Off Noosa Head
Duyfken is making slow but steady progress. The winds are light and variable and we are using the fluctuations to our advantage. At four this morning we tack out to sea just as the land breeze starts to come in from the south west, and we tack again at breakfast when it shifts back to the south east. For once Duyfken's zigs are at right angles to her zags. Like a racing jacht. We spend most of the afternoon embayed (trapped in a bay unable to beat clear) in Laguna Bay under Noosa Head. We make about ten tacks trying to get to seaward, finally clearing the headland in the late afternoon. Everything happens in slow motion because we have less than ten knots of breeze all day. There is something unsettling about sailing in Duyfken. When you spend hours concentrating hard on working a 16th century sailing ship out of a bay the traditional way you start to grasp what it was to live in another era, when patience and perseverence were not only virtues, they were necessary equipment for everyday life. Then a boat roars alongside in a cloud of diesel smoke and a camera crew climbs aboard. I am interviewed for tonight's television news, then the two TV men depart in another cloud of smoke. We are left in silence once more, sailing at about one knot in not quite the right direction, miles away from the present day. TV? What's that? Or how about this for a paradox: Bob from the Courier Mail sits on the poop hunched over his laptop and mobile phone sending digital photographs for tomorrow morning's paper while all around him the crew are hauling on hemp braces, sheets and bowlines, manoeuvring the ship through yet another tack. This is the paradox of sailing Duyfken. We are using old technology to tell an old story, but the message must be spread using new technology. The public's imagination is not something you can capture with oil paintings any more. They take too long to paint and don't digitise well. You might be interested in this document that passed across my desk today. Well, it would have if I had been sitting at a desk. It is advice from Pete Gill, voyage crew from Port Moresby to Cooktown, to Jess, voyage crew who joined us in Hervey Bay. I don't know what the questions were but here are the answers: 1. If you have been rowing and the like you will certainly be fit enough, except if you have to tack three times in a row because the bloody ship won't behave, and then everyone will be stuffed. 2. Sleep? Fat chance. 3. Bung a packet of Kwells in your bag just in case. 4. It doesn't matter what you bring, you won't use it anyway. Everyone pretty much stays in the same clothes for the five days and the rest is just baggage. Take your bathers. A swim off the ship is great if you get the chance and they are also handy for modesty when taking a salt water shower on deck. 5. Do not grow in the next week. You are just the right height at the moment to miss the bloody deck-beams in the main cabin. 6.Show lots of enthusiasm for things like scrubbing the decks, climbing the mast to furl the sails (wear shoes!), pumping the bilge by hand... and you might make enough merit to avoid cleaning the heads if they get blocked. It's a blast Jess. Go for it. Signed Gilly.