Update #79 - 26th February 2001 (11.00pm AEDST, 3.00pm local time)
Position - 43°27' S, 30°47' E

Air temperature - 14 degrees
Water temperature - 12.5 degrees
5,044 miles to Tasmania

I've just transferred to a new chart that has on it exotic sounding places like - The Seychelles, Madagascar, Mauritius, Zanzibar, Mozambique, Swaziland BUT the most interesting feature from my point of view is the slice of Western Australia that is featured on the right hand edge!!!! YES!!!

Today we have a deep seated swell straight from the west with a fresh NNW breeze around 25 knots. The swell reminds me of when Morrie and I went round Oz, and as we crossed the Great Australian Bight, we encountered a swell that was 200 metres apart and about 40 feet and higher. Today I reckon they are 125 metres apart and about 35 feet. They are great for sliding down with the breeze I have. There is no breaking at the crest or anything dangerous about them, but they take a bit of getting used to. Majestic would be a good word to describe them.

In a previous update I spoke about "magnetic variation" that affects the steering compass. The amount of variation differs as one moves around the globe. Soon I will be in an area that has 45 degrees west variation, meaning that for "Sal" to head due east (90 degrees) we have to steer 90+45=135 degrees.

A couple of afternoons ago, coming off the backend of another bagful of breeze, I was in the hatchway facing aft but looking down into the cockpit when I got the fright of my life. There was a huge whale that surfaced not more than 25 metres directly astern, heading at right angles to my track. There was only one "blow" from this beautiful creature and he/she was not to be seen again. What a pity.

We're now getting down to the business of this marathon. Easter looks good.

Take care,

Tony Mowbray