Ship’s Log: Day Twenty (Melbourne to Tilbury)

Twentieth of the voyage; thirteenth day of the Pacific crossing

At last the Pacific lives up to its name, although yesterday I did see my first flying fish in the last of the serious waves. By day 13 of the Pacific crossing, past halfway in the total voyage, I have thought much of sailors in small boats navigating the Pacific: Islander sailors setting off for distant and most likely unknown shores on rafts and canoes; Magellan and his crews as the first Europeans emerging for months on the ocean; Bligh and the open boat that he navigated all the way to Batavia; but above all lone sailors, especially at night in heavy seas, having to rely on the boat-builder’s skill and a good deal of luck, especially when the stars are obscured, the moon is on strike and the night pitch-black. For the captain, to take on an ocean like this as a solo sailor (we were talking about 16-year Jessica Watson) is pure madness, the risk of accident at night – a log, a whale, whatever – far too high. And it certainly wouldn’t be pleasurable.

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