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Date: 24 Jul 2015 03:01:17
Title: Thursday 22nd July and Friday 23rd July, 2015

Noon Position: 20.50S 149.49E

Daily run: 139 logged miles since yesterday and 121 logged miles the day before

Yesterday marked the first good day since leaving Vanuatu other than the first day. The sun tried to come out and the wind settled to a moderate breeze from the ENE, just insufficient, however, to make for an entry into the Hydrographer’s Passage at slack tide at 22.30pm. We therefore motored-sailed to keep a speed up of 5 knots minimum. Well before we reach the Great Barrier Reef, the wind increased aided by squalls in the early evening improving our speed to over 6 knots. However, this meant an early arrival and potentially turbulent waters at the entrance. As we approached we took down all sail and motored into the entrance well marked by powerful lights at 21.45pm. No turbulence was experienced, however. The Hydr. Passage, which is about 60 miles from the beginning to the end winds its way through The Great Barrier Reef and includes a long stretch running SE. The wind by then had got up to 15 knots giving us a hard time motoring into it for about 6 hours. A very large ship, the Alpha Cosmos was heading us in the opposite direction and constrained in manoeuvring by its deep draught, we took collision avoidance action, which was quite difficult in the windy and choppy waters. Altogether an unpleasant experience as the boat speed dropped from time to time below 2.5kn. The Alpha Cosmos made about 11 knots of speed and all went well passing one another starboard to starboard (there being insufficient room on the vessel’s port side because of the reefs). Once round the last bend, we could put some sail up by which time the wind had dropped to less than 10kn, but giving us a speed of 6 knots.

Friday morning promised a lovely day in calm waters between the Great Barrier Reef and the Australian mainland. A whale was seen jumping out of water at some distance creating a massive splash. Huge brown ugly looking jelly fish drift past Luna Quest and one is reminded of the many pelagic dangers in Australian waters. There is only 35 miles to go to Mackay and we expect to arrive at about 6pm local time.

Julia is busy cooking all our fresh produce determined not to waste anything before the quarantine officials take it all away on arrival!

There will be no blog until we set sail again for Darwin on Australian’s north coast some 1500 miles away.

Eric

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