For the first time in nearly two weeks we were in sight of another vessel, OneDLL as it happens, the last boat we saw was the large cargo vessel before we went into the storms nearly two weeks ago.
We on Starsky watch have also noted that there have been no other signs of human life; the sky is devoid of vapour trails, we have been very much alone with only birds and an occasional whale for company.
Life on board has been tough but we have coped well with the big seas, the winds of 50 knots with gusts to 60 and 70 knots, and the long cold nights.
What does one do to get through these hard shifts especially the night shifts?
Well you can wrap up warm, but even triple layers let in the cold and water has a habit of going up your legs and down the sleeves, you can sing but you run out of songs. We all recall, we even sang "Old MacDonald" and "There's a hole in my bucket" the other night or you can have something really nice to look forward to:
Welcome to the Chocolate Club.
With a select membership the club meets at the end of the 11pm to 3am shift to enjoy a mug of hot chocolate.
The core group of the club, Neil, Linz, Steve, Trev and Alex look forward to the shift change-over and have found that the cold and darkness seem a little less daunting. Anyone can join our group just come along at 3am in the morning! The Chocolate Club will continue for as long as necessary and will certainly be reformed when we face the cold and hostile environment of the Pacific Ocean.
This leg has given me all that I had hoped for in terms of a physical and emotional challenge, there has been a constant physical and mental strain, a combination of activity and sleep deprivation in an environment filled with danger and excitement.
I have had to trust people I barely knew before the day of departure with my life and they likewise put their faith in me; that this has happened and worked so well is remarkable and shows what can be achieved if we all work together.
Looking forward to seeing the shores of Australia, will we be able to smell land before we see it?