No gain without pain!

Thu 15 Jul 2010 01:38
Thursday, July 15th
Position 10:56.5S 133:18.9S
Very boisterous trade winds for the past 24 hours have really pushed us along well, with 149 nm in the last 24 hours being very close to, maybe exceeding our record daily run. All at the cost of comfort on board, of course. Beyond 20 kts of wind the rolling seems to increase out of all proportion to further increases in speed, no doubt related to sliding about on the waves as we surf down them. This also results in unpredictable dollops of sea water appearing in the cockpit, as our topsides smash into waves side on. All part of the fun, but as we have mentioned many times before, it is not one of the moments that yacht builders go out of their way to capture for their advertisments. Spray also gets under the hatches on deck which therefore have to be 'battened down', creating a very airless interior. Yesterday was a fairly constand 28 kts of wind, but so far today it is a little lighter, and the seas seem more orderly, or perhaps we just get used to them. We are headed for the Hogmanay shoals and the New Year islets: outcrops of the Coberg Peninsula, which we should round in daylight, then the sailing gets even more uncomfortable as we come up into the wind to appproach the Van Diemen Gulf . The pilots books suggest that the wind will drop as we approach the coast, so perhaps I shouldn't complain about the current conditions: good to keep the weather gods happy! Hannah managed to sleep in the forcabin last night, it must have been difficult, and I have prepared a saloon berth with a leecloth to hold her in. It seems however that preteens prefer their privacy and peace. We chatted to an Australian Customs Aircraft yesterday, after they buzzed us. They managed to read our boat's name off the transom: the letters are pale pastel colours , all different, and about three inches tall: I think they must have more than a pair of binoculars on board!! They are always looking for illegal immigrants, and seemed suspicious about a catarmaran that was quite close, but below our horizon. As we are out of the main shipping lane we have seen no big boat traffic for several days. Moreover the land ashore, 50 miles or so away, is all Aboriginal; and they don't go prawn trawling at night, unlike the convicts! The upshot is that it is traffic free at night, and I sleep for up to two hours at a stretch, which seems quite sufficient, and a huge difference to our experience on the inshore passage up the Barrier Reef.
Well, we press on, it is still a very long way to Bali!