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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Senility strikes

I have just re-sent a block of five blogs which I had mistakenly sent to the old blog address and I think they may have arrived in reverse order - they should make more sense if read as follows
1.Comfort in adversity
2.Examinatorial Uglies
3.Delayed Con
4.This 'n that
5.Trying to outguess the examiner

I will try to keep my mind on the job in future. Now where did I put my woolly hat with the pompom? And my coffee? On my head you say? The coffee?

Phil W - AIS box is ICOM MXA 5000 receiver only, feeding into Software on Board ( in the laptop. We are changing the much travelled Kiwiprop for a new and slightly bigger one to go with new engine (Kiwi want the old one for analysis and display and they have generously subsidised the new one).

Lorraine - good to hear from you - glad you are enjoying this bit of fluffery.

Fenwick, not sure whether it's alcoholic stupor or senility in your case. 12 bottles of scotch?

Sue, sorry no pic of Pinkakerg in Kerg - all too busy avoiding kelp and P had face to the wall anyway - doesn't like the killer whales the troops saw in the bay as we were leaving.

MJC - don't know about the rats but I expect they all jumped off various ships - I can find out if you really want to know.

Tryig to outguess the Examiner

Sent the last 4 to wrong blog address - tks steve - resending with this one

Position 0630 31s,t 4811 07741, trip 116, DMG 97. I seem to remember that we had it much easier last time. Poo!

Still a bit busy out here - both into full TPS dry suit party gear to gybe the pole and optimise our course along the leading edge of the next front to try to ride it as far north as possible before the wind goes east. Just hoping the low doesn't intensify until we get into the front of it rather than the bottom.

more later

This 'n that

The lull between the uglies. I've just got into full party gear - after sponging the grot from the bilges - and poled out the headsail (no main in this drop of the turbs). There's a 30 kt easterly - at 48 south, an easterly! what's the world coming to? - due tomorrow but it looks like a fairly narrow band on the grib so we are trying to use the remains of the last nasty to get us as far north as possible, way into the easterly band and if possible through it. We will have to see what happens but that's the plan. Will be very interesting to compare the gribs with our track iff we get to Hoibart. bHeadbanging into 30 kts in these seas is not good karma, so we might just heave to and let it blow through. 24 hours lost, in that case.

Macca seemed to go better this time. Now that we have sorted how the programme works, it's easier to prepare. Hope it was worth the early rise.

There seems to be a bit of anxiety as to who is getting a Kergy envelope. If you asked for one, you will get one - but it's not instant gratification as I've said before, they will leave Kerguelen on RV Marion Dufresne at the end of March and reach Reunion in April. After that, it's regular snailmail. To all of you who have contributed to the iridium tin, many thanks.

On Iridium, we are in the only bit of the world that I know of that is out of range of a Sailmail station. We are roughly mid way between Maputo in Africa and Firefly in New South Wales and I haven't been able to connect to either since before Kerguelen. Firefly is just showing on the propagation screen and will slowly come into range but it's been exclusively iridium for quite a long time.

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Delayed Con

Position 0630 30th Day 2 from Kerguelen. 4847 07504 trip 103 DMG 70 - slowed us down a bit, that little nasty. Temperature inside 9 deg, outside a lot colder.

Less that 48 hours out - great start followed by inquisatorial bashing with what looks like another to follow. I hope the seas have timer to subside a bit - it's still blowing ephelaunts off chains but the barometer is rising fast. Big waves - it's always when things seem to be dying down that it's dangerous. Heading NE or where the wind takes us but basically north seems the go for an easy life.

Consultative process seriously discombobulated by excess business with the Examiner. I have just managed lunch - imagine, old fart in red and blue neoprene dry suit, strapped into wildly gyrating galley, wild waves cderashinjg against the windoew (as you can see, also with gloves on)inches from face, marrying a tin of smoked oysters, a slice3 of french loaF AND some mayo and getting the lot into the interior tubing - ever4y6t5hing moves with the boat, but in opposite directions tricky.

Now I'll see whether I can get iridium connected to send this. Then I shall Consult.

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Examinatorial uglies

This one's a real doozy. Not especially severe, 40-50 kts, but very nasty sea and sleet driving horizontally across the boat. The wind lifting the breaking crests and mixing them with the sleet. Wonderful colours if you can find the chutzpah to appreciate them - glassy green sea, glorious translucent iridescent green under the breaking crests where the light from the sky gets through (yep, we're looking up at most of them!), the crests themselves densely frothy with a greenish tint surging towards us and leaving acres of white feathery water behind them. Crashing blast of white beating thudding water as one occasionally breaks over the boat. Trickling flushing gurgle as it drains down every little gully above us. The usual wind streaks on the surface whenever it is smooth enough to see them. No fun out in the cockpit, where I've just been with the video cam. Small signs that it's dissipating - a bit of light through the soggy grey felt overcast, occasional lulls in the howl. The Examiner is clearly punishing us for our temerity in coming this far south and visiting Kerguelen - she's got another one of these lined up behind this one, again to the north of us so we get the adverse and nasty bit at the bottom. Le bum of ze cochon - we are supposed to be in westerlies here.

It's been so busy and beastly that I haven't yet written personal thank yous to the Kergulen mob. It will happen.

Possible Macca session this evening our time - we'll do out best to describe it all but it's hard sustaining that sort of rather one sided conversation. Love yez all - enjoy your lattes in Sydney and your bacon and eggs in Blighty. Margaritas in Texas and scotch in Lake Placid. Coopers in Nome. We might just have a taste of the Talisker if this little troll ever rolls away. Could be soon - the barometer just clicked up two hectothingys and there's a hint of blue in the overcast. But still blowing 44 knots.

Yickapooo! Sunlight - through a glass starkly but it's there! Big wave just broke over us but it's still there, even reflecting off the stanchion I can see through the window.

SJ, do you still you have the software to download tracks from the old Foretrex 201? Little green dinosaur.

Nereida Jeanne - great news! Good to hear.

Comfort in adversity

You awake Alex?...Yep! Bloody don't want to be but I am. I'm warm - to the ends of my toes warm in my toasty minus 20 arctic bag which I keep unzipped from the knees up so that I don't get stuck in it if we roll. I can hear the howl of the wind, the slat of the rain on the coachroof, feel the motion, a nasty corkscrew and I know beyond any denial, any rationalisation that I really really don't want to get up. So I fumble for my clogs to keep my socks dry and contort myself to reach up for the handrail at fingertip height above my head and swing my legs over the bar holding the leecloth. Lurch and stagger as Berri cops a wave. Pete tells me the story of his watch as I hang on with one hand and put all the warm stuff away and shiver into the cold damp fleecy overall and thermal tops that go with wet weather gear and into the pants and then the jacket. For convenience and warmth, I'm using my Canadian flote coat - the jacket is almost runny wet inside - it leaks and, I suspect, was never meant for this stuff. Yeeark - my hands shrivel as they slide down the slimy tubes of the sleeves but it all warms up quite quickly - just damply uncomfortable. And balaclava, headlamp and out into the howling roar that is the cockpit. Cold, driving rain, wind chill savage, quick assessment and ease the sheet till the heady just starts to flog and haul in with all my strength on the furling line to get the thing to about half its already small size. Make it all fast again, the rain by now running down my face and into my collar. Back inside, jacket off, kettle on, hot sweet cuppa with Kerguelen bread and honey and go through it all again to tack (actually wear) the boat to get the wind on the other side as it goes from east to south to south west. Grey, not black out there, the moonlight just getting through. It's only 35 knots but it's an awful sea and you have to be here to appreciate the beauty of it all.

We are just sitting it out, as comfortably as possible. No need to try to go anywhere, just keep the boat as unstressed as we can and wait. Remember Abe Lincoln - "And all this shall pass away..." I hope in about six hours.

3 hours later and definitely not yet - barometer 985 wind steady 35 gusting 40, almost freezing rain, sea building. Bleah!