Leg 3 Day 24 – Christmas Eve!

Last night was busy.  Busy helping Albert in the galley, box up all our food that can stay on board and busy doing the final 'fling' on the bits that can't.  Also I'm needed on deck to help out drop our headsails as the wind strength is such that the main alone is enough to keep us trucking along. I also happen to know that Piers is trying to delay our arrival into Geraldton until around 6am – when it's light and the cameras will be able to film our arrival and the big Katy family reunion!
Not much sleep was had as we were all on deck for around 4.30am and the crossing of the official race finish line. The sun was out and even at that time it was obvious it was going to be scorchio! All dressed in our official Hull and Humber kit of navy blue shorts, orange H&H polo shirts and blue H&H Fusion jackets we up ready to greet family and friends and the big Aussie welcome waiting for us. The pilot boat – the first to greet us on our approach was soon followed by the media boat and after a call from them to ask if Katy was on board, I realised that they must have her Mum and Sister on board hidden away! Katy came up on deck and I - with video camera poised - witnessed someone getting the best Christmas present they could have hoped for!  Needless to say it was an emotional but happy scene as they tried to have a conversation across the water between the two boats! Before long though, we were moored up in the Batavia Marina, had cleared the customs checks and many of the crew were receiving hugs and kisses from the family and friends who had long been awaiting their arrival.
A soon as all the hellos were done we cracked on with the deep clean so those who wanted to shoot off to be with family could do so. Mid-afternoon Christmas could start and we all trooped off to the yacht club for drinks, and a traditional Aussie Bar-b-q welcome!

Pretty soon everyone peeled off in different directions which left Arthur, Ken, Charles, Alex, Adam and myself staying on the boat to make sure our Umber wasn't lonely at Christmas! Our Christmas Eve evening was spent a few boats up from Umber with a local guy called John who was having a few beers on the deck of his boat and made the mistake of inviting Adam & Alex on for a beer.  Pretty soon the whole troop of us were on – along with a couple of girls from Jamaica and a guy from Cork.  And that's where we saw in Christmas Day – on a balmy December evening with fellow crew and a new Aussie friend who had made us at home – even though our real homes were the other side of the world.