For Berrimilla's first circumnavigation, the International Space Station
and the North West Passage, go to

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Gelid and viscous.

0645/8th position 1109 02544 trip 121/24
Sailing day 38 from Falmouth.
Things you learn - Macca really doesn't know who is on the other end when he says 'G'day, this is Macca!' Wonderfully typical ABC low budget production that succeeds through the appeal of the guy at the mike and the power of the tradition that the program has generated. Very Australian and no bullshit. SJ - thanks for setting it up. Hope we didn't fluff the lines!

The middle watch again, but on a night for the little box of special memories one tends to take along somewhere in the gelid vault between the ears. Almost cloudless, no moon yet. Haze, so the tiny stars that fill the gaps are there by suspicion only in the background glow. The constellations - Orion, Cassiopeia, Sagittarius, then Sirius, Canopus, Jupiter, Formalhaut - all intense and piercing and lovely. The Southern Cross yet to rise. Sadly there must be generations of people in the industrialised areas of the world who have never seen the night sky - have no idea of the beauty of a star or the luminous depth of the Universe. Perhaps not just recent generations either - there is early Roman lead in the icecaps of the world.

Some of you may remember the VoA, my whimsical indicator of first voyage latitude. 0.1 at the equator, 0.9 and you're frozen in the Arctic ice with 3 months to wait. Here it's about 0.3 and the water temp is down to 32 degrees. Manageable but the fact that it is back in the list of daily observations is an indicator in itself of the potential discomfort of Berri's passage through the moguls. I was astonished last time when I invented it at how many people jumped in and said 'wow! I'm so glad I'm not alone (would that you were!)- how bad are yours?' And so on. The freedom of knowing you can at last talk about something that is socially off limits. For the newbies, VoA stands for the Viscosity of Anusol. Not available to Da Gama, but he seems to have worked out his latitude by other means. I wonder what he used for his piles - oil of newt? Roquefort? Bacon fat? Necromancers' unguents? Doesn't bear thinking about. Hope you enjoy your breakfasts!

Pauline, your cake has fulfilled its noble purpose - thanks! The Cake is dead! Long live The Cake! Maureen, we will unpack the quarter berth to find yours in the next day or so.

0236/8th and we've passed Cape York, half a world away.