I think the aliens have been playing with me again. Went out the reef from Cairns on Saturday, had a bit of a snooze and when I woke up I could have sworn I was back in the southern ocean. 35 knot south easterlies along with 6 metre swells, grey overcast skies, the only difference was the air temperature which was decidedly warmer than the southern ocean. Wasn't exactly what I had been anticipating, but Spirit is built to handle those conditions and handle them she did. She had no trouble in doing speeds of 7.5 - 8.5 knots even though I was trying to slow her up a bit, had no jib up and only half the main. Did a fair bit of surfing too, managing to clock up to 12 knots when going down waves. I had to alter my planned course through the reef as it would have put me square in front of the wind, I actually ended up in the shipping lane heading north. The strong winds have been unrelenting and combine the following swell conflicting with an opposing tidal current and you have to experience it to believe it. Lets just say I haven't had a lot of sleep.
Am now just rounding Thursday Island and am looking forward to getting back in open water. The winds, although easing a little on the western side of Cape York, are forecast to continue for the next week so I expect to be in Darwin much faster than anticipated.