Eqautor, Indian Ocean
02 36.4S 88 45.7E At around noon yesterday, while we were having lunch, the Da Zhong crossed the Equator into the southern latitudes. We are due to arrive at Dampier in the late afternoon of Sunday 3 November. The Da Zhong crew, like the Duyfken crew when sailing, are busy with maintenance work for most of the daylight hours, apart from the officers, who seem to be rostered in a four hour three watch system, without rotation in the time of duty. The majority of the crew is in the process of repainting the stern section of the ship at present. One day I noticed the Captain weilding a paint brush a well. Today they are applying the finishing touches, and it is looking ery smart. Unfortunately, I have been plagued by a recurrence of sciatic pains in my legs, stemming from a previous lower back injury, and I have not been able to do as many of the numerous jobs that we hoped cold be completed during the voyage. However, Graeme informed be that there is a willing team anxiously waiting to help when the ship arrives back in Fremantle. Today the ship is rocking to a slightly moderate swell, but up to now, the voyage has been very smooth. The Da Zhong is a fairly new ship, undertaking her maiden voyage in September 1998. Each comfortable cabin has a bunk with a full size single mattress, a writing desk, settee, wardrobe and its own ensuite. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to coming back to Australia.