Monday 24 August 5:41 PM (27 37S 161 44E)

The much anticipated north-westerly wind has finally arrived, after another significant period of (painful) calm. The engine is now OFF and we are doing over 6 knots with the wind coming in from the right – sheer luxury. It’s quiet, tranquil and above all we are conserving diesel.

Before we could turn the engine off, however, we were all alerted to a high pitch noise – lets call it an alarm, coming from the engine control panel. Not a happy sound, but the sort of sound that immediately makes you think, “Oh dear, something’s wrong. What do we do now?”

After turning the engine off (hey presto, the noise stopped) the technical and mechanical heads on board (led by Kevin) set about ticking off the possible causes – water intake, broken hoses, heat exchanger thingy, wiring, fuses, switches – man this thing is complicated. Floor panels up, lots of poking about. Kevin perspiring with his head down in the bilge undoing things and asking for spanners. After a short interval, Kevin declares – “belt’s gone off the alternator”. Doh! why didn’t I think of that?

“Have we got a spare belt?” inquires Kevin.

“Oh-Oh-Oh-I think we have one!!” says I. “We packed so many spares on this boat, there has to be one. Now where did that get put?”

Five minutes later … “tah tah, here she is. A stack of fan belts. Any of these fit?” At 10 paces, Kevin says … “yep, that one” How did he know?

Another five minutes, perspiring Kevin, hand me more spanners, head down below the floor boards and there you have it, all working again. Is this guy good or what. Back working in less than 60 minutes. Lets, celebrate with a “lemonade” and peanuts and watch the sunset.

Three cheers for Kevin came the cry from the stern!!

Not a lot else happened today. It’s been very calm. Justin washed his hair and I cooked two batches of choc chip muffins and a chocolate cake which received universal approval. (Note to all, you can use drinking chocolate to replace cocoa when cooking)

Oh, I should also clarify something about last night’s meal comments. Apparently Justin was reading about the amount of rice in a pack of Continental Spanish Vegetable Rice, when he said it contained 77% rice, not a plain pack of rice. Tonight, Justin, is backing up last night’s effort by throwing down a mean challenge to Ocean-chef Tony, by cooking (mostly dolphin-free) Tuna Falafal on a bed of special mashed potato (read Deb) We’re all dressing for pre-dinner drinks at 7:15pm at the captain’s table.

On the fishing front (“let’s not talk about that”, says Justin) things have been a bit quiet. (well, actually extremely quiet) Our excuses to date include … “engine’s too noisy”, “line’s too long”, “lure too big”, “lure too small”, “going too fast”, “sea’s not rough enough”, “sun’s too high”, “fish too smart”, “fishermen too dumb”, “no fish” .. there are more, but you get the idea. We’re hanging our hopes now on the fact that we have turned the engine off. Maybe tomorrow is our day. I knew I should have paid more that $9.95 for those lures.

I received a response to my initial Arrival Notification from Australian Customs. All’s looking good for our arrival in Sydney this week-end!! 647 miles to North Head, and it’s all downhill.

Smooth sea (yes we have), fair breeze (ditto) and three cheers for Kevin

Rob