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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Here comes the Examiner

Progress again, 5+kts SE, now at 3855 03103. There's a big front with attitude due late this evening and we're putting stuff away and tying things down. Looks like more 50+ knot squalls and will be an interesting test of how it might feel further south towards Kerguelen. The water here is deeper and the current more favourable so, fingers and all appendages crossed, it ought to be a bit less savage that the last big one.
We'll keep you posted.

Latest Position

Posted by I & G in the UK.

Backwards to christmas

Position 0630 3rd 3843 03037 trip 52 DMG 45 - another day of going sideways. We shall overcome!

I spent an hour hand steering under wonderful clear moonlit sky last night - boat heading 210, speed 1.5ish kts through the water, course over the ground 010 @ 1.1 kts. Better to be going backwards at 1 knot that 2! Us daggy old australians from Sydney don't expect that sort of thing. No surprise to a Pom or anyone from a tidal area. Or, I suppose, those of us who sail boats back from Hobart after the race.

Much fixing of fiddly stuff in the calms - frinstance Pete has dismantled the sink, swapped taps, waterproofed joints and will resika the sink shortly. We've always had wet feet when standing next to it - salt water pump has always leaked. Cheap and nasty temporary fix from Dunedin after roll that became semi permanent because too low on the list.

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Still stuck in Africa

More ferals - there are a couple of Prions displaying around us - small shining white greyish speckled and gracefully acrobatic. And a glimpse of a Storm Petrel, small one. In case anyone is interested in seeing what I'm seeing, the book I'm using to try to put names on them all is Onley, Derek and Paul Scofield, Albatrosses, Petrels and Shearwaters of the World, Princeton Field Guides, Princeton U.P., Princeton, N.J., 2007 sent to me by Carla via Amazon - thanks C! Wonderful book.

Sue - just checking that all those wind speeds are kmh not knots. If so, manageable. Have chart will travel. If we can anchor in Baie de l'Oiseau, which Cook named Christmas Harbour, and follow in the wake of Ross and Crozier and all the the rest, my year will be made. They all had to warp up the bay - square riggers don't point - but we might even sail in. Does ambition have no fetters?

Becalmed at nearly 40 S - not expected! Still in the clutches of the current and going north at 2.5 knots. Frustratious but a glorious night.

Postscript on Les

Pete has the signed copy of Les Powles' book at home and says that he built his boat himself. It was certainly rugged and even more agricultural than Berri. No sponsors, no packdrill. He also heard that Les did set off for Australia after we met him and got into trouble in the Bay of Biscay. He was eventually found and guided into harbour somewhere and wrote a heartfelt letter to one of the yachting mags apologising for putting so many people to so much trouble and admitting that perhaps he was getting too old for that kind of thing. He must be in his eighties. Sad to hear, but Onya Les! Respect from those who understand.

Trivia: Ferals - great excitement amongst the Boot colonies, now evolved through many generations both in the boat and in Jeremy's shed where they would certainly have added new genetic material - there were signs the other day that socks and boots were to be deployed but cries of disappointment when the TPS gear came out (Thermal Protection Survival, Carol. google Guy Cotten) but what they don't know is that the TPS suits will rapidly develop interesting colonies of their own - even more humid and hothouse.

Albatrosses - we were visited by our first big one, a Southern Royal and there have been several Yellow Noses hanging around. Also lots of dark petrels - I think White Chinned, Kerguelen and Soft Plumage but not easy to differentiate. Jill, they park on the water - even the Albatrosses - and talk amongst themselves and then catch us up or just do their own thing - they tend to ignore ships but I think some of them are used to fishing boats and a free feed so they hang around us.

Things that work: M&Ms and the South African version of a Mars bar, called Bar One, in very similar wrapper but has more toffee and less creamy stuff. Still a massive sugar hit. Feeling smugly nauseous.

Anne and Jim, Juddy, Jeremy and Adrie, Fiona, Gerry & Donna, the RANSA mob, Paul & Pauline, the Chain Locker crew, Jeanne and Nereida, HNY all y'all and thanks for your good wishes.

Back in wallow mode but should not last - I think we'll pottle down to 40S soonish and work the systems as much as Berri's geriatric pace will allow. Kergers, here we come.