Great Keppel Island
With the wind against us for the leg into Gladstone, and quite fresh, we decide to stay at anchor for the day. It is hardly a snug anchorage and over the course of the day a swell develops, rolling around the headland and making Duyfken pitch and tug at her cables. After breakfast the voyage crew endure a drenching in the boat for the benefit of a walk ashore. Meanwhile, back on board, maintenance tasks continue as usual. Andrea stitches up a cover for Rupert's masterpiece, the stern lantern, while Ben and Gary tar the mooring ropes. Rupert makes some repairs to the deck where a piece of embedded shrapnel has rusted, causing a patch of rot. The Latvian forest that yielded Duyfken's oak must have been the scene of some heavy wartime fighting. Shrapnel, bullets and pieces of shell buried in the timber were common finds while the ship was being built. My job is to unblock one of the heads (toilets). Marine heads are notorious for blocking up and when it happens I wonder why we don't use the 16th century method of al-fresco relief. The job of clearing a blockage normally falls to the engineer, but I have taken pity on Cian today. He has done it often enough. I unbolt the pipe and remove the blocked valve. I take it on deck and hold it over the ship's side to clear out the... well, the you know what. My hand slips and the valve drops into the water and starts to sink. In a reflex that Gary describes afterwards as the fastest he has seen me move in a long while, I whip off my shirt and dive in to intercept it on its way to the bottom. When I bring it to the surface it has cleaned itself. That saves me a nasty job, but my last dry pair of pants is now wetter than I would like. Nic is no longer a teenager. She seems a little surprised when she comes on deck to find the entire crew wearing Winnie-the-Pooh party hats and honking on paper blowouts, assembled around a huge chocolate pudding with '20' written in the middle. We sing 'Happy Birthday to Nic', each in our own key of course, in the customary strange and embarrassing ritual. Nic is in paradise. More sugary, syrupy dessert than even she could possibly consume. I wonder if Willem Janszoon ever witnessed a scene like this on his ship.