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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Nearest - and furthest - humans

A ship - first for days. No aircraft - we are a bit far to the east of of the major routes from Europe to S America. I don't know about routes from Africa.

I think the first organised humans to come this way would have been the Portugese. Chabral was the first to reach Brazil and Bartholomeu Dias followed him across and around to the Cape of Storms. Vasco Da Gama followed them and sailed on past the Cape to India. Dias himself died off the Cape in a storm some time later. Da Gama crossed the S Atlantic further north than we do today and arrived somewhere off what is now southern Namibia whence he had to tack into the prevailing winds and the Benguela current to get around the corner into the Indian Ocean. Interesting - people say that those sailors must have been fearless - not so - I think that if you are fearless you are either bone ignorant or brain dead. Fear is the catalyst for courage and I dips me lid to the lot of them. I've been thinking too about how they found their way out here and I think Orion is the secret, with the Southern Cross later. The lower stars are not often visible in the constant murk.

Later, of course, the Portugese Tourism and Colonisation Marketing Board gave the Cape of Storms to their Nomenclature Committee with directions to fashion the dream -- sex up the Chart - to deceive the punters who were to be persuaded to follow the pioneers and colonise the new territories on behalf of the King. The Nomenclature Committee came up with the grossly misrepresentative but highly dreamy Cape of Good Hope and so it came to pass.

Pink sunset reflecting off a biggish swell and the cascading spray of our progress through it - still very uncomfortable.