FROM 1-2. Hobart (Tasmania)-Dunedin (NZ)

Jan 14, 2005 – 1600hrs │Strange Sunrise Phenomena

1600hrs 14 Jan 2005. 46’28”S 159’32”E. 585nm 5.8knts

A ‘why is it so’ question: back in my sensible days when we used to sail back to sydney after an S2H, we used to spend the first night in Port Arthur. I first noticed this effect the first time we left PA, very early in the morning to catch the predicted southerly – I was steering, clutching a bacon sando and a mug of the doctor and as we turned left at the south end of the estuary I saw that the sun, magnificently pink and orange, was rising behind Tasman Island with radiating fiery streaks from gaps in a line of cloud low on the horizon. One of the more memorable moments and we managed to repeat the experience on later visits. So – the boat is at about latitude 44S – draw the lines and you should see that the sun appears to be rising on a bearing of about 120 – not 090 as one might expect or, given that the sun at this time of year is more or less above the tropic of capricorn at 23S, even 060ish. What is going on? As I write, at about 47S, and tracking almost exactly east (magnetic), the sun is rising way out off our starboard bow, an even more apparently bizarre example. Not that I ever needed an explanation because just watching it is enough.

We’re still hooning along, slightly below max for cruise mode, with the cut down #1 poled out and 3 reefs [ed: the main sail has rows of holes across it parallel to the boom which allow it to be shortened in height. That shortening is called “reefing”. Hence “3 reefs” means the main is 3 lowered (or shortened) by 3 rows of reefing holes]. a bit faster without the reefs, but very hard to get them back in again if we need to because we would have to get the pole off first to bring the boat up into wind to feather the main and get the sail off the shrouds and spreaders. Impossible to drag it down otherwise against the friction. Major hassle for a couple of decrepit geriatrics. About two days to Stewart Island if the wind holds.

I’ve been thinking about how to fill this space and perhaps future updates will offer you I hope non-trivial things like ‘windvane steering’, ‘balance and getting on the step’, ‘more wildlife’, ‘cooking bread at sea’, ‘on-board ritual’ ‘a day in the life of’, ‘getting into full party gear’ and similar guff. Any other suggestions welcome and i’ll do my best.

First wildlife ID – the little darting bird is probably a Stormy Petrel. And, for Georgina, I’ve been asked by an eminent research person to present my seaboots for microbiological examination and classification of flora at the end of this saga, so no go as a late wedding present – sorry.

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