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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Selkirk Settler

Re the gigantic waves Alex was just talking about, here is a link to
some astonishing images.

Posted by I in the UK

More of the same

0700/8th position 0912 02535 trip 130/24
We're eating the miles, port tack 2 reefs, about a third of the heady and a nasty steep 3 metreish swell that poor old Berri has to thud through occasionally.

To continue the theme of the early navigators - once they had the knowledge that to get to the Cape, all they really had to do was follow the prevailing winds from Lisbon to the doldrums, struggle through and back on the wind again, following it around in the big arc across the S Atlantic passing north of Tristan (and as the name suggests, a Portugese sailor doing just that but perhaps a bit further south than intended actually discovered the island). And Tristan to the Cape and past the tail of the Agulhas Bank is the place where the storms are. Like us, they must have anticipated that bit of ocean with some serious trepidation. And these days, with satellite measurements, scientists are logging the 'freak' waves caused by current, long fetch swell, wind and amplification from the meeting of two wave sets. Just like the SE corner of Australia, where we got rolled ourselves. 3 big ones every 1000 sticks in the jelly of my memory and one huge one every 10,000. Googls selkirk settler for some photos.

Huge ship in the night - Pete didn't think he'd seen us so gerzillion candlepower light into the sails and he altered.

Shave and a clean T shirt if I can find one for Macca this evening.

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.

Feral glitches and a couple of dozy old farts

Fenwick - you're a dopey old fart too - see below - thanks for the kind words but you and Sarah picked up the guy and saved his life - nowt to do with me. Hope your boat not too damaged. Congratulations at least for having one operable grey cell at your age. Keep spreading the word - and passing the open windows.

Iridium panic over for the mo, I think. The laptop was misbehaving yesterday - seemed that it had crashed and restored itself surreptitiously. Tried iridium this morning and would not connect - that awful here-we-go-again feeling I'd almost forgotten -so I went through all the set up procedures for the dial up modem - score 1, the crash had deleted the 19200 modem completely. But the set up wizard was not seeing com-ports except the 4 from the USB to serial gizmo - fiendish and unstable unless you kill a ball point mouse with a steam hammer - anyway, about 3 hours later, rather sweaty and grumpy, I had been back through everything I could think of and decided that Dr Murphy was required at the double with restorative compounds. Restorative ? Restorative - you dopey old fart - where the hell do I find system restore in this thing? Certainly not through windows help (!) but there it was perched at the wispy end of a branch line in Accessories and I took the beast back 2 days and yeeeeehaaa! there was my 19200 modem back on com port 12 where it used to be. And it worked. Meantime I had also cranked up one of the backups and sent a test to Steve which also worked. So we should still be in business. As a non geek who is utterly brainwashed by previous failure into expecting the worst with these things, I feel just a bit chuffed.

There's a chance the Australian Broadcasting Commission program 'Australia all over' will call us this Sunday, 0730 their time, 2030 tomorrow Saturday 7th UTC. The ABC does a live internet stream - I think - if anyone is interested.

Ann - I'm sure I heard cackles of laughter out there in the gloom last night. Poseidon may have a fan for his nursery jokes.

And Norm K out there in the old Queensland boonies - the Cuskelly tells me he has poisoned your mind with this guff - Vogon poetry even - and you are out there compounding the felony. G'day and glad you're there. Write to us - send us a poem perhaps.

Carla - I think you might be right and our visitor is a young noddy - not in the book but your description fits. Almost got a photo in full flight last night. Lerizhan g'day! Re break up entry - yep - I thought the trajectory was wrong for a deliberate destruct or any normal launch. Was a goody though - white light, when they are more often yellowish. Pete is wearing his LSU Event Staff T - the pit ferals chattering but happy.

Things you learn - for cordon bleu cup-a-soup, add a teaspoonful of dried mashed potato. Spud is thicker than water. Erk - did I really say that?