The one where I don't get hit by the boom!

I'm just going to warn you now that this blog contains extreme levels of smugness. Whatever you thought I was capable of before, triple it. In fact, if you're reading this at work on Monday morning then, in all honestly, I'd advise that you stop reading now.

Right, I prepared you. So no getting uppity about my boasting, 'kay?


Last Sunday I was woken up by my little sister at 9.30am. I felt so sick I had to turn down a bacon sandwich and it was my third night on the trot with very little sleep. This Sunday I woke up naturally at 7.30, had coffee outside whilst looking out for wallabies, then packed a bag for a days sailing.

That's right, I spent yesterday sailing on a beautiful yacht in the coral sea. More specifically, racing a yacht around Magnetic Island. Well I say sailing, I spent the day falling over everywhere and trying to not get in anybody's way. Which for the most part I did a fairly good job of. I'd joke that my job was to 'look pretty' sat on the stern, however of all the words to describe what I looked like for most of yesterday 'pretty' would not be one of them. Although I defy even Christina Hendricks to look nice slathered in suncream, wearing an old demin skirt, with hair scraped back under a baseball cap. Oh, and sweating quite a lot ('perspire' isn't quite a strong enough way to describe how you feel under the midday sun).

The sun directly overhead

To be truthful, I can quite happily forego looking good in exchange for a day on the waves. Although I'm not going to pretend like I didn't put my summer dress back on and powder my entire face the second we got back on to dry land.

Anyway. As I mentioned in my previous blog (I think, I can't remember what I put in it because of the jetlag) Mum and I were invited to sail in a race by a lovely couple, Mick and Val. We were joined by four other crew members which thankfully meant that I didn't have to pitch in. Not in a selfish way - when you are taking 40 seconds to tack a novice sailor would be a hindrance as well as a danger. Instead I sat happily on the stern and watched what everyone was doing. I'm definitely going to learn, and even after a day I've started to pick things up. Ish.

The race began at 11, and the crew spent about half an hour getting to know the boat and each other; practising tacking so we could start strongly. The boat was really heeling so I had to make sure I switched sides along with the crew. On our first go, I tried to do it without holding onto any of the sheets (that's what us salty seadogs call 'ropes') and the boat came up to meet my knee as I went to put it down. -Whack-. Ouch. It took about ten seconds for an impressive lump and bruise to appear but I bit my lip, feeling rather foolish that I'd managed to injure myself without actually having any sailing business to worry about.

When the crew had settled in (and I'd started to get sea legs) we were off to the starting line. There's something both terrifying and thrilling about the start of a race, as boats come within feet of one another and everyone tries to get in the best position. Most of the boats sail regularly, and there are various leagues and tables for the sailing season so there's lots of rivalry and competition. We took a tack away from the island, and that put us in a good position for the rest of the race. As we swung round and put out the spinnaker (check me with ma sailing lingo) our speed really took off, and we could all have a rest (I was obviously exhausted) and enjoy the surroundings.

My face was NOT fit for photographs...

There was a magical moment when a dolphin or two appeared and everyone stopped to look. It was nice to see that even the aussies still found that special - I can't imagine ever getting over the novelty of seeing creatures like that in the wild.

The rest of the race passed smoothly, although one boat behind us caught a gust with their spinnaker and heeled so far over we wondered if they'd capsize. It was a bitter rival, so there was quite a large amount of schaudenfreude involved.

We came 4th, which everyone seemed pleased with; Mum and I had obviously proved our worth, and we're racing with Mick and Val again next week to Herald Island. It's a five hour race, and we stay over for the night with a BBQ and bonfire on the beach. I think we're going to sleep on the deck under the stars - but there is a cabin with our names on if the weather turns! One of the things I was most upset about missing was bonfire night, so it's quite funny that I'm going to end up having such an amazing experience - and a bonfire! - on November 5th.

I feel pretty lucky that I've got to have such brilliant opportunities so soon after moving here, but it goes to show that getting stuck in combined with the Aussie generosity is an excellent combo. When we landed on Wednesday Mum pointed at the little white dots in the bay and said, 'Oooh, I can't wait until we're out there!', but we didn't expect to be out there this fast! Everyone on the boat couldn't believe Mum and I had only been here for 4 days; to tell you the truth neither could we...

Most of today has been spent with admin tasks (and no procrastination in the form of swimming or skyping at all) so not much to report. Unless you want to hear a detailed account of CV tweaking and RSA researching? No?

Happy Monday!

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