Water water everywhere, so lets all have a drink..
Trip Start Jun 29, 2005
235Trip End Nov 30, 2009
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This is my second day out on the boat en route to Kupang Indonesia after departing from Darwin early yesterday morning. The raging 15-25 knot winds that were meant to whip up 2 metre waves on a 3 metre swell have not eventuated yet and everything out here is pretty benign. We're lucky to have 6 knot winds and a 1 metre swell so we've been motoring and running a couple of light sails in case the wind picks up a bit.
Where I thought I'd be hurling chunks by now, I've had three square meals and a full nights worth of sleep. Excellent.
The obvious price of this serenity is boat speed, so at current calculations we have about 68 hours to go before reaching the anchorage at Kupang. A lot can happen in this amount of time (e.g. the winds could pick up nicely, we could be hit by a squall, another yacht or a tanker, or we could even catch a fish on the line hanging out the back of the boat). Whatever happens, might as well get this entry out in case my stomach takes a turn for the worse.
We left Cullen Bay at around 8.45am yesterday to cloudy skies (including a few spots of rain) and after an issue or two with the tidal lock. Apologies parents but didn't get a chance to take a photo of it in action, which I know you would have appreciated. Once we extricated ourselves from the lock, Captain Joe decided that instead of hanging around Fanny Bay for a couple of hours waiting for the official rally/race start, we might as well head off straight away and catch a favourable current as a number of other boats had already done a little earlier. Land was left behind by lunchtime (apologies again dad and mum for not calling as promised).
Little wind and smooth to glassy seas were made up for by a number of whale and dolphin sightings which were really great. The best one was around 5pm when two smallish dolphins flitted around the bow for about 5 minutes or so, trying to surf on the small wake the boat was making. Unfortunately by then the current was against us so not much speed nor many resulting waves were being made for the little guys to surf on. Also unfortunate is that none of the few photos I took came out, so that magic image will have to remain mine personally and you will have to wait for photos of other dolphin encounters in more northerly waters.
Sunset was lovely as the accompanying photos attest. Am sure I'll get a few more of those in the coming weeks. We had boats around us all day and night which is typically unusual but to be expected in a rally such as this, consisting of 70 yachts. My 'watch hours' (arrr) are 11am to 3pm and 11pm to 3am, so you tend to catch sleep when you can. Duties consist of mainly checking gauges to ensure the engine is working properly, keeping the boat on optimum course (281° all the way to Kupang now), keeping an eye out for other boats and updating the ships' log. Night watch is more dangerous due to lack of visibility, but you get to monitor proximate ships and squalls with the radar, which is kinda cool for half an hour. Generally this passage making ocean travel is very boring so you just sleep and read to kill time.
This morning started late (due to the 3am watch knock off time) with some early fishing. What we thought was an quick catch ended up being a seaweed monster that had to be thrown back in. Nothing else hit the line for a couple of hours so we decided to give up on that.
Apart from a spotting a large patch of jelly blubbers and some sea birds this morning, a tanker and some unappealing brown goo on the water this afternoon, absolutely nothing has happened today. No wind, no exciting sea creatures and fewer and fewer boats. I've come to understand pretty quickly that it's like that on the open seas, so why not use the time to go over a few things I want to do (and might get to do) on this overseas odyssey?
After all, you've had explanations for the where I'm going and why I'm doing it, so here's what I want to see and do, in no particular order:
- see Ayres Rock/Uluru
- grow a beard and see if it suits
- learn to scuba dive and then do it in some interesting places
- visit some Aussie war memorials to pay respects (e.g. Sandakan, Malaya, Thai Burma railway, Tobruk, France etc)
- dawn service at Gallipoli on Anzac day
- climb a volcano (preferably erupting - gently though)
- pat a Komodo dragon (not sure if this is possible ;)
- go to Siberia
- see the onion domes of Moscow
- eat a bunch of stuff I haven't eaten before
- explore Angkor Wat
- play a few rounds of golf in exotic places
- wander along the Great Wall
- herd some Yurts (think people in the know call them Gers)
- do a traditional Scandinavian sauna
- marvel at The Pyramids and Petra
- visit the walled city of Dubrovnik
- stay at the Ice Hotel in Sweden
- do my patron saint's (St Michael) pilgrimage to churches in Italy, France and the UK
- stay in the Star Wars hotel (Tunisia)
So, one down and many more to go. Looks like you'll just have to keep tuning in over the coming year.
Oh yeah, just had my first holiday romance which was a nice touch as I approach the end of my first month on the road. So now I'll see who's really been reading entries this far ;-)
Next entry -> Kupang