FROM 1-29. Running Along 45°S

Nov 18, 2005

[Ed: Email problems have caused several messages from Berri to not arrive here at mission control. This is one of them. After much swearing and retrying they were able to resend it successfully – finally received 21 Nov!]

Imagine, if you will, that you are inside this little plastic soapdish with the lid firmly closed. You can see out, but it’s mostly sky or white rushing water and no sense of perspective or continuity of movement. You are acutely aware that it is moving, fast and with some violence. You can sense that it is mostly roll, but there is some pitch and a lot of yaw. As the waves are catching up with the boat, it is in effect going up them backwards, pitching forward and rolling on the forward face, yawing and slewing at the top, sometimes under tons of breaking water, and pitching backwards and rolling as it slides down the back of the receding wave. Occasionally, you can see the effect of these breaking waves through the window – a wide swath of foamy water sometimes a hundred or more metres long – just like the lace wedding dress trains worn by royal brides – sloping steeply down the back from the head, sharply curving at water level and sweeping back, widening and getting more transparent the further it goes back. Lovely to look at, less so to be part of!

You are braced against the nav table, legs splayed out in front at about 45 degrees and away from you at the same angle. Both hands are behind you as you struggle to get the damp neoprene cuff of your party jacket over your wristwatch. The boat rolls away from you – you slightly bend your knees – it rolls further, accompanied by rushing crashing noises – you frantically try to extricate your hands from behind your back – the boat rolls further – now at about 75 degrees and you fall forward, desperately trying to bend into kneeling position as you go to soften the crunch. That’s the easy one. Now transfer yourself to the toilet, hands once again full, bowl charged, as it were, ankles locked together by lowered pants. Hoooley doooley – gives a whole new meaning to toilet training!

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