THE GOOD SHIP BLUEBOTTLE* HAS JUST NOW PUSHED THROUGH A FLEET OF BLUEBOTTLES! For those who have never met these fine sailors but nasty stingers, they are a floating creature - with a blue transparent bladder or sail about 3 centimetres long by 2 centimetres high pus long (half metre), trailing filaments which can sting painfully. A child's encounter with one of these is unforgettable!
Link: See Bluebottles and Pacific Man-O-War
We left Sydney as the last of the sunset coloured the sky, slipping by South Head only a quarter of a mile away. As night came on we motored offshore, a few ships visible. There is some excitement aboard, with Nick, our new crewman, Bluebottle setting out to grab a brief weather window - light to strong northerlies.
Adrienne made us a "Pratie" - a pressure-cooked potato, split and buttered, with a topping of ham and tomato with grated cheese on top. This is a fine dinner, at sea, and fine for me anytime. Nick took the first watch, Adrienne next at 0200, and now me, doing the dawn watch, from 0500.
A southerly change is expected on the south coast tomorrow afternoon. We have to get to Eden before it arrives. If not, we'll make slow progress, and it will not be pleasant, so I may make for Bateman's Bay, depending on how early the change hits.
The dawn is beautiful, but brief, the sun climbing into the gray cloud, silvering the ocean. A scatter of black coloured birds glide very low over their reflections. Still motoring, not enough wind to set a sail on. Yet.
* By the way, Bluebottle is named after a comic character in Spike Milligan's The Goon Show (click here)
Departing Sydney tomorrow, Thursday evening! Weather looks good - northerlies blowing Thursday and Friday, then light southerlies. Hoping to get to Eden, 200 miles from here, in 2 days.
Fuel, water and provisions today.
Nick can come as far as Eden, then he'll hop off; Endra will join us there for the last leg.
Had a wonderful day out on Sydney harbour yesterday with daughter Kate, husband Pat, friend Paul, cousin Geoff, partner Rosie, with Adrienne and me playing host and hostess. Saw every conceivable type of craft from wooden gaffer, foil-riding one-up dinghy, square-rigger, tourist jetboats, kayakers, ferries, power boats and sailing yachts, and a cruise ship. Had lunch by a sunny little beach. A pure delight.
Christmas was wonderful. My daughter Kate and her husband, Pat, put on a delightful day at their house, and with Pat's niece Kiri, my daughter Emma and Adrienne we laughed and talked as we ate and drank, just like families everywhere. I hope yours was as happy.
After a rest on boxing day, and watching the Sydney to Hobart race start on TV, came the day to work on the head, the parts having arrived from the US already. Having done this before, and having cleared blocked sewers with my bare hands and shoveled out a septic tank with my bare shovel, I was keen to get started.
Sparing you the details ...
... 5 hours later it was finished!
I'm not going to spare you the photo, though. This shows the split, worn out leathers on the piston.
Last few days spent catching up with old friends: Richard and Patty, and my beautiful daughters: Kate and Emma. Then it's back to work mend the torn mainsail, and - four must-do jobs before we head south for Hobart, Tasmania.
Adrienne has been sewing the big mainsail in Nick's garage; this is a huge task, at which I will be helping today, to feed the yards of sailcloth through the small throat of the sewing machine.
Yesterday Nick (our crew to Hobart) and I partially dismantled and lubed a winch. Only took us an hour, that is, after we had draped cloth curtains all around to catch any springs or things that might pop out.
Second success - we tightened up the anchor windlass casing (which was leaking grease, and topped up the lubricant.
Next two jobs - (1) Rebuild the toilet pump with valve and leathers kit. (2) Trace and cure the air leak in the raw water intake hoses. Then it's fuel and water top up, provision and we should be ready.
Weather permitting, we are aiming to leave Sydney on the 31st December.
Christmas day tomorrow, at my daughter's house! Last Christmas we were at sea.
The winds blew over 30 knots today and I canceled a dentist's appointment to stay on board, in case another boat dragged. It was a wild day, until the evening when everything became still, and the moon rose, entangling itself in the wires of the Glebe Island bridge.
I put another of my Uke Plus Richard songs up on YouTube:
Chatanooga Choo Choo
My old painter mate Richard Cutler came by the boat today and read poetry and told old tales from our nearly 50 year history together. And I videoed him reading Seamus Heaney's poems, and he videoed me singing a few songs. the first one is up on YouTube right now, and you can get there by clicking:
To hear Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans go to:
Do You Know What It Means
And ... To hear The Monkey Song go to:
The Monkey Song