Approaching the Whitsunday Group
At midnight we tack away from the coast under the towering shadow of Cape Upstart which shows a few shades darker against the sky beyond. At four we tack again. By breakfast time we are back in the same position under Cape Upstart, suggesting a strong adverse current. Pleasant though the sailing is, we are not getting any closer to Mackay. It's time to start the engines and make some miles. At least the sea is relatively smooth. It is 200 days since our memorable departure from Fremantle. At times it feels like just a short time ago, at other times it feels like another lifetime. We have been through so much together, this little ship and her crew. She has been a constant element in our lives, delighting us and infuriating us in turns. One day she flies over the waves with a bolster of foam under each bow, the next day she pitches and bucks and makes no headway at all. Through it all she has been our passport to such a warmth of feeling in all our ports of call as I have never experienced before in my career. Duyfken is a special ship. To celebrate 200 days on the voyage Jane has made us a treat for lunch besides the usual freshly baked bread. Sticky date pudding with caramel sauce. Thanks Jane. Thanks also for the magic Equadorian ginger and garlic potion. Cian and I both have colds we picked up from somewhere and the combination of pudding and potion does the trick. At least the tonsils won't be giving any trouble for a while. I think they have been burnt off. 100 days ago today we were chugging along the south coast of West Irian, wondering if we were going to run out of fuel or, perhaps, get arrested for visiting the area without a permit. We are still battling against the trade wind, that much hasn't changed. But in comparison to then things are almost too easy. The most difficult decision we have to make at the moment is which of the many superb anchorages in the Whitsundays to spend the day in tomorrow.