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Arriving in Australia

10 Nov 05

Day 4 on the Coral Sea, 24 14S, 158 48E at 4pm, 330 miles to Moreton Island

This is the way to cross oceans!
By chute's a fun way to cross oceans!

Dear Friends and Family,

Last night just at dusk the sky in front of us clouded up and we thought we were in for a wet night, but the clouds all blew away and we had a glorious night with clear skies, a silvery half moon, and a million brilliant stars overhead.  At 2am we passed the nominal half-way point, which is always good for morale.  The dawn came with yet another beautiful sunrise (Jon loves his 4-6 am watch!), blue skies and a few puffy clouds.

The wind had dropped and backed around behind us overnight so Jon rigged up the spinnaker, but when we tried to deploy it the sock got a bit stuck.  When Jon yanked at the spinnaker to free it, it tore.  Seems part of the sail had been left in the sun (we can see the discoloration) before we bought it.  So we stuffed it down a hatch into the salon and dug out the sail-repair tape.  Love those sail repairs at sea! :)  We got the chute up at about noon and are drifting along nicely now behind our big, bright red/yellow/orange and black chute.

Beautiful Yellow-fin Tuna
Beautiful Yellow-fin Tuna

Last night we got word that Oz (yes, the Aussies really DO use this spelling - we'll be looking for Munchkins and the Yellow Brick Road ;D ) Quarantine does not worry about fish, so we put our lines out for the first time this trip.  About 2 hours later Sue shouted "Fish ON!" Evidently we'd sailed through a school of yellow-fin tuna as BOTH lines had huge fish on them.  Port side had already tired himself out and was flopping on the surface so we pulled him in first - 38" (1m) of fat tuna.  Jon could barely hold him up.  The tuna on the other side was still fighting hard and our experience told us to let him tire himself out while we filleted the first tuna.  Sadly, he twisted and turned so much that he broke the wire leader and got away -- no second fish for us, and a hook and wire in one tuna's mouth.  The filleting of the first tuna took Jon and Amanda about an hour and produced about 20 lbs (10 kg) of boneless fish.  Sue cooked up rice, toasted the nori and rolled the sushi for lunch.  Oh yum!!!

Oz Customs is pretty vigilant.  We were 350 miles from Brisbane when the coast-patrol customs plane flew by, very low overhead, and called on the VHF radio to ask boat name, destination, etc.  We did get verification that we can anchor out before going into the quarantine dock as long as we don't get off the boat.  This is good news, as the wind is still persnickety.  Our arrival time is in no way guaranteed to be in daylight, and we don't want to navigate Moreton Bay at night.

Our other VHF traffic for the day was our buddies on Scud who left 16 hours after us and should overtake us sometime this evening.  Peregrinata (with 2 teen girls) is a bit south of us and Leprechaun (with 5 kids) left New Cal yesterday.  All of us are heading for Brisbane, taking advantage of this favorable weather window.

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

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