Just passed Middleton Reef

Wednesday 26 August, 2:21 AM (29 09 S, 158 59 E)

As they say, be careful what you wish for. Like the farmer who wanted rain but got flooded out, we wanted a bit of wind and … let’s just say, it was a bit more than we needed. In a way, the wind was OK, but wind has a tendency to bring along it’s mate – the rising sea, and it can make for a rocky ride. But for the past 24 hours it’s been a great run, 6-7.5 knots in speed, no engine and the wind and waves off the starboard beam (right side) And the deck hatches are keeping out the water – of which there has been plenty – coming over this side and going over that side.

Then, just when you think it’s set for another day or so, the wind simply stopped. In the space of about 3-4 minutes it went from 20 knots to nil, leaving us with lumpy seas, which now, after a couple of hours, are starting to calm a bit. Consequently we have the engine back on and are lucky to be doing 4 knots. Our weather maps suggest we are between a High and a Low pressure system and we expect the Low will finally bring us some wind, but at the moment all we can see are a few clouds illuminated by the crescent moon and the shimmering waves as they rise and fall around us. And no wind

The main reason we are keen to maintain a steady course at the moment is that we are about 20 miles to the north of Middleton Reef. Now, you don’t hear much about Middleton Reef these days, and I suspect Mr Middleton found the place by accident, because there’s not a lot of it. Just a coral and sand outcrop to the north of Lord Howe Island. We’re not keen to put the place on the evening news, so we are being very careful to pass by quietly without anyone noticing.

Passing land, however small, does mean we are getting closer to home and at last count we were 480 miles from Sydney and closing. (Closing slowly if we don’t get some more wind)

I should mention, this afternoon as the wind whistled in from the north west and the seas regularly sent water over the deck, we witnessed a pass-by of more dolphins than you could count. They were spread out over a very large area of sea and were going flat out in a westerly direction. At any one time there would have been, maybe 20-40 of them clear out of the water, seemingly suspended in the air above the waves as they hurtled on. It was an amazing sight and lasted for maybe 5 minutes. The more we looked the more we saw, in all directions. Then as fast as they’d arrived, they’d gone.

Not a lot more to report. All going well.

Smooth sea, fair breeze and good-bye Middleton Reef


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