FROM 1-13. Across the Equator &1st circumnavigation

May 09, 2005 - 0445hrs UTC

Sitrep: 0445hrs 09 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 208

The Examiner has jumped back into the bus shelter. We’re down to the #5 and 3 reefs in 30+ knots and a rising sea, still nursing the rig. Probably not necessary but I’d hate it to fall down this close to home. Or, put another way, if it’s going to fall down, the closer to home the better. A bit violent, rolling and pitching, tough on the bum and other pointy bits and I think we’ve got about 600 miles of it to get through. Definitely not in the brochure for the trip. Back to Patience, Persistence Perseverance and Titan Uranus.

Another milestone today – I was able to pull in a weather fax from Northwood in the UK, showing western europe and the north east Atlantic, but not down as far as here. Really getting close.

We’ve been reminded – by Fenwick, of course – of that other well known Australian Consultant, the good Pastor Flagon, who surely has a place in medical history for soothing the nerves of desperate yachties when all recognized forms of alcohol have been depleted, His Yachtmasters book titled DT’s and the Desperate has often played it’s part in the marine emergency with no landfall in sight.

Sadly, we are unable to undergo his Ministration as we forgot to invite him but maybe he’s waiting for us in Falmouth.

More phosphorescent strobes in the wake again this evening. It’s as if all the dinos in a cubic foot of water go off at once making an intense green flash. Must be caused by some kind of fish – cant think of any other explanation. Perhaps flying fish taking off and landing.

Tori – I think you’re right about Slarty – fun looking for his signature on Cape Horn. See if you can spot it in the photos. And we know all about Gordon and the Boat Incident. Silly person.

From Malcom C and Phil Y

Here is the good oil on the black patch near the Southern Cross. It is actually called the Coal Sack and is well known. It is a region where foreground dust obscures the stars behind it. It is dark matter but not dark matter in the sense that astronomers talk about dark matter.

Dark Matter, as astronomers know it, is non-luminous material between the stars in a galaxy that outweighs all stars in a galaxy by a factor of 10 times.

There are other patches of dust throughout the Milky Way but their total mass is small, small even compared to the total mass of the stars alone. There are other famous patches of dust. The most famous is the one in Orion that causes the so-called Horsehead Nebula. You should be able to see that soon.

Another intrepid navigator, Ferdinand Magellan, in an idle moment on the quarter deck, discovered the Magellanic Clouds a few hundred years ago.

I guess Peter Crozier (cross bearer) is already partly immortalised in the name of the Southern Cross. Alex, keep looking at the skies you may yet see an unnamed comet, asteroid, or super nova that someone might name after you. If its an asteroid and it begins to fill your field of vision, duck.

Many thanks to Phil Y for the facts.

Malcom – thanks for directing the big guns at my very unscientific questions – can you see the dark patch from Sydney or is there too much ambient light? If Phil replies, could you ask him if it’s ok to post his answer? Malcolm takes all the addresses and other guff off our webmail so I don’t have his address. And a Kiwi in the Smithsonian – bastards are everywhere these days.

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