Friday, July 2, 2010

Having a Cracker of a Time

Been working on the boat with Tony Sommerville, getting it ready for the next leg. Thanks again Tony, as he is actually the one doing all the work as per usual. When I entered the Marina the other day, coincidentally a couple of well known Perth sailors Peter Robinson and Mark Loder were there having just brought a boat up from Fremantle so I had an unexpected welcome. Mark was kind enough to offer to dive on the boat and inspect the keel for me as well clean the hull while he was at it. The report from him was some gel-coat and anti-foul scraped off the bottom, but the lead keel was perfectly intact which was what I expected as I know how strongly Spirit has been built. I'm very grateful to Mark for doing this task for me and putting my mind at rest, also considering the genuine crocodile risk in the Marina (I kid you not!).

Was fortunate to be in town this week and so be here for "Northern Territory Day". I lived in Darwin for a year when I was 11, its not quite how I remembered it, a bit like "the wild west gone north". This is the one day of the year that Territorians can purchase and let off their own fireworks. We went to the local Mindil Beach Markets where they had the public firework display over the beach. Very impressive and atmospheric. Driving back however was another experience again, basically a bit like being in a war zone with explosives and rockets going off everywhere and in all directions as people let off their own private stash - from apartment balconies, carparks, the street verge - wherever. We took cover in the hotel and watched the action.

After a few of the blog comments recently, and some frustration from followers perhaps at wanting more frequent blogs than I have been putting on here, I think the logistics of putting the blogs on needs to be explained. Basically due to my disability I can only type with one finger. I do have voice recognition software on the computer but it won't work on the boat due to background noise of bangs, sloshes, screeching booms, ropes etc etc. The logistics of a one finger typist churning out daily blogs whilst keeping balance in a bucking bronco is difficult to say the least. My sponsorship deals don't extend to internet connectivity and satellite phone coverage, so I only have limited email and satellite phone capability whilst offshore due to the exorbitant cost. We've been doing the blogs when at sea by me telephoning Jo on the satellite phone and as briefly as possibly telling her the information to go in the blog. Jo and I have a good connection and she writes it exactly how I would have done it, except in a much more literate and educated way! The problem with the last leg was that the sat phone wasn't working properly and only limited information came off the boat. There was quite a bit that happened in the first part of the last leg that didn't make it onto the blog because of the poor communication, some of it would make your hair curl.

Looking at leaving next Tuesday 6th July at this stage. After the last leg, I have a much better understanding of what the sea state is like with wind against current, which is very taxing on me trying to move around the boat. I'm realising that I might have to stop at Exmouth to have a break which means I won't be able to break my current world record of some 1500 nautical miles but I do want to get myself and Spirit back in one piece. I'll make the decision based upon how the first part of the trip goes, as to whether I go in at Exmouth or not.


  1. Hi Jamie,
    Many thanks for the blogs when you are able to post them. Thanks also for explaining the hurdles you encounter to post the blogs. Gosh, it just makes us admire you all the more.

    I have never been to Darwin. I did hear them talking on the radio here in Melbourne about the fireworks up there in Darwin.

    I'd like a little of your cabin 'sauna' here in Melbourne. It's freezing at the moment but at least we are having some much needed rain. I'm moving house so spend my days sorting and packing stuff. What an enormous job. But I am inspired by you and young Jessica. Moving houses seems pretty easy compared with what you're doing.

    Take care and stay safe.


  2. Re. the last blog comments. I think I should put out the little spot fire here and clarify that my comment (as 'Anonymous')was intended as a gentle ironic dig at 'Kevin', and was totally tongue-in-cheek.

  3. Jamie,

    Having sailed around Australia solo myself just recently as a fully able bodied man, I too know the difficulties in getting information off the boat and you don't need to appologise.

    What you are doing is an amazing feat, appreciated all the more by myself as I know how hard it is out there. When you are getting beaten up and your butt is being handed to you time and time again, the last thing you are thinking of is sending out a blog.

    Let's try and put it in a way that land lubbers can understand, drive your standard car over the roughest corrugations in teaming rain where visability is not good and make it in peak hour traffic. Then try and text on your phone. That should be about the equivalent.

    Mate, you are an inspiration.

  4. Hi Jamie,

    Take no notice of some thoughtless idividuals. Eternal vigilane my brave and wonderful hero, eternal vigilance. Enjoy Darwin.

    Hugs kisses and best wishes.

  5. Loved the description of fireworks in Darwin. Some years ago we encountered NYE in Europe - just like that, only probably more so ... the entire (predominately adult male) population of a iconic mediaeval city targeting their historic market place & cathedral roof with masses of "incendiary" devices, and firing rockets (purchased from local supermarkets) across our heads... MAD!! That's something to tell the dolphins about, as you round the Kimberly Coast. Love your blogs, and love reading the commendations from people who really know what you're doing, and why. Great stuff.