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Monday, November 30, 2009

More Accurate Frustration!

Posted, with apologies, by I & G in UK.

G's West and East got in a twist while doing the Google Earth
placemark. Alex does not do these Latest Position illustrations as
Berri's computer suite is a bit too limited and full of empties. The
SOF prize goes to G, definitely not to Alex or Pete.

Crash 'n bash

0700/30th position (day 60, excluding Lisbon) 3145 00721, trip 123 (but only 97 closer to Cape Town) CT 562

Meanwhile, back in the old bus shelter, Old Fart no.1 asleep on the bench, raspy breathing a sandpaper descant for the rustle of dead leaves and food wrappers in the midnight gloom, the clatter of a rolling can dislodged from the heap of empties in the corner giving the whole symphony a jagged edge. Old Fart no. 2, flaky brow creased in concentration, prodding stone age keyboard with ET contraptionery hooking it into Foxy Rupert's wifi. Here we are, prods he, middle watch, 575 miles out of Cape Town, hoist by our own gamble of two weeks age, crunching through lumpy sea in the closest we can get to a course that will get us home, wind and current and Examiner united against us and Dec 5th a desperate fingernail's grasp away from being lost in the vortex.

An iteration of Old Farts across the sleeping bench later and two more cans added to the pile - we are just crossing the continental shelf. There's what looks like a big steep seamount just ahead - my chart does not give it a name, just lots of concentric contours but I think it might be something like Velmay. Massive movement of current around it - shame it doesn't trigger the phosphorescence. The best VMG we can manage, directly into the current and big, steep headbanging swell is about 3.5 kts. Cape Town Saturday schmatterday! More like Monday. Berri fantastic in these conditions - the occasional humulomungous crash as she meets a big steep one head-on but mostly just bloody uncomfortable hobbyhorsing corkscrewing along, meeting the sea and negotiating it with minimum fuss and no pounding. Kevvo driving.

Anne, just opened your jar of honey. MMM! Tks!


Compare bottom left and bottom right positions to understand Alex and
Pete's frustration.

Posted by I & G in the UK.

The last 6 K

1900/29th position 3135 00643 with 603 to CT and going sideways

We have been trying to work our way south for the last thousand miles or so but have not been able to do so without going backwards. And so it is still. There is a fierce current, the Benguela, flowing NW from Cape Agulhas south of Cape Town and we are in it and getting knocked sideways at about 3 knots - about half our speed, so about a 45 deg knock. Getting south as far as about 35 degrees would have allowed us to manage this but from up here at 31.36 S there's nothing we can do but accept the situation and hope the wind changes as predicted by the grib in a day or so. Meantime, Namibia here we come. December 5th arrival in CT now looking very iffy indeed.

Otherwise, nothing to report except a juvenile Yellow Nosed Albatross. And a huge empty bulk carrier that altered course around us a couple of hours ago. Tricky when you can't call them up on channel 16 any more - we do have DSC on the VHF but I've never had a positive reply when we have tried to use it so no faith in it yet. With no AIS data, I have to make an 'all ships' call which is a bit less effective, perhaps, than an individual call using a ship's MMSI. Automated bridges fill me with angst. But it does seem that our new radar reflector is working.

Fenwick, ya dozy OF, hang in there for what remains of your dissolute life and the birds will sing again in the trees. Then we will come home and you can buy us a beer. Enjoy the Solomons.

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