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9 Nov 05

Day 3 on the Coral Sea, 23 58S, 160 54E at 4pm, 440 miles to Moreton Island

Jon at the mast resetting the main after shaking out a reef
Jon resets the main after
shaking out a reef

Dear Friends and Family,

Well, it's Day 3 in the Coral Sea and things are going along swimmingly.  Well, sailingly.  Amanda and Sue convinced the skipper to let them shake both reefs out of the mainsail after lunch so now we're scooting along at 6.5-7.5 knots in about 14 knots of wind off the beam.  Although the wind hasn't yet moved astern as forecast, the sea is again flat enough to let us slide along without the annoying salty splashes on the helm seat that we had early this morning.

Last night found us slipping gracefully along the silvery path of the moon.  The flocks of squall-lines we'd had yesterday disappeared leaving just small, puffy clouds scudding around on quiet errands of their own.  A glorious sunrise revealed somewhat lumpy seas but those have moderated all day, leaving only a gentle swell with the occasional flecks of whitecaps.  Glorious sailing weather.

So, if seeing our first albatross yesterday meant we were truly out of the tropics, what does it mean that we saw a sparkling white, long-tailed tropic bird today, our first since Maupiti?

Amanda coils the halyard after shaking the reef
Amanda coils the halyard after shaking the reef

Those of you who are plotting our course will notice that we're somewhat north of the direct path from Noumea to Brisbane.  This is to bring the SSE winds to a more comfortable point of sailing.  Our weather forecasts say that over the next 2 days the winds will weaken and back around behind us, eventually coming from the NNW.  Then we can turn more southerly to A) give us a more comfortable point of sail, and B) get us back on course for Brisbane.

We've been doing about 150 miles/day, which will get us into Brisbane a bit too early (we don't want to pay weekend overtime rates to the quarantine folks) but we've now heard that it's permitted to anchor for a night in Moreton Bay in order to time our arrival for business hours, so that's what we plan to do.

Amanda has been playing the guitar and serenading us all.  Sue has been cooking and sorting through food stores.  Jon has been reading and doing the radio scheds, and Ocelot has been tending herself nicely.  All are well on board.

Fair winds and calm seas -- Sue, Jon and Amanda Hacking

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