Friday, 22 July 2011

Walking with Taffy and Shirleys Green Flash

Mail just in from our good friends Taffy and Shirley Bowen,cruising still on their Lavranos 40 The Road.

Well, this is it, the final epistle from Australia, Last Saturday was the farewell bash set up by the rally organisers with food and drink aplenty for one and all, and then on Tuesday there was seminar given by the Indonesian and Malaysian authorities which if anywhere near actuality we are in for a very different and exciting adventure. So at 11-00hrs next Saturday morning 100 plus yachts set off for Indonesia, some 3 days or so away for us, where we are meant to drop anchor at Kupang in West Timor.

However, before we bid farewell to these well regulated shores, there is one issue that having brought up previously, I feel bound to bring to fruition, and that is the issue of bicycle generated genocide here in Australia.

You may remember that in an attempt to rid the country of those people that cannot afford cars, and unfortunately that includes visiting yachtsmen who from time to time have to use the pavements to walk from a to b, the Australian authorities decided that all cyclists must share the pavements with the perambulating masses, well someone in authority, here in Darwin at least, must have taken note of my safety concerns in this regard and come up with another regulation to solve the problem. Here is the crunch, they have decreed that both cyclists and pedestrians must be regulated to travel at the same speed, on the assumption that being run over from the rear would then be mathematically impossible. Clever eh, unfortunately the speed they have decided upon to make this all possible is 20 kilometres per hour. There are signs erected everywhere enforcing this regulation, and if you find this hard to believe I have attached photographic evidence which is irrefutable.

Try as I might, I am having great difficulty in adhering to this latest law, and even if I get anywhere near 20 kph I have to stop regularly, get off the pavement and stand in the middle of the road amidst all the motorised traffic, to get my breath back which all seems a bit counter productive.

Those of you who are particularly observant will have noticed that there are two attachments to this document, the second one is a photograph of yet another of Shirley’s sunsets, but when she downloaded it on to the computer it revealed a phenomenon of which a majority of the world’s population are unaware, or if like me upon initially being told of it’s existence by more experienced yachtsmen, regarded it as a rum educed event. This is the GREEN FLASH.

It only occurs at sunset, when the sea is flat calm, plus there has to be absolutely no haze, pollution, or cloud (or obviously land mass) of any description at the point of sunset, and then for one split second there is a refraction of the suns rays through the sea which produces the green flash depicted on this photograph. During our travels Shirley and I have seen maybe a dozen or more of these events, but due to the extremely short time duration they are visible, we have never managed to photograph one, until now.

So those of you who, like me, are born cynics, do not be tempted to wager against the existence of the Green Flash, you are bound to loose your money.

As I write this, Shirley, convinced as she always is that our next country of call will have no shops, no food, and nothing to drink, has gone off to town for the umpteenth time this week to stock up with more than the bank account or the yacht can accommodate. So I had better revise my e.t.a. for Kupang, as the yacht will be slower than ever due to the extra weight.

Before closing, we have just been informed that the membership list of the 2011 Australia to Indonesia Sailing Rally is officially closed, and with that closure comes the added news that of the 110 entered yachts from all over the world “The ROAD” is the one and only South African yacht. So, the parties at various venues will be forbidden to start until we have arrived. (My rule not the organisers, YET).

So until we write again, selamat tinggal, which I believe is Indonesian for goodbye.

Taff Shirley and Rubbish.

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