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

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Poste restante

I have been reminded of the makeshift custom of the days of long voyages where the ships left letters for home in some sheltered spot at a point where outward and return tracks crossed and ships stopped for water. There were stones at Cape Town before the Dutch built a permanent settlement there under which letters were 'posted' by outgoing ships to be picked up and taken back to Europe by those going home. Likewise on Juan Fernandez, temporary home of Alexander Selkirk, Robinson Crusoe to his fans. No doubt there were many others possibly even in Tasmania. Haphazard - I wonder whether there are still letters out there in some isolated spot, waiting to be collected. Perhaps there's a small research article there somewhere for a history project. Anyway, seems to me we are repeating history. The good ship Berrimilla has left letters under a figurative stone - Renaud's mailbox on Kerguelen - waiting for a passing ship to deliver them to all y'all around the world. I'd have loved to have landed at Baie de L'Oiseau and left a message in a bottle there too but, alas, it was not possible. We had one ready.

On which thought, if we were to release one here, it would probably end up in Chile if it didn't get snagged by MacQuarie or the Campbells. Might be fun to do.

2 birds in the emptiness. Very hard to identify - under grey overcast, upper wing markings merge into uniform grey. Jizz combined with location does not match anything I can find in the book - nearest might be Barau's petrel.

The weather systems seem to have turned right side up at last - we are now happily chugging along in the top of a low, poled out in a nice 20 kt westerly which looks good for a day or so. Yeeebloodyhaaaa! Less than a quarter of the globe to go to complete the second circ. Technically, this would happen at the Iron Pot at the mouth of the Derwent or a bit further north in the Derwent if we take the D'Entrecasteaux Channel and would include our roll off Gabo Island in 2007, but the more elegant version would end at South Head if we get to enter Sydney Harbour.

If we do manage either of these, there is an interesting list of achievements to go with them - none of any consequence but each with its own integrity and all by accident really. None were intended anyway. I'll post the list if we look like getting there.