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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Yet another quickie

Position 0630 10th 4036 04501 trip 106, DMG 105 Yay - another ton at last. I think we might be finally clear of Africa. It's been a bleak and very uncomfortable few days and still is but we are moving again.

SW - welcome back!

Malcom, yep! The Nik is a D70s digital SLR with a long lens but it's no way waterproof or salt proof so I can only really get it out of its wrapper when the sun is shining. Then it's fantastic. The vid is a Sanyo Xacti waterproof digital and works fine - except that I can't tell what I'm filming most of the time when outside in daylight - either reflection or not enough backlight in the viewfinder screen.

Sue, fingers crossed for you - no need for further wx updates thanks - enjoy the trip!

All seems very quite out there. Fingers too cold to prod keyboards in England perhaps and all down at the beach or the pub in Oz.

The Slough of Despond?

The middle watch, from midnight to 0300 in Berrimilla. That time when, for most humans, the circadian rhythms are expecting to be restoring a sleeping body. That time when, for one who is awake, doubts, uncertainty, foreboding, dread, guilt - all those corrosive and negative feelings and emotions boil and fester at the edge of consciousness. That time of loneliness and exposure when the neurons are most finely tuned to the unusual - and prepared to interpret the worst from it. That time when the moaning howl of the wind in the rig coalesces with the knowledge that it's cold, wet and raining outside and the mind flinches and tries to hide. That time when the magnitude of the task ahead seems too big to manage, too unending, too frighteningly loaded against our weary decrepitude.

The wind in the rig this watch is a low, tuneful moaning hum - reminds me occasionally of bits of the humming chorus from Nabucco. It's a steady 25-30 knots, way ahead of the grib prediction and my middle watch conditioned mind thinks it's seriously unfair. We've just had a couple of big waves, knockdown size, break over us. They come in threes usually - trains of waves with much more attitude, more bite that the rest. Mostly too, when you think the time has past and things are on the improve. Scary and you can never relax.

The sea state is the result of conditions to the south - big rolling swells with confused wind waves on top, some pointy and breaking as they are affected by the local wind. Berri rolling wildly - difficult to make, let alone drink a cuppa and dunk the restorative McVities. You know you are alive and you wonder, perhaps, why you have chosen to realise it just this way. And we've got about 48 days to go, more if we go via Kerguelen. Here, it's dawn - we are 3 hours ahead of Greenwich. The sea is grey and roiling white and the wind is blowing spray from the tops of breaking waves.

Pete gently snoring.

of mice and men

At this rate, we are about 9 days from Kerguelen which equates to about 3 major changes in the weather system. There's no stability in it - the wind goes from north to south via west on a daily basis with little localised nasties arriving unannounced by the grib. Tricky. The plan: we will work our way SE to 45 S - about the same latitude as Tasman Island and with broadly similar conditions and have a look over our shoulders to see what's coming and make a decision to continue or bale out. Kerguelen starts at 48 south. It's all manageable but we do need to be careful. Would be a huge shame to go past but the boat comes before tourism!

It's been a slow day. rolling and pirouetting violently - water warm again and blue - what's happening? We crossed 40 S this afternoon - the Roaring Forties.

I've just started to read, for the severalth time, Gerald Durrell's 'My Family and Other Animals'- lovely book that works for me but perhaps not for everyone. His opening quotation from 'As You Like It':

It is a melancholy of mine own, compounded
of many simples, extracted from many objects,
and indeed the sundry contemplation of my
travels, which, by often rumination wraps
me in a most humorous sadness.


The tatty old albatross is still with us. Caught up with it earlier sitting on the water working at a big semi submerged plastic bag and not having much luck. It lumbered into the air and quite by luck I got it on video. Couldn't see the screen and no idea where the thing was pointing. But probably out of focus. They look so dumpy on the water and almost lopsided with their huge beaks and much smaller than in their soaring magnificence.

Thinking about some kind of gunsight viewfinder for the video cam. Screen absolutely useless in daylight - do the people who design these things ever actually use them?

Carol G - remind me - I've got a little artifact from B1 for your collection.

Southern Royal Albatross

The Southern Royal Albatross, Diomedea epomophora, has an average wingspan of an amazing 3 m (9.8 ft). This image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons and photographer Mila Zinkova. Posted by I & G in the snowbound UK.