FROM 1-24. Closing on the Barn Door

Oct 18, 2005 - 1245hrs UTC

1245hrs 18 Oct 2005 UTC 40’19”S 006’38”E Ref 453

will try to keep sending these – they may be written over more than one day so perhaps even more disjointed and ungrammatical than usual. Date stamp is start time.

Have just cranked up the Satcom again – French Indian Ocean forecasts for Ile Amsterdam, Crozet and Kerguelen (Area ACK) are comprehensive and they give the area co-ordinates so they are usable without an area chart. Eureka!. They are sent from Reunion. May be able to get away without grib even. Rain and snow forecast for WH and CH Crozet! – I don’t know what WH and CH mean but it looks a bit rugged over there – We will pass through Am South and Crozet in about three weeks. Find the thermals!

We now have a nice little spider’s nest of dental floss to help Isabella wrap a spinnaker – I think it will need about 95 kilometres of the stuff!

Taking advantage of sunshine to dry out boat, esp. festering sox from boot feral lairs – I’ve been wondering whether each colony has developed a different set of pheromones – trouble is, can’t tell sox apart in dark and so can’t control experiment. Also, pong so intense, might be difficult to detect subtle differences in sexual come-ons without specially evolved nose. I keep the sox in bed with me to try to dry them out, so may even evolve nose.

We’re in huge swells – big ship sized, short wavelength, coming in from the SW. No appreciable wind waves on top, so can see whole vast sloping expanse and deep valley across to next crest as we go up the sides. Something big going on down there somewhere!

I have a list of sailmail stations in the propagation engine in Airmail. Ther are in order of distance – it goes Africa, Chile, Red Sea, Belgium, Panama,  Firefly NSW (@6054 miles) followed by 10 others. Big milestone when we get our first connection with them – the station is run by Penta Comstat.

Have just pulled in latest grib – 2 v nasty looking lows behind us – calm patch in the middle. Making most of interlude. Still reading Vera Brittain – marvellous book – when I think of myself at 23, inarticulate, completely uninterested in learning, no perception of myself as a living human being, more a conforming and frightened actor in a sea of other peoples’ expectations, Brittain’s letters and ideas and sheer scholarship – as a woman in 1915! – seem so absolutely awe inspiring – and her ability to express her feelings to her fiance in the awful times that surrounded them – her lingering love and their despair as he left for France – evocative, heroic, inspiring and ultimately sustaining. I remember her as an old lady in the front line of ban the bomb marches. I also remember my great Aunt, of  about the same age and background but without the ambition or scholarship, who,I think, may have lived through the same experience – when she died, we found similar letters and military insignia. She never married or ever talked about those times.

We’re making water as fast as we can to build a reserve in case we can’t make more each day. Solar panel sustaining watermaker and battery level. Just. We will not be so lucky with sunshine in the next few days.

Will try to send this…

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