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February 12, 2006

Idlewild Log Entries

August 12, 2006
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Feb 12, 2006

Land Ho. We have fetched Australia. We haven't landed yet but we are inside Ruttnest Island and slowed down, waiting for daylight. Wind was 25 to 40 kts until a short time ago and now 15 kts and the sea is quite calm.

This is absolutely fascinating, coming in here at night with all the lights and now calm water and the engine at idle. Still a nice easy swell to remind us we're at sea. At 03:30 our bright morning star, maybe Mars, came up straight over Perth and then the sky started to lighten until we had a beautiful Australian morning.

We were informed that this is the longest passage ever completed by a Trawler Yacht. 29 days and 6 hours, we can add another 6 hours for time zones if you like.

Saw a ship 14 miles ahead on radar when we neared the coast. This is the first ship we had seen for 20 days and 3015 nm. As we got closer we could see lights on shore extending for miles to the north.

We were fortunate with the weather from East London, South Africa and no doubt Commander's Weather was a great help. Of all our crossings, this has been the most relaxing and enjoyable. The last 6 days have been windy and bouncy so it will be good to clean up the boat and rest a bit.

We enjoy technology that allows us to phone home from anywhere in the world and tells us our location within a few feet, but still if someone is a long way from shore you are often on your own. The farther we are from port, the more we are at risk and the need to be self reliant. The ocean in foul weather is totally unforgiving as has been proven thousands of times. Good planning is the best defense, and while people should not be discouraged from venturing out, it is important to learn as much as possible and be prepared. To us, since we got the boat in the water, learning everything we should know is our biggest challenge. It is also fun and provides the excitement. Improving the reliability of our engine fuel will be addressed at Fremantle.

We expected more west winds and following seas than we actually had, but the seas were friendly for the most part and there was plenty of fuel and no significant problems, so we were very lucky overall. We only had wind on the stern for 3 days out of 30. A total of 4495 miles at 6.4 mph and 5.27 lph (1.39 US gph) and 1.21 mpl (4.57 US mpg) for East London, South Africa to Fremantle Australia. We had expected burning 5 liters per hour for 6.25 nm per hour and were prepared to reduce rpm for better fuel mileage for much of the run if necessary. We normally carry 3800 liters of fuel. Here we carried 1400 liters extra but only used 3700 liters so have 1500 liters left on our arrival in Fremantle.

We have gone 20,310 nm (23,356 sm, 37,370 km) since leaving Dunvegan, Alberta May 24, 2005. We hope to be home before the first snow fall, maybe even before the leaves are all gone this fall.

I have 3 email addresses, 1 from Sailmail providing email free on SSB radio, another text only from an Iridium Satellite phone and the third from the land based BenGray@telus.net. Bill Gates hasn't provided an acceptable way of integrating these on 1 system so I have 3 groups of emails. Complicate that with some emails are taken off 1 system and sent to me via another system for various reasons, or as in the case of the Telus account, a message comes that Jodie feels I should review, or Brad downloads onto a USB stick from an internet café, and I get those messages onto my computer with no proper date or subject. I had 382 items in my Telus "In Box' that I processed on this crossing and will send from Fremantle. If anyone got missed I apologize and hope you try again.

We have work to do on the boat, then 2000 miles to Darwin and plan to leave Darwin On April 5 for Indonesia, Palau, Guam, and Islands north to Tokyo.

June 5 leave Yokyo for Attu and cross our trail near the Diomedes.

I have been traveled considerably before this trip and although Australia has always been in my heart, I have never been here before. I look forward with excitement. The family is here and Kevin will be going home to visit Kim and her kids for a couple weeks in Grande Prairie.

I already like Australian sunshine.