FROM 1-23. Next landfall Tasmania

Oct 09, 2005 – 1045hrs UTC

1045hrs 09 Oct 2005 UTC 34’08”S 014’17”W Ref 424

DB: 114, 7625 GPS 122, 50/60 and south of Sydney. Very soon to be passing Wollongong and any Berri crewmember will know that that is a signal for riotous behaviour. And after that we will almost immediately be south of Africa and of the vast majority of all y’all. There are a few of you in Melbourne, some in Tasmania and at the bottom end of South America and the Falklands and a sprinkling in Dunedin. But that’s it. Big week. I will stick my neck out and guess that we may just have managed to keep our fingernails hooked into the weather pattern that will get us down into the westerlies – tomorrow will tell. If we’ve cracked it, it will have been quite an achievement. We have been pushing ourselves and Berri all the way almost from Trinidad to hold on to it and by watching the grib and a bit of intuition, we just might be there.

BIG transition is happening. Overnight, the ocean has turned from blue to grey. The seabirds have been joined by some much bigger southern ocean type birds – long thin wings, two metre span at least, lots of anhedral and they glide – and do they glide! The swells are now approaching the small warehouse variety – not yet steep and breaking but half mast height from trough to crest and wavelength about 100 metres. Some nasty potential there. The temperature has dropped – water now 13 degrees and it feels cold – and there is the clammy grip of cold damp air on exposed skin. We’ve been digging out thermals and gloves and sleeping bags. And the mungies don’t want to germinate – too cold or them perhaps. I will start the next lot with warm water.

At the moment it looks as if we will pass about 100 miles north of Tristan da Cunha. Who was T d C? An opportunity wasted perhaps, but then so was the Beagle Channel, the Antarctic Peninsula, Madeira and all the rest. Next time! And then there will be the Crozets and the Kerguelen Islands in mid Indian Ocean but I hope we will be well north of them.

Will try to send this before propagation window closes.

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