Update #20 - 5th September 2000
Only 40 days to blast off !!!

Last Tuesday my daughter Holly was admitted to The John Hunter Children's Hospital. After suffering recurring stomach pains for about 6 weeks I finally decided that enough was enough and it was time for serious investigation. She went in on Tuesday morning and came out Thursday afternoon. Her first stay in hospital was a worry for her, and Lorraine stayed by her side for the duration. At this time a few possibilities have been eliminated but the cause is not yet known although she has improved and her situation is sort of manageable but one second of unnecessary pain for your child is one second too much.

Amidst the upheaval last week I flew to Melbourne. I had pre purchased tickets and would have lost the fares if I had not gone. My trip to "tropical" Melbourne was for two main reasons.

Firstly I met with Vinny Lauwers. Vinny is a paraplegic and a few weeks ago he sailed into his home port to become the 5th Aussie to complete a solo, non stop circumnavigation. I am richer for having met the man!! He is an inspiration and for him to make some time available to me after having only just returned from his 8 month mission was very much appreciated. I was able to look over his boat, make all sorts of notes on his set up, take photographs and spend some hours with Vinny talking about various aspects of his project, which in so many ways is the same as my project. I recommend Vinny's website to you - www.parasail.com.au. Vinny was very lucky to have the services of Skilled as his major sponsor (by the way, I'm still looking ..... hint hint) and I met Bruce Hale from Skilled Maritime. Bruce has very kindly offered me the use of a Mini M satellite communications system. Mini M will allow me to have voice contact with the outside world but at a high call cost of between $2 and $5 per minute depending on my position on the earth's surface. The hardware that Skilled has lent me is valued at $10,000!!!! Go Skilled!!

The second reason for my trip to the sunny south was to meet with Tim Stuckey at BI- LO Supermarkets head office. There are 2 common threads of intrigue about a project such as mine. How do you communicate and what do you eat? I'm very happy to say that because of BI-LO's sponsorship I will be able to be sustained in grand style. Their support and concern also extends to Lorraine, Holly and Jordan in that whilst I am at sea they will be able to keep the pantry stocked. Just how my family were going to eat whilst I am off being selfish has been a real concern of mine for sometime now.

It is only when you are fully 100% committed to something that people around you recognise and relate to that full on commitment and respond to help you realise your goal. The manner in which it will happen is not always clear. What is clear is that it will happen. The good people at BI-LO have recognised, related and acted.

Back home the hard work continues with a lot of talking in between. Those of you who know me will agree that I like a bit of a chat but just lately even I am getting tired of all the "flapping of the gums" that is proving necessary to get me to the 15th October and beyond. In the main I only tell you about the positive outcomes and meetings but just for the record I can tell you that I travel up a heck of a lot of dead ends and blind alleys.

Right from my first visit to Sony there has been nothing but positives. We simply have to make a documentary about this trip and a giant leap forward has come with support from Sony. Sony are to provide me professional broadcast quality recording equipment to enable me to shoot the highs and lows of the next 8 months. Their products are absolutely first class and I am thrilled at their involvement. All I have to do is remember to take the lens cap off, load the film, allow for the light, get the sound levels just right, etc, etc, etc, etc. Shouldn't be too hard for a guy who can't even tune in the TV?

Take care.

Tony Mowbray