South Passage Daily Report

CLIENT: ISPA Japan Voyage

VOYAGE NUMBER: 20170808

FROM: Townsville TO: Mackay

DATE: 14 August 2017

POSITION: St Bees Island

Report by: Blue Watch Leader

Ii Otenki desu ne! Translated it means what a beautiful day! And so it was, as the SP crew awoke to begin their penultimate day of sailing from Cid Harbour to St Bees before arriving in Mackay come Tuesday.

A brilliant bit of brass cleaning by Blue Watch as the sun began to rise in the early morning sky. The eventual knotting relay may have not been theirs, but nevertheless the team effort capably matched that of both the Red and White watch.

As mentioned in yesterday’s dispatch, today the boat was handed over to the command crew. With only a zephyr of a breeze to begin the anchor was raised from its muddy depths and sails were soon set and it was not long before we picked up enough wind to begin sailing in earnest. It was obvious that the trainees had been paying attention to the instruction of the past few days, as there were only (the not unusually occurring) minimal hiccups as the new watch leaders issued their instructions.

The designated captain SM and navigator seemed to take the day in their stride and the whole operation went off with barely a hitch (pardon the pun).

SP made various tacking manoeuvres as the boat edged ever onwards towards the set goal, with all crews working in harmony. Mind you there was the usual relaxed atmosphere as SP cruised along at relatively sedate pace. Wednesday’s pounding voyage and its accompanying mal de mer was but a distant memory. As I listened to the easy banter and the integration of Japanese words (by the Australian crew) into the general conversations it was obvious that everyone was at ease with each other and the initial shyness on day one of our overseas crew was nowhere to be seen. Mind you I am not quite so sure of the introduction of Aussie slang into the Japanese vocabulary might be such a good idea? But then again why worry, “she’ll be right mate”.

By 16:00 hrs their job (ie that of command crew) was finished successfully. From there on it was an easy run into St Bees arriving in time for another sail drop in the dark.  By now it was clear everyone understood their roles and it wasn’t too long before SP was secured for another night at anchor.

At the start of the first watch (20:00 hrs) the arranged entertainment began in the capable hands of MC Belle. It was an eclectic mix to say the least. Will’s fire twirling (only LEDs, don’t panic!) was a highlight, but overall the evening’s entertainment could be described as highly satisfactory. Even the skipper joined in with a rousing rendition of ‘Bound for South Australia’.

The evening concluded with a rush on the T-shirt shop and everyone in a mad scramble to have their shirts signed by all the crew! It will no doubt be a topic for conversation with our Japanese crew when they return home and many memories for all. I imagine there will be the odd tear tomorrow and reluctance to leave when the time arrives for the crew to disperse.

Although there was some resistance to ‘lights out’ earlier, it wasn’t long before the main cabin relaxed into silence once again with just the odd gentle snore.

And now as I sit here with only a short time before the morning watch is due to begin, I imagine that Bob Sendoh and his associates from ISPA Japan must be very satisfied with this venture involving SP. Meanwhile I have begun collecting a few translated instructional commands preparatory to perhaps another voyage? Time will tell. And now for a few hours kip before the final day begins!

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