ORCV Melbourne to Vanuatu (M2V)
Of Mice and Sat Phones.
You know how you have to leave bait around cars and machinery parked in barns on farms, so the Mice don't get in, try to nest and eat all the wiring? Why do they like plastic coatings anyway? So it seems we need to send urgent supplies of mouse bait to the Coral Sea!!! Here is the latest in from the Samskara Mice...
"The day was going perfectly. Something had to go wrong. Having had a sumptuous feast on Kenn Reef, we upped anchor and headed towards Australia. We soon settled in to a much softer sea state than we had been experiencing previously, with a full main, #3 heady and about 17 knts up our clacker. Very nice!" (Ed. About the only time it is!)
"Then, something possessed Alby (their onboard Alby Mangels look-alike) to seek greater volume from our sound system and without warning or discussion, he set about a total reconfiguration of the nav station wiring. Chances are it had something to do with the 43 jugs of fine Bordeaux that he had consumed with every course of our long lunch, including the Apple Pie miraculously created by the Cabin Boy, who had indeed returned from the second spreader (up the mast). The result of Alby's tinkerings weren't ideal. There was no music, no navigation capability and no power to the all-important refrigeration!!! An understandably unimpressed skipper, after a very long silence, came out with a collection of words, which even though were intended to be serious, made the crew of mice laugh uncontrollably, albeit quietly. A number of calls were made on the Sat Phone to Harvey Norman, Leon the incredible, our Encel consultant and before too long, all systems were up and running again!"
"Before quietly retiring for a well deserved snooze, Alby was heard to say, 'There. I knew it wasn't my fault!"
"Soon after, relative calm was reclaimed and the ship's course was set for the Hydrographers Passage instead of The Capricorn Channel, which had been our previous choice to get around the Great Barrier Reef. The Second Watch took control of the ship for the 19:00 - 22:00 session, whilst the First Watch had a rest and kept Alby confined to his quarters. The Second Watch members are your correspondent (Mike), the Stud, The Wriggler and the Cabin Boy (Ed. Poor old Roger). It was our clearest star washed night so far, which led to some very deep discussions about the universe that we inhabit. For anyone who has sat on a boat in the middle of the night on watch with a bunch of people they don't spend alot of time with, they will understand it when I say that you can have some very long conversations, about absolute crap. It was one of those nights!" (Ed. Hello to my mate Andy McKinna and all those poor souls who endured our night watches. Miss you mate...)
"However, one item of interest did emerge. Through something as simple as a fart, we determined that somehow we have managed to neglect the nose when it comes to the measurement of speed. Currently we talk of the 'speed of light', which is all about sight. We talk of the 'speed of sound', which is about your ears, but we never talk about the 'speed of smell', which we feel is unfair to the olfactory nerve. We will publish on this further, but we currently contend that the speed of smell is somewhere between the speed of light and the speed of sound. This was evidenced by crewmembers smelling other crewmember's farts, before they heard them. Interesting hey?"
"So, currently our position is 22 14.180S 153 47.365E. The kite is up and we are sailing at about 7kts in 12kts of breeze. We have changed our mind again and are heading to The Capricorn Passage via Bundaberg , one of our spiritual homes. We Have all sung the RWYS songbook version of 'Happy Birthday' to the Ship's Cat and all is well, except for the Ship's Cat who enjoyed her last day of being young."
Life aboard ship, eh?! Just charming. Let us know if it is too much information, but everyone wants to know what goes on on those long voyages... We hope the Mice can make it past their spiritual home and get to Hammo... Kim - get the book out again, please.
By John Curnow
ORCV Melbourne to Vanuatu (M2V)
They may be blind, those mice aboard Samskara, but they are definitely on to us keeping a very close watch over them. Read on to see, although after all that wine, I am amazed anyone can see anything. no wonder they have their own Captain Araldite taking the helm (forever and ever and ever...)
"The eight blind mice aboard the good ship Samskara, have fumbled into accuracy and find themselves on the right side of Kenn Reef, approximately 500km East of Australia at 21 14.832S, 155 45.633E (which is the 'A' above). The sea is flat, the temperature of the air and sea is perfect, the sun is out and we are preparing a lunch consisting of the following;
"A most relaxed scene exists with Commander Stoopman in the Galley (We really wish he wouldn't insist on wearing the apron with the stockings and boobies on it) and The Stud is fixing stuff, because otherwise he resorts to propositioning us, which is getting a little tedious. The Cabin Boy is sitting on the second spreader, contemplating whether to jump or subject himself to the next leg of our voyage. Linda is shaving her legs, Cammy Chameleon is taking in the serenity and Slaggers is doing the best Alby Mangels impersonation that we have seen - and yes, we've seen a few! Apart from your correspondent who is doing what he usually does, including visually abusing the crew by wearing a sarong, the only blind mouse that I haven't mentioned is the Wriggler. The aforementioned is prostrated in the port aft cabin, still exhausted after our taking of the Chesterfield Reef territory back from the French, the night before last. His exhaustion and inactivity has allowed us to bestow various badges of honour on him. An example of this, is that he is now the proud wearer of a heart shaped tuft of hair at the base of his spine where a far greater jungle used to exist."
"Other events of note include:
"NOTE. For anyone who is missing any of the accounts of our adventure so far, we have been led to believe that the ORCV have been publishing them verbatim on their website. The ORCV is to be congratulated for perpetuating this stupidity." Well thank you very much. We resemble that remark!
"FINALLY. The Ship's Cat, who is currently not on board, but is supposedly working at the Sydney Boat Show (or possibly preening herself on the 77th floor of a very nice hotel in Sydney) has a very special birthday tomorrow. The entire crew wish her a happy and drunken birthday and she can be assured that we will be celebrating in the traditional fashion." And so do we, so do we...
Mike (our Author) is the one receiving a hug from the Ship's Cat, whose birthday it is on Saturday...
They may be on to us, but I think we're more onto them and I have asked for their copy of the song, so we can post it with the one from the Brisbane to Gizo race in 2001.
By John Curnow
ORCV Melbourne to Vanuatu (M2V)
Going deep, deep, deep undercover.
Although Samskara is days behind Tevake II and Turbo in getting to Chesterfield Reef, they have managed to bring about something none of the others could do. We're not entirely sure exactly what that is, mind you, but the covert mice have been up to something... We're inclined to go with Darrin's explanation that it has something to do with the French claiming sovereignty over the atoll group, so we really hope we won't be hearing from DFAT anytime soon. We now also have intel that Mike is the mouse with the keyboard skills, so perhaps more will come about in the next little while. Until then, this is the latest transmission.
Mike is the one receiving a hug from the Ship's Cat...
"The Captain and crew of the good ship Samskara are pleased to report that as a result of the success of a covert mission deep in the Pacific last night, today has been declared a public holiday for all followers and members of The Royal Walsal Yacht Squadron."
"Whilst the details of the mission are top secret and will not be released under the RWYS freedom of information Act (1973) for 30 years, it can be announced that Chesterfield Reef is now sovereign land of the RWYS and no longer in French Territorial waters. No lives were lost and only minor injuries were sustained on both sides (of the boat)."
"Supreme Commander of RWYS, Sir Forbes Smith of the order of the Jedda, Neptune and the Telly Tubbies, was overjoyed on hearing the news in his Nursing Home. He has been quoted as follows: 'Never has so little been owed to so many' and 'The last time we tried that in the 80s, we had Maggie Thatcher's full support, until she got distracted by the Falklands!'
"End of Transmission."
Samskara - © Steb Fisher.
We're bound to hear more and maybe we'll even get to understand what the Devil's Lair Chardy has done to them.... long live the Rainbow Warrior! (Did I just type that?)
By John Curnow
ORCV Melbourne to Vanuatu (M2V)
Mice choose comfort over speed!
Samskara's mice have chosen to play a little, as they bring the good ship 'Bouncy Castle' back West. They've raided the cellar and appear to be having a wow of a time...
"We have now been back at sea for 40 hours and the new guard, guided by the principles of the Royal Walsall Yacht Squadron (RWYS), has determined that it is appropriate to provide a report on our position, the wellbeing of our new crew members and other information."
Samskara's position on Tuesday 27/07/10 at approx 1000hrs AEST.
"Our position was 019 12.910S, 162 05.773E. This places us just west of the Grand Passage in the North of New Caledonia and on our way to a network of reefs, with Chesterfield Reef being our target. If the weather is kind, we plan to stop at the reef, but at this stage it is looking unlikely."
"Originally, we were meant to be racing Turbo and Tevake 2 back to Mackay, but at this stage, we are bringing up the rear, having left some days after them. Now rather than concentrating on boat speed and crew discomfort, which inevitably go together, we have elected to settle the boat down and enjoy some of the finer things in life, such as a comfortable ride, 03 Semillion and Devil's Lair Chardonnay."
"If we keep up this rampaging speed (approx 9knts or 16.7km/h), we will get to Mackay, via the Capricorn Passage on Saturday. Before we mention our new crew, we would like to pay tribute to the crew that left us on Vanuatu and to say how SORRY we are, that they missed our final night on the fair island of Efate. We engaged in some of our traditional farewell activities, such as no-pants pool, Kiwi baiting and hand launching of large fireworks, which was a particular favourite with the local children."
"By now we imagine that Nick will be splashed all over the Melbourne tabloids, Jessie will be recovering from his role of cabin boy (remembering that he has to finish the course of anti-biotics prescribed to him), The Ship's Cat will be well on the way to making her first literary millions and Leon will be rebuilding his verandah."
"The new crew are settling into life aboard well. Given that three out of four of them had been sharing a room, only a little larger than beer carton, before our voyage, our fearless leader elected to put them all on the same watch with him as their Watch Captain. He should be congratulated for showing such foresight. They really are close. It is a joy to watch them all tethered together, going up to the bow to check the nav lights are working or going to the gas locker together to turn the gas on."
"It seems that Linda Lovelash is the powerhouse of this triangle of support and civility, whilst Slaggers is the artistic one, taking photos, tasting wine (Moet for breafkast, Darling) and cooking the best steak baguettes, ever known to man. Cammy Chameleon is the third corner. He is the quiet brooding type, who keeps his cards to his masculine chest and frankly has us all rather excited!"
"Commander Davies of RWYS has been assigned Rick, James and Twisty - the latter is our final new recruit and on the 2nd Watch. Twisty comes from Perth and is a clone of the last cabin boy. He even wears the same outfits, which helps with role identification. Luckily, we are in the early stages of the voyage, as he still has alot to learn. An example of this is that on occasions, his wild and reckless driving has lead to large waves breaking over the deck and soaking the crew. He needs to understand that this isn't the way the cabin boy makes the crew wet!"
"James is having a well earned rest from his incredible and regular physical exploits on the Iririki Island of Love and false phone accounts. The splint that Linda made to help with his recovery, is working a treat. Rick's burns, scalds and pneumonia are much better, for those of you who may be concerned. Having had time to reflect on our exploits in Vanuatu, we believe we are returning home with some lessons, which we will carry for the rest of our lives. One such lesson is the simple egalitarian way that the people of Vanuatu have elected to establish levels of importance in the community. We have learnt that the pecking order in each Village is as follows;"
"Given the intellectual vault we have aboard our ship and the proximity to an election at home, we have established a Julia style peoples' forum and together with our new perspective, we will be discussing subjects such as;"
On Monday, Samskara's mice were here. We had better keep a close eye on their progress, to ensure they get to the right place.
We're bound to hear more, eventually...
By John Curnow
ORCV Melbourne to Vanuatu (M2V)
Tucked away nicely.
Sitting comfortably behind Chesterton Reef, like a cat curled up in the sun, is Tevake II, as she makes her way over to Mackay. Holly Fletcher had a call from Angus earlier on today, Tuesday July 27, to say that they had got there at 0600hrs AEST.
The Secretary is also in a lovely spot in Vanuatu's Islands, up North a little from Efate, where Port Vila is.
This is where they are in the region.
We received an email from Robyn Brooke this morning also. The HF radio has been fixed by Colin Miller (who usually speaks at events like the long distance seminars), who joined Robyn and Geo after the race for the jaunt through the islands and to assist with dropping off some of the loot that came over in the container. The email is the last one, from just before they got in and it goes a long way to adding detail to what we discussed on these pages, at the the time...
"Finally, we're barefoot sailing. Only the one layer now - we've swapped shoes for hats, neck warmers for sunnies and shorts for thermals. Although weary, yesterday's sailing conditions were sublime and for any of the crew who missed the 6-12 sky, tant pis! (never mind...) Yes, there's a little bit of school french coming through the boats now, as we sail from one country, blithely past la petite colonie de France, Nouvelle Caledonie, to our destination, Van-wa-tu, as Taupo Maritime radio call it."
"A minute of silence please for our brethren who are missing from this wonderful finale: The ORCV's very own veteran Yoko, 'all guns blazing' Gusto, 'the grannies in the caravan at the back of the fleet (and who win everything!)' Ingenue, arguably the best prepared and organised yacht Scarlet Runner and now ex-Commodore David Bingham and his buddies on Mirrabooka, who cruised over with the fleet in 2006 and decided to race this year. They are now anchored in a lagoon in New Cal with boat damage. The Taupo Maritime Radio operator last night was superb. She offered practical and timely assistance to the yacht and prepared their way into the marina in Noumea in a most professional manner. Thank you Taupo."
"George managed to crawl up and behind the wheel last night, every three hours or so, to give me a rest. The medical kit has been used to great effect, to minimise his pain and Turbo have promised him they will have a nurse waiting on the dock! Thanks Lynda for your great advice, I'm just not sure how we will get him up that plank."
"Now Geo is not a pill popper, so I have had my concerns about leaving him alone on deck at night, in his medicated state, but there was little option. We have had a constant companion overnight in Samskara and she kept a listening watch on the radio for us all night - thanks Kim, David and crew. Geo told me they had snuck through underneath us while I was resting last night - 'I saw their green light go past'. I wasn't so sure about that, as I would have seen them approach and there was still a boat light behind. At sked time, 0415hrs, they were one mile behind. Hmmm, green things that go past in the night. (What Robyn is referring to is that if they had gone below, it would have been a red light and at any rate, they were behind at sked time, so go figure...) Did I mention that Geo has been brushing up on his Bislama? The only expression other than Tankyu Tumas he recalls from his previous race, is 'titties in a basket', yep - bras." (Sounds like English to me, but what would I know?)
"Offshore Marine's, Colin Miller, is sourcing a new Raymarine drive unit for the Auto-helm and if he can't deliver it himself, hopefully our Chrissy Freeman will be able to bring it with her when she 'flies like a virgin' over here, to join us this weekend. She will definitely only have one layer, as in her kit she is also bringing us the replacement boom brake unit, which is the device that stops the boom from swinging wildly across in light breezes and lumpy seas. It has been very useful on this trip to reduce the stress on the rig and the risk of injury."
"For a short time this morning, I thought we might have to tack. Goodness, how do we do that? We've been on this tack since Wilson's Prom! As we approach our destination, I've done a stocktake of the fridge and have only had to feed the fish some chicken and salad greens. I found some treasures buried deep, so over the last couple of days we have enjoyed braised lamb in red wine jus, Peking Duck with spicy plum sauce and a superb porterhouse steak with fried rice last night. The weather is now perfect for salads, but I must say it has been hard work regulating the fridge temperature to keep the meat and the salads healthy. Thanks to the medication, Geo is not confined to his bunk, so I'm still able to prepare meals in my time off the wheel, just doing it a lot faster!"
This is what their overall routes look like, so far.
We'll keep bringing you the tales of the Coral Sea legends...
By John Curnow