Bruce ‘Salty Sea-dog’ Macky of Dymocks Adelaide has managed to find an empty rum bottle and has sent the following message afloat from an idyllic atoll somewhere in the Pacific:
Dear Gladys, I am extremely flattered that the revered Gladys Bembo would even notice my absence, let alone make note of it in ‘THE’ column. I thought I’d bring you a little more up to date. We indeed arrived at Qingdao on Valentines Day, to the most phenomenal welcome. The following Tuesday was presentation night. The Chinese Olympic Committee did us hugely proud. The Book Industry Awards have a huge distance to go to match the pizzazz. We left on the 24th, on schedule, in absolutely freezing conditions. We had some beautiful sailing down under the bottom of Korea, and across to Honshu Island, Japan. We were making great progress until, on 5 March, our mast broke. What had been 85 feet became 40, with the rest over 4000 metres down in the Pacific. We were incredibly lucky it happened in 8 knots of wind. 36 hours later we had 35+ knots with 20-foot waves. Had it happened then, I'm sure someone would have been lost. The silver lining to this horrible cloud was that we managed to rig a "jury rig", and sail and motor about 1400 nm to Midway Island. This former military base is now a wildlife jewel, home to nearly 2 million albatross, assorted other sea birds, and the very rare Hawaiian Harp Seal and green and loggerhead turtles. We stayed two nights, to fill up with fuel and food, and had a fabulous welcome from the 57 residents on the island. Got parts flown in, fixed to motor, and spent another 6 days motoring 1100nm to Hawaii. We are now enjoying Waikiki while we wait for bits for the boat We will head either for Santa Cruz, California, or to Panama as soon as it is repaired. Gladys, I'm sorry I have rambled, but I cannot emphasise enough how beautiful Midway is, and what a threat plastic is to the worlds' wildlife. Enough. I shall see you in Oz, sometime after July 13. Bruce.