Admiralty Wharf Brisbane
I have been a bit tardy in getting this journal up to date and I apologise to all that have been following our voyage for that. Hopefully this entry will give some idea of what has been happening since the last journal entry was posted. I must start by saying farewell to Captain Peter Manthorpe - the maiden voyage of Duyfken will forever be linked with Peters name and the success of the voyage to date is in no small way way due to his leadership. It was a real pleasure to sail as Mate with Peter and if my term as Master here is half as successsful as Pete's then I will be doing well. I am sure that I speak for all the crew in wishing Peter and Michelle all the very best for the future and we look forward to seeing them again at some time. (Little does he know that I will take leave on any future windward passages and he can come back as relief Master!). I would also like to pay tribute to the other crew members who have paid off here, Jane Doepel, Ben Manthorpe, Cian Periera and Trevor Smith. The cook on any ship is one of the most demanding jobs and even more so in Duyfken. I have nothing but praise for Jane, myself and the tapeworm that she suspects is living in my guts will miss her and the meals she made. If sleeping is ever made an Olympic sport then we have a certain gold medal winner in Ben. Sleeping, fishing and eating were the highlights of Bens existence with the occasional spell of work. Nevetheless he provided a useful role in being the target for the Mates boot, Nic is worried that she may have to take over that official role now. We do all hope though that this spell aboard Duyfken will see Ben in good stead for his futuere and we all wish him well.Our two relief engineers, Cian and Trevor - Cian's constant good humour was a tonic for all aboard, (even if he can't tie a bowline!) and we hope to see him aboard again at some time. Trevor I have known for many years and his engineering knowledge was useful aboard, even if most of his ideas centred around setting up an engineers lounge in the lazarette, complete with temprite bar system! Between the two of them they sorted out many of the engineering problems aboard and kept the job running trouble free, A few people have asked me if it feels like the end of the voyage, having reached Brisbane with the big welcome, and with quite a changeover in crew. I think that when you have been at sea for a while you realise that this is how ships work. People come and go but the ship carries on, and this is how it is here. We still have few ports to go in this expedition and the plans are being put in place for the future. I have now taken over as Master and Andrea has stepped up to Mate. Inevitably some things will be done differently but the demands of the ship are unchanged. So the work continues and as always as one job is crossed of the job list, another 2 are added to it. The rig is set up again, removing any slackness caused by recent passages and the prolonged spell of hot dry weather. Wet weather causes the natural fibre rope to shrink slightly and come taut, hot dry weather the opposite. Tarring of the rig continues, a never ending task especially the gear forward that takes the full brunt of the weather at sea. The crew send down the fore tops'l yard for oiling and the opportunity is taken to check the seam stitching and repair any that is showing wear. I am very pleased with the way the sails are holding up, but as ever we must look after them. A shower of rain means drying them at the next opportunity to prevent mould and rot. This has an advantage however, loosed sails are an eye catcher and bring more people in to look at us. Painting, cleaning, oiling, tarring go on always, repairs are always needed to various bits and pieces, and mooring lines, fenders and the gangway are constantly adjusted to suit the tide. The ship has proven very popular here in Brisbane, with good numbers coming through every day. Of course that is mixed blessings, the good revenue is vital for the operation of the ship, but the numbers aboard make it hard to carry on with some of the work. I think all the crew are used to it now though and it is pleasing to see the crew still chatting with our visitors and telling them about the ship with enthusiasm. We have got a good bunch of volunteer guides here who are doing a wonderful job of helping us to show Duyfken off to the public. I have been busy working on the forward plans for the ship - after our visit to the Gold Coast we will slip the ship up there at the big new marina complex at Hope Island and then head on down the NSW coast, visiting Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Newcastle and Sydney. Getting closer to my home turf now, I am quite looking forward to bringing her in to my home town of Sydney - there will be some critical eyes judging us as we come in though, a lot of square rig sailors in town there at the moment, including some of my ship mates from our Cape Horn rounding in Eye of the Wind in 1991. I am confident that they will suitably impressed with Duyfken. Of course now we are still looking to the proposed voyage to the Netherlands for the 2002 VOC celebrations, that will take a lot of work and planning if and when we get the go ahead from all concerned. The signs are looking promising though, a lot of people over in Holland are very keen to see us over there for it. The festive season is here and Duyfken is part of it - the crew have been invited to all sorts of functions in the past week or so - the Chevron staff party, the local Naval association Christmas meeting, the Uni party and even now the crew are all sporting funny red hats with white pom poms on them. Perfect for the 30 degree Brisbane summer. Peter, master of silly hats would be proud of them.