. Did Zman try a 'works burger"? How about the rack of lamb and some mash. GORGEOUS!!!
Z..your Anaheim Angels are looking tough. Any idea of your next GPO address? I got a great t-shirt for yah.
SubPrimed in Singapore..

September 24, 2008 at 3:24 AM  
Blogger Wheelie Catholic said...

Great to hear about Darwin. Definitely am keeping all of you in my prayers -

September 24, 2008 at 4:53 AM  
Blogger Clay said...


Continued success, sounds like Zac is on schedule for his next leg.

About this hair cut talk, please stop! It shows me how you will vote this Nov 4th and it makes me nervous.

September 24, 2008 at 6:02 AM  
Blogger Willyboy said...

Laurence - sounds like it has been as busy as expected. I'm sure it was tough leaving, but I know it was great for both you and Zac to be together, have a little fun and work on getting Intrepid in shape.

The leg across the Indian Ocean sounds long but relatively "straight forward"? No real obstacles? Cocos-Keeling still a planned stop?

Zac, I hope you have a new IPOD to enjoy some tunes beyond that one poor CD - does it have some Wagner on it? :) I know it's been very busy but from your Dad's post sounds like there was at least a little fun so I hope you enjoyed that. Last, I hope the remaining repairs go well and you make way as per schedule.

Cheers to you and to all...

milford, ohio

September 24, 2008 at 6:08 AM  
Blogger kirsten said...

Hi ive been waiting to hear from you.Its so refreshind to know whats going on.Ill be praying everything goes alright.


September 24, 2008 at 6:10 AM  
Blogger Douglas Pistone said...

Hello Zac, Laurence, & Everyone,

What a great report Laurence. It seems like you wrote everything that was important during the last week. I really enjoyed all the detailed descriptions. I'm glad to hear that Zac had time to actually relax and do some touring around Darwin.

Hopefully all the repairs will be completed before the 26th and Zac will be on that high tide come 4:00 pm Darwin Time on Friday.

Can't wait for your next post. Thanks for taking the time and keeping us informed, it's highly appreciated.

Double Check Everything,
Douglas Pistone
MDR, California

September 24, 2008 at 6:20 AM  
Blogger Daryl said...

Thank you, Laurence! You're an excellent writer. We appreciate your well chosen words. I wish you well in these uncertain times.

from Iowa

September 24, 2008 at 6:42 AM  
Anonymous Scott said...

Zac, The leg from Cocos Keeling to Mauritius will be a fast one. We averaged almost 150 miles per day on our little 30 foot Seawind Ketch. And..all we had up for most of the trip was a poled out storm jib and a storm trisail; so be sure to have your storm sails ready. But not to worry the wind was behind us almost the whole way and the ride was not too bad. Have a good trip
Scott Kuhner

September 24, 2008 at 7:03 AM  
Anonymous Karyn in Simi said...

Phew!! Way busy!

Zac swimming with croc?!? Can't wait to see that on film. I hope we get to see some footage soon.

Thank you Laurence for the update.

We will be praying for good tides on Friday (what day will that be here? Thursday morning?)

Go Zac!!

September 24, 2008 at 7:43 AM  
Blogger Joy on Journey said...

YEA! Good to hear from Dad! Thanks so much for the update when your body still thinks it is on the other side of the world!

I am so glad to hear that Zac got to have some on-land adventures while on "shore leave." Zac - update us soon!

Glad Darwin was kind to you. How awesome is it that those pros would jump right in and help like that? GOD BLESS THEM!

And that you got to use the boat of those nice folks and bring your boy a treat and some greetings! I'm sure he was so happy to see you!

Well, already, Dad is gone again, entrusting Intrepid into the hands of her capable Captain. Zac is inspecting and checking and checking again and then SAILING ON AGAIN! "GO WEST YOUNG MAN!" That was a saying from...uh..the gold rush maybe? Anyway, seems fitting for your adventure, "Go West Young Man...And KEEP ON Going West! On to MDR!"

God bless you and keep you as you set out to explore the Indian Ocean! Oh the places you'll go!
~ LA

September 24, 2008 at 9:05 AM  
OpenID rklein said...

It must be hard for Laurence to leave before Zac not being able to see him off for the next leg across the Indian Ocean. Good luck with the remaining work, but the Intrepid seem to be in very good hands down there.

All the best

September 24, 2008 at 9:55 AM  
Blogger Ptolemy said...

Remind Zac to pick up his mail!

September 24, 2008 at 10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laurence, thanks you for bringing us up to date. This post, Zac's for 'tomorrow' and Jen's pictures are great!

Especially liked the photo of Zac laughing on Skype with Toby. It's a picture of brotherly love. Toby is 'touching' Zac by wearing his hat. I hope that Zac has photos of the whole family on board Intrepid to remind him that he is loved by an incredible family.

We hope that final preparations for the next leg are going well in Darwin so we can be off on the next leg.

Neaner, neaner, neaner, nobody can catch us!!

The Croaker

September 24, 2008 at 12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great update and we will be looking forward to hearing more as Zac's adventure moves forward! Our prayers are with your family and with Zac and hope for great weather thru the Indian Ocean. I would like to send a few thing to Zac, music to listen too and some clothing please contact my email on how and where to send it to.

Matthew in Florida

September 24, 2008 at 12:30 PM  
Blogger Debbie said...

Oh, so glad to hear from SOMEONE!!! I know you were all busy, but the wait was agonizing!! Thank you Laurence for your update. Your detailed account of your stay was terrific.When you told us of the plane trip, I was imagining that I was right there with you and the joy you must have felt when you saw Intrepid sailing along!!I am sure it was an awesome site. It must have been hard to leave Zac, and not being there when Zac takes off for the next leg of his amazing journey. You obviously trust Zac to check his list and check it twice, or you wouldn't have left before he did. I know the U.S. economy is a worry too. I am there right with you on that one as I am sure everyone is. I hope your business is Ok, but we are all on a roller coaster ride until the Feds make up there minds and get this country back on track!! And I hope it is soon!!!!But realistically probably not. I guess it is just one day at a time!!

I am also glad Zac had some time to take in the sites with you and Jen.Wow, those Crocs looked hungry!! And what nice people to step in and do all they did to get Intrepid ready! Thank you for the nice pictures.

Looking forward to your next posts, and here's wishing you Zac a safe and uneventlful trip to SA.
May the winds blow just enough for you to sail with eaze to your next stop. We are all with you Zac in spirit and as always praying for your safe completion of you next leg in your adventure.

North Hills, CA

September 24, 2008 at 1:39 PM  
Blogger jeff said...

I gotta be honest, I'm starting to lose interest in the blog, since every time Laurence writes, he has to talk about prayers and God etc.

Your son is sailing around the world, solo. "The tide will turn at 4:00pm Darwin local time Friday. God-willing he and Intrepid will be on that tide." God willing? How about Zac-willing. Nothing saps the credit for such an amazing solo feat like Daddy giving props to the almighty for what his totally amazing (and real) son is ACTUALLY DOING!

I liked it better when only Zac posted.

I have faith in Zac, he'll do this without any imaginary friends, or prayers to said being.


September 24, 2008 at 3:08 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

Hi Laurence,

I can't thank you enough for your blog post. It is so comfortable reading your words. You have quite a gift of writing, that seems to run through the Sunderland family.

Reading your story really brings home the sacrifice you, and your whole family is making. You not only went all the way to Darwin to make sure your son s ready for the next leg, but then have to rush home to tend to your career and the difficulties of this faltering economy. Zac is very lucky to have a father like you.

I wish you the very best, and pray for you constantly, along with Zac and family.

Best regards,

September 24, 2008 at 9:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I am afraid of people like you who think everyone has a right to believe anything as long as it agrees with you. Sounds like you're some sort of Athiestic Fundamentalist.

Truth is whatever one believes it to be; therefore, one needs to loosen up a little. Many things have changed over the millinia but belief in a superior being has been a constant. It's very persistence says something.

If you're uncomfortable with Faith, perhaps there are other blogs where you'd be more comfortable. Here, we believe that God answers all prayers. We simply live with the knowledge that the answer can sometimes be "No".

Trying not to be to judgemental of you, but "judge not that ye be not judged". We'll put you on our prayer list(s). It's part of our commitment as Christians.


September 24, 2008 at 11:16 PM  
Blogger pwm said...


I don't know if you are going to bother to check this old post for replies to your comment... but I will reply anyway. If you read Zac's posts from the beginning of this blog, you will see that Zac gives as much credit to "said being" as his Dad. If prayer, particularly Christian prayer, is offensive to you, this blog will be offensive.

I can't speak for Zac, but I'm quite sure that he is not interested in anyone putting faith in him. He will also point you to the God that he worships. So if you want to follow Zac around the world, you are going to have to deal with references to God from Zac, Dad, Mom, and a large amount of the commentors. If that's too much to take, there are plenty of blogs that take your position out their in the blogosphere.... but maybe you want to read along and hear why Zac (and his Dad) like to pray to "said being".

Just my two cents.

Patrick in WI

September 25, 2008 at 6:07 AM  
Blogger Becky said...

Thank you Laurence for the update. I hope you are recovering from the jet lag! It sounds like an amazing amount of work got done in a short amount of time.

Matthew 5:11

Safe sailing Zac. I remember reading in 'Sailing Alone,' how Joshua Slocum insisted on a hot meal each day (except when the ride was especially wild!). I hope you will try that too.


September 25, 2008 at 6:34 AM  
Blogger Berry Blog said...

My gosh, everybody in the family is a good writer. Gripping yet matter of fact attitude- like this is what it is and what is, is. In between the lines I feel what you must be feeling...waiting to see him, the visit busy as all get out, and the departure seeming all too soon but part of the journey's demands.
Just love this family.
Charlie, Maine

September 26, 2008 at 7:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HELLO!!! I was busy all last week and out of town this weekend, so I'm just now catching up on everything. Great to hear from you Laurence! Glad Intrepid got fixed. What a list!
Wow! swimmin with the crocs, eh? Can't wait to see some footage of that. But...isn't that like...kinda dangerous?! :P
Glad you got to sightsee some, Zac.

Lotsa prayers for ya.

Elissa R. Walther
Houston, TX

September 28, 2008 at 6:02 PM  
Blogger jeff said...

Sorry if I offended, as that was not my intention. Contrary to Neptune's reply I am not a "Atheistic Fundamentalist" (read: oxymoron) My post was not meant as an admonition, just an observation.

I am simply an avid follower of adventurers, explorers and extreme researchers. I tend to focus my regard on the human engine's tenacity and resolve in the face of difficulty. Admittedly, it is hard for me to deflect any credit to deities of any cloth.

The day I posted I had just read a large backlog of posts, and noticed a greater tendency by Laurence to ask for prayer. If you choose to pray, please continue to do so, as I doubt it will do him any harm. I will remain confident that prayers will not help him either, and that Zac will conquer the globe as one of us, a human being.

September 30, 2008 at 8:33 AM  

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