Lat: 11 16.408′ S

Long: 102 38.144′ E

We enjoyed the rest of our time at Christmas Island and wish we could have had more. We didn’t have a chance to rent a car and see the sights that are well known on the island such as the millions of red crabs that live in the forest and block the roads during the migration to the beach for egg laying. They also have Robber Crabs here, just like the blue Coconut crabs in the Pacific except larger and more plentiful since they are protected. Peter, one of the night nurses at the hospital, showed us some impressive pictures that he’d taken of crabs, waterfalls, and other sights around the island, so at least we were exposed to them that way.

We spent most of our last days on the island taking care of business, but we also had a chance to distribute homemade cookies to our new friends on the island (No-Bake Oatmeal Truffle cookies are good to make on a hot boat), eat dinner aboard Marionette, and get back in the water. Dallas used the dive gear to assist Markus in taking a look at his keel and took him on a quick dive below his boat. Meanwhile I went for a short snorkel and managed to see some really good stuff — a small green turtle, a poisonous lionfish (it looks like it has feathers shooting out from each side of its very slender black and white body), and a fish that was so intensely bright blue against a backdrop of muted pastel coral that it seemed like it was not supposed to be there. Apparently the coral is not as vibrant as it used to be there in the cove, but that’s hard to imagine. Along the edge near the wall of coral that runs around the west side of the cove, the bottom is totally covered with coral fans, brain coral, antler coral, etc.

As far as my recovery, I’m not quite 100%, but I’m getting there. I can eat soft foods now, which opens up many more options to please my variety-loving palate, but I still don’t have the energy or strength that I’m used to having. It doesn’t seem to affect my ability to sail too much, although I must admit that I haven’t been a very good cheerleader on this passage. We’ve had strong winds, big seas, and squalls right from the start. We’re flying along at over 6 knots using just the jib. It’s pretty rough compared to what we are used to here in the tropics — at times it feels like we’re getting tossed around like a mouse in the paws of a big cat. Not to mention that, as Dallas said, all of the time we’ve been spending on land lately has made us “soft”. Yesterday was the worst, as first days at sea usually are, but with this being the first leg of a very long passage to Madagascar, it seemed particularly overwhelming.

At the marine museum in Fremantle, we watched an interview with Jon Sanders, the Aussie who circumnavigated three times non-stop, spending over 600 consecutive days at sea. When asked how he handled it mentally, he stated that he did not allow himself to think negatively, he just focused on the next milestone. Well, neither Dallas, who’s feeling a bit sick from all the motion, nor me were too enthusiastic yesterday, but we didn’t get too negative (Ok, I was borderline) and are having a much better time of it today. We just finished a nice dinner of salad and alfredo pasta and listened to some international news on the SSB radio. We’ve also changed course to get on the rhumb line to Cocos Keeling Island and now have the seas on our stern quarter rather than the beam, which is more comfortable. The rain has eased up, and it’s looking like it might be a relatively clear night.