25th Oct 2017
Monday was a very big day for us at Chesterfield – after the last blog we were lounging around in the evening wondering if we should go and try to spot a turtle on the beach, whilst we were all tired we agreed it was a chance of a lifetime so we seized the day and trundled off to our sand cay armed with torches. We trudged through the soft coral sand for probably half an hour before spotting a fresh set of tractor tracks up the beach, followed it up and there she was – a giant grey turtle shovelling sand with all flippers, sending it behind her with impressive strength.

Before I go on we would appreciate some help please. We aren’t completely sure that these are Loggerhead turtles because we think they have large longitudinal grooves down their backs, but these guys have smooth shells, but they are huge – at least 5 foot long and a very high and pronounced hump at the front, all dark grey in colour. Look them up and give us some options.
Anyway this female had laid her eggs and was filling up the hole which was probably 7 foot diameter with strokes of all flippers about 6 or 7 at a time. Then she would lay her head down and rest, often for a few minutes, before continuing. We left her for about 20 min before returning. She continued for a while and then turned around and headed for the water. These things are very fast and manoeuvrable in the water but definitely not on land, they must be 100s of kilos! We got to bed after midnight and slept in.
Next morning we were doing jobs like washing clothes all together on deck when Gwylim pointed an extra large turtle. After watching it rolling around on the surface for a while we noted there were three of them there – a large female and two smaller males – one on her back and the other waiting for a turn. We hadn’t come here expecting to see some turtle copulation!
That afternoon we got Chimere all ship shape for cruising, because the wind had picked up, and left the reef as a few other boats arrived – so blessed to have it to ourselves.

I want to share a few numerical insights with you all, because they are vital bits of information:
1. Our average age is 59.4 (as of today, which is Ray’s Birthday – “Hip Hip….Horaaay”)
2. Yesterday 4 of us went to the sand island, we all went for a swim, 2 of us skinny dipped.
3. We have caught 3 fish so far – easily enough for a few meals.
4. We are 8 days in and over a third of the way home. (the rest from here is just sailing).
5. 3 of us have thown up over the side.
6. At Chesterfield Reef we saw many islands. 1 of them had 1 Coconut tree sapling, and another had 3 coconut trees, that’s all.
7. Cam has been up the mast 2 times, at Pt Vila and Chesterfield Reef – I think he likes it up there.
8. Right now our Course over Ground is 200 degrees and speed is 6.5knots, in about 15 – 20 knots of wind.
9. 1 of us has a real beard, there are a few on the way now, but the Skipper seems to be giving up the chase every day. He is the cleanest, organised and sweetest smelling member on board, by far.

Last night it was rough and dark and we were pitching pretty hard, then Cam said “…..right now I wish I could cuddle up to Suzi……” Bugger – that made me think the same about my Robyn. A few hours later Ray and I were on watch in the dark when a Red Footed Booby flew up behind us to say g’day, after a few attempts it managed to land on the back davits (rails to hold the dingy up on the stern) for a rest, however it kept sliding off in the wind and would come and land again. It was very happy with itself! A minute later another one came, landed up wind of it and then slipped back and bumped the first one off and they both fell into the gloom together. This happened a few times, until the first one wouldn’t let the other on again – better than TV!
We are spending time sharing about our lives and our story with God – it is a blessing to be sharing a boat with such a quality bunch of God’s blokes.
Happy days folks – heading your way.

[Photos kindly provided by previous visitors]