Hi Ho Thunder..

Sat 6 Dec 2008 12:08
16:19.56N 43:19.48W

Hi All,

I seem to be losing track of time out here. Apart from the odd squall
(complete with thunder and lightning) at night, we are just meandering
along. Not breaking any records, but comfortable just the same. I looked at
the plotter before and we have just over 1,000NM to go....seems like we're
in the home paddock now and can ease the reins and gallop home.... But then
I remind myself that 1,000NM is the equivalent of a sail from Brisbane down
to Hobart...

Most of the squall activity is at night..a typical tropical phenomena and
not indifferent to the late afternoon summer showers back at home. You can
generally dodge a few as they tend to be about 5 miles or so in diameter.
The heavier the rain pattern (which you can see on the radar) the stronger
the winds. For obvious reasons we tend to avoid the ones with really heavy
rain and lightning.....electrical storms and yacht navigation equipment
don't make good partners.

Nick and I had the early watch again last night from 11pm to 2am and enjoyed
a relatively clear 3 hours...towards the end we could pick up a large
rain-filled squall on the radar and handed over to Stuey and Julz....they
received a good soaking shower for their watch this time. Belly did the
morning watch which he seems to covet a bit...he likes to watch the sunrise

Our midway party was a huge success!! Everyone we invited showed up and all
arrived on time..It was the most popular event in the area, to say the
least!! Belly prepared some starters served with a magnum of chilled
Freixenet Cordon Negro Champagne (Black Ribbon sparkling in French...so
Stuey advised us), followed by marinated steak and salad, and finished with
Spanish biscuits. The boys dressed-up for the occasion, and we even had some
"champagne spilling" excitement when the game rod went into a spin....a Maha
Mahi wanted to gate crash the party!! But the Minister for Protocol (Stuey)
decided he was "underage" and therefore had to be removed from the
premises.. We are getting a bit fussy now with fish size....and don't want
to stain the filleting knife with anything under 5kg..

As skipper, I presided over formalities and we toasted our families and
friends as well as the obligatory toasts to the sea gods....someone
mentioned that a toast to mermaids was also appropriate. By the time we
finished all the toasts and speeches we were out of champagne...

By the way, thanks Metin for that fine Cuban cigar you gave me for the
occasion (A big Cohiba)...It stayed well preserved from Bodrum til now and
provided a luxurious aroma to finish the party....

Given the ulterior objectives yesterday, the sailing effort was less than
Bristol and we chose comfort over speed....perhaps the spinnaker could have
been hoisted, but by late afternoon after the party the old farts were
resting and enthusiasm amongst the young guns was waning as well. We settled
instead for a re-run of a Jean Claude Van Damm movie called "the
Shepherd"....the plot was very tricky but most of the crew worked it out -
JC van Damm (called "Chuck" or "Dick" or something in this movie) would win
the big fight at the end with the baddy; solve the nasty issue and settle
for the pretty girl afterwards....junk food for the brain...but entertaining
nonetheless after an action-packed day. "Good" triumphs over "evil" yet
again....Actually, I'm still trying to work out how I can do a kick like JC
Van Damm....the one where you kick your opponent in the guts and then they
do 3 spins, a somersault and a backflip onto the deck.... Maybe I'll work on
that one with the junior crew today if they don't clean the heads to a
satisfactory standard...

I have just finished my breakfast oats as I write and am about to put the
espresso pot on for a brewed cuppa of Italy's finest....

Till next time....


Current Position 16:19.56N 43:19.48W Saturday 6 December 2008 1100 UTC