Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Playing Footsie With the Reef

Just as I thought I was through the worst of it, the reef decided not to let me pass without having a more up close and personal encounter to remember her by. Last night I was almost through the channel around Cape York, open ocean literally within view, when I noticed that the boat had stopped dead! My worst nightmare really (or one of them). In keeping to the edge of the channel to get out of the way of the many ships passing through, the bottom of the keel ended up scraping on a small piece of reef, bringing Spirit to a standstill. I was probably stuck for about an hour before the incoming tide lifted her clear. Apart from the very bottom of the keel, the rest of the boat is fine and I managed to sail off and continue. I will have to get someone to dive on her and check out any damage in Darwin. I guess the whole incident was the result of a couple of really intense days sailing with very little sleep. I have noticed how much fatigue will cloud my thinking, and I feel really fortunate to have escaped the incident so lightly. My state of mind after that was not so great, and I'm just glad I am now out of there. Today I managed to get much needed rest, put the boat back to rights after everything was thrown around the cabin in the swell and surf of the previous couple of days and get my head back into gear to focus on the rest of this leg.

Winds have eased off a little, as has the swell, I have put up the storm jib to balance the boat better and Spirit continues to make good time toward Darwin. It's as if she knows she's rounded the corner and is heading for home, and is almost sailing herself there!


  1. Hey keep away from them rocks, the boat doesnt have wheels.I suppose you have checked this out
    but with the wind up give Cape Don a really wide berth, rough as hell with lots of whirlpools if you get to close. And watch the current direction when you go through the Vernon Islands,wrond direction and you will just sit going nowhere or a bit backwards.

  2. You are brave guy.I have been following your journey since half way across Bass Straight and really admire your bravery, guts and determination. My wife is a quad so have some idea of the difficulty you experience and am not sure how you manage to do it. I regret having missed you in Sydney. regards Richard

  3. Hi Jamie,

    To stop dead in her tracks must have been a strange feeling. Eternal vigilence my brave and wonderful hero, ereternal vigilence.

    Hugs kisses and best wishes.

  4. G'day Jamie,

    It must have been confusing to suddenly realise the boat had stopped but glad you were able to continue without too much delay, and I hope they don't find any damage. So much to lookout for out there on the deep blue.

    Wishing you all the very best for the rest of your journey.
    Sunshine Coast. Qld.

  5. You go boy it's been 34 years since we were in Darwin what a lifestyle there, Darwin has to be your lucky charm Jamie as it's where we found Dad and life became perfect. Have a drink in one of those outdoor beer gardens, gotta love them. Lots of love Naomi and crew and all the residents at dalkeith hostel.

  6. Hello Jamie,

    Sending you continued support and encouragement in your quest.

    Your tenacity and courage to even attempt this adventure is admirable and inspirational.

    Here's hoping the boat didn't sustain any damage on the reef.

    Soldier's Mum