FROM 1-6. Below 50S

Feb 28, 2005 - 2330hrs UTC

2330hrs 28 Feb 2005 UTC 53’59”S 101’51”W Map Ref 89

Pete: Hello to all out there not residing in washing machines.

Yesterday we were sitting between two lows without much wind. Outside, it was raining and bloody cold. Ales was hand steering to keep the boat moving, using the tiller extension to stay under the dodger and keep out of the rain. He was cold, wet but somehow strangely happy – I think in a past life he must have been one of those medieval flagellants. Unfortunately, the church for some unknown reason has banned flagellation but its benefit can still be sourced in the annual Hobart race, his monthly geriatric marathon and some would say parenthood.

I was off watch with two hours to go, i didn’t want to read as I was up to the last chapter of a Le Carre thriller and wanted to save that for a later watch. I busied myself restocking the ready access area with biscuits, coffee etc and, in storage I found a box of muffin mix. Thinking muffins would cheer the lad outside, I made up the mix and produced a mega-muffin (the muffin making cups are a bit hard to reach). Using alexs method of large pot with lid on open stove as oven, I set about baking – the packet said bake at 220 for 20 minutes – I consulted the on-board baker about the conversion rate and he said he’d probably give it an hour.

Bugger – that stuffs up the little kip i had in mind for a pre wet watch treat.

I sat there watching the mist rise from the top of the pot – aaaah, that’s nice as the fingers gravitated to the warm area. The fingers thawed, the toes still frozen and I think the other extremity had gone into hibernation. The feet, you fool – there’s heat here, get it to your toes. I fund a damp crusty pair of wool sox and set them on top of the pot and watched the steam rise as they absorbed the calories. I left them there for 5 minutes then changed them with the pair i was wearing – what bliss – every 5 minutes a warm pair of sox. all i needed was access to Gillies’ cognac, a large glass and life would be almost perfect.

The hour passed quickly as they sometimes do when you are comfortable. The pot produced a perfect texas mega-muffin and i passed some out to alex in a dogbowl. He then did a pre humanoid version of eating a superbly baked muffin from a dogbowl with a wet mitten. I assumed some of it reached his stomach as i was complimented on how good it was.

Now its late at night,the boat is going well, the weather seems stable. I got emails from Heggie and Woc today, both good friends from my youth and a message from Tim. Sitting in the dark with no distractions I think back to those early days. I wondered what happened to the “Swim in the Bull” club – I know when I left,things were in the capable hands of Mr Big. He had negotiated a long term lease of Marr pool Sundays 3-4 summer only. I fondly remember the club’s annual trophy relay race, 3am, first sunday in lent, venue the Blake Motel pool (mind the barbed wire on the way out lads). Mr Big, as a foundation life member and past president, you must have access to the club’s annual reports. what’s going on? Has the baton been passed? Does the tradition live on?

To all my friends from Shanneys, Cronulla surf club, UNSW, UNSWAFL, those I worked with at channel 2, NSWIT, various NSW high schools, those I’ve worked with in the building industry, friends from the time spent in England and Greece, john and Rosalie on Merlin, Jack and Joslyn on Victoria, to our friends at RANSa and CYC, our new friends from Otago yacht club, friends and neighbours at Paddington and Jamberoo and, of course, the family You’re all there late at night.

Cheers and still maintaining a quiet form of rage – Pete

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