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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Not having fun

Or enter the Examiner, stage left. We got ourselves down into the top of the low at about 35 south - nice easy 30 knots from the west and tracked south east - but down here at 3650 02047 it's a bit different. 40 - 45 knots, big breaking waves and we have decided that Berri's furler arrangement can't cope with these conditions. The poles are a bit too long and the small jib is too badly stretched to set properly as a de facto storm jib so we are bare poled and easing our way north east again. We've just had a 50 knot whiteout rainsquall with a front and a couple of cockpit fillers. We have a backup outer forestay on to which we can hank a storm jib or a small staysail but we'll try that in more benign conditions first.

I think it all means that we will have to stay up around 35 S all the way across and just work the systems. Which rather puts paid to Kerguelen at 49 S. We will have a better idea when we get clear of the Agulhas effect with wind against current and shelving ocean bottom but it doesn't look hopeful. Gloooom.

Wind now down to 35 again but there's more to come. Poor Berri in rather violent motion still. All has a deja vu feel to it - last time we were here, but further south we got savagely bashed too.

TPS suits work well.

Latest Position

Posted by I & G in the UK.


0630 position 26th December 3646 02026 trip 105 DMG 84 and at almost exactly 0200 this morning, just as the Hobart race was starting, we crossed from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean.

We are tooling along at the southern end of the Agulhas tongue in a 30 kt westerly with wind waves over the predominant SW swell of the southern ocean so rolling uncomfortably but all seems ok so far, says he grabbing the nearest bit of wood. Single small headsail poled out to port and about half furled and doing 5-6 knots.

I have broken out my TPS dry suit and hope tyo dispense with all the other clobber necessary to keep warm and dry, but will try living in it for the next couple of days before I put the other stuff away. Reminds me of the immersion suits we used to wear flying over the sea - pee tube and all.

Lots of albatrosses and dark petrels - albatrosses I think grey headed or salvins again but really difficult to identify - there are hundreds of small variations in colour, shape, plumage etc - jizz - and each species has different variations as they mature.

I think - and hope - we are south of the ships.

Hope youse all had the best christmas - we had a fairly gentle one - and thanks to everyone who sent us messages. Too many to list.

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Christmas Albatross : Thalassarche salvini

We'll be a bit short of images here for a while. So here's a Salvin's
Albatross or Mollymawk, possibly what Alex has just seen. The photo is
in the public domain courtesy of photographer Mark Jobling - to whom
thanks. More on the bird here:'s_Albatross
Posted by Iz in the UK


Now there are about 20 albatrosses and a bunch of assorted dark petrels. The albatrosses are - I think - Grey headed and/or Salvins in various stages of maturity with perhaps a young yellow nosed or two. The petrels are very difficult to identify except for at least one Cape aka Pintado petrel, unmistakable because of the white flashes on top of its wings. Got heaps of photos but there's always a better one just after the camera gets put away. Easy to spend all day out there. I wonder whether one of them is Bartholomeu Dias, or even Speedy, making sure we behave. And Tommy Melville is out here somewhere too.

Back in warm waters of the Agulhas current. Temperature leaving CT was 17, now 24. Portuguese men of war everywhere.

Jeanne, thanks for photos! I'll tell the albatrosses to wait for you.

Time to ring K & E - I wonder what Cook and Dias and Anson and Magellan and Pinzon and Flinders and Drake and Henry Knight senior and all the others would have done with an Iridium phone. I guess the talking clock would have been somewhere in the phone book for those that lived before Harrison. Would Nelson have phoned Merton? It might have meant that many of the wonderful letters and diaries would not have been written - Nelson's last letters especially, perhaps.

Now midnight in Nome - con occurring to coincide with their day and we'll call Pat later. I think Berri's christmas will wrap around midnight tonight in Nome or Cape Prince of Wales so we have a few hours left if medicinal support is required after cleaning the Augean deck left by departing reindeer.

Carol - plastic bottle primed and ready for action later.

Fair winds and safe passage to everyone heading to Hobart in about 15 hours.