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

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Of this and that

I'm in at San Francisco airport waiting to fly back to Oz. Evening. The San Mateo bridge lights away over the Bay to the south, the southern end of Silicon Valley stretched out in front of me in high metabolic glow. A free Con with some guy called Tanqueray and his rather dry mate from Canada. An indifferent substitute for Dr. Gordon.

I have been at NASA's Ames Research Centre rounding off the North West Passage gig. You may remember that it all started in a bar in Louisiana when Pscal Lee drew a map in my notebook and invited us to rendezvous at Beechey Island in the North West Passage and then visit the Haughton Mars Project. The original map is the first photo. I vscrupulously preserved a couple of bottles of home brewed Dr Coopers - one from Steve, one from Pete - to present to Pascal when next we met in a bar. Those bottles have now circumnavigated and have lived for a time with Keith in Virginia, then at McMoons (google it - gobsmacking stuff - Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project LOIRP)

Well, it would have beenthe first pic if I had it on this computer.

We didn't quite make it but got very close indeed. Then to England and, a Russian NE Passage beaurocratic tiddley pom having timed out, back to Oz via Cape Town and the Kerguelen Islands. Interesting. Lots of stuff in the interim but too long for this.

In the meantime, I had 7 commemorative tankards variously engraved - one each for the 6 people plus Berri who made it all possible - Speedy, may he rest in peace, Leroy Chiao, Pascal Lee, Berrimilla, Pat Hahn, Corrie McQueen and Kimbra Lindus, in no particular order. Each had the recipient's name on it on one side and Pascal's map on the other.

After all of which, it seemed to me that it was cool to complete the exercise by getting Pascal's map signed off by the man himself.

Scroll past the intervention of serendiity and here I am, at SFO, having been at NASA's Ames Research Centre for the last week.

It's been an awesome week. Leroy and Pascal flew in from the Kennedy Space Centre after the Shuttle launch. Pat Hahn came down fresh from the Iditarod (google it - he's a hard bastard) and , perhaps fittingly, in another bar, I was able to present Pascal with his tankard and the around the world Coopers. Which we felt it necessary to scientifically test.

So - we had four of the tankards together in the same room and science occurred. Astonishingly well preserved and froody considering the discombobulations it had experienced.

And a project to reunite all 7 tankards is in the spread sheet. We'll need Charley to represent Speedy and Devon Island seems to be the easiest venue. Watch this space. Not sure whether it's feasible to work Berri into that equation but we'll see.  A Plan is evolving.

So the photos.

As I never know how these will load, here's what I think you will see:
Post Iditarod ice at Nome
Pat with his pot
Leroy with his
Pascal, at last, getting his
3 of 4 together
Pascal testing Steve's brew.
The map signed off.

I have a photo of Pascal sign ing off the map but the SFO ferals made me check in my trundle bag, so next time perhaps.

And then there's the story of LOIRP...

and YBI.