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Thursday, November 19, 2009

A tired analogy

Tomorrow is sailing day 49 out of Falmouth (not counting the Lisbon stop). We have at least 18 to go. I know I have used this metaphor all through these voyages but it works for me and it has a real significance. A marathon is 42.2 kilometres less a metre or so. I've run a few - lost count but perhaps 26 or 27 - and for me the half way point psychologically and often physically as well comes at about 36km. At 36 k I know I will finish and I can almost feel the buzz notwithstanding the fact that my body has started to eat itself and every white line painted on the road feels as if it's a foot high, potholes are like volcanic craters and my eyes no longer focus and my legs are starting to cramp. The three neurons have long since given up trying to engage with sludgy synapse and talk to each other. Those last 6km seem to take as long as the first 36 and every metre is an effort that has to be made, one after the other. I reckon we're closing on half way to Cape Town on that basis - not quite there yet, I think that may really come at the Greenwich meridian - but close. As a compressed analogy a marathon, over a bit under 3 hours, says it all, though with a much higher intensity, for a sea voyage of 60+ days.

We have just been visited by a Spectacled Petrel - yesterday's prelim jizz said it seemed to have white round the eyes but unable to get my decrepit eyes into gear so not sure but today it came back and no doubt whatever. I bet there aren't too many people who have seen one - they are endemic to Tristan da Cunha. Stocky bird but with the most graceful soaring swooping flight, just like an albatross.

Apart from that bit of wonder and joy, it's been an ornery day. Things have conspired - the laptop dropped it's iridium settings again so had to restore it to yesterday meantime big wind change so out on deck to adjust, come back to laptop and spill Grindy's Medical Elixir carefully saved in unspillable spot even in these conditions. Or so I thought. And that series was just one of several so somewhat frazzly, without gruntle, po faced and surrounded on all sides by irk.

Later, a photo I would have loved to have been able to take. Sunset about an hour ago, sky still deep luminous silver blue, fluffy dark grey castellations of Cu along the western horizon, radiant new moon above. Enter, stage right, Spectacled Petrel, black silhouette soaring across the sky and the moon in full 90 degree bank and swoop directly towards me - silhouette changes to tiny circle with razor slash curved enhedral wings. Another steep bank and he's gone. Serene, lovely sight and suddenly I'm unirked, fully gruntled and happy.