turned the engine on. Hungry, we coated logs of spanish mackerel in sesame seeds and a pinch of salt, lightly seared them on all sides and allowed them to cool slightly before slicing them into thick pieces. The flavour fresh, simple and delicious. Later we ate the chilled mackerel raw with a ginger teriyaki sauce, the taste and texture so good I remember saying to Troy that it was the best sashimi I’d ever eaten.
We didn’t have an autopilot, a decision that we regretted for most of the trip (the Kimberley being a mostly windless place). After a day of holding the tiller in the sun I ended up passing out and sleeping for more than 10 hours. When I awoke, we were sailing again, the disturbed seas of the Bonaparte Gulf making my stomach turn. With each lurch of the boat I was fighting the green. A look at the GPS said we’d arrive in five hours and I remember thinking they might be the longest five hours of my life.
As soon as the gorges appeared, 12 miles from the entrance to the Berkeley, excitement at the sight of the enormous red cliff faces overwhelmed my seasickness. Approaching the entrance to the river, we saw waves breaking on either side of the narrow channel. Troy sent me forward to look for rocks in the milky tea water. I was thankful for this, as I was a nervous wreck in the cockpit watching the depth sounder slowly creep up to 20cm under the keel. With a few bum scrapes, but not quite running aground, we made it through and with relief threw the anchor down. Safely in the calm of our new anchorage, Troy collapsed into a deep sleep. I watched the spectacular fireball of the sun descending to the horizon, throwing orange and pink reflections in the water around me. As I listened to the wind humming in the rigging, I couldn’t help imagining an ancient corroboree from a long lost tribe that may
Mirrool at Casuarina Falls in the Berkeley. SisterShip 16
Written by women for women on the water and their families.