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Monday, November 16, 2009

Significant moments

The HF radio is back but flaky and the Pactor modem drops out sometimes mid connection - don't know why. So this will be interesting. I'll send it now with our 0615 position 2342 02012 trip 5337 and CT 2107 to go

At 01.54.56 UTC November 16th we left the Tropics. Wooohooo! I wonder whether Berri will ever be back.

When we set off on the first of these silly extravaganzas in January 2005, we were using the Firefly New South Wales sailmail station run by Derek and Jeanine Barnard and remained in contact about half way across the southern ocean to the Horn. Then we transferred to the Chile station and held it around the corner up into the Atlantic until it went off line for repair. I have just re-established contact with Chile and sent the last message through the station. Full circle, in a way. In between, we have been in contact with all but a couple of the 20 stations around the world - more, I suspect, than most people.

It's all happening - except wind.

Hornswoggle - the HF radio just came on - must be something loose or a dry connection somewhere. I'll try to send this before it dies again. 1330/15th position 2309 02103. No send - no propagation.

The world hasn't stopped out there - our first ship for what seems weeks crossed astern of us at about 0730 - I turned on the VHF and he actually called us - a first, I think - to check whether all was well. I asked him to report seeing us and watched him sail away. bound from Africa to Buenos Aires. Another first - there are fish all around us - about 2 ft long, jumping occasionally and rather more oval in silhouette than small tuna. And a bird at sunrise - could have been our noddy of some days ago - small, brownish, flapping, wedge tail.

Heaps of mail - Steve back from the bush: Carol G - yep, I've read as much as I could stand but frankly, I think most of it is nonsense - the evidence just doesn't stand up and I remember being highly critical of some of his sources years ago at uni while doing a paper on Cheng Ho. Duyvendak for a start. Happy to take it all apart but not via iridium! Cheng Ho one of the people I would have liked to have been able to meet for dinner, Babelfish engaged for the translation. Fiona - so there really is a universe! Gerry & Donna - g'day! Carol R & the Richmond Julia Creek mob - g'day and glad Macca reaches even the Queensland boonies! Brian and Jen - Yay! Good to hear you are still with us. Sue - thanks for Groupama and news of UK, Norm, Blue nosed and in order out here! Agree re Mercator. Would love to know exactly what was destroyed in Lisbon in 1755 - someone will have been to MC first - and anyway, its significance is a human construct.

In case you are wondering, stuff-all wind here, big hole as predicted, hot, humid and not pleasant but we are carrying enough spare diesel to motor for a couple of days and we're giving ourselves a little carefully rationed slingshot of our own. Should get some wind off the top of the low tomorrow if we are far enough south.

Later - 1730/15th with Dr Grindy standing by to assist with any medical emergency - there's wind. And fog!! In the distance, cold air over warm ocean under biggish cloud - wooohooo! Right at this moment, 6 knots directly down the rhumb line. GC just a bit too tricky to play with for minimal gain. Won't last anyway and there's still that businesslike low below us that should be through tomorrow and a high behind it.