Wendo is now sporting a Christmas Santa hat.  Very bizarre in the middle of
the ocean.  It does not feel like Christmas at all – not that I usually get
that hyped up about it.  The supermarkets in Albany were playing Christmas
carols, and the street decorations were up.  It was somewhat chilly there,
but nowhere like the weather expected in December at home.  Perhaps next
year I will be extra Christmassy to make up for it.  But maybe not!

We have a new nickname for Michael, our round the world Australian bosun.
His hair and beard have been getting progressively longer and bushier as
the weeks go by, so he now has a strong resemblance to Chewbacca from Star Wars. As the première of the new Star Wars is aired when we are in Sydney, the name is very apt.  It usually gets shortened to Chewie.  He doesn’t seem to mind!

There has been little wildlife spotted on this leg so far, and what has
been spotted has been a little unexpected.  We now have the odd albatross
following us – no sign of Slim Jim or Fat Bob, so I think we are definitely
out of their territory.  There is only the single ones at present, but if
we go further south I am sure they will become more prevalent. We have had
a couple of moths fly onboard in the last couple of days.  Bearing in mind
we are several hundred miles off shore, not sure where they came from.  One
flew on and then we saw him in the water drowned, so he didn’t last.  The
other one was still going strong when we last saw him.

I was at the helm last night when we passed what looked like a black rubber
gloved hand waving at us from out of the sea.  It was a seal with his tail
up in the air.  They apparently do that to cool down after swimming.  When
we came to within about ten metres he popped up, looked very astonished to
see us, then swam back down.  The look on his face was a picture.  Out of
all the oceans in all the world……

This morning we have passed several hundred blue bottle jelly fishes.  The
baby ones, and there were probably thousands, are like a little blob of
jelly with what looks like a blue bottle fly in the middle.  The older ones
are bigger blobs with larger blue bits, and long tentacles hanging down.
They will apparently give you a nasty sting if you touch them.  They are
also known as Man of War jelly fish – I think we get them in the UK.  Don’t
want to fall overboard here then!

Australians are very protective over their own brands of food as we have
seen with the vegemite.  We now have Tim Tam Gate.  I had never heard of
Tim Tams before, but we have several packets of them in the tuck as Craig
was in charge of choosing what went in this time.  They are a bit like a
penguin, but the penguin is better if you talk to the British, or not as
good if you talk to the Australians.  We opened a packet the other evening
that was empty by the time it got to Michael, who was not happy.  Val broke
half off for him, but he was most put out.  I don’t think we will hear the
end of it for a long time to come! He is now offered the packet before it
is opened to try and make up for it.  I am sure they are going to run out
way before we get to Sydney at the rate they are being consumed.  By the
way, the catering pack of Vegemite that was supposed to be waiting for
Wendo in Albany did not materialise.  Just as a back up I had bought a
couple of jars at the supermarket.  Good  job I did, otherwise we would
have had vegemite gate as well!

So far we haven’t had any injuries on this leg – but Matt has got a bit of
an issue. He had a broken tooth before he left London which was no problem
to him at all.  The day after we left Albany the side of his face looked
more like a hamster.  No Elliot Brown photographs being taken at the

Lauren, one of the new people that joined for this leg, took the meeting
the other day.  She is a qualified snowboard instructor, and has coached
the number one Australian snowboarder.  She has also coached several people
in the USA, some of which are in the next American Olympic team.  Cool!

We hit a wind hole this morning.  There wasn’t much distance between all
the boats before we hit it, but the last position report has us down near
the back of the field.  We missed the Ocean Sprint – Wendo missed the co-
ordinates for the start, so I think we can’t compete.  We were in really
light wind, so I don’t think we would have had a competitive time anyway.
Let’s hope the wind picks up for us, and the other boats are stuck in the
same wind hole!

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Bridget only has basic email facilities on the boat. Editing and the choice of images on this blog is entirely by Paul keevil!
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