FROM 1-31. Sooo close to Hobart

Dec 04, 2005 – 2300hrs UTC

2300hrs 04 Dec 2005 UTC 44’52”S 125’04”E Ref 620

Seems we are some kind of news in the backblocks of the USA – hoooley doooley – G’day to you, USA, and I wonder what all y’all over there make of concepts like the great Australian freckle pucker in times of stress – we’ve been asked what ‘chuffed’ means (it means really pleased and proud over here; quite different over there – more along the lines of disgruntled or discombobulated, we’re told….). Nice to have you out there anyway. Camilla (if that’s your name, not your home town – sorry but my geographical knowledge doesn’t quite stretch that far) thanks for signing on – glad you’re enjoying the ride, and 70 seems a good time to start out on these things!

We’re now surrounded by birds again – mostly the same small grey petrels that have been with us all the way from Tristan plus a few of the big black ones and – lovely to behold – lots of the little storm petrels – tiny birds to be way out here – they seem to flop, flollop, twist and turn just above the surface in the most extreme winds we have experienced – they are able to twist their tails through about 90 degrees to achieve top rudder and they touch the surface occasionally with one foot or the other, very delicately. Fascinating – I sit out there and watch them with frozen hands and dripping nose out of sheer joy. They are mostly black on top but with a white V ahead of the tail, all black tail feathers, black heads and beaks with black under the wings and white bellies.

Ian in Oban, I think you will get slime no matter what you use. We have a couple of coats of self ablating Devoe (old name, now called something else)and it keeps the ferals off  for a full year as long as you don’t touch it – for instance, to get rid of the slime which forms after a few months. Usually more on one side than the other – I haven’t done enough observations to decide whether it is on the side that gets most or least sun. As soon as you try to wipe off the slime, you lose almost the entire coating and that’s it for the rest of the year. The barnacles jump on for the ride wherever the hull is awash for most of the time while under way, so above the boot topping under the counter all the way back to the transom and just above the boot topping around the hull. I’ve been leaning over and cutting them off wherever I can reach them with a knife – including, at last, a big one that was parked at the top of Kevvo’s paddle all the way out from Falmouth to about ten days ago.

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