Just as Willem Janszoon turned back in 1606 at Cape Keer Weer (“turn again”), our Duyfken has reached the turning point in our 2006 voyage, having reached Cairns. As has happened so often, I am well behind in this journal – my apologies to all the readers for that. The last entry had us in Townsville, hoping that the trades would return for the last push north. They did, we had a good run to Cairns, but first a little about our stay in Townsville. Sometimes I think I am like a broken record, but once again we had a very successful port visit to Townsville. 4215 people came to see the ship and on Sunday 27th August we had our 2nd best day of the whole voyage, when 1701 visitors came up the gangway (just beaten by Port Fairy with 1800 in June). The evening before, we were given a welcome to the port, hosted by the Townsville Port Authority – the Harbour Master, John Preston and his team being very supportive of our voyage. The Deputy Mayor of Townsville, Ann Bunnell and Mr. Peter Lindsay MP, Federal Member for Herbert, both gave us a warm welcome and spoke about the significance of the voyage, both in general and to this part of the country. There were many other guests present at the reception, once again our little ship seems to have the ability to bring together many parts of the community. Mr. Lindsay, as well as showing great enthusiasm for the ship and giving his own support, was representing the Federal Government and Senator Ian Campbell, whose Dept of Environment and Heritage, is of course our major sponsor. It is very pleasing that they are taking a keen interest in the voyage and that the support we get is not just in a monetary way. The DEH are helping with all the school bookings, media publicity, brochure production and other organizational aspects. Part of the evenings events were my presentation of a message stick to Grace and Alice, elders of the Bindal and Wulgurukaba people, traditional owners of the Townsville and Magnetic Island areas. They gave us a welcome to country and presented us with an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flag to fly aboard the ship. The Breakwater Marina in Townsville have put us in a good berth, the ship very visible to the public ashore and standing out significantly amongst the numerous private craft and charter boats in the marina. It is easy to forget just how unique our vessel is until you see the almost unbelievable contrast to a modern catamaran and a game fishing boat berthed nearby. On the Monday night, we had a pleasant evening with staff from the Port Authority, who held a function aboard the vessel. It was certainly a change from recent months to be on deck for a balmy evening, I think most of the long term crew are appreciating the warmer weather. The Port Authority have been including Duyfken in their own website – “Townsville Port Authority hosted a ‘Sundowner’ evening for members of the Port community, the Authority’s employees, and the ship’s crew aboard the Duyfken on Monday evening, 28 August, 2006. In keeping with the history of this very unique vessel guests enjoyed delicious spice-themed canapés such as ‘Oriental Five Spiced Duck Sesame Omelette Rolls’ and Voyager Estate Wines, which bear the original Dutch East India Trading Company ‘VOC’ logo.” As well as the Harbour Master, John Preston, also present were the CEO, Barry Holden, Chair of the Board of Directors, Ron McLean, and many of the staff. Another good night was had the following night when we had our BBQ for the local volunteer guides. The guides, most of them from Reef HQ - world's largest living coral reef aquarium – were an enthusiastic bunch that did a great job in assisting the crew manage the large number of visitors. As well as the guides, we also had the pleasure of having a group from the Aboriginal Cultural Centre aboard for the evening. Our presentation of a message stick has been a significant symbolic event and the visit was to show their support for the voyage. We were treated to a traditional dance, representing both a welcome and a blessing for the remainder of the voyage. A beautifully decorated boomerang and a pair of clap sticks were presented to the ship - the list below acknowledges the group aboard. • Alec Illin – (Board of Directors Chairperson - Cultural Centre) • Geoffrey Doyle – (General Manager – Cultural Centre) • Vicki Saylor – (Events & Performance Coordinator) • Rosalind Sailor – (CJP Coordinator – Cultural Centre) • Stedman Sailor – (CJP Participant – Cultural Centre - Aboriginal Dancer) • Russell Barney – (CJP Participant – Cultural Centre – Aboriginal Dancer) • John Phillips – (CJP Participant – Cultural Centre – Didgeridoo Player) • Gracelyn Smallwood – (Traditional Owner – Bindal people) • Alice Barney – (Traditional Owner – Bindal people) • Ernie Hoolihan – (Local Elder – responsible for establishing several Indigenous agencies in Townsville) • Donald and Dulcie Whaleboat – (Torres Strait Island Elders - Townsville) • Hanson and Dorothy Sambo – (Torres Strait Island Elders – Thursday Island) • Shane Alley – (Cultural Officer – Townsville City Council) • Alf Wilson – (Reporter with the Koori Mail) • Adelina Malone – (Cultural Arts Manager) Following a final group of school students on Wednesday morning, we made preparations for sailing. Shifting across to the fuel jetty, we replaced the fuel used on the last passage, but I was hoping not too need it – the SE trades seem to have come back. Departing the marina soon after 1400, we had the port authority launch “Hildebrand” on a headline to assist our departure. The channel is shallow and with only enough water for us at high tide, the launch was a precaution to help keep us straight in the channel in case Duyfken “sniffed the bottom” on the way out. As it turned out, departure was trouble free and we cleared the outer breakwater about 1430. With the SE’ly backing somewhat with the sea breeze effect, we had to continue under power to the NE and get to seawards far enough to weather Magnetic Island. (Named by Cook as Magnetical Island due to a perceived effect on his compass in 1770). By 1600 we were 3 miles SW of Cape Cleveland and with sufficient searoom we got under courses and main topsail. With the breeze veering back to the SE later in the afternoon we had superb sailing conditions, Duyfken making 5 knots and laying our track to the north. Such a difference from the last passage, the crew enjoying the pleasant tropical sailing. The gales of the Great Australian Bight suddenly seemed a long time in the past. By first light on Thursday we were running under the main squares with the foresail handed, the casual poise of the helmsman an indication of the easy steering. At 1330 we were overflown by a Coastwatch aircraft at low altitude, no doubt unsure of what sort of vessel he was seeing below him. I suspect not too many 16th century jachts are seen along the coast here. He called us up by VHF asking us to identify ourselves and I think was somewhat taken aback to learn we were an Australian ship. We report to both the Ausrep and Reefrep vessel reporting systems when at sea, so I am a little surprised that he was not aware of us – I would have thought he would have a list of vessels transiting the area. More sail handling during the evening, firstly with the wind freshening, I had the main topsail handed so that we would not arrive before daylight the next day. Of course, what happened then is that the breeze eased and shifted offshore, forcing us to reset the main topsail and then the foresail, now trying to keep the speed up. Early hours of Friday morning saw us passing between Fitzroy island and the mainland, keeping out of the main traffic route. Bracing up as we rounded Cape Grafton we stood in towards the port approaches, as daylight came on we tacked twice, standing on and off to allow the cruise vessel “Reef Endeavour” and a tug and tow to go in ahead of us. Entered the main channel about 0730 and by 0800 we off the entrance to the Marlin Marina. Numerous charter vessels operate out of Cairns and I stood off to allow a couple to leave the marina – this gave me time to look at the entrance before attempting to go in. I was a little concerned about the entrance – the freshening breeze was blowing straight in and there was not much room to pull her up. Stemming the ebb tide, I noticed that the breeze was causing Duyfken to crab in sideways towards the marina wall and this gave me an idea. Holding her athwart the breeze I positioned her off the entrance and just let the breeze carry me in. An unconventional approach but it worked, Duyfken came in sideways and once inside the marina it was fairly simple to come astern to our berth alongside the pontoon, all fast 0825. Passage distance 179 miles, average speed 4.2 knots, under sail 39h 20m, under power 2h 58m. In keeping with the Governments interest in the voyage, we were welcomed in by Queensland Senator Ian Macdonald, who had come down to see the ship, and was impressed with what he saw. Our own board member, John Longley was also there and praised the crew for their continued efforts, two TV crews capturing the arrival and interviewed myself, the Senator and some of the crew. The remainder of the day was spent squaring away, setting the ship up for exhibition and the crew having a bit of a break. The weekend saw us back into full-on exhibition, with nearly 2500 people visiting the ship, despite some heavy rain on Sunday. As is usual, the weekdays saw numerous school groups visiting the ship, one enthusiastic group from Edgehill collecting all the crews autographs and presenting us with their class project on the ship. We had a visit from the Mayor of Cairns, Kevin Byrne, who welcomed us and presented the ship with City plaque. The Marlin marina and Port Authority have been very helpful in organizing our stay here, the ship making a huge contrast to the enormous superyachts berthed with us. Their crews, in spotless white shirts and shorts seem to spend most of the time washing off any black stains on the pristine white hulls, while our, somewhat grubbier crew, are applying tar to rig and timber. The volunteer crew, having done a magnificent job since joining in Brisbane, sadly pack their bags and leave the ship. They have had the heaviest exhibition workload of the voyage and have never lost their enthusiasm and good humour. Well done all, you can be very proud of you contribution to the voyage. The new group, full of expectation and enthusiasm, now join us and begin settling in. This is our final day of exhibition here in Cairns, tomorrow we begin getting the ship ready for a Saturday departure. The voyage south will be a challenge as we beat down against the trades (bring back those northerlies!) but despite the relaxed tropical lifestyle, I think everyone is keen to get to sea. Saturday will see Duyfken southbound for NSW.