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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Life, the universe and everything

Position 0630 13th 4239 05130 - about level with Bicheno in Tasmania and about 200 north of the Crozets. Trip 99, DMG 92 and Kerguelen 774 (in case anyone is actually following us on a chart, I'm using a waypoint about 90 miles north of Baie de l'Oiseau as my DMG marker so your numbers may not equate exactly to mine. I'll change it as we get closer).

Tomorrow - the grib says - will be pearshaped with 35 knot (read 50+) northerlies blasting down a big front behind the current high and 40 kts forecast for the Kerguelens. We should be about mid way down and we'll do our best to deal with whatever we get. Iff we get really lucky, it will then soften gradually and we might get a reasonably clear window for landfall. Pace the Examiner, of course, and the Great Statistician, Mr Murphy.

I forgot to announce that we have a new Medical Person aboard - she comes from Windhoek and her advice and her medications so far have been excellent. Something other than an Irish accent at the Consultation for a change. I have a drop of her elixir to hand as I write and I've just demolished a bacon buttie. Life is good.

More unoriginal silliness inspired by Brian Greene - as we seem to be (to the universe and our surroundings) relatively low entropy clumpy collections of hydrogen atoms with interstellar distances between them on a quantum scale - what is a thought? What's it made of? What is the nature of consciousness? How is it that the clumpy collection that prods this keyboard can create and process and transmit to you lot the concept of a superciliously superior albatross laughing at out dopey inadequacies as it soars and glides around us? And why and how would I ascribe supercilious superiority to an albatross anyway? There must be a lot of people out there working on the answers.

What an interesting bit of spacetime this is. And in a few billion years, physicists think it will be gone, not a wrack left behind, just hydrogen atoms. Eventually - perhaps - just a cold and dark void with about 5 hydrogen atoms to the cubic metre. Rather fewer than the magic 42 in HGTTG. Enjoy it while you can and help others to do the same!

Antarctic Prions in full flit - small,lovely, graceful birds, grey/blue feathers on top, white undersides, wonderfully aerobatic - I have a photo of one half way through an Immelmann. White chinned Petrels in and out of the mizzle - wet, clank and dammy but good breeze taking us SE. Another brief glimpse of the big black bird that looks and acts like an albatross. I think parts of the belly are white. It doesn't hang around - one fly past and it's gone for the day.