Welcome aboard Simon...




Afternoon all,

Well last night the winds maintained 30 knots and the swell continued to build so that now I am sailing in 5 meter swell.  It was also a rather sad night for me as I had a new visitor to the boat.  At about 11 pm there was a thwak on the deck of the boat so I went on deck to take a look and found a lovely little brown sea bird cradling its damaged wing hunched on the back deck.  It was about the size of a large pigeon with a lovely long slender beak.  It didnt take a genius to figure out that it had hit the - becoming now infamous - wind generator.

Upon closer inspection (I am just going to call it a he) he wasnt too badly damaged but definitely wouldnt be able to fly any time soon.  On his left wing he had clipped just the very tip loosing half a centimeter of flesh but all of his flight feathers on that wing.  He was crouched under the helm looking rather miserable.  I let him be for a while so that I didnt stress him out but when he was having trouble staying upright on the rolling decks I emptied out one of my tool boxes and made him a home in that with some towels.  It was lucky I did as not 5 minutes later a massive wave came along and crashed over the back deck soaking me and flooding the cockpit.  If the little guy was still there he would have been either washed out to sea.

I named him Simon as I didn’t think I should be talking to a bird with no name and popped him below where I was hoping he would get some rest.  A few hours later I checked in on Simon and he didn’t seem to be doing too well.  Finally this morning when I looked it was clear that the stress was too much and Simon had died overnight.  I wish that their was more that I could have done for the little guy but as I consigned his body to the sea but it was unfortunately what it was.

I am a massive animal lover and don’t kill anything, even spiders so for me this was a bit of a blow to have such a lovely creature come to its end via my vessel.  I honestly dont know what the difference is with the birds here being so curious.  When I sailed around Antarctica not a single bird came close to the wind generator blades and yet here I have had 2 in 2 nights.  I can only assume as this region is more populated and that their are likely fishing vessels around that the birds are more familiar with landing on boats and simply cant see the blades in the dark or they get attracted to the light on the deck as I read outside.  So to combat this I am going to try turning the wind generator breaks on at sunset and keep them on until I go to bed and all the lights are out.  Hopefully this will prevent any further wildlife getting clipped.

So after my rather sad wake up I noticed that I was only 95nm from entering the main shipping passage at the top of the Great Barrier Reef called Pandora Passage and with the amazing speeds I have been able to maintain over night I should arrive at sunset.  Normally I wouldnt think of entering somewhere like this in the dark however this entry is 10nm wide so there is plenty of margin for error however I will need to see how bad the seas get as we approach the contintial shelf as they are quite large and pushy now so I can only imagine that they will get larger near the entry.

I have a run of 40nm where I will be in shallower waters and still exposed to the swell and then I will be gybing towards the SW and should loose the swell behind the reef.  As I will be entering at dusk I will definitely be awake all night so I have made the most of today and tried to rest as much as possible but I am sure it will still be a bit of a struggle to stay up all night.  Hopefully by dawn I am clearing the Torris Straights and heading west again.

Right so another question that was sent through was from Andrew Kirby and says "Whose the craziest sailor on the ocean?"

Well a little back story.  I worked with Kirby on-board Manly Fast Ferries for a while leading up to my Antarctica circumnavigation so I can quite honestly say that my answer is Andrew Kirby....  Gotta watch that one on the high seas. :)

Thanks to the following Sponsors for all their continued support: d’Albora Marinas, Pivotel  B&G, Australian Geographic, Zhik , Park Fuels, Karver, 3M, White Bay 6 Marine Park, and Great Circle Life Raft