Sunday, June 29, 2008

A day of two halves

Up until midday we had nearly perfect sailing conditions; full sail in 15-20 knots with a moderate sea. Soon after lunch we were hit by the first of a succession of squalls and have been gradually reducing sail as the sea has built all day. It's unnerving watching the waves rear-up behind us, looking as though they are about to crash down into the cockpit. Fortunately most pass under us unnoticed, but a couple of times the cockpit has been flooded as waves have either smashed into our side or broken over our stern. Once the flood has subsided, I'll emerge from shelter and survey the boat for damage and check that nothing has been swept away - so far so good. The first of these breaking waves surprised both of us. We'd failed to fully secure the saloon hatch and water streamed through and over a startled Charlotta who was rudely-awoken from an afternoon snooze on the leeward bunk.

As I write this we've passed well to the south of the "Indispensable Reefs". It's always eerie passing these deadly unlit obstacles at night - although the guess work is mostly removed with GPS, there's always a concern, particularly in the Pacific, that the chart was made way before the days of GPS and the reef's charted position, might not accurately represent it's position in the ocean.

We've now set course for the Raine Island entrance of the Great Barrier Reef - 970 miles west. We'd planned to mark the passing of our first milestone, with a celebratory papaya crumble but think we'll wait for slightly easier conditions - hope the papayas will survive. Charlotta's turn cooking today and she came up with a massive (we're still eating it) and delicious tuna risotto - not a raw fish in sight.

With the fridge still well stocked with tuna neither of us fancied preparing and frying up the three plump flying fish that landed on deck overnight - wonder if we'll start wishing for a morning bounty of flying fish as our stores diminish.

It seems we've entered the Coral Sea. Not sure where the official eastern bound is, but I guess it's appropriate that I've noticed as we pass to the south of the Indispensable Reef a 60 mile long coral formation.

Position @ 12:00 (GMT +11) S13° 11.26' E161° 19.3'
Distance to "Indispensable Reef": 44.8
Daily run: 158

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