Saturday, October 31, 2009
Middle watch and the torpids again. Almost clear out there - fluffy Cu and some wispy high cloud -altostratus perhaps. And a blazing moon so only first mag stars dotted around the firmament.
I'm mortified and gobsmacked. Umpteen times I can remember thinking '12v fan!' in Falmouth and saying to myself that it had to go on the list. But it didn't and wow do I regret that one as we swelter inside a closed down Berri in the tropics. 'T'ain't no fun not nohow not never!
Carol - I found the BBC World Service for West Africa on 15400 - reception pretty awful but nice to know they are still out there. And if you google quickscat you should find that it has nothing to do with tiger hunting and lots to do with wind.
Brief word of explanation - in the 0700 position reports I sometimes put a distance to Falmouth. This is always the straight line or rhumb line distance, derived by plonking the cursor more or less on Falmouth and reading off the distance to ship on the scale on S0B. However, there's a lot of more and less in that rather arbitrary and slack process. On the smallest scale on the chart, the tip of the cursor would cover a lot of water - Falmouth to Portland, perhaps - so the measurement is very much more or less. When I take the time to zoom in on St Anthony's Head, the cursor covers a table at the back of the Chain Locker or Gordy's fish box. Rather more accurately, I find that Falmouth is 2995 miles away. We have sailed 3514 miles according to the GPS so about 519 miles further including into Lisbon and then around the curve of West Africa.
For the first time inwhat seems like weeks there's a clearish horizon to the south and YAY! Crux, Gacrux and all the mates are up there serene and beautiful. Berri's first sight of the Southern Cross since mid Pacific last year.
Last night was a bit of an achievement in its own way. Imagine Berri as the ball in a pinball machine and all the pins and blockers and springy things as the rather solid squalls with rain and usually about 20 knots at the front. Wind all over the place in between - no gradient and the system apparently almost static. Berri's track over the chart rather like an alcoholic and demented caterpillar chasing the ball around the pinball obstacles. If we ever get back to Sydney and I can download all this data, the track from about 5N to the equator will be more than interesting. Each kink and dodge and curve and wiggle has it own story and it was bloody hard work but we managed to stay going more or less south.
We've just been overtaken by another much more violent squall - now dissipated, some light rain and no wind - we are still in the system that produced that squall but there's only grey all around - the grey that at night becomes the obsidian lustrous velvety black that has no form but is all depth and menace. No idea what else is in store but I can hear thunder rolling his eyes and walking the talk. No sign of the gradient.
Changed from the big furling headsail to the little one - Kurtsy's staysail from his single handing Love And War around the Pacific.