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The Rock-itt : September 2010
Along the way, they spotted two whales basking in the sun but they dived and disappeared once they heard Sirocco coming in their direction, otherwise the rest of the day was sublime yet uneventful. With the day almost spent, the wind blowing from the southern regions began to pick up, bringing with it storm clouds. By six in the afternoon Sirocco had almost covered a hundred miles and quite a remarkable effort for the size and weight of the vessel. By nine the same evening the wind had increased even further and they decided to reef the main as they were in fear of broaching. It was a difficult task as Rex had been hit in the head by a swinging shackle and was out of action which left Errol Charlie and Trelawney to handle Sirocco. To add to their woes, they all became seasick again just as the heavens opened and bucketed heavy rain, which combined with the howling wind, stung the skin and smarted their eyes. As Sirocco bucked and rolled so did the crew, retching their stomachs empty, and if any of our readers have experienced chronic seasickness then you will know exactly how the lads on Sirocco were feeling. It is probably the worst feeling a man's stomach can endure, and when finally the green bile which is the only thing left in the stomach starts coming up then you couldn't care less if you were heaved over the side with a cannon ball tied to your ankle. As a matter of fact, you would consider it a blessing. Around midnight they rejoiced at spotting one of the signal lights from South Solitary Island just off Coffs Harbour. But soon the rejoicing ceased as now careful steering was needed to negotiate the entrance, otherwise Sirocco would be dashed to bits on the rocks like many of her predecessors. There were two signal lights that had to be aligned with each other to navigate the entrance and when finally the other light came into view, Errol gave the order to haul in sail as he brought Sirocco's bow into the wind. In the melee that followed they were tossed and turned in all directions with the main sail crashing down, covering everything, including the crew. Sirocco was being pushed swiftly along by the swell and Errol was running the diesel flat out to counteract its force. Suddenly a huge wave smashed over Sirocco, almost ripping the forward hatch cover from its mountings. Errol manoeuvred Sirocco through the narrow channel beyond the harbour's mouth and was surprised when Trelawney bellowed over the noise of the storm to put the diesel into reverse as they were approaching crashing breakers. Errol avoided the jagged rocks of the breakwater just in time. Finally, after much effort, Errol managed to find a reasonably safe position, They dropped anchor then spent the rest of the night riding out the bad weather until finally the sun poked its head above the horizon. Now after another torrid leg of their journey completed, Sirocco has finally made Coffs Harbour. Catch up with us in October to see what happens next. If you have missed any of the instalments on Hobart to Hollywood and can't lay your hands on a hard copy, go to www.therockittmagazine.com.au clicks on ARCHIVES for previous issues. Any problems email me on: firstname.lastname@example.org The first leg of Sirocco's east coast voyage taken from Errol's book "Beam Ends" Sirocco under full sail