We are sailing through (literally) the Whitsunday Islands on the Great
Barrier Reef.  Earlier than expected – that is novel.  Our arrival window
was 13th/14th January, and if all goes well this afternoon/early evening we
should arrive in the early hours of the morning.  Three whole days extra in
Airlie Beach – perfect!

Because we are now in the Northern waters, there is another little hazard
to make life a little more difficult.  There are little jellyfish in the
waters called irukandji, which are tiny and virtually invisible.
We will take them in the intake with the sea water, so no cleaning teeth or
washing up with sea water anymore.  They are similar to the box jellyfish
here in that they will give you a really nasty bite – in some cases fatal.
The vinegar has already been put in the medical cabinet, which is used to
administer bites, as we are all on deck with only tee shirts and shorts on
and they can potentially come over with a wave.  Something else to look
forward to!

The journey hasn’t entirely gone to plan.  We have had the spinnaker up for
most of the second half of the race, apart from taking it down a couple of
times when the wind turns in the wrong direction.  A couple of nights ago
we took down the spinnaker on a night watch.  There was no moon, and it was
extremely dark.  When we came to tidy up after the spinnaker was shoved
downstairs, we found one of the sheets missing (ropes).
It must have gone overboard in the drop, and because it was so dark no one saw it pulling out over the side.  These are the longest ropes on the boat – they must be around 150 feet long – and very expensive.  We will have to get it replaced in Airlie Beach, but will suffer some penalty points for damage.  We now have a new policy in place to stop it from happening again.  Horses and stable doors come to mind – but at least that should stop us from losing another one.

We have managed with one, as we also have lightweight spinnaker sheets on
board.  We have the one heavyweight sheet left as the active sheet, and the
lightweight sheet as the lazy sheet.  OK unless we have to tack – but as we
should have been on this tack for “the next half an hour” nearly two days
ago, it isn’t too bad!

As with every leg, something always goes missing.  this time it is the
toilet cleaner.  No idea where the toilet duck went, but it isn’t where it
should be.  No doubt we will find it when we do the deep clean.

The weather now is unbearably hot.  Trying to sleep in the afternoon after
coming off the 6am to 12 noon shift is virtually impossible.  My little
coffin bunk is like a sauna – there is absolutley no air at all.  the bunk
above me is even worse – the sun beats down on the deck, which is about
eighteen inches from your face if you sleep in the top one.  Put your hand
on the roof, and it will burn.  And it will get worse – it is all coming
back to me!!  I think I will invest in some sort of fan in Airlie Beach
that is rechargeable – will make life a lot more comfortable.

I haven’t actually slept properly for a couple of days now.  The kindle
came out – not because of needing to read, but trying to take my mind off
the sweat running down my face and back.  I have music on my phone, which
up to now I haven’t used.  Thought that would be a good idea until I found
out that the ear plugs don’t fit the iphone with the “clipper proof” case
that William put on for me.  I should have had a little extension to plug
in – I probably have still in the case in the UK. Luckily someone else had
one that I borrowed, and Il Divo and Andrea Bocelli accompanied me in my
sweaty, smelly, uncomfortable bunk.

Not looking forward to getting to Airlie Beach and an air conditioned room at all!

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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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