Friday, October 31, 2008

Shiriri Saga # 65. 'Far from the Roll of the Sea.'

Work and play at Bum`s Bay.
We are exhausted, and are just discovering that little fact. We have been running on adrenaline for over a year of travel across the Pacific and now that we are settled in Bum`s Bay with no big voyage up ahead we suddenly unravel. Days, busy days , go by at anchor. We visit with Keith and his family, get driven up into the highlands to see the back country ,walk along the Gold Coast beach and through the Casuarina pine trees alive with the deafening song of cicadas, get free ice for our ice box from the nearby hotel and begin a serious boat maintenance schedule as the weather permits.

Beach vine.

We celebrate Christmas with the Watson family out on their big veranda with parrots diving in and helping themselves to the sugar while Keith throws meat scraps to the butcher birds. A very unique experience for those of us used to snuggling up close to the wood fire at this time in December.

Electrical storm on the Broadwater.

Shiriri lies to two anchors now as thunderstorms or "southerly busters" come roaring through. Even so, I scrape and paint and varnish during the sunny times and even use the belt sander while standing alongside in Edith to grind off peeling white paint from the hull. Keep busy, keep busy, to fill the non-voyaging gap in our lives with useful activity.

We often take Edith across the Broadwater to visit Keith in his office near the beach in Southport and he pops around the corner to buy some sticky buns to have with tea. As we munch and slurp he settles down to tell us another of his wartime stories. My family met Keith for the first time as a young pilot hitch hiking to London during WWII and it is a treat for me to hear his stories of being a bomber pilot. He has these stories down word perfect and is glad to have an audience with a connection to those far off but still important memories.

One day he describes the first time he took off with a full load of bombs and fuel in his Lancaster, wondering if the plane would lift off before the end of the airstrip. His hands reach out before us and ease back on the stick trying to get his aircraft to come unstuck from the earth and we see the relief on his face as he climbs and banks to form up with his comrades for a raid deep into Germany.

Why are these stories so vivid for me? Partly it is because Keith has always been a master story teller and partly it is because I have recently spent time in the midst of an ocean adventure and am having a difficult time leaving that world. How often have I told my sailing stories to non sailing peoples along the way and have ended up saying that really, it is like a wartime experience; only to see that this comparison does n`t really register either.

How brave, Keith says of our splashing around on the sea. I can imagine him flinging his big plane through the night sky to escape a fighter, and reply quietly that really Keith we were already safe at sea level and not 10,000 feet up in the air. We had no one gunning for us, but our crew has been through the valley of the shadow of death several times in the past year so we do share a rare bond with this old friend who still, after all this time, does not put aside the camaraderie of those defining years of his life spent caught up in the adrenaline charged atmosphere of combat.

With all the boat painting done that we can get at while afloat, it is time to haul Shiriri out at a boat yard to paint her hull and give her bottom a few coats of antifouling paint. We have been scrubbing her bottom clean all the way across the Pacific and it is time to put something back! One morning we follow some new friends, Rob and Michelle in ‘Carrick Roads’, north again and then branch off to the left and up the Coomera river to be hauled out onto the hard.
'Away from the roll of the sea.' Song, by Allistair Macgillivray.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Shiriri Saga # 64.' Running like a dog through the Everglades.'

The ditch. Morton Bay to Southport and the Gold Coast.

From the journal:
Up and off by 5am. Immediately we are swept up in the focus of the day - navigating through shallow water between markers. It is low tide turning to flood so things seem especially tight. Instead of 100`s or 1000`s we are now counting feet in less than 10`s beneath our keel. Little do we know in the hot morning sunshine how easy and generous this is compared to what is up ahead.

Heather calls out depths from the sonar when they shallow. As they count down toward our 6 foot draught her voice rises in pitch and intensity! We guess which way is the deeper channel and dodge to port or starboard. Some times we just shrug - it just is shallow. Here the islands are low: some with slightly higher ground and houses, many that are simply mangrove mud/sand islands. Ferries zoom by - the captains indicate we should favour this or that side of the channel and wave. We begin to find deep ( relatively) but very narrow channels and have to share them with car ferries from the opposite direction. Oops, that spot read 6 feet! We have strayed a few feet to the channel`s edge in an attempt to make room.

There are some places where the chart indicates less than 5 feet at low water and our chart is not a recent one so sand bars and the marker system have changed. We come to a place of very shallow water but by now the tide is close to full. We slow down and glide forward.....less than 5 feet and still we keep moving forward. Do we give more power and attempt to force our way through or keep slow so that we can back off if we get stuck? Slow and easy does it.

We have been at it for hours of acute concentration and finally sight the outer island sand dunes which tells us that we are half way. There is one more reportedly very shallow and winding passage ahead. This reminds us of our trip up the mangrove creeks at Tenakatita in Mexico in our dinghy - except this time it in Shiriri - all 58 feet of her. This is like the ‘African Queen’ as the bowsprit just avoids jamming itself into the trees as we weave along the tightly winding channel even as the transom brushes against the nearside bank.

A tight squeeze.

Now we must branch off the main route to find an anchorage before we are caught in the ebb current. If we went aground here now we would be caught on a sandbar and be heeled over for hours. The anchorage marked on the chart turns out to be too shallow for us at low tide and we can`t anchor in the channel so back south we reluctantly go: "Running like a dog through the everglades." While Anne is down below making sandwiches, Heather and I confuse the channel markers, miss seeing the closest one and steer for the next. 6'....4'....3'....we turn to port and regain the deeper water. Why did n`t we get stuck? It must be very soft mud or else we are cashing in our cruising credits from all those storms at sea.

We can see the tall buildings of the Gold Coast in the distance. A charter yacht brigantine turns up the channel towards us and a float plane takes off between us. Phew!! Civilization here we come! We are doing 5 knots with the ebb. Only one hour to go to the main anchorage near Southport. We see some yachts anchored beside an island off to port. The chart indicates an anchorage with good depth. We are hot and tired and pushing our luck. We turn and anchor in 14 feet. Shut down engine. ZZZZZZZ.

Nov. 29.
After a relaxed morning scrubbing and tidying Shiriri we pick up the top of the flood tide to carry us the last three miles to the Gold Coast with Southport on the other side of the Broadwater estuary. We anchor in a shallow bay called the Stadium, or more familiarly, Bum`s Bay. While there are plenty of scantily clad people lolling around on it`s sandy shores, we feel it is most likely named for the semi derelict live-aboard boats that grace it`s waters. Whatever, it suits us just fine.
'Running like a dog through the Everglades.' A song. Remember the Everly Brothers?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Shiriri Saga #63. 'Safe in the Harbour at Last.'

A migrant`s welcome.

Maybe it`s because I slept most of the day away, or perhaps I`m on edge about tomorrow`s passage through the shallows and mangrove islands on the last part of our journey south to Southport and the Gold Coast, but here I am up on deck in the middle of the night anxiously having a look around.

Toward the mainland I can see the glow of the lights in the suburbs of Brisbane, but everywhere else is velvety black under the stars. I know that the low mass of mangrove covered Peel Island is quite near and that it will be expanding as the tide drops and exposes more and more of the coral flats all around it. We are anchored in water only twelve feet deep but that counts for a lot of water in these regions.

There is another reason for my unease, and it has been with me ever since we arrived in Australia, I am still lost somewhere between the wild ocean and the populated land - a kind of no-man`s-land culture shock - and this anchorage brings it all together for me. I am glad to be safe in this sheltered place and yet it feels like I am in an oppressive backwater and that I have lost something vital to my life.

The stars overhead begin a high peeping sound, and I swear I can see them flicker. As the sound grows louder and swirls around me I realize that a large migrating flock of shore birds are circling around and landing on the edges of the island out in the darkness. As they settle to feed and rest they are greeted by the harsh calls of the resident swamp birds. I listen there on the deck of my boat and gradually feel my tension evaporate.

A migrant myself, what I am experiencing is a sense of being welcomed to this ancient land by wild nature itself. I stand quietly and feel that the lonesome sound of birds are calling out a greeting in the night, telling me that there is a place for me here too at this threshold of a new land.

Safe in the harbour at last - a song by Eric Bogle.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Shiriri Saga # 62. Crossing the Bar.

We have our fingers crossed in the morning as we climb on deck but the south-east wind still blows. At least we have our washing dry! Should we attempt the bar or wait for the wind to ease? We must cross at high water turning to ebb when the depth of water over the bar and the size of the waves will be least and that cannot be had on demand. "Ummm , errr... OK, lets go out and try it!" we decide, even though we can see through the binoculars the white of the waves breaking on the bar. At first progress is very slow as we stem the last of the flood tide and struggle against the wind. Not for the first time do we wish we had a more powerful engine.

The deepest channel follows an angle across the entrance and at first we line up two range markers over the stern located on the point we anchored behind last night ( Inskip Point). To the right the ocean waves crash on the bar and then form up again over the shallows on our left. We creep forward at first and then more easily as the tide reaches high water slack. Now we have the next range on the southern end of Fraser Island (Hook Point) in the white sector and turn out toward the big waves. We watch the depth sounder, keep the white light in line astern and after some wild pitching in the steep waves we are out in deeper water and turning toward the south. At last!

The wind eases and goes more easterly as predicted and we continue to motor-sail parallel to a long sandy beach backed by vegetation covered dunes. As we round Double Island Point, behind which Rassamond spent an uncomfortable night rolling in the waves, we see the wreck of a ship on the beach and it seems to be surrounded by scuttling cockroaches. Only when we get our sense of scale worked out do we realize that we are seeing dozens of vehicles driving up and down the long beach. Wow, what all that salt water and sand must be doing to those expensive metal bodies! We have been in poorer countries for so long that we have not yet adjusted back to this level of ‘just for fun’ conspicuous consumption.

By nightfall we are just off the entrance to Morton Bay with it`s mass of sand bars when the fishing boat we have been steadily overtaking suddenly turns right across our bows. Bad manners in anyone else, but we must assume that they are actually fishing and therefore have right of way, so we make a big circle away from them and continue to where the first of the shipping channel markers will lead us deeper into the bay. Perhaps we should have stopped like Rassamond at Maloolaba harbour for the night ,but we are eager to make the most of the unusually gentle winds
and not be wind bound again for days as we were in Tin Can Bay.

We are a mighty tired crew by the time dawn finds us deep in the bay and zooming along on the flood tide through the last of the channel markers. We have needed two on watch all night to do the pilotage but now we can anchor near the town of Manley behind St. Helena Island, just south of Brisbane.

Now, at 3:30 pm we have slept, eaten a pancake lunch and showered. Ah, fantastic! Soon we will pick up a new flood tide and travel a further ten miles up the bay to be in a good position for travelling south through the complex waterways en route to Southport and our friend Keith Watson.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A viking we will go.

Coming ashore.

Vikings have a bad name in the early historical writings. A knife in the side of Europe, twisting away. It`s just my luck that my British ancestors on both sides of the family tree were of that stock who eventually took a wife and settled down to farm on someone else`s land. A thousand years later some are quite genteel: that must be my lot.

Then some of us moved on to North America, brought a wife, took some land. There is a repetitive quality to all this. Imagine some future world in a far corner of space: same crowd, same scenario. Am I proud?

Proud? Of all that nastiness, brutality and wholesale expropriation? It would be silly to say yes, but it would also be too easy to reject all my history, all the history of humans in general, and participate in the sanitization of modern society. The thing is, if we just close the door to our ancestors we can not learn who we really are. We need to know who we are and what our human capacities can be again.

Somewhere in the past and in the present, amid the grinding together of peoples in conflict is a saving grace. Those Vikings who slipped up a coastal creek somewhere in Europe, hide their longship, marched across country to attack an isolated farm or church were taking great risks while in search of wealth, whether as gold, or cattle, or slaves. They could be caught ashore away from their ship by a larger force of irate locals, and themselves be killed in a very nasty manner. Those were brutal times. The possibility of this outcome must have sharpened their minds wonderfully. Living on the edge of disaster is a recipe for rapid and creative thinking. Creative thinking has survival value.

I listen to the radio about the price of fuel, food shortages, climate change and problems with the economy. After a few generations of existing in wealth and luxury, (for some) it looks like we will have to adjust to a new reality. A old kind of imperative is waiting to start pairing us down and sharpening us up. Lets not quietly and passively wait for events to carry us off. There is another option to being sheep, we can embrace the coming storm and get creative.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Shiriri Saga #61. Tin Can Bay.

At 11.30 the next morning we judge that on the rising tide we will soon have enough water in the shallow passage ahead of us so we hoist our spinnaker and start sailing south on a light NE breeze that quickly increases to 20 knots so that we are soon down to stays`l only; to pull us along and yet try to keep our speed down. When we arrive at the shallowest part that will only float us at close to high water we stop and anchor and wait for the tide to rise - we have been going too fast.

Finally, along come Rassamond, Running Tide, Gandalf and Prana and they continue right through so we quickly raise our anchor and follow them. If they can make it, so can we! A thunder storm roars through as we follow the leader and check off the beacons. We pass low mangrove islands framed in a fantastic rainbow. We worry about what would happen if we went aground on a falling tide and as we turn into a narrow mangrove lined channel (Garry`s Anchorage) to anchor for the night we cut the corner too tight and touch a mud bank. Luckily we get off again quickly and anchor further up the narrow channel in 12 feet. Glad to be here. We can see lightening in the distance. The mosquitoes are visiting.

Next morning we are off following the leader but are soon left behind as we are uncomfortable just powering along at full speed on the falling tide and trusting to the leaders navigation. We have our chart and can do this for ourselves. Last night`s storm was the sign that the wind was switching back to the south-east so that soon we find ourselves travelling quickly with the tidal current under us and butting into rip-tide choppy waves and a 20 knot wind on the nose. Shiriri is more or less stopped by the waves but carried forward on the current. Effectively there is no water passing the rudder and we cannot steer. We finally have to zig zag back and forth in the now broad passage until we turn the corner and head slowly up a more sheltered inlet to Tin Can Bay. We find Rassamond and the other boats anchored off the town and get our own anchor down just as our diesel gags and dies. All that bouncing in the choppy waves has stirred up sediment in the fuel tanks and plugged the fuel filter. Replacing that is the first order of business before I can look around at this place we have been so determined to see since a friend`s yacht (Vahana) was here a few years before.

We wait at anchor for several days as the wind is still strong south-east and will stop Shiriri from going south. Yes, we could go out and bash into the waves and wind but much better to wait for the wind to change, especially as this is an interesting place. We row ashore, pulling hard against wind and current only to find that there are shallows far out from shore. We step out of Edith and walk to shore with me pulling on the painter. I have an uncomfortable feeling that I am being taken for a walk by my dinghy.

On the leash.

This is a neat little town with wood and brick bungalows, a community pool and trees filled with parrots of various sorts and colours. Ah, that big noisy white one is a cockatoo! We find the post office and then a real estate office with " e-mail" in the window. The lady says yes we can e-mail and leaves us for a few minutes while we check for messages from home. Back she comes and says, "What! You still on my computer?"in an aggrieved manner. We are experiencing our first Australian humour, as it turn out. "Taking the mickey out"takes some getting used to, but once understood and the technique mastered it will become the source of much innocent amusement in the months ahead. She then offers us her car keys so we can drive her car to a shopping center some way down the road. We don`t do that, but appreciate the gesture and feel that this has got to be the best introduction to Tin Can Bay we could have had!

We make many trip ashore, now with the outboard mounted on Edith`s stern to carry us around the shallows and up the usual boat channel. We pass fishing boats and rental house boats.(" Rent me! Luxury afloat.") suited to exploring these shallow waters and one day arrive to find some dolphins close to the beach being fed with fish for the tourists to watch. They are not penned or tamed, but have just worked out that there is a handy source of fish at this time of day. Each time we come to shore we fill up jerry cans of diesel and of water to top up Shiriri`s tanks.

Luxury afloat!

The forecast is favorable, so Rassamond and Shiriri head back down channel to where there is a pass through the sand bars out into the open sea. We are drying our wash in the rigging as we motor along, so let Rassamond go ahead through the pass. They radio that it is pretty rough still and that they will have to anchor behind the partial protection of a cape. We decide to finish our drying and anchor for the night in shelter and try the pass in the morning at slack water if the wind has eased as predicted.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Shiriri Saga #60. Sailing in Thin Water.

Kingfisher Lodge. Fraser Island.

If we were on edge sailing up to the sandy shores of Australia in what seemed like frighteningly shallow water (30 Feet deep) after the ocean depths, then squirming down Sandy Strait has our eyes on the depth finder as we dodge from buoy to buoy along the channel between the mainland and Fraser Island. When we reach Kingfisher Resort and our anchor goes down at the end of the day we heave a sigh of relief. After dark, two more yachts arrive and make a lot of noise as they circle and shout back and forth. Pony of Rassamond, in the center of it all, is not one to suffer in silence. " Go away! You`ve woken me up!" Do not tangle with an ex London bobby!
Ashore the next morning, we walk up a boardwalk from the beach to the resort through a eucalypt forest. There are no farm fields here, no flocks of people, and we can look and listen to the natural sounds of this new continent. Trees we do not know, bird calls we can not identify.... this is terrific! We stop at the little resort store and buy half a dozen eggs for $ 2.50. Ouch! -there are some problems with the wilderness. We buy Heather a tee-shirt with a dingo on the front, one of the Fraser Island attractions.
The dingo is the wild dog of Australia and arrived thousands of years ago with the first Aboriginal peoples who had migrated here from out of Africa.
The dingo is a mixed blessing. While it`s nice to have a wild population on the island, they are wild and do not mix well with campers with food supplies and children. There have been attacks on people and reprisals by the park staff. We are looking at a variation of our pacific island experiences and are back on the interface between competing groups and priorities - in this case the use of a park for recreation competing with leaving a wild population of other creatures completely alone to pursue their own destiny. It`s complicated; the dingo and the aboriginal peoples have, over time, themselves impacted the Australian flora and fauna. How many species of plants and animals have disappeared since their arrival? If all humans were kept off the island, would they care to maintain it`s status if it had no human value? On this sandy island we have met a big philosophical problem. Do things have intrinsic worth outside of our human oriented world view?
Of course we would say yes, but we have just come out of the ocean wilderness where we have been mere fly specks of humanity within an immense world of life going about it`s affairs. We are still mentally in that apart world and cherish that perspective even as we feel alienated still from our own tribe. What we do know, is that these interfaces between different human populations and between humans and the rest of the natural world are a place where change is happening and that makes it a very interesting place to be. The world has always been in a dynamic balance of constant change and adjustment. That`s how it was formed and it is no wonder if that is still how it behaves.

As we gradually adjust to Australia, we are ourselves swept up in this current of change and adjustment. The pain of the alienation we feel tells us we are alive and a vital part of the world.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Shiriri Saga # 59 Strangers in the land of Oz.

There is not much here at Burnet Head: the marina on the river, a few fishing boats, a dock for loading sugar and big storage tanks for molasses waiting for shipment. Oh yes, and miles and miles of sugar cane fields.
We sign up for a week at the marina, are welcomed with gifts of fruit and vegetables from other yachties and a set of charts of the passage south from an Australian yacht docked beside us. We go for a little morning walk and find our joints stiff and sore after two weeks at sea. "What are those birds?" we wonder after deciding that they are not pigeons after all. Galas, we find later. On the road are many very flat squashed toads. How unusual! We are experiencing our first taste of a foreign land when all is fresh and new and vivid.

The Marina provides a free shuttle bus to the town of Bundaberg several miles into the interior so we hop on board that first afternoon to visit the Saturday farmer`s market, just like we have at home. It is our first contact with a large crowd of Australians busily selling and buying their produce in a way that we have become familiar with among the islands ever since Mexico. The shock for us is that all these people are white! We have been among brown and black people for so long that these ghostly pallid folk seem very weird indeed! How sickly they look, like a flock of wooly sheep in a paddock, all bleating away.

On another day we shuttle into downtown Bundaberg with a long shopping list. We only have an hour before the bus returns to the marina so we divide up our list and go off at full tilt in different directions just as we have done across the Pacific where things were difficult to find and language barriers made communication difficult. Imagine our surprise to meet twenty minutes later with all our needed items. Sooo easy!

Language is a bit of a problem though, as our North American vowel sounds are difficult for local Queenslanders to get. " Excuse me." says Heather to a grocery store clerk, Could you tell me where the ice is?" "You mean oyce?" he puzzles. "Yes, Ice." "Oyce?" "Yes, Oyce!"We begin the process of picking up a modified Australian accent so we may communicate but will always be aware of our accent and our Canadian effusive thank-you`s and euphemisms in a culture that is refreshingly straight and to the point. "Where is the washroom?" " You mean the toilet!"

Heather picks up the proofs for her first Patti book at the post office and we settle down to read for corrections while the wind continues to howl in the rigging in the strong S.E. trade winds. We meet Pony and Sylvia of Rassamond who arrived before us and also Kemal who is on a circumnavigation. We invite them for supper and generally learn to relax, eat good food and be sociable. This is just as important as the voyaging part of our travels which can be so wild and remote. Life is not all about being part of the herd, but neither is it all about being storm bound in the Coral Sea. We need this adjustment time.

I spend some time with our new charts, going over the coastal passage among the shallows between here and Brisbane through the passage between the mainland and Fraser Island with it`s narrow shallow channels among the sandbars. A "bank holiday" is the local term for running aground and spending hours waiting for the tide to float you again. We are headed south because we have phoned a wartime friend of my family (Keith Watson) who lives just south of Brisbane and they are expecting us!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Cast ashore on the Berberry Coast. The horror, the horror!

The shipwrecked sailor is cast ashore on the dreaded Berberry Coast. A life of slavery awaits: a house in the suburbs, a wife and one and a half children, a commute to work. Oh the horror, the horror!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Shiriri Saga #58. Gales in the Coral Sea.

                                   Waiting out the gale.

Our time in New Caledonia has felt like we are living on borrowed time. The steady procession of rain squalls while we tried to see as much of the festival as possible was telling us we were taking chances with the weather. Summer is here in the southern hemisphere and with it the cyclone season. We still have to cross the Coral Sea to Australia.

Oct. 29th.
We have skipped the last few days of the festival and headed out to sea for the eight hundred mile crossing on a forecast of regular trade winds, just a few days after another group of yachts left bound for Brisbane and Bundaberg. I bought a small autopilot off another yacht while in Fiji and installed it in Noemea: it performs brilliantly for a while as we rack up well over one hundred mile runs for a couple of days. Then we hear the bad news: a big unseasonably early low has moved off the Australian coast and is predicted to deepen rapidly. Still, no worries, we are 250 miles away from the center. We edge farther north just in case and then resume our course.

The low deepens and is now producing gale to storm force winds as it turns and travels due east. Hey, that`s aimed just south of us! When our local winds head us we heave to in twenty-five knots and big easy swells. So far so good. Then Heather and Anne are yelling for me as a forty knot squall heels Shiriri way over. I ease off on the storm trys`l and furl the forestays`l while also deploying the drogue off the weather bow. Now we have a kind of balance with the trys`l driving us forward and the drogue slowing our progress and dragging the bow partially up into the wind. We are now hove to under only one small sail and back in control as we drift slowly back toward New Caledonia. The waves are now twelve feet high but still big and broad. Shiriri fits into them nicely.

The yachts a few days ahead of us are not so lucky: they are in the thick of it. Rassamond comes on the radio and describes gale force winds with thunder and lightening. They are also in the strong south setting current off the coast of Australia so the waves must be horrendous. Sylvia adds a little postscript, “I`d just got up from my two hours sleep, - two hours mind. I said, what kind of a mess have you got us into this time Pony?” It was a much needed bit of humour. We stay on the drogue for another day as the wind first eases and then goes back to thirty-five knots from the south-west creating nasty steep waves that has Shiriri`s transom getting some bone shaking wacks as she no longer fits into the wave forms. While we are uncomfortable, we are safe, with plenty of sea room and are fairly relaxed, especially when the storm center drifts south-east away from us and towards New Zealand.

The fleet of Yachts back in Noemea Harbour have put in an uncomfortable few days too as they all crowd into the shelter of the windward side of the harbour in twenty-five to thirty knot winds. A tricky situation to be so tightly hemmed in by other boats.

It takes us two days of light winds and motoring to regain the miles we lost while drifting back on the drogue. We continue to make slow progress against contrary currents. One night I sail us through a front we have been expecting: rain falling like cats and dogs and a wind shift from south to north-east and then sailing in the moonlight in fifteen knots, all within a two hour`s span.

This was to have been a nine day crossing and our food supplies are getting rather basic. As Australian quarantine will confiscate most foods, we have given away what we had thought to be extraneous to our needs. We threw away the last of our weevily flour from Mexico and did not replace it. No more fruit and vegetables. Anne bakes mud-ball cookies. We eat pate on rusks, antipasta on stale crackers, and Heather sifts the worms out of the rice to make rice pudding. We all have showers and recover in the light winds and smooth seas.

One dark night on watch I feel a terrific wack on my forehead and dizzily discover that I have been hit by a flying fish. Lucky it was n`t my face! The next day the trades are back in force and Heather is sailing Shiriri at seven knots - a dizzying speed after our frustratingly slow crawl of the last several days. It begins to look like we may have enough supplies after all. With the wind comes trade wind waves as well and on one big roll, out from a crevice pops a ripe tomato. We fall upon it with gnashing teeth! This morning we are visited by a vast school of dolphins. It is interesting to see them swimming in the transparent wave crests at eyeball level.
November 10.
We are in Australian waters; there is the Breaksea beacon off the north end of Fraser Island. The water is terribly shallow ( 30 feet) and we are still 48 miles from Burnet Head near Bundaburg. We motor sail all day and only when we are close in do we see the low land and the marked channel. We are too late to check in so we anchor in the river until the next morning. We are sitting in the saloon eating scraps of nuts and dried fruit, listening to Australia radio and drinking coffee. This is the destination we have been working toward for over a year. I guess this is finally the place we break out the champagne.