Friday, May 21, 2010

Speedy Gonzalez

We left Lizard Island quite early, at 6:45 as we knew that we had to
cover 184 miles to get to Portland Roads, and we wanted to be there for
sure before night. In fact, we averaged 7.1 knots and we got there
almost too early at 8:00 in the morning. All along, we enjoyed 20 to 35
knots of wind on the stern, with at first one reef on the main, genoa on
the pole, at first both sails on port tack, but after the first 6 hours
we were able to go wing on wing and gain speed. In fact, a 50 foot cat
which had left same time as us, stayed with us for these first 6 hours
but was left behind when we managed to speed up. We suspect that Cognac
had left shortly after us, but we also lost that sail.
At one point, the wind picked up quite a bit and went up to 35 knots and
Papy Jovial sped up to 11.4 knots. So far a record for me. No idea what
the fastest was in her previous life with Tom and Sarah.
As far as fishing was concerned, it is definitely a mixed bag. We lost a
sizeable spanish mackerel which dropped in the water as it was coming
over the handrail. Also, when we had the gust of wind and a surge of
speed up to 11.4 knots, we got a strike with a big, big fish. Too big
for that speed and the line snapped. But finally, we got another strike
and this time we had rehearsed everything and had the hook and the gin
ready. It was a tuna, 8 kgs and 91 cms long. I hooked it, got it in the
cockpit, then Olivier poured a little gin in its gills and it went
quiet. We had it for dinner.
Next morning we got to Portland Roads with big expectations. We arrived
there early morning and after a short nap, we went ashore to visit the
place. Basically, there is nothing there. At least for the time being.
We were told that a "cafe" will open next week. There is a cistern where
we could get water, although it did not look too nice and we only used
it to take a shower and fill up the jerrican to be used for washing the
dishes. There is a telephone booth, powered by a solar panel, a bloc of
toilets and a shed for those wanting to picnic next to the toilets.
We walked through the village (short walk !), went back to the boat to
pick up soap and shampoo, a bucket and the jerrican, went ashore again
for a shower from the cistern, using the bucket, filled up the jerrican,
deposited our trash in the trash bin and went back to Papy Jovial.
Tomorrow we will only go as far as Margaret Bat, next to Cape Grenville,
with only 42 miles to go.
Today I also had to struggle with the computers. On thge boat computer,
I have lost the keyboard which does work at all. So, I have to write the
blog on the Toshiba laptop, put the text on a USB key and then transfer
the text into the mailing software of the boat computer to be able to
send it off.
For short text, I can still use the virtual keyboard found in "accessories".
On the Toshiba, I have lost 2 keys, the "return" key and the right shift
key. For the return key, I created a file with only the return, so that
I can open the file, put the content on the clipboard and use the paste
fonction to do the return. Not simple !
I am hoping the either in Bamaga or Thursday Island, I will be able to
find a keyboard and bring the boat computer back to normal.

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