Tuesday, 13 April 2010
Noon position Lat 33º52.91’S Long 152º33.35’E
60nm due east of Port Jackson
Day’s run 93.5nm
Average speed 3.9kts
We passed through Sydney Heads just as the first sitting of lunch were finishing their meal. Unfortunately for the idlers and foremast watch, who were lucky enough to be in the second sitting, lunch involved some circus skills. Carrying soup in a bowl on a plate with one hand is hard enough, but imagine trying to do this as the whole world around you is swaying from side to side in arcs, at times more graceful than others. You juggle your plate with your soup, salad and bread and try to time your movements with those of the ship.
We are now free… free of the constraints of the harbour with nothing but a blue horizon ahead of us. One voyage crew member, after stumbling and nearly bowling over the captain, said innocently “I’m not drunk, I promise!”. This led us all to ponder whether the finding of one’s sea legs is perhaps the reason sailors have such a bad reputation when it comes to their fondness of rummy beverages.
As we stretched our legs ever further from the coast there are still no signs of ‘happy buckets’ needing to be used en masse (for seasickness). Many crew members climb aloft to help out with the unfurling of more and more canvas until there is a total of eight sails catching the wind!
During the first dog watch (1600-1800 hrs) four of our ‘Mizzenites’ – upperyardie Nat with two voyage crew and one of our supernumerary passengers – started handing in the fore topgallant (the top-most sail on the fore mast),. What is usually a difficult task at the best of times became even harder as the sun set and they were left to gasket the sail (secure the sail to the yard) in the diminishing light.
The second dog watch (1800-1600 hrs) had even more ‘fun’ when they were called to furl the spritsail (one of the sails on the bowsprit). By then night had set in and it was a steep learning curve! They were rewarded for their efforts by witnessing phosphorescence in the water: a microorganism that, when disturbed by the ship’s progress through the water, glows green.
As two of the watches slept restlessly, the sea thwumped and bubbled against the hull. Anything that wasn’t stowed or lashed properly became a potential missile. Water bottles careened across the deck and the carpenter’s store was tipped upside-down.
As day dawned there were more casualties. Many have succumbed to sea-sickness and cradle ‘happy buckets’ in their laps, but most work on regardless. The ocean is now an indescribable blue and we are out of sight of land.
Just after 1000 hours, we wear ship and start heading back towards the coast… much to the relief of some of the crew.