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

Sunday, February 7, 2010

This and that again.

Position 0630 7th 4501 08857, trip 127, DMG 122 - still ok!

Birds again. Still don't know what the earlier ones were but we just had a short visit from a few Soft Plumaged petrels. Lovely birds, they come haring in towards the boat, rocking slightly in the wind, see me in the cockpit and with a couple of flips are banked instantly away while they look around and assess the situation and come back and do it all again. Fast, acrobatic, jerky flight.

Dropped the main, just half the heady on the pole - sea rising in the consistent westerly, but this due to abate slowly. Apparently some nasties due in a week or so, but things change so fast here that anything is possible. Beginning to yearn for home.

The plan - DV and WP - will be to get ourselves past Maatsuuyker and in range of SE Cape and then decide on Adventure Bay or Recherche for a small diversionary celebration. Should anyone want to join us, watch this space but we are definitely not there yet and a long way to go. About 20 days minimum.

Carol, thanks. No need for any more. And I think you should definitely have a go at Steinbeck.

MJC - Gotcha thanks. I think Baudin might have met Flinders in Recherche - they dined together somewhere and that may have been it.

Poste restante

I have been reminded of the makeshift custom of the days of long voyages where the ships left letters for home in some sheltered spot at a point where outward and return tracks crossed and ships stopped for water. There were stones at Cape Town before the Dutch built a permanent settlement there under which letters were 'posted' by outgoing ships to be picked up and taken back to Europe by those going home. Likewise on Juan Fernandez, temporary home of Alexander Selkirk, Robinson Crusoe to his fans. No doubt there were many others possibly even in Tasmania. Haphazard - I wonder whether there are still letters out there in some isolated spot, waiting to be collected. Perhaps there's a small research article there somewhere for a history project. Anyway, seems to me we are repeating history. The good ship Berrimilla has left letters under a figurative stone - Renaud's mailbox on Kerguelen - waiting for a passing ship to deliver them to all y'all around the world. I'd have loved to have landed at Baie de L'Oiseau and left a message in a bottle there too but, alas, it was not possible. We had one ready.

On which thought, if we were to release one here, it would probably end up in Chile if it didn't get snagged by MacQuarie or the Campbells. Might be fun to do.

2 birds in the emptiness. Very hard to identify - under grey overcast, upper wing markings merge into uniform grey. Jizz combined with location does not match anything I can find in the book - nearest might be Barau's petrel.

The weather systems seem to have turned right side up at last - we are now happily chugging along in the top of a low, poled out in a nice 20 kt westerly which looks good for a day or so. Yeeebloodyhaaaa! Less than a quarter of the globe to go to complete the second circ. Technically, this would happen at the Iron Pot at the mouth of the Derwent or a bit further north in the Derwent if we take the D'Entrecasteaux Channel and would include our roll off Gabo Island in 2007, but the more elegant version would end at South Head if we get to enter Sydney Harbour.

If we do manage either of these, there is an interesting list of achievements to go with them - none of any consequence but each with its own integrity and all by accident really. None were intended anyway. I'll post the list if we look like getting there.

The Consultation not Taken

Please excuse a small diversion from the voyage story: Alex has said it's OK to upload this.
Last year he gave me a plastic token he kept after visiting Cambridge Bay (Ikaluktutiak) while sailing the North West Passage in 2008. It's a token allowing the limited purchase of alcohol at a Club, or Lodge called ELKS. Let's leave aside the almost unimaginable concept that this "One Drink" was not claimed.
I am a long-time Friend of the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, and felt that this unusual - if humble - object might be of interest to the Museum, and so I wrote to them about it. The Joint Head of Collections replied that they would be delighted to accept the token as an addition to their collection of "coinage substitutes." The PRM, I should explain, is a world-class Museum and part of the University of Oxford. Objects are displayed by type rather than culture. It has long been an inspiration to writers and artists as well as to historians, explorers, anthropologists and archaeologists, both for the objects it displays as well as their often intriguing provenances.

Relevant links to this update:
Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford
Relevant pages on the old NWP blog
NB: this is the Berrisite that has been heavily spammed in its most recent pages. When you get to the page in my link you need to scroll down to the dates around 8th August. You'll see a title: Cambridge Bay, wherever google earth thinks it is. The update below that title is the nearest I can find to link the token to the NWP story.
Why alcohol abuse is a problem in Cambridge Bay:

Posted by Isabella, Alex's sister in the UK