The 2 nights ago we were horribly dispirited. We've gotten used to our main sourse of weather underestimatint the wind strenght. Its been doing that since about Fiji. But we'd had 2 days of strong hard on the wind when it should have been a light beam reach. Not nearly as plesant. The 15 knot easterly which would have been perfect was in fact a 30 kn south easter. The waves were stacking up and sharp horrible confused shapes. To offset this we we inicially steared right for Brisbane. This wasn't enough. The breacking crests started to slam the side of the boat in furious bangs and sickaning lurches.
We turned our stern to them, the bow towards Bunderberg and none of us got much sleep. The gerry cans, sunflower oil lables now faded into invisibility we've had tied to the rail since Panama worked loose, I climbed out to retrieve them. Just as Al took one a huge lurch sent Jackal over on her ear, sending Alan and the gerry can flying across the cockpit, bouncing off the bincale and over the table. He landed on his head on the leward cockpit seat with a badly bruised arm. This sort of thing is to be expected from time to time. It was the future which bothered us. The 10kns of the preceding 2 days forcast had in reality been 25kn. We'd had a standard practice for some time of adding 5kn to the forecast even before that. The forecast was for 30kn northerlies off the Ausie coast early this week. Tommorow and wednesday. Morton Bay, the aproaces to Brisbane is sand bank infested and open to the north. Even if we'd got there we'd never have dared go in. A grib.us forecast of 30 kn was, on current showing, going to be 40 kn in reality. No harbour we could get into before Coffs. No sleep. Chilly by our standards.
The next morning the waves, still confused allowed us to set a more southerly course, but 25 kns of wind was still 10 above we were told, so we texted our weather girl, Jackie, with a request she find some Ausie forcast we might trust.
Eventually Jackie came back with 15 kn easterly for today. Which to our suprise was bang on the money. The wind should swing to north for tommorow and 18kns. With a 15kn south westerly on wednesday. By the time the text came in the waves though still huge were more consitant and the motion more comfortable. We had a pleasant night sail on sunday night. Today has been flat fast and very pleasant. We're hoping the forcast will hold. The south westerly on wednesday is irittating since it ill be right on the nose, but that is tempered by the help of the favourable East Austrailier current and our overly windy passage has left us with a stash of diesel that if sold to british white van men at current road prices would allow us to buy a small island. We've about a tank and 1/2 left. With all the Gerry cans we can take about 2 and 1/2 tank fulls 700 miles at full speed.
All in all we've only 260 nm to go to Coffs. Arrival will be a relief. None of us were looking forward to this passage, plunging south in the middle of winter, a disconcertingly large continent ahead, not the little islands you can nip around and find shelter we've become acustomed to. Its gone from tropical heat to chilly in a week.
It will be good to arrive, odd as those who know me might find this sounding, but I have had enough sailing for a while. I'm seriously looking forward to getting my feet on dry land. I've not sleped on dry land once in 8 months. When we reach Coffs I'll have brought Jackal a staggering 10741 nautical miles in a little over 6 months. If Jackal was a second hand car it would be suspect, at 1000 land miles a year for a typical car its done 12325 miles in just 6 months.
End of this Journey? Yes, definatly. But the flight home will be shorter than the sail here, so I can hold my head up high and apease my eco concience. I know the world is round. I've been arround it completly, admittedly by airoplane for about a 1/4. When I do get home I'll have seen 2 sunsets less than the rest of you, by chasing the sun around the world twice.
I hope I don't run in to some nice Aussie with a yacht, leaving Coffs for euorpe next week and short of crew.......