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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Latest Position

Posted by I & G in the UK.

The sound of one ball drifting...

0630/24th position 2859 00428, trip 130 and 1202 to CT required VMG for Dec 5th now about 4.5kt. It's a bit like limited over cricket - balls left, runs to get, wickets to fall. Drip feed instant gratification, to coin an oxymoron.

We crossed 5 deg West at 0045 this morning - We are now east of Falmouth and 4750nm south after 6314 miles! Gordy notified four hours in advance and we will celebrate this evening. Dank, drizzly, overcast, windless - just trickling along.

I've been checking Berri's systems prior to CT so that we can get recalcitrant gizmos fixed. Have just cranked up the SatCom C - an Inmarsat C device. The equipment seems to work and it logs in to the East Atlantic region but will not transmit messages via the Land Earth Stations predefined in the software so I assume there must have been some sort of amendment since I last used it (probably at least 18 months ago as it is power hungry so only used as emergency backup). Would appreciate advice if anyone knows - else will get on-line latest version of Easymail software from CT to check for changes.

Steve sent us a list of howlers from the current crop of higher school certificate exam papers in English. I rather like this one: 'The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.'
Shades of a softly Taoist Sei Shonagon and her list of things near yet distant - in her case 'The course of a boat'.

Nostalgia 3

Me. I seem to be the serious one, as usual. We actually had to go to about 75N to get around a big ice field in Lancaster Sound - sadly, freezing rain and big icebergs meant we were just not able to make it to Beechey Island and the NASA HMP Camp. At the time I wrote this one it seemed that the really hard bit was behind us and so it was, but there was still a lot of nastiness to come, especially dark nights and ice in Davis Strait (but overwhelmed by swimming polar bears and the most glorious auroras) and the Atlantic crossing which destroyed the old engine. It's all there on if you can be bothered to wade back past the spammers' desecrations.


Kimbra's watch and we are almost as far north as we need to go to round the northernmost point of Somerset Island, just east of Cunningham Bay. So - in an hour or so we should be able to head east, then south east. No more ice visible, Cornwallis just there on the N. horizon and a lighter patch of cloud where Beechey should be, about 45 miles away. Worth just a tiny wooohooo! Pascal's dotted line is ok so far - we can't test the Beechey bit but we'll pick it up again soon.

As for clothing I thought a detailed list might be interesting. On deck, I wear my brown fisherman's super tough wellies, aka Sitka Slippers, with sock liners and fleece socks. Glove liners and insulated industrial rubber gloves. From the skin out, a thermal vest with long sleeves, T shirt, no knickers or thermals over the nethers (because they promote the most agonising gunwale bum) so a fleece mid layer known as salopettes, with a fleece hoodie on top. Sometimes a balaclava and neck tube. On top of all that, a Mustang survival suit or a float coat and Henri pants if it's not too cold. Goggles if it's snowing or windy.

And it has come to pass - at 1750 UTC Sunday August 17 we turned east, then south east at Half way Consultation is occurring. Slightly bigger Wooohooo!

And keep 'em crossed please. Looong way to go yet.

Nostalgia 2

This is McQ feeling cold


oh how I wish the oreo cookie monster would leave me alone!!! he hangs out shivering at the end of my bunk while I am off watch, desperately trying to ignore him, though its hard as he looks so blue and fluffy and unmonsterlike and pathetic, then when I come on watch he sort of attaches himself to me and won't leave me alone, till I relent and eat cookies, despite my constant protesting!!!

To jump on the clothing bandwagon too, which i think I just win, I have on:
1 pair thermal socks
1 pair thick fluffy socks
1 pair ziploc bags (yes these count, they might be the most important items infact!!)
1 pair leaky boots
1 set of underwear, actually bikini top and bottoms\
1 pair thermal legs
1 thermal top
1 midlayer salopettes
1 fleece top
2 midlayer jackets
1 oilie bottoms
1 oilie smock top
1 pair fluffy gloves
1 pair sealskinz gloves
1 pair waterproof outer shell gloves
1 neck warmer
1 thermal balaclava
1 hobart beanie
1 windstopper balaclava
1 fleece hat with ear warmer bits
1 pair ski goggles
so thats 29 individual items...yes, 2 pairs socks, 3 pairs gloves and four hats... its making me cold thinking about it!!!

Oh how I sometimes wish the oreo cookie monster was a heater instead, then he could hang on to me all day and night long, and I wouldn't mind at all!!

Hope everyone well and warm
Lots of love

Nostalgia, part 1

I have just cranked up the incredibly ancient and scarred old Toughbook from the first voyage and the Bass Strait roll and found some old blogs from the critical bit of our North West Passage transit last year. I think they are worth putting up again here. All from 17/18 Aug 2008

Kimbra's post

You've heard of gorillas in the mist, but today we've had belugas and snow! I've never seen a beluga whale before, but I have to say it was love at first sight. To me, these small whales are superficially more like oversize, white, friendly dolphins. As Alex said, we saw a small, loose pod of about 6 belugas around brekkie-o'clock this morning. One appeared to be stalking us, so maybe word has got around the whale-world about Corrie's close encounter off Barrow and they're out for revenge? Anyway, most cool!

The weather is also (still) most cool. So far, it's snowed on 3 separate occasions today. My Alaska keychain thermometer is still telling me it's 10 deg C, but I'm rapidly losing faith in it. My cold-toe-ometer is telling me that it's probably a little less than that. Cold enough to break out the hot porridge with dried apricots and maple syrup for breakfast. Yum.

While I hate fog, I'm really kinda fond of snow. There's not enough of it (yet!) for it to settle, and we're definitely not talking snowmen either, but it's very peaceful. And makes a nice change from the rain. It's starting to settle on the hills bordering Peel Sound, and dusting parts of them a light grey against the dark blue-brown rock.

Nearly around the top of Peel Sound. Another 50 NM until we hang right and turn east along Barrow Strait and Lancaster Sound towards Greenland. So 50 NM to go to my mental halfway point, where we stop heading away from the edge of the world and start heading back to civilisation.

Anyway, my fingers are too cold to hit the right keys on this miniature keyboard, so I'm heading for my bunk. Wake me for dinner in bed in an hour or so...wonder what Corrie's cooking tonight?

Night all! K.

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