Darwin to Cairns by boat: Sailing in to the sunset…

Living in Cairns has many advantages. The reef is on our doorstep, there are world famous waterfalls to the south and our winter weather is the best you’ll find anywhere in the world.

One major disadvantage though is the lack of true sunsets we get. To the west is the Great Dividing range, sitting splendidly outside of the city and doing a great job of looking pretty and obscuring the sun as it sets. We might occasionally get some awesome pink skies, but never that lovely horizon scraping fire ball that makes for a good snap.


^^^First one, we watched this baby going down as we sipped our celebratory champers!

So my camera and I were extremely happy with the plentiful supply of twice daily light shows during the trip. Obviously we get awesome sunrises here but how often do you really think I’m up and awake with camera in hand to capture them?

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^^^Sunrise number one, snapped from my hatch as we pulled out of Darwin.

Sure, having to wake up at 5.30am to lift the anchor or go up on watch (reiterating again: this was not a ‘holiday’) was pretty tough on many occasions but more often than not the sights we saw made up for the lack of sleep.


^^^Candy coloured sky after my difficult first night.

I was never ‘over’ watching sunsets, and often had my mum ask if I was alright in a very concerned tone mistaking my glassy eyed stare at the horizon as a negative thing while i was more than happy to watch nature put on a show.

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I was, however, constantly disappointed by the lack of a ‘green flash‘, a phenomenon where the sun flashes (you guessed it) green for a second or so after dipping below the horizon. You require absolutely perfect conditions and unfortunately while we at some points had clear skies or flat seas we never had a combination of the two!

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We didn’t need a flash of green to improve the view though and I was constantly in awe of the colours that mother nature put on show.


^^^Sunrise over Entrance island, the first place we dropped anchor for the night.  DSC03904 DSC03907

^^^Sea birds making tiny dots on a blood red sky.


^^^Sometimes clouds are a good thing, i was obsessed with these dark fluffy guys.DSC04042

^^^Even the view ruining Gove mine looked nice during sunset.

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As I remarked in one Facebook post, nature is my instagram. I barely needed to fiddle with my pictures afterwards, usually only adjusting the exposure levels.

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I mean, I’m no David Bailey, but it’s pretty impossible to take terrible pictures of such beautiful scenes.

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^^^One saving grace of being trapped in the Escape River for two days with absolutely nothing to do was how pretty the sunsets and sunrises were.


Often our reward for a 3am-6am shift (the worst one!) was being able to see the sky turning light and we often stayed up after being relieved to watch it break the horizon. DSC04393 DSC04395

Although cloudy days were far and few between even they have their saving graces of heavenly like beams shining down.

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^^^But soon the mountains of our home started to ruin our night time shows and I instantly missed that big burning ball of wonder.


Cairns, I love you, but sometimes I wish those mountains would bugger right off.

This post is one of many about my experience of sailing from Darwin to Cairns. Click here for the rest of them!

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