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

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Hard grey sea, gently spiky, Berri tramping along - uniform, slightly ribbed overcast, cloudbase about 1000ft, emptiness all the way to the horizon - no birds, no sea monsters, no swimming polar bears or silly old farts with tridents. Unusual and starkly lonely - a reminder of just how isolated we really are. ISS crew definitely closest humans out here at about 340km.

Half way through Steinbeck's 'Grapes of Wrath' which we picked up in the flea market in Cape Town. What a book! I was given 'Cannery Row' as a kid and found it heavy going and never came back to Steinbeck. Wonderful to find something so vivid, so densely packed with immediate images, lyrically beautiful descriptions and passages that are mesmerisingly similar to things I have tried to write about here with presumptuous ineptitude. Al 'feeling' the old car, the way he describes Ma, the Preacher's uncertainty - searing clarity, impossible to avoid being there with them. I'm hooked and cross eyed with the power of it.

He uses a word - at least twice - that I don't think I have ever seen before: anlage. The context might give it a meaning such as equipment, infrastructure, the toolkit? Or possibly more like competence or ability.

Bill W - thanks! - address in original request.
MJC - is Adventure Bay the same place as Recherche Bay? I have a feeling Baudin might have named it.

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Thank yous

Position 0630 6th 4448 08612, trip 124, DMG 127. Noice! And about time! The odometer from Falmouth now reads 11699 miles sailed.

Some serious thank yous due. First, my Iridium banker, (my sister Isabella in the UK) says that she has banked about 500 pounds in the Iridium tin so far - Massive thanks to all of you who contributed - I don't have any idea what the eventual bill will be but that will certainly make a dent in it. For the curious, I have to pay the account in sterling with a direct debit to a sterling credit card because I set it up with Cable and Wireless in Port Stanley in 2005 and that was one of the conditions under which they were prepared to let me out of their sight clutching new phone and SIM card.

Second - to Kiwi Feather Props in NZ. The new prop has arrived in Hobart, specified for the new engine. I mentioned that Kiwi had 'subsidised' the new one in an earlier blog but in fact they have donated it in return for the old, much travelled one which is to be examined and then become a museum piece in the factory. Great people, responsive, competent and know their product. And it's an elegant, relatively simple and inexpensive bit of gear that has performed faultlessly over almost 2 circumnavigations and a whole lot more. Thanks guys.

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Fous de la Mer

I have just found an interesting blog / website having conducted a regular Berrimilla internet trawl.
There are some images, and some text - in French. It must belong to the Kerguelen Renaud that Alex refers to. If you go to Renaud's 2009 archive there are many images which add to some of Alex's updates from the islands.
Renaud, if you are reading this - bonjour et merci. I very much like the description "fous de la mer." I think the English equivalent translates to something like "sea-lunatics" but I think the French has more style.

Posted by Iz in the UK