Samu, Monkey Mia's latest addition was born on 12 Dec '09 & is pictured here with mum Puk.

26 April 2010

Jessica Watson - Abeam Kangaroo Island

ANZAC Day, 25 April 2010 saw Jessica and Ella's Pink Lady abeam Kangaroo Island, albeit a long distance from the South Australian Coast. They are over halfway across the bottom of Australia, inching their way across and down under Tasmania before heading north towards Sydney.

Despite the day starting with a knockdown and huge seas, Jessica is in very good spirits after sailing through the night under just a storm jib in 35 knot winds with gusts of up to 40knots, describing the swells as "liquid mountains rolling past with tumbling white tops."

Jessica had quite a rude awakening as Ella's Pink Lady was knocked down and consequently dumped a whole lot of water on top of her captain as she lay asleep in her bunk. Fortunately EPL's mast only just touched the water before righting herself again and overall sustained no serious damage. However, the spread of bilge water throughout the cabin left a lot to be desired for Jessica and her scallywag crew.

The most unfortunate turn of events at this point in time is discovering that Jessica came within half an hour of recording the knockdown had she not diligently and responsibly turned her camera off as the weather turned seriously nasty. As I read that part of her post, I imagined all her loyal followers throughout the world reading the same passage and simultaneously exclaiming, "What a shame!" That would have made for some incredibly good footage indeed!

Having said that, I'll take a pass on any second chances and wish Jessica and Ella's Pink Lady a safe and enjoyable passage under Tasmania then north onto their homeward stretch.

Sail on home Jessica. Bring her on home Ella's Pink Lady. See you in Sydney.

18 April 2010

Jessica Watson - 6 Months at Sea

Jessica expressed her sorrow upon hearing that one of her favourite bands, Powderfinger decided to break up. Their song, which is aptly named "Sailing the Wildest Stretch" may well have been inspired by Jessica and Ella's Pink Lady as they head across the wild expanse of the Great Australian Bight.

Today, 18th April 2010 marks another milestone for Jessica as she completes 6 months at sea sailing solo, non-stop and unassisted since departing Sydney on 18th October 2009.

Jessica and Ella's Pink Lady have recently weathered some very unfavourable conditions upon entering the Great Australian Bight, including lightning storms, strong headwinds, rain, fog, erratic shifts in wind direction and strong gusts. At one point extreme wind gusts caused Ella's Pink Lady to lay right over on her side pinning her down.

Consequently the boat's angle in that lay-over resulted in seawater gushing in through the sink drain and flooding the galley before washing down into the bilges, at which point EPL's bilge pump made quick work of getting it out again.

However, that was not as much the source of Jessica's annoyance as the mainsail tearing badly in two places. Needless to say, as soon as the weather abated, Jessica went straight to work on sewing it up and reported later that she was satisfied it would all hold together.

Jessica made the most of the more favourable weather conditions and got stuck into some serious housekeeping and maintenance. She's sorted out her galley and shifted things around Ella's Pink Lady in an effort to distribute her weight more evenly to keep her well trimmed and sailing nicely.

She also changed the headsail over to the spare and is currently enjoying sailing a steady 6 knots heading in an ESE'rly direction with the "Code 0" sail up, as in the picture above.

10 April 2010

Jessica Watson - Cape Leeuwin

Earlier today Jessica and Ella's Pink Lady sailed back into Australian waters. After thousands of miles at sea, the feeling of being almost home would undoubtedly be one of sheer excitement for Jessica, her family and friends, her entire support team as well as her adopted family around the world.

While fully aware of the challenge before her Jessica stated, "Given Australia is the largest island in the world it will take some time to get from Western Australia to my home port of Sydney. I know I will never be able to prepare myself for the feeling of returning home to family and friends and I am sure that part of my voyage will feel like the longest".

Jessica and Ella's Pink Lady are expected to pass under Cape Leeuwin in Western Australia, Longitude 115deg_08'10"E sometime tomorrow morning, at which point they will accomplish another significant milestone in their circumnavigation and will have sailed 20,000nm since setting off on 18th October 2009.

With only 2,500nm to go before reaching their finish line in
Sydney Harbour Jessica and Ella's Pink Lady are well prepared for what lies ahead and are very much looking forward to enjoying every moment of the remainder of their epic voyage of adventure together.

I doubt there will be a dry eye in sight the moment Jessica steps foot off her Pink Lady to walk away and into the arms of her family and friends. A foreign body has just taken up residence in my eye as I type this closing line. :-))

08 April 2010

Jessica Watson - Forever Young

Jessica was singing her current favourite song, "Forever Young" at the top of her voice while out on deck in the rain with Ella's Pink Lady rolling along in the dark.

The rough patch of weather Jessica and Ella's Pink Lady were prepared to pass through last week did not intensify as was originally predicted but was compensated by a short and lumpy sea caused by some erratic shifts in wind directions as the low pressure system passed over them.

Consequently, Ella's Pink Lady's motion in such a sea state gave Jessica a pretty uncomfortable ride and, combined with a damp bunk, is it any wonder she got a little moody, homesick and grouchy? But after a proper mean and some good progress she was soon back to her normal self again.

Also in Jessica's latest update, she reported having spend most of yesterday reefing in and out the mainsail due to a number of squalls that passed through, including strong wind gusts and periods of rain interspersed with moments of sunshine.

Jessica and Ella's Pink Lady are slowly creeping up on Australia and currently have less than 400nm to go before passing below Cape Leeuwin in Western Australia, the south western most point of our great continent.

It is indeed most unfortunate that Ella's Pink Lady will not be visible from any vantage point along our southern shores. Jessica is expected to sail a long distance south of the coast as she makes her way to the south east cape of Tasmania, from where she'll hang a left, or should I say, turn to port to make her final sprint home.

Needless to say, the excitement among Jessica and Ella's Pink Lady's loyal followers is picking up momentum, as is evidenced in their blog comments with each passing nautical mile.

Sail on home Jessica and nail that dream!

05 April 2010

Jessica Watson - Australia, here we come!

Jessica and Ella's Pink Lady have sailed 19,000nm to date, marking the 170th day of their circumnavigation and have less than 700nm to go before reaching the longitude of Cape Leeuwin, the south western most point of Australia.

This Easter weekend has undoubtedly meant more to Jessica than just indulging in her well known love of chocolates. Significantly, she and Ella's Pink Lady have made good "Easter"ly progress crossing the longitude of 100deg_E as they edge closer to Australia. I'm sure this is one Easter Jessica will never forget.

However, as her hard working support team back home have reported, Jessica and Ella's Pink Lady are currently preparing for a strong southerly gale which is forecast to arrive later today with winds expected to reach 40 knots+. Beyond this, there is also a Southern Ocean low expected to form over the next week but Jessica expects to be well north of this low.

True to form, Jessica has made good use of the calm conditions of the past few days and went about maintaining the integrity of all the equipment on board Ella's Pink Lady and is, as always, well prepared for any change in weather conditions.

Any day now and Jessica and Ella's Pink Lady will be back in Australian waters and the excitement around the world is picking up momentum with each passing nautical mile.

Sail on home Jessica, with the love and support of everyone around the world who have followed your journey since the start and best wishes for the remainder of you voyage.

Three cheers from one and all!