Dee Caffari now 14 weeks into her global challenge enjoys a relaxing day in lighter winds as she passes Australia 23/2/06

Date22 February at 2334

PositionS 45° 36′ /E 137° 42′

Amazing what can be achieved when you are not hanging on for your life. Aviva and I have both had a rest with the high-pressure cell we passed through yesterday. I achieved a lot of jobs and that has made me much more relaxed. Each day that went past in conditions that made life difficult, made the job list grow and to cross jobs off helps build confidence again.

I have emptied bilges, changed and checked autopilots, run the water maker and the main engine, changed fuel filters and serviced the generator. I completed a comprehensive deck check and ended by having a shower and changing some clothes. The latter job probably made me feel better than anything.

On deck a salt layer has encrusted everything, making whatever you touch sticky. I would have no problem re filling a saltcellar. I have eaten well and been able to drink tea whenever I have wanted. It was almost relaxing onboard Aviva.

As the day progressed we were slowly losing the breeze but confident that it wouldn’t be too long before it filled in again. The sky that began the day as overcast was showing signs of the cloud breaking up and giving way to a blue sky hidden beneath. Again we had numerous smaller birds around us for most of the day playing in the ocean swell as the waves had all but gone away.

The early evening offered a clear pale blue sky. There was little warmth being generated by the sun but its presence alone helped lift the mood aboard Aviva. To be able to sit on deck and drink a cup of tea allowed me to value my surroundings again. I was miles from land and mankind, alone in an endless, remote ocean, having my own private display of the environment and nature at its crudest. When not being beaten up by the power of nature, you can actually spend time appreciating your immediate location and realising that few people get to see these sights.

As the evening gave way to the night and the sun slowly lowered its presence in the sky, its depth of colour entered the saloon of Aviva. Orange and gold light filtered through the closed hatches creating an illusion of warmth below decks. The salt crystals on the outside refracted the light making patterns on the bulkhead. Having not seen a sunset for a few days it was a pleasant hour spent sat watching whilst Aviva smoothly cut her way forward through the calm ocean swell, towards the west in the gentle breeze that was starting to fill in from the NNW.

To help keep my spirits up, Mike Broughton has forecast some northerly winds on the other side of this high-pressure cell, which will help my quest to travel west. We were already clear of Tasmania, but I felt as if Australia would go on forever. I now understood why it was the second largest island in the world, I wouldn’t be clear of the country until the longitude of 115 degrees east where the second of the three Great Capes is, Cape Leeuwin.

Dee and Aviva