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

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Position 2046 2343 Trip 2214=120/24

around 0100/20th - Something quite large just entered the atmosphere and lit the place up with a very bright burnout. It cake from the NE, passed just south of us and seemed to break up as it passed over us. It was heading roughly 240 and it burned out about half way to our SW horizon. The trail was visible for some time afterwards. The brightest one I can remember ever seeing.

My old mate Betelgeuese is poised almost directly above Berri's gyrating masthead - we're moving south. Mintaka here we come.

Thanks to Carol and Malcom for the galactic centre being in Sagittarius. I found the centre you can't see very close to the bit near the centre you can see - a load of dust and an event horizon rather got in the way. Binocs on a clearer night. How big is a super massive black hole? Golf ball? Moon? Earth? Silly question really. I seem to remember that in galactic futurology, we are due to get mixed up with Andromeda before we fall through our own event horizon. But not next Tuesday.

And I know I've done this before but it's haunting - here we are in an empty patch of sea about 6 miles across that moves along with us. The first ships here were probably Portugese - little caravels and naus, crosses on the sails, pennants, religious statues, superstition, fear and the lurking inquisition. Then anybody's guess - probably the Spanish, Magellan, Drake in the Golden Hind - and in the peak years of shipping, perhaps 10000 ships each year. Nondescript traders mostly but also naval squadrons, slavers, fat sluggish cargo galleons carting gold and other treasures from Brazil and the Spanish colonies - and the clippers. Cutty Sark in this wind, stuns'ls and royals set, surging past at 16 knots And the Java and her like - worn out transports taking immigrants to Brazil and Australia and South Africa. Surveyors (who, for instance, charted the Tropic seamount of a few nights ago so accurately?) and cable layers, whalers, nitrate carriers from Chile. And the occasional submarine. And now racing yachts - high tech like the tea clippers in their time with similar urgency and deadlines. I wish I could play the movie as they all pass through history.

Doug, if you're reading this, send us Henry's co-ordinates and we'll send him some more goodies. Henry Knight was a young boy who died of starvation in the Java on his way to Australia and is buried in the South Atlantic - see the first Berrimilla website.

Good luck with Polishit, Izzo - report on return please.

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Tropic of Cancer

Posted by I & G in the UK.