We have had the worst weather of this trip on this leg. Charlie has spent most of the nights in the cockpit for I am chicken when the winds are this strong and it always seems worse at night.
We trade off watches and these have really required close attention to the helm as well as looking out for hazards, such as other boats or ships we might encounter.
This morning I saw a slip of blue sky among the
layers of grey. I was beginning to think the whole universe is grey: the ocean, the sky and the atmosphere. The plus side is that we have been delightfully cool for the whole trip. Even with the boat closed,
as it has to be against the intermittent showers and salt spray, and the occasional wave hitting us broadside and sloshing into the cockpit, we have stayed cool, dry and comfortable. Sea Gem is a dry,
comfortable boat and nowhere do I more appreciate that than on these long tedious passages.
We enjoy sharing time alone on the boat. It simplifies life aboard but the drawback is the long periods
without adequate sleep. Charlie is amazing that he can stay awake and alert on an almost endless basis. We try to arrange his sleep time at a time when the weather is at least decent and I feel comfortable
alone in the cockpit for enough time for him to get a least a little real rest. We have used the quarter cabin for sleeping this entire trip. The mattress on our bed in the aft cabin slides to and fro with each
rock of the boat. The most comfortable place on the boat in bumpy weather is the lower berth in the quarter cabin and it has been a Godsend for this leg.
We have done a lot of reading, for with the
weather this rough only basic chores can be done around the boat. Cooking and serving a meal is a challenge but we have eaten well, both as a diversion and to try to eat everything they will confiscate in
Australia. Australia has the most stringent restrictions of any country but we understand they are trying to preserve their agricultural products from diseases from outside.
They have been successful for the most part due to their extreme diligence.
August 5, 1999 -- The generator went down today. Charlie did the usual trouble shooting but it will run for only a short time.
The port engine is overheating so we run it only when necessary for maneuvering for dockage. We have a whole list of things we need to have repaired in Australia and look forward to getting all systems on line
6, we arrived in Cairns, we came in through the reef in the early
morning hours and made our way to Yorkey's Knob Marina in Half Moon
Bay. Awaiting all the Millennium Odyssey Participants was
the beautiful, modern and well-run marina with all the amenities
that yachites so covet after rough and wet time at sea. The
bar and restaurant are excellent, the laundry facilities fine and
the staff both efficient and friendly. In fact I believe
that everyone in Australia is friendly. We have been treated
so well everywhere we have traveled. Friendliness is contagious
and it is delightful to enjoy interaction with people from cultures
different from our own.
Having Sea Gem repaired in Australia will be a challenge as we will be back in the states when
most of the work is done. It is almost like leaving a beloved family member at the door of the hospital emergency room and saying, "See you later, hope things go well."
Ralph Seed, Manager of The Big Boat Shed, is overseeing the repairs. We were going to leave the Sea Gem at his location but had some difficulty in lifting her out so the necessary
work will be done in the Marina at Yorkey's Knob. Charlie simplified the list of things to be done and we are keeping our fingers crossed that all goes well in our absence. Until later ...