Update #55 - 17th December 2000 (8.40pm AEDST)
Position - 43°53' S, 28°39' W

Air temperature - 8 degrees
826 miles to Tristan da Cunha Island Group

Salt water has contaminated one of my main fresh water tanks. I have two main holding tanks and the underfloor one (300 litres) has got salt in it! I have been drawing off the underbunk tank (260 litres). This is not good! I spent a fair bit of time transferring water around two days ago and the summary is that I have only 120 litres of clean water in various drums and containers, 240 litres under the bunk that is contaminated to the point that you would not drink it regularly. I also have fruit juices and other drinks totalling roughly 70 litres. Daily consumption since setting out has been about 3 litres without restraining myself. I am attempting to blend the water at 2/3 crook : 1/3 good. I have got a tarp to catch rain water, but every time it rains, it's blowing 30 knots.

Today I am on the longitude that places me on the OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE EARTH to my home, the wonderful City of Lake Macquarie, and to give you some relativity on my latitude, in 12 more miles north I will be level with the bottom of Tasmania. Progress has been a bit slow lately. The log for the last week or more is a continuous stream of wind strengths around 30-35-40 knots and yesterday for about 10 hours I had 50 knots from the NNE (my course is ENE). A very nasty sea built and ?Sal? got punched by a few absolute rippers. I?m so glad I am not here in a "lightweight". It was a very tense time but we managed to get through it. With strong winds, I tend to retreat in to my shell to nurse the boat. There is a long way to go to home and I don?t want to "trip". When the conditions are "on" then preserving the gear and ?Sal? are more important to me than how long it takes to complete the trip.

Did you know that I have some BA's? Yep! I've got a BArometer and a BAd Back and both of them influence the way I look and feel about my insular world. As I slowly and painfully work my way out of the bunk the first thing I clamp my eyes on is the Barometer, and if it's on the way down I don't exactly dance a jig (if I could). My back has improved a lot but I still get grabbed by pain at any moment and it stops me in my tracks.

Food, wonderful food. BI-LO, of course, are my main sponsor for my food requirements but I am lucky to have on board a variety of products from the SUNRIDER organization. SUNRIDER distributors provided me with assorted natural foods that promote good health and vitality ?.. Sports Capsules, Nu Plus (my favourite brekky), Vitalite Sunbars, etc. are all great gear. I wasn't being a good boy prior to my back problem but a quick e-mail from Andrew at SUNRIDER got me on the straight and narrow, and I must say I can notice a difference since I've got myself onto daily rations of their foods. Talk to Andrew at adf-hmp@idl.net.au for more information.

Recently, I've carried on about being able to receive the BBC world service and how much I enjoy it. I need to tell you that if it were not for the kind support of Dr Glen Oakley, CEO of The Newcastle Port Corporation, who provided with my HF radio then I would be sitting here whizzing cassette tapes around. Glen is doing a great job for Newcastle and I thank him for his passion and commitment. Thank you Glen.

Looks like Christmas is going to be spent just about smack on the Tristan Da Cunha Island Group. Hope the big guy in the red suit brings you what you want.

Take care,

Tony Mowbray