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Sweet Dream - Day 197 July 31, 2019

We have settled on a target time to tackle the enormous tidal flow at The Bond entrance to the Great Barrier Reef.( somehow I’m thinking we need Helen Mirren calling the shots here and bringing Bruce Willis as back up...oops or maybe I have my movies mixed up...flying cars and “shaken, not stirred” anyone? ) At any rate After much research, deliberation....feels a bit like a high school debate team sometimes....we have decided to make a go of the incoming tide at around 03:45 a.m tomorrow morning. Our hunch was gloriously backed up by Aurora B’S statement that they were aiming for the incoming tide at 16:00 Vanuatu time this afternoon. That puts us 12 hrs 45 minutes later as we are using OZ eastern time. Anyway it confirms that our calculations were correct. Yay! Especially after hearing several boats remark they went in against 4-5 knots of current oy vey! No thank you! We started out sailing in Western Canada, where the current can be upward of seven knots through the passes. That is a steep learning curve, and thanks to the pass master, Chris Davies, we never got it wrong! He taught us to learn the tidal flow and calculate slack water for the direction we wanted to travel, and heave-to or anchor to wait for the favourable window, and those lessons stood us in good stead not only throughout The Pacific Northwest, but England’s rivers, Scotland’s Minches, and all throughout Norway and the Baltic Sea. Those early lessons serve us well today as we approach Bond entrance, planning to ride the incoming flood tide through the trickiest bits. Timing a pass at it’s most favourable incoming tide requires patience. The wind is too good to sail slowly enough for our proper approach window, so we used the old school principle of “heaving to”. We realise this is not a popular move for modern, fast-paced sailing, but for us, it works extremely well to use up some time, quiet the motion of the boat down, and catch out breath. About noon today the squalls started, with their attendant gusty winds, so this was a good time to chill. We used up the last of our limes to make Lemon-lime-aid with the help of a bundaberg lemonade bottle, and washed down the last bits of three kinds of cheese. We’ve been munching nuts like possessed squirrels, and chowing down meals of fresh veggies and beef. Now we are on target for not arriving with any fresh vegs, fruit, meat, eggs, nuts, seeds, or dairy. I sure we’ve missed SOMETHING, but we’ve given it a good go at being Australian Border patrol compliant. There is just the foreberth to go in the cleaning round, and hopefully, once behind the reef it will be calm enough to straighten things out in preparation for inspection. Woohoo.l..twelve hours til the entrance of the Great Barrier Reef! At 17:30 we hooked a big fish. So funny, because Captain had just put his fishing kit away down below, and was on his way up to reel in the line. We took turns trying to wear out the gorgeous Mahi mahi, but in the end it just wore us out. Once again we practiced “catch and release”. It was forty pounds and just over four feet long! The biggest fish we’ve ever caught! Unfortunately, it declined our invitation to dinner and slithered away off the platform. WAS too big, but ach! It was a beautiful loss! After the fish fiasco and a veggie bowl dinner, the squalls came back in earnest. In our need to stay under six knots of speed to make the Bond’s entrance optimal, we first rolled away the main, then a little while later the wind backed all the way east, and we were still going too fast, so we rolled away the Genoa, discussed putting up the staysail, decided against it as we were sailing at 4.5 knots UNDER BARE POLES! With 22 knots of apparent wind and heaps of favourable current we were sketching along on just our windage in the rig! First time ever in my entire sailing life I have done so! What a crazy day this is!


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