12:30 pm EDT - the south winds have come, and strong. 25 - 30 knots. But coming over us at 60 - 70 degrees off the port bow, we can use sail, and increase our speed, giving us a chance of getting in out of this blow sooner. So we have a part of the genny out - engine running - and doing over 6 knots, heeled over, in the sunshine - and 1 hour to go.
Another report - as it is happening. 1742 GMT, 4:42 am, Saturday 1st January, 2011 --- Happy New Year!! - Still at sea, but only 45 sea miles to go now, to Eden.
Currently blowing 20 - 25, was 25 - 30 knots, from the north. Copped the slop of a big wave (maybe it wasn't big, just friendly) right into the cockpit. Most of the genoa rolled up, but I am letting more and more of it out - to increase speed.
Been sailing hard for 12 hours now, engine off. Seas 2.5 metres, they come up really close behind, and peer over the stern rail, say "BOO!" before moving under us.
Sun just offstage.
A brief progress report: 101.7 nautical miles to go, to the waypoint off Eden, and from there, heading inshore, another 10.
Doing around 7 knots, wind slowly strengthening. Wind now 18 - 20 knots from the NNE, and more is promised by the weatherman.
We are passing Ulladulla, and sailing along very nicely. As I said, a southerly change is predicted tomorrow, and we hope to be in the gardens of Eden by the time it hits.
Nick has to leave us there, because he has 2 cats back home. He has enjoyed himself! He has been a tremendous help to us in Sydney, hauling us around shopping, cooking meals, helping on board. keeping our dinghy on the back of his truck, because we could not leave it on the beach.
Endra will arrive in Eden in the wee hours of January 3rd, the day after my birthday. A special birthday. The biblical span of threescore years and ten - from now on, it is pure gift.
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.