FROM 1-13. Across the Equator

Apr 30, 2005 - 2300hrs UTC

2300hrs 30 Apr 2005 UTC Map Ref 193

Just hangin’ in out here – the wind keeps threatening to drop out but we live in hope. We are just into day 36 from Stanley – half our predicted 70 days – and we’re about 200 miles short of straight line half way which is just south of 2 degrees south.

So approximately 2 days behind schedule. Not bad, considering the setbacks earlier. I’m still going for June 4 for Falmouth.

David, we will be about a day late at the equator if the wind hangs in, but we’ll have a Consultation on the day in your honour anyway.

Thanks to everyone who has filled in the Gust book – it’s a whole lot more personal for us if we can put some faces to all the people who must be out there sharing this with us and adding to the hit count. A couple of nice surprises already. Tory, course you can email us – I do remember. Please report on HGTTG movie.

Wildlife: First flying fish – Pete had it for lunch – I don’t like them much – too oily. Occasional seabirds, but they dont hang around. The hawk like feller that was around a week or so keeps coming to visit, has a look and goes away. And a couple more of those big Portuguese Men o’ War – updated description: these ones have their whole sail inflated, they seem from 5 meters or so away to have a blueish veined pattern on the clear part of the membrane and they have a curved row of pink comma shaped flecks half way up each side. The colour is perhaps more salmony pink with a touch of mauve. Delicate, lethal beauty. Never more than one and many miles apart. And Pete was frolicced by a pod of dolphins this afternoon.

Busy day – big container ship passed about a mile away going south and, for the first time since we left Sydney, I saw an aircraft this evening, very high, flying north on a line between Rio and Europe. There are other humans out here!

Otherwise, rather boring – but we are really putting in the miles – such a good feeling after our snailing along for weeks. Full main and #1, beam reach, somewhere between 18 & 25 knots giving us 6.5 to 7. Occasional rain showers pass us by, nothing fierce, and a reasonable sea. Our makeshift Dorade ventilator system is working and it’s bearable again – still very hot especially in the middle of the day. Great Bear climbing the northern sky. A few potatoes left, and an onion from the Falklands, Hobart and Falklands bacon finished, still have a couple of dozen eggs, but in this heat, they may not be coping too well. And we’re rationing Consultative medications – tonight’s G & T was sublime.

Good luck with the 2 hander, Malcolm. We’ve been thinking about the assy (assymetric spinnaker) but don’t really need it – we now have to cross the equator and go back on the wind in the NE trades which seem to be more NNE – they should take us well to the west of the Azores in a couple of thousand miles, I hope safely into the back of the Azores high with a wind all the way to Falmouth. But thats weeks away.

Another stunning night – just a bit hazy – no moon till early morning.

[ed: The following was sent half an hour after the previous one so I combined them]

I’m losing the plot – this one should have been part of the last one.

Thoughts on doing a book – most of your comments seem to favour the idea – except one, with which I tend to agree. The sheer volume of stuff and the variety of media would require an enormous quantity of work and specialised skills to get it together and it would be prohibitively expensive. Frinstance, we’re up to sailmail no 1722 that I have generated since we left Sydney, and the inbox has 662 messages. That’s without Pete’s daily journal or any of the other material. Volunteers to put it together? I can actually see how it could be combined into a big format book with most of the stuff in it, but it would be huge. Would need a ruthless editor and would almost certainly end up too expensive for your average punter.

Colin B – I think Titan Uranus would be exactly the right motto for the masthead of The BOG Paper. Interesting problem for the Royal College of Heralds – how do you put a Sphincter Couchant (Rampant? Clenche’?) Rouge into a coat of arms? Harrrumph!

We have a work-around for the ventilation problem – we’ll try it when daylight comes – basically stretching an awning acrsoo the big hatch at the correct angle – should work – had better work!

Hi Teena – look forward to the Rowers one day soon.

John C – thanks for Fitzgerald – I’ve actually seen a comparison of his 12 translations and its easy to wonder how he could start with the same text and come up with so many versions in English. Wonderful wordsmith though.

Doug & Estelle – thanks for Crozier stuff – I’d forgotten he was with Franklin – there’s an interesting book about the discovery of a couple of early graves from that expedition, with the corpses deep frozen and amazingly preserved, complete with autopsy incisions. They seem to have died of lead poisoning from the food cans which were sealed with lead.

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