FROM 1-29. Running Along 45°S

Nov 20, 2005 - 0550hrs UTC

0550hrs 20 Nov 2005 UTC 44’52”S 078’37”E Ref 569

I don’t know whether it’s worth writing these because I still dont know what is getting through on Satcom. Not easy writing into a black hole. We are almost in range of NSW sailmail and I’m hoping that we will get better connections there and can do without Satcom and the hassle and expense.

BUT – we are only 1800 miles from the nearest bit of Western Australia, we’re past Ile Amsterdam and have 2857 to SE Cape on the GC track and only about 60 more by rhumb. Both very weary – it’s cold and we’ve been working the boat as hard as we possibly can. Still have a bit of current it seems. At this speed, its about 21 days to SEC, but that’s a break that I’m sure the Examiner will do her best to deny us. Tiddly pom! We had a Consultation this morning after a big sail change – no more for a couple of days – we really are doing it hard! I’ve just made bread – Marcus, one for you – just make the dough from a 500gm Tesco pack, dont bother with all the psychological stuff about letting it rise and rest and patting it on the head – add some garlic or whatever else takes your fancy, heat the oil till it smokes, on a floured board, press a small ball of dough into a pancake as thin as possible and small saucer size and toss it on the oil till it bubbles on top, turn it over for a few moments, take it out and – if you’re me – eat it while you make the next ten or so. Just like naan and takes 20 minutes, minimum cleanup if you’re careful and keeps for a couple of days. (Apologies if this is a repeat – I have a feeling it is, but without power etc, I can’t review the previous stuff).

I’ve been watching the little grey birds that I think are petrels – lovely subtle markings on top of their wings but the real stunner is that they have a tinge of blue over their backs – only visible as they turn away – perhaps a trick of the light but consistent. Only birds, ferals, a couple of ratbag humans, parasitic barnacles and green slime out here – not a dolphin, not a whale, no mermaids, teddy bears or 3 toed sloths anywhere to be seen. Last ship was near Cape Town, before that, Cape Verdes. A big, lonely empty place to be, natural splendour to excess and vast, enigmatic, blank indifference to our little enterprise. And I’m going to miss it terribly when next I’m on a busy polluted street. Tiny patches of sunlight, moon quite low and mostly hidden but when it come through a gap – wow! Because the overcast is so solid and dark, the moon has a radiance and lustre that you don’t often experience – Turner would have loved it.

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