Conrad Colman, Blog from the Pacific
We have left the Indian Ocean, having fought our way across, at times up wind, in just over two weeks. I remember that it took me 18 days to cross the Indian during the Global Ocean Race because I had a rather stark contrast at the time. Banque Populaire, at 40 metres long the biggest ocean racing trimaran in the world, also passed Leeuwin after 18 days only they had started in Europe and I had started from Cape Town on my 40 footer! They continued on to set a new record for a non-stop circumnavigation of 45 days so I didn’t feel too bad about being left in their dust.
So, we’ve left the Indian Ocean but where are we now? The South Pacific only starts after New Zealand so we are currently sailing under the Great Australian Bight. Whats that I hear you ask? It sounds like either a fast food sandwich chain or a buck toothed beauty in desperate need of a visit at the orthodontists!The Big Aussie Bite, er.. Great Australian Bight is the big bay that is cut out of the south coast of Australia that surely was attached to a part of Antarctica when they were fused together as part of Gondwana Land many millions of years ago.
So that’s where we are, what have we just passed? These non-stop round the world races are typically described as races of the “Three Great Capes.” The Cape of Good Hope and the Cape Horn are obvious picks, marking the most southern tip of Africa and the American continents respectively. The third of these Great Capes is Cape Leeuwin at the SW corner of Australia. However its neither the southernmost tip of Australia, thats Whale Head in Tasmania, nor, at more than 600 miles north of our position, particularly relevant to our route. Its just a sign post along the side of the road, but if we were to start to take notice of it we should surely talk about South Cape in New Zealand, Madagascar and perhaps Easter Island too!
Anyways, its still a milestone on the course, even if my respect for the rivalry between New Zealand and Australia won’t let me recognize it as a “great” one. With 11,000 miles left to go, we have recently crossed the theoretical halfway mark too! Every day is now bringing us closer to home even if I’ll only get to wave to my hometown, Auckland, from the desolate Auckland Islands as we pass by in a few days’ time.