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Monday, February 1, 2010

where in the world is...

The penultimate leg... Kurguelen through to Hobart. They are a long way south!

... but perhaps not that far south. This one shows the Rhumb Line, or Great Circle route, from Cape Town to Hobart. As you can see, the shortest way is not always the best. They are staying well north, both to catch the more favourable weather, and to stay a trifle warmer. Cape Town middle left, Hobart lower right, Antarctica that big white bit at the bottom.

too early to say but...

I may have found the Iridium problem. To use the phone to talk to sailmail, you need to buy what is called the data kit - a fitting that clips on to the end of the phone and has a PCB inside it and an RS232 to USB cable to connect it to the computer. Intermittent problems are often just loose connections so - sure enough - the RS232 connector on the cable was loose and I applied some gentle screwdriver and held my breath for a test connection and it connected...If this one goes too I think I'm winning.

Grib shows low to NW tossing 35 knots from the NW at us tonight and dissipating and moving south tomoz. With a bit of luck we'll be far enough up its ugly face to pass through it before the sea has time to rise to the vicious. Cross 'em please

And talking of ugly faces - the massive igneous extrusion on the south side of Baie de L'Oiseau had the Mt Rushmore face in it - I described it as lizardlike, I seem to remember. Nah! It's Slarty, leaving us his self portrait for posterity and poncing it up like he's the Greatest. Which, of course, he is! On second thoughts, it may be one of his pupils with a sense of humour.

Hey Carla! G'day!

Ok - let's see whether this works...


V. quickie - might not go through - I'm losing Iridium - intermittent com port problem - port disconnects during initial handshake - getting worse, don't know why. So if no comms for a week, don't stress - Firefly should be in range soon. Will try with backup computer and phone if this one really karks.


Location is everything

Position 0630 1st Feb, 4642 07909, trip 109, DMG 41 - just trying to get north but it all helps - a little game of chess with the Examiner. I'll get another grib when I send this and we'll see perhaps what's in the bucket.

Middle watch, 0200UTC As always, it's the waiting that gets to corrode the gut, this time subtly assisted by the cold, clammy, misty dim grey daylight outside as we wallow along in the last dregs of the previous system. For those who know, just like a claggy winter's day in England's industrial midlands but without the smoky smell. There's a front approaching slowly from the west with a tight little low forming to the north west. The low looks as if it could intensify into something way out past the 10 on the McQ Viciousness scale, but there isn't enough detail on our gribs yet to know much more than that it's out there. Meantime, the anticipation born of experience brews acid where honey would be noicer. So we wait. The plan is, as before, to get as far north as possible in these dreggy fillips of breeze, perhaps burn a bit of diesel if it really drops out and hope that we can get across the face of the low into the northerly stream and out of the 30+ knot easterly which is due down here. We shall overcome.

0630 - unusual sea - calm surface except for small ripples, almost no wind so the swell is obvious. Silver grey sky, reflecting from the surface so very difficult to judge swell height because it all looks flat - but it isn't. Probably about 5 metres, coming in from the west.

We cracked the 11000 mile mark on the GPS odometer a couple of days ago, so there's a Talisker due but we have decided to postpone it until we have got past aforesaid Examinatorial discombobulation. Now at 11226, with 2828 to Maatsuuyker.

Phil W again - the ICOM AIS box has its own separate VHF aerial - works much better than a splitter. Disadvantage is that the aerial is on the pushpit, so range is limited to about 25 miles. Usually enough - in the English Channel, it clogged the screen every couple of minutes.

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