You can see ROZ’S ROUTE here. Each dot links to the blog from that day. 188 nautical miles to go. (This may be updated as the day goes on.)
I am getting quite fond of my new little friend, the shark. He has been keeping me company for two days now, cruising alongside my boat. I keep thinking he has wandered off in search of faster-moving company, but then a while later, I catch sight of a sharky shadow under the water, or spot his distinctive dorsal fin and the tip of his tail poking up above the waves, and I’m happy and curiously flattered to find that he has come back again. As it looks like we are going to be more than passing acquaintances, I have decided to call him Sharky McShark. Imaginative, hey?!
Most of the time he keeps about fifteen feet away from the boat, but sometimes he comes as close as 5 feet, or meanders off to a distance of fifty feet. I don’t know what kind of shark he is. He is an elegant, plain grey, like the colour of a raincloud. His belly may be paler, but it’s difficult to see. He is four or five feet long, and moves with a shimmy that is appealing rather than sinister.
I get quite a kick out of seeing him there. It’s pretty cool having a shark escort. I certainly don’t feel scared of him. Sharks kill about 8 people a year. We kill about 80 – 100 million of them. So they definitely get the raw end of the deal. Sadly, it is not just the sharks that are affected. Removing the apex predator in such enormous numbers throws the whole ocean ecosystem out of whack.
I don’t know what Sharky McShark sees in me – or Sedna. Is he simply attracted to a larger object, like the Fish Aggregating Devices? Or is he on the lookout for supper? If the latter, he’s out of luck, unless he likes rawfood crackers.
I haven’t mentioned him to Woody the Pirate. Woody is understandably not too keen on sharks. There is, after all, a reason that he has a wooden peg leg….
The wind picked right up today, but it was coming from the SSE, so this was good news. Yesterday I received an email from Tony Humphreys, who is managing my Mauritius logistics, advising me to loop slightly north and then west, rather than heading in a straight line (fat chance) for Grand Baie. This course should help me avoid a current off the coast of Mauritius that could scupper my chances of a clean landfall. So a SSE wind was perfect.
I am now checking in with Mum via satellite phone on a daily basis. Every day there is more news about plans for landfall. It looks like we will be quite a merry crew in Mauritius. On Monday Colin Leonhardt flew out from Perth, Australia, ready to capture my arrival in photos and film. Mum is due to arrive next Monday. Tony Humphreys will be coming out sometime in the next week to manage safety, customs, immigration and shipping arrangements. And there may be a couple more folks too – I’ll let you know who if/when they are confirmed.
This will make my arrival all the more special. When I arrived in Papua New Guinea last year there were 5,000 people there to greet me – but not a single person that I knew. Sir Peter Barter, owner of the Madang Resort did a magnificent job there of managing absolutely everything, from coordinating the welcoming crowds, to arranging for customs officials to stamp me in, to giving me a month’s hospitality at his luxurious resort – but it will also be nice this year to see a few familiar faces waiting on the jetty.
Quote for the day: “It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment.” (Ansel Adams). Some things don’t change.
Sponsored Miles: Thank you: Doug Grandt, Sally Phillips, Rolando Cuadrado, Nick Perdiew, Ben at Javelin complete; also Mary Kadzielski, Barbara Henker, Brad McConnell and Steve Penners.