Distance run in the last 24hrs; 125NM
Average speed; 5.2KN
Weather; Cloudy but dry for now, rain threatening the horizon, Temp; 16.3°, moderate seas, wind force 4-5 W xN
The fore topsail is re-set by the foremast after their lunch and they give assistance with the mainmast to re-set the main topsail. As we have suitable winds and conditions we decide to take a little detour to Cleft Island, or otherwise known as ‘Skull Island’. Now you might be asking why is this Island referred to as skull Island and yes it is for the simple explanation that in certain light the Island resembles a human skull. The Island is a single piece of granite that measures 30 meters high and the Island is half a kilometre long. I have heard much about this Island and so look forward to our encounter. To reach the Island we have to enter a traffic separation scheme, there are not too many of these in Australia but it is crucial to keep a vigilant look out as we are sure to encounter much larger commercial vessels in this area. There are certain rules that apply and the helmsmen also have to keep on a straight course to ensure that all other vessels in the region are aware of our intentions.
There is an Island that separates the scheme called ‘Rodondo’ which a scenic view within its own right, a very steep, green, luscious, small Island. As we approach Skull rock we are doing over 5 knots and we quickly call all hands on deck to wear the ship as start to get a little too close. As we start to wear ship, the sky around us is epic with patches of blue sky, sun bursting through thick clouds and patches of heavy rain clouds, but before long a beautiful rainbow emerges over Rodondo Island a spectacular view in the Southern most point of mainland Australia. Wilsons Promontory looks like a superb place to explore both by land and sea, unfortunately we don’t have the time scale to survey the area anymore and once we have worn ship it is back out to sea.
As we are heading away and back to sea there are the blow of whales which raises some questions to what whales they may be. We know from the blow that it is not the Southern Right Whale and we have our suspicions that it is still too early on for Humpback whales, which leaves us with; Blue Whales, Minkie whales or Killer whales. There are also seals and a couple of Fairy penguins spotted.
We are sailing South because tomorrow we will be approaching an area where there is many oil and gas rigs which we need to avoid, further south of that there is the traffic separation scheme and further south of that we have the continental shelf, where the water reaches depths of +2000 meters and a big area for fishing. We want to make sure that we are out of the way of any large commercial vessels and so we will keep our distance and keep to the south.
After dinner Mizzenmast wear ship to get us sailing on the best course, but unfortunately the rain seems to follow the Mizzenmast around as they endure yet another wet watch. We are making good progress and sometimes easily sailing along at 6 knots but best of all is that the sailing is fantastic and we are experiencing prevailing winds.
The morning brings us with a slight overcast sky but once again prevailing winds. As we reach the continental shelf the keen fishermen on board are anxious to get their lines over. We have Andrew our Chief Engineer and Barry from the Mainmast stepping up to the challenge. There comes a call at morning tea for the chief engineer to come on to the quarter deck as he has a fish on his line, but unfortunately it gets away before it is seen or brought on deck… A real shame as Andrew has made big promises about his fishing skills and we haven’t seen anything yet. I think that Barry might put him to shame today.