FROM 1-5. Mid Pacific to Heading South

Feb 12, 2005 - 0054hrs UTC │45’35”S 143’15”W 3129nm

0054hrs 12 Feb 2005 UTC 45’35”S 143’15”W Map Ref 59 3129nm

Now past half way in all distance categories – Sydney and Hobart. Still about 1600 miles and a lot of water and time before we get to the Pacific high off the Chilean coast and can dive south to the Horn. I’m pulling in Playa Ancha Met Centre at Valparaiso Chile weather faxes now. We are still a few hundred miles off the edge of them but it’s interesting to follow the trends down at the Horn. Altos and Bassos instead of highs and lows – exciting.

Special request – would all of you that are using our sailmail address (… to email us direct please stop doing so immediately and use the website email facility instead. Really important. Every individual message requires a separate handshake between Berri’s HF radio and the sailmail computer at each end of the message. These handshakes often take several minutes and are completely wasted as far as our 10 minute station allocation goes. We are always critically close to our limit and I live for the next warning that says no more. We are currently limited to one communication per day each way with Steve plus our grib weather calls. Also, there is the real possibility of spam if our address is in your email address book and you get a virus so please delete it – if you don’t know how to do this, please find out – Steve might be able to advise, via an email to berri… Spam would close us down more or less instantly. Things should improve as we close the Chilean coast and if anyone is interested, I can leave the satphone turned on for an hour a day as well.

Batch 3 of the bread – this time with onion flakes – gets easier each time except for the corkscrew effect – and wearing latex gloves for the kneading bit makes it easier still. Takes about 2 hours for the loaves to cook on not quite dead low heat. Next time won’t open the lids for the full 2 hours: the one I opened a couple of times took about 15 minutes longer.

We have just changed the membrane in the watermaker – results so far seem promising, with no apparent trace of salt. Us’ll see. The system sometimes gets air in the line when the boat does a big roll and won’t always self prime – don’t know why, and very frustrating. So, some hints for plumbing the watermaker: make sure that the through-the-hull intake valve is far enough below the waterline so that it doesn’t get air in the line when the boat rolls (that’s much lower than you might think – I thought we were ok..)and, if you have a sensitive disposition and low tolerance to things effluential, might be a good idea to set it up so that said intake is not directly aft of the outlet plumbing for the head (loo). One generally needs something to do while the watermaker goes about its business and a contemplative going about one’s own seems to spring to mind every time. However, this may not be an option for aforesaid sensitive souls. I shall not explore this any further but there are some dreadful puns lurking around the edges.

And I think I should endorse Pete’s fashion statement of a couple of days ago. The daggy draggy monkey suit look is definitely the go. Skin tight thermals in contact with the pointy bits of the cheeks (basically, the pressure points under the hip joints when you sit down) together with even the smallest hint of salt water are an instant recipe for torture so acute that only liberal applications of The Doctor, sufficient to cause anaesthesia and administered prone will suffice. And as soon as one comes round, it’s all on again. I always wear what we used to call a woolly bull when we were survey flying at 25k feet with outside air @ about -60 – its a sleeveless neck to ankle loose overall, slightly padded with long pile fleece on the inside next to the skin. I think in the more genteel world of grenouillage, they are called salopettes. They get a bit niffy inside after a couple of weeks but never any hint of gunwale bum. I have an aged, grossly daggy set that has been to Hobart and Lord Howe and back umpteen times and still works fine, and some sexy new ones that have only been there once or twice. Got em on now.

Life’s little mystery, continued – the turbine has a stainless shaft but the hub and blades are rather rough cast aluminium fixed to the end of the shaft. It looks as if the paint job has been skimped and has bubbles in various places,including presumably, along the leading edges of the blades, and these have been popped by the water pressure. Really hard to see that it could be caused by anything else.

Wildlife – they are all super graceful, but one that stands out is a medium sized bird with very white beak, brown tops to wings with lighter brown outer ends – about 30% of wing area – there were three of them yesterday doing aerobatics around eachother and us. Painted birds, painted ships, painted ocean…and for a bit of obscure word association, I’m reading Stella Rimington’s book – for the second time. I need the cryptic crossword – Araucaria, where are you?

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