For Berrimilla's first circumnavigation, the International Space Station
and the North West Passage, go to

Friday, January 29, 2010


Massive thank you to all our friends in Port aux Francais - for tolerating our awful French, for your much better English, for telling us about all the fascinating science that's going on there, for the trip of a lifetime around the Baie in L'Aventure in wonderful company and for generally enriching the lives of a couple of dozy old farts who blew in for a shower and a glass of milk to drop their false teeth into. Special thanks to Nathalie Deschamps for being such a cool Chef du District and to Renaud Huez who took us in hand and looked after us so well, and to Frank for the trip around the Baie. And to the cuisiniers, for all the goodies - we have bread, cheese, fruit, cold chook, coffee, sugar and an industrial chunk of chocolate It's about a foot square and three inches deep with nuts - yay! - and we only got half the bar. When I was a kid at boarding school, we used to get chocolate in lumps that had been hacked off a huge block too - takes yer back a bit!

I discovered why the scientists at least have better English than our French. One of our friends was studying for an exam next week and he had Feynman's lectures open on his desk - in English. It seems most academic textbooks that are written in English are too expensive to translate.

Could not have dreamed of a better start. Apart from a little contretemps with a big patch of kelp which took a fancy to Kevvo, no problem getting out. I borrowed an idea from Cook, who climbed Endeavour Hill in Cooktown to try to see a way through the Barrier Reef after they had careened and repaired Endeavour. I climbed the hill at Port aux Francais and found a gap in the kelp that gave us a shorter sail out of the bay and lined up a transit and off we went. And it worked.

Lovely night, poled out, 2 reefs, hooning under a three quarter moon, 20 kts from the west - rolling a bit - some signs of Examinatorial perturbation to the north west but the grib says - well, it does - that all should be reasonably cool and froody for the next couple of days. I shall only believe that in hindsight...and there is a nasty low forming in the NW in that couple of days. We'll see.

Poitrel Jack, if you are reading this, you need at least a 2 inch drain in each corner of the cockpit. Heavy duty flex hose to through-hull valves with venturis on the the outside to stop water flowing into the cockpit. Much more efficient than bungs. Happy to talk when we get back. Good luck!