Update #64 - 11th January 2001 (10.00pm AEDST)
Position - 06°44' S, 15°50' W

Air temperature - 36 degrees
Water temperature - 26 degrees
Wind - SE trades at 15-20 knots

Running square with a poled out #2 and full main. Yesterday afternoon when I did my brief update, I was physically and mentally not on the pace. But a couple of hot beers followed by three rum (thanks to Cliff and Leoni Marsh) and watered down orange juice (thanks BI-LO), all consumed in a cool spot in the cockpit while watching the sun go down, helped a lot. A good sleep last night and I'm back to 100%.

Land brings mixed emotion :

1) good to see something instead of just water
2) achievement of your current short term goal, followed by the need to re-focus on your next goal (now to reach half way 573 nm away)
3) land is the enemy and it hurts to run into it
4) land brings a reminder of all the other things in life, like one's family

Anyhow, enough of that. I went in really close to Ascension Island (100 metres in places), had a good look at it, got some good vision and photos, and just enjoyed myself. It is very dry, brown and rugged looking, but has a very pretty natural harbour on the western side with about 20 boats of various breeds at moorings including two yachts. I STILL HAVE NOT SEEN ANOTHER HUMAN BEING !!!

Some boring facts .....

A few days ago, we had a magnificent pod of dolphins keep us company for the afternoon ..... glorious creatures.

Newcsastle people will know of SUPER HUBERT, the worlds skinniest magician. Also a sailor and good bloke, I have on board one of his magic capes that will come in handy for our "Crossing the Equator" party, although I'll have to keep my eye on Kevvie and Frankie Babe, because there is no doubt they will want to wear it when they see it. I do not know Super Hubert's wife, Maureen, however she took the trouble to send along a jar of her world class home made marmalade. IT IS BLOODY GOOD! If anyone knows Maureen please ring her and tell her I send a thousand thank you's.

One of the things that gets you every now and then out here is that your body is in perpetual motion. At no time, even when asleep, are you still. Sometimes I think it would be nice to be able to sit in a lounge chair for 10 minutes, however, if you gave me the chance you would get a huge knock back!

Russian roulette of the marine variety is alive and well out here. In 80-something days my sighting of other vessels has been ridiculously low. Four in total UNTIL the early hours of the morning approaching Ascension Island. I was up and about (dark) when I heard a voice on the VHF radio (it's on 24 hours a day). As I spoke into the microphone, I looked out of the window and there sliding through the night, in stealth mode, was the bloody big tanker (SAFMARINE NOLIZWE) with the standard two white and one green starboard light showing. So easy for a ship not to be maintaining a good lookout, etc. ..... BINGO, you've got the ingredients! I had a good chat with the guy on watch. They are out of Capetown heading for NewYork, Baltimore, Charleston.

I am keeping all of my rubbish on board stowed down the stern. A few days ago, I was standing in the cockpit and I got a whiff of what I thought was the rubbish. Wrong ..... 'twas me!!!

Take care,

Tony Mowbray