For Berrimilla's first circumnavigation, the International Space Station
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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Aggro in extremis

Will no one rid me of this troublesome Examiner? Salted porridge for a week in a coal mine? Wrap around sound Vogon poetry and throw away the key to the loo? Anything to get her out of circulation for a few days. We are Old and Farty and this sort of aggravation is superfluous. OTT. Past its use by date.

We've been in the poo more or less since we left the Iron Pot - nothing unusual really for around here. At the mo. we are hove to in 30 - 50 kt NW - soapy green/blue milky water, froth everywhere being blown horizontally (the froth) with terminal force into the eyes, codpiece or whatever gets in the way. Position where we set it up, for the record 4200 14824 and we are fore reaching SE at about 1.8 kts. For the nautically challenged, heaving to is setting the boat up so that it is stopped and beam-on to the wind and waves and basically having a rest. Some boats sail forwards a bit when hove to and this is called fore reaching. This s a Good Idea as long as the waves are not too big and definitely not breaking. If either, then it's often better to sail the boat so as to minimise as far as possible the effects of the conditions. We will stay hereish until this nonsense abates, probably in about 12 hours. Absolutely no point in headbanging into it - better to preserve the boat, Consult with proper seriousness with the Doctor from Cork and get some sleep. Which (both) will be nice.

Malcom has corrected one of my earlier blogs in which I lamented the lack of Aboriginal place names. Tribaunna, the name of a fishing village not far from here is an Aboriginal name for a small bird. As is Berrimilla. and I've been to Triabunna so I should have remembered.

Carla - well done and to Rocket too. Was Lerizhan aboard? See above re enjoyment!

A rather scruffy albatross with a grey face.

More later.

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Creeping up the coast - 60 miles to St Helen's

One for Gordy and the Falmouth gang - next time you are on google earth, go to 42d 20.043 S 148d 19.854 E. It's between Cape Sonnerat and Cape Baudin on Schouten Island. Just sailed past it and took a photo which I'll post on the blog if the Examiner ever gets out of our faces and lets us get north to Sydney.

Ferals - there we were, once again under the Examiner's whip, all sorts of nastiness happening, ethereal albatrosses in the dusk, Stygianlike murkitude, NEaster blasting in, Turneresque cloud up near the Hippolytes yesterday evening. I look up and see big buzzy insect - no real feel for size or geometry but perhaps an inch at least in bodylength, flapping busily 2 miles out to sea. Must have done the full circle of the low pressure system or somehow got carried out to sea much earlier and getting a ride more or less towards Tasman Island. Hope it made it - otherwise a long cold flight to nowhere.

Dolphins - hundreds of them - some big and slow moving, a slow rolling glide, others frisky tails lapping and jumping all around Berri. I often wonder f they are really playing or just carrying on trying to say - Go Away, this is MY bit of ocean.

Coastlines - seen a few in the last umpteen thousand miles and Tasmania is up there with absolutely the most spectacular. Sir John Franklin, ex Governor of Tasmania, not long before he died up in the NW Passage in about 1850, named some islands in Peel Sound the Tasmanian Islands. Immediately obvious why when you see them - a poignant link to the mind of a ghost we were conscious of all the time up there.

If anyone's interested, we were interviewed on the ABC at 0635 this morning, 9th March. [Berri ground control note: the podcast will be here once it is uploaded. Likely overnight]

After the bashing

Position 0715 9th March 4230 14825, trip 97, DMG 93. A bit later than usual after being on the electric wireless breakfast radio thingy. Just - only just squeakily - in mobile range and got a text saying 'Anarchy Rules' so someone was listening. Tks J & S

Getting around Tasman Island in a north easter is about as bad as it gets and we had a rugged few hours headbanging wind, swell and rain and avoiding some serious rocks called the Hippolytes. The names down here reflect the European history of the place - Hobart, Gellibrand, Raoul, Tasman, Fortescue, Forestier, Maria, Schouten, Freycinet - Dutch, English and French but, sadly, as far as I can see on the chart, no reminders of the original owners.

The wind has backed to the west during a lovely dawn and as the sun rose, the cliffs on Schouten Island turned from grey gloom to gentle pink and now their normal rocky beige. We are due for a south westerly gale later today - should help us home just a bit!

Bacon sando and Dr Cooper's recommended emollient just demolished for breakfast. Noice, after dry biscuits...

Matt - Ames just an idea at this stage. I'll keep you posted.