Well Chimere isn’t home quite yet, she’s in Sydney and our crew are all on the way home or already there. Since the last blog it is fair to say that a number of prayers were answered and a few surprises were thrown in.
The most significant answer to prayer was that a sweet combo of winds on the beam and the EAC. When we were in the current we were doing a solid 7 – 8 knots, and when we weren’t it was down around 5 – 6. So we did a bit of EAC hunting that brought us to about 15nm from land, and out to about 30nm. Our hope was to sneak into the Sydney heads before the Southerly hit on Monday afternoon, and through the good fortunes above we did and we were grateful.
Coming into Port Jackson is always fun because of the action. We arrived at the same time as a large ship which had a few tugs involved and as we dropped the main we saw a good number of ferries and tourist boats along with numerous pleasure craft.
The surprises I mentioned above were both pretty special. At about 3am Rob charged through Chimere telling us all to hurry and get out of bed. I thought he was pretty keen rousing us because it was our shift, but when I made it to the deck Rob was swinging about on a swing he made up talking away about something. I got to him and he was clearly disappointed. He had just seen a dolphin in the phosphorescent water of the bow-wave, something super special that he had seen only once before, but it was gone by the time we arrived.
So Uncle Ray and I settled into a shift spent staring at the ships on the Chart Plotter screen and out into the dark night. And then I saw it racing around our starboard side to the bow. A large single dolphin completely surrounded by light in the dark water. The green luminescence covered the whole sleek body of the dolphin and curled off its fins and tail like green sparklers. It was like a constantly moving and changing fluorescent tube in the shape of a dolphin. You could see every swift move in detail as the dolphin swapped sides and surfaced for air. It was with us for about 3 minutes and then disappeared. What a privilege to see. Rob was over the moon that he was able to share the experience.
Later, as we approached Sydney we spotted a few humpback whales and enjoyed their fun slaps and splashes a few times in a few miles- icing on the rich cake of our experiences in this trip.
Through the afternoon we split up as a crew as various members left for home, before Rob Latimer arrived from Melbourne to catch up and start preparations for the trip to Melbourne. It felt surreal to be on land and sad to end a very focussed time with a special bunch of blokes. I’ll take away some amazing experiences and some great friendships, all whilst feeling a part of a greater cause in Medical Sailing Ministries and in God’s plan for the Pacific and for us.
In the end we travelled 2123nm, or just shy of 4000km, in 12 days, with a 1.5day stop at Chesterfield Reef. I couldn’t count the number of birds and flying fish we saw. We have left 833 photos and videos with Rob Latimer for him to enjoy and share with you all.
Thanks for tuning in to our journey, and stay in touch with msm.org.au for the next phase of the ministry.
All the best,
Jonno de Puit, Cam Heathwood, Rob Lott, Gwylim Siebel and Ray Clark.