FROM 1-24. Closing on the Barn Door

Oct 12, 2005 - 1615hrs UTC │Strange Sunrise Phenomena

1615hrs 12 Oct 2005 UTC 37’28”S 007’54”W Ref 435

The next few days will, I think, be wet and windy. There seems to be a tight low forming behind the high we are sitting under and tomorrow the wind will veer to the north west and north and increase over the next two days. Not the best bit of a southern ocean low to be in front of but it doesn’t look too fierce at the moment. We will be nicely in the top of it and we will go for the 5 and the trisail or perhaps 3 reefs at the first sign of nastiness and hoon along as fast as it will carry us generally eastwards. I hope. Just pottering twin poled in a zephyr awaiting todays Con with the good Dr Gordon in 45 minutes.

Pigeon like birds all departed – now have a couple of biggish brown guys flying formation around us and a much more round winged bird, about a metre span, brownish with white strip diagonally at outer end of top of wings. This guy keeps trying to land on the masthead and getting itself in a twist – it has been trying several different versions of finals but there’s nowhere up there for it to put its feet.

From Malcom Robinson:

Great to hear that the birds are back – would be very lonely without them I reckon. It was a terrific article in the Times – almost made me want to be there – but then I saw that little Low developing just behind you on the weather map and decided that I’m still not brave enough :-/

There’s a nice ISS pass coming up this Friday evening (your time). Assuming that you’re at 37S 3W it will be:
- 19:40:52 rise bearing 192
- 19:42:32 max elev of 21 degrees bearing 151
- 19:43:12 sets bearing 131
The further East you are, the higher it will be – so get a wriggle on guys!

Mal, thanks for the ISS pass details – I think we might still be under the low by Friday and we wont get to see it even though we should be well to the east in line for a nice high one. Poo! Do you know when the ISS 11 crew are due to land? And who is on ISS 12?

From Jeff F.

I spent 38 years at sea and have crossed between SA and OZ on numerous occasions.  Read about your exploits in today’s Times–as a n ex professional seafarer the considered opinion is that all yaghtsmen are to be avoided at all costs. However let me wish you all the best for the remainder of your voyage–and may the wind be always at your back.

Jeff F., thanks for your good wishes. I’m pleased to be able to report that your erstwhile colleagues seem to have the same opinion of yachties as you do – they’ve all managed to avoid us so far.

From Mark R., UK:

The Times newspaper has done you proud today with a double page spread of your amazing journey.  It did, however, get me worried that my wife (who, when aged 40, took up sailing for the first time and now, four years later, has her own small dinghy) might become so addicted to water, that at some point in the next 20 years she might abandon English suburbia and try to accomplish something significantly more adventurous than a Sunday morning pursuit race on our local sailing lake.  Thankfully, I have just read her your hilarious daily log regarding VoA, which has quashed all such aspirations she may have had! Every best wish for continued success in your astonishing adventure.

Mark R, please tell your wife to ignore us old farts and to follow her dreams – out here is not as bad as it seems and, VoA notwithstanding, I wouldn’t have missed it for all those tea bags. Just watching the birds and the dolphins yesterday was better than a bus trip to work.

We are approaching the Greenwich meridian for my fourth time this year, after standing astride the official Meridian marker outside Flamsteed’s house at the Royal Observatory at Greenwich and a couple of times en route to Malta and back from LHR, which don’t really count. We crossed 180 degrees at about 40 S at the Antipodes Islands east of NZ back in February almost directly opposite our likely crossing in a couple of days. The milestones are piling up – good feeling.

Baldy D, I think I may have sent you on a bit of a wild goose chase – apologies if so, but I have a feeling we did not post Brian’s story about his Qantas flight over Antarctica talking about the various sunrises he saw because we couldn’t contact him for permission, but Brian, if you are reading this, and it’s ok with you, could you please let Stephen know at that is’s ok to post it. Baldy is a BA 747 jockey who flies over the Canadian Arctic. Thanks. Stephen I think it was before NZ – don’t remember exactly.

[Ed: here ‘tis…]

Hi Al,

I’ve been following your adventures with great interest and thanking my lucky stars it’s you and not me out there. Huge admiration on my part…! The CSIRO wiz was talking thru his bum re your course and heading; you are obviously on an accurate course with your GPS. However, I agree with him about where and when the sun rises, as I worked it out on a Buenos Aires to Auckland leg I flew at this time of the year a couple of years back. We took off at 2200, in the dark, and headed about 190 past Cape Horn to 60S, then turned right and followed 60S to stay out of the Westerly at 35000 feet. Then at about 150W steered northwest up to Auckland.

What happened sunwise was this; as we got down to 60S, the sun appeared to the South. (At our altitude, we were looking at it ‘beneath’ the globe) The sun then remained on our port side till we turned Northwest some hours later, when it disappeared and we were in darkness again. About two hours after that, we had the normal slow sunrise behind us in the East. All this caused some alarm among the sisterhood down the back of the aeroplane. (“Darrel, I TOLD you that Captain Maher couldn’t be trusted. We’re all going to DIE because of him….”)

I”m sure the foregoing has been of absolutely no use to you atall, but I thought I’d tell you anyway. Keep up the good work and don’t talk to any strange icebergs.

All the best, Brian and M.C.

PeterB – further to bird description – they have darker wingtips on top and a diagonal dark band on each wing top from mid leading edge back inwards to wing root at the body, undersides of wing leading edges dark, otherwise white. Lovely to look at – soft greyish brown and crisp white.

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