Leg 3 Day 5 – December 5th

Today is John's Birthday, so after much secret squirreling during the night to organise card, decorations and cake, (Mike B had managed to find some egg substitute in Cape Town so we had high hopes for the result of the cake mix) John woke to find birthday banners and balloons and a semi-celebratory breakfast with card and present (tiny bottle of South African scotch).  The sun came along to celebrate, as did a magnificent Royal Albatross (not to be confused with the Great Wandering Albatross which generally has more black/brown markings!).  Unfortunately the wind decided not to party and mid-morning we were forced to put the engine on to try and keep us on our track for getting to Oz for Christmas. 
For a few hours it was like being transported back to Leg 1. The sun was out and as we were motoring, apart from the helm, we were able to relax, chat and amuse ourselves on deck – which on the whole normally meant taking the mickey out of Victor. Today was no exception. 
Lunch arrived and so did party time for John's B'day – we cracked open a bottle of bubbly he'd brought – and each savoured a thimble-full while we then munched on a special treat of Birthday chocolate and tried to orchestrate pieces of “music” out of the party blowers that had also arrived on deck. The whole scene was about as far away from my own picture of sailing across the Southern Ocean as you could possibly imagine!  Great fun though...and brilliant for cementing our already great, team spirit.

Piers announced that we had better enjoy the party now as we might not get the chance later – and sure enough within an hour the 'on watch' were performing the first spinnaker hoist of Leg 3. Hopefully this would be the first part of the downwind sailing/surfing excitement we were all looking forward to – even if with a hint of apprehension.  I prefer to term it as a 'healthy respect' for the sea!