Diary of a Clipper Racer

Around the world in 333 days with Mark Osgood

Supporting my chosen charity - "Dreams Come True"

Final Diary entry, 54, added Monday 6th October 2003.

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39 - London's Seven Wonders of the World  - July 2003 - by Simon Cooper

Having now circumnavigated the planet we thought we'd we share our top seven things that have wowed and stunned us on our way. Some were truly wondrous, some were simply outrageous, and some were priceless comedy moments that have to be preserved for future generations:

1. The Phosphorescent Sea (off Cape Town)

As you may have read before sometimes the sea at night sparkles, normally in the bow wave or sometimes behind a dolphin but this moonless night every single wave top glowed. It was an indescribable scene, absolutely stunning in it's otherworldly beauty. 'Nuff said.

2. Crack Dolphin Stunt Squad (East China Sea)

We've seen many dolphins, we've seen them ride our bow wave and even jump some but not this. As if to a silent cue, an entire pod (30 or 40) leapt into the air. What a show.

3. Welcome to Hell (low pressure, western Pacific)

Picture the scene, the off watch is down below eating Pizza "a la Fox" whilst listening to some chilled tunes. A lounge scene if you will. The boat was rocking some, to say the least, but the off watch was relaxed. Maybe too relaxed. On heading up to take over we were greeted with massive seas, spray and waves crashing into the cockpit and a 50 mph blow. All under the cover of darkness. I just liked the juxtaposition. Hey, that's ocean sailing.

4. Ben's Galley Miracle

This was only a minor miracle. Ben was mistakenly let loose in the galley alone. He decided to make "noodle surprise". The surprise was the lack of noodles.  The sauce comprised random tins, literally random. The miracle was no one died, including Ben. Definitely the worst meal ever served on London Clipper (which is no mean feat).

5. The Stick Houses of Indonesia (Java Sea)

Whilst motoring south from Batam/Singapore on our way to race start we ventured across a village unlike any other I have seen before. The locals had built stilt houses in the sea, out of timber and driftwood. No fresh running water, no electrics - just the sea, the sun, & the stars. We think they were fishing platforms and just part time homes. Still it highlighted again to us all how different the lives of people around the world are.  Can't speak to what they thought of the procession of motoring yachts passing through their back gardens - "Here they are again, every two years, regular as clockwork".

6. Sunrise Moonset (Indian Ocean)

We are privileged to see the most fantastic sunrises and sunsets almost every day (Paulo has captured most of the leg 4 & 5 ones on film), with fiery suns, pink and copper clouds and fabulous 360 views. However, one of the best so far has to be the morning the sun came up whilst the moon was still full and bright and enacting it's very own spectacular moonset.  Marvellous.

7. Table Mountain - Sailing into Cape Town

For me, sailing into Cape Town was a big part of the dream that inspired taking part in all this madness. The arrival was frustrating, due to the light airs and New York breathing down our neck - don't know if you've met them but toothpaste would be a good gift ;-)   It was all made worthwhile though by the sight of Cape Town itself surrounded by Table Mountain, Lions Head and the Twelve Apostles. A truly awesome vista and one that mariners throughout the last few centuries have welcomed at the end of long voyages.  Of course we don't have scurvy on board, although it has been close (see 4 above).

Hope that helps you lubbers understand a bit of what we have seen and experienced. Humbling stuff.

Thanks to Ben for the idea

Click here for diary 40 - Rainbows, Moonbows and Broaches - July 2003 - by Ian "Cookie" Cook

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