Heading North - Day Three - 25 00.391S 153 33.588E

Mike and Liz Downing
Fri 28 Jun 2013 06:20
It was quite a bit warmer on watch last night (our 3rd night at sea). Not sure whether that was due to being further north or the forecast southerly winds actually coming from the north east and north west! Winds from the north are quite a bit warmer. It was a frustrating night. The local Coast Guard kept on putting out a great forecast giving southerly winds of 15-20kts, but we had winds from the north or no wind at all, motoring in a flat sea (relatively speaking) for nearly 5 hours. Also the friendly moon isn't coming up now until midnight, so with cloud and rain showers my first watch was in pitch black conditions. The lights were switched on again just as Liz came on watch. However, from early this morning the southerlies have finally arrived. With both genoas poled out and a following sea and swell we're making 6-7 kts on a lovely sunny day. For those that know the area, we're about 14 miles to the east of Sandy Cape at the north end of Fraser Island. (The position in the title is our noon position today.)  Although picking up this morning, we've still plodded most of the last 24 hours, only making 120 miles. But 120 miles north is 2 degrees of latitude, so 2 degrees a day for several days will make a difference.
Had a couple of interesting events yesterday. When putting up the poles and wallowing a bit, AIS showed a ship heading directly for us. It was a long way off (over 10 miles), but thought we would call him up anyway as we wanted to pass green to green (red to red is the rule). Try calling: Darling, Darling, Darling this is . ...etc on channel 16 and keep a straight face! It was a tug on it's way to Sydney and we assume from Darling Harbour. (The name is part of the AIS data, so even at 10 miles we knew it's name and what it was.) At the same time we noticed a fin breaking the water only a few feet from the boat. This was a shark circling and we thought it was time we got going!
Have just had to break off from writing this as we have a visit from a pod of dolphins. It's still a lovely sunny day and they are still with us after 30 minutes, bow riding and jumping every now and then, but mostly surfing in the waves following the boat. The seas are up to about 2 meters and the waves are rolling up high behind the boat (before she rises and they go underneath) so the surfing dolphins appear to be at deck level and above and are clearly having fun. It's always wonderful to see and we feel privileged to get a performance like this that's just for us (and them).