FROM 1-23. Next landfall Tasmania

Oct 05, 2005 - 0415hrs UTC

0415hrs 05 Oct 2005 UTC 28’42”S 021’52”W Ref 416

Jeremy, Falmouth, UK:

Have been enjoying (is that the right word?) your comments of the South Atlantic,it has refreshed my memory of how nasty it can be. My escape was to get as far into my sleeping bag as possible and with earphones clamped on immerse myself in Mozart. I know the early piano concertos quite well now. As a thought might you take a roller jib if you were to do it again?

Jeremy – a roller jib would have been really nice – I just couldn’t afford one, nor justify it. Fitting one would have required at least one new sail plus putting a luff tape on all the others or taking the furler and its foil off for the race. As for passing the time with Mozart, I seem to be completely incapable of listening to music or, often, even sleeping when the boat is talking to me. My mind will not allow anything to come in over the top, so I tend to get weary and stress with the boat when the weather deteriorates. It’s an incapacity that has saved our bacon bigtime on a couple of occasions, but the time goes very slowly when it gets nasty outside.

Bill W.:

My favourite bit of the log thus far has to do with the Falklands (Log 9) because so much seemed happen at once. Landfall (crashlanding?), Leroy and NASA and a marathon to boot! I can relate to that – it never rains but it pours…

 You’ve used the marathon metaphor a lot in the logs and a number of your reflections ponder how the ISS crews, and Leroy in particular, see the world from an orbital frame of reference, whilst you do the same from sea level. Do you think isolation focusses your appreciation and understanding?

Better keep this short: Your current log says weather not real terrific – I’ll try a tribal Consultation tonight in an effort to despatch fair seas and winds.

Bill W, your Tribal Consultation seems to have worked – fair seas are here, at least for the time being. And thanks for your favourite bit of log. If we get enough of them, we might do a separate section of the log for them. You asked about whether isolation sharpens the focus – I really don’t know. I have almost forgotten my own home address, for instance, and as for PIN numbers, I hope I’ve got them all written down somewhere. On the other hand, looking at the night sky at this level of isolation tends to fix one in the universe as an infinitesimally small, insignificant,impermanent and instantly transient flea upon the heffalumpian rump. And sharing it with Leroy was an experience that both awed and inspired. I suppose that having to face the consequences of ones decisions and planning is also somewhat confronting and perhaps requires a reassessment of ones self confidence. The interest that this log has generated is also confronting. Why me and why is this twaddle important to so many people? Answer, I think, is that it is immediate and available but not really important – the trick is not to believe in or get swamped by ones own brand of hype! And, I guess, to keep churning it out in the hope that it will continue to be interesting. That’s the hard bit. The Man Who Ruled the Universe had nothing to say and said it with no particular panache and self doubt is my natural preference too.

I’ve been dredging my slushpot of a brain for the origin of the flea metaphor which I have felt the need to acknowledge. I think it came from a book called ‘A woman’s place is on top’ about a women’s team climbing Annapurna. I don’t remember the author’s name, but she was the expedition leader. The flea came from one of her team, perhaps called Alison, who died on the mountain and is probably still there. So it is a reminder of her as well. She used it to describe what they looked like up there on the immense curving slope that is one side of Annapurna and I was hooked. Its a good book too – well worth a read -and I seem to remember a documentary.

The wonderful people at sailmail (or at least their computer) will get cross with me if I keep sending these long ones, so can it, Alex.

[Ed: there was some earlier discussion on the Franklin Expedition. This link is to a paper written about it – thanks Isabella]

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