Not only do we have to contend with gale force winds and huge swell for days on end, but now we also have to dodge 83 shipping containers drifting along the Central Coast of New South Wales.
With so many containers at sea after having tumbled from the Liberian ship Yang Ming in extreme weather, the greatest risk is to smaller fishing boats and sailing vessels like Take It Easy.
So we rang the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and found that their computer models show the containers drifting NW from Newscastle to Port Stephens, pushed along by the southerlies. They are exactly along the path we want to sail when the wind calms down a bit!
Nobody can say what will happen with any certainty. Some of these containers will sink, some will float just under the surface, some will float with some of the bulk above water, some will wash ashore. You hit one of these and you sink to the bottom!
“The longer you leave it, the less chance you will come across them”, said the Maritime Services person. It is like a game of Russian roulette.
This takes sailing – the science of not hitting things – to another level. So what to do? Well we hope to be sailing to Swansea – south of Newcastle – on Monday or Tuesday as wind and swell become more manageable. We will call the hotline again before leaving Pittwater, to confirm it is a safe thing to do. At least up to Swansea we should be in clear waters, we can shelter with access to shore facilities to replenish supplies, and if we have to wait for a few days, we can amuse ourselves in Lake Macquarie.
Do you think we are jinxed with the weather and getting north? Do you think if we say this out loud, it jinxes the jinx and all will be good? Nah, me neither.