Sunday 23 August 5:55pm (26 18 S, 163 28 E)

Sailors have a lot in common with farmers. We talk a lot about the weather!

Well, we got our much needed wind; sometime last night. It came in from the west-south-west and so now we are chugging along at a bit over 6 knots. Still with the engine idling in the background because we want to go south-west, which is very close to where the wind is coming from, so we need that extra punch to keep us moving.

We prefer the wind to be from the side, or behind, (hard to please aren’t we) but at the moment we’ll take what we can get. Fortunately, after a few days of light or no wind, the seas aren’t too big, so what would normally be called pounding, or punching, into it, is a more moderate affair. Still we are healing over a bit, but it’s bearable.

The sun just went down, to our right. A round orange ball sinking out of sight in a cloudless sky. It’s still cold, but we expect the wind to shift more to the north tomorrow and the next day, which is something akin to knowing Santa’s on his way.

Oh, and Justin has stepped forward to tackle dinner. He’s just informed us all that rice is the world’s most popular grain, and further, that a packet of rice contains up to 77% rice. Fascinating!! Every good meal requires a certain amount of research, discussion and contemplation.

After lots of contented “Sailmail”, via our HF radio, over the past few months, I received an email from the equivalent of “Sailmail High Command” yesterday informing me that we have exceeded our weekly time useage. You’ve probably heard us talk about “no attachments” and keeping “emails short”, well instead of using my allotted weekly allowance of 90 minutes (you may have guessed, it’s not broadband) through a combination of distance, slow connections, equipment interference (not forgetting my ignorance) I did over 400 minutes in the past 7 days. So if my email response to you in the future is brief, or non existent, don’t take offence, it’s just that there’s a higher power at work. I thought I was being good, but I must confess, I have been downloading a few weather maps recently and the system has been very slow – that’s my (current) excuse.

The process of us clearing through Australian Customs began tonight, with me sending off our “Notification of Arrival”. This must be done at least 96 hours before turning up. (Or else!!) None of this old fashioned, lob in the bay and hoist the yellow “Q” flag and if nothing happens, row ashore to track down someone official. There’s more to arriving in the land of Oz – especially by sea, than meets the eye. Stay tuned for more (hopefully mundane and procedural) news on this topic.

Smooth sea, fair breeze and just 770 miles to Sydney (as the albatross flies)

Rob