FROM 2-12. Lisbon-Equator


This one got stuck in transmission somewhere a couple of days ago.

We're about 600 miles from the Cape Verdes – That's a Sydney-Hobart race. Or a drive from Sydney to Brisbane – at 2.5 knots. ETA at my CV waypoint 9 and a bit days, equalling our slowest ever S2H. Was it Prufrock who counted out his days in coffee spoons? We count ours in S2Hs. Some distances to contemplate: Falmouth to the equator about 3337nm; Eq to mid point behind S Atlantic high about 2220 and mid point to Cape Town 1550 total a bit over 7100 miles. Nearly 12 S2Hs. Accuracy is largely irrelevant as the variables are Big. So about 71 days F to CT if we go that way or roughly December 10. In practice we might get lucky and do it a bit faster – last time we did Port Stanley to Falmouth in 71 days, I think.

I've learned a new word – jizz – it means the overall aspect of a bird, shape, flight, size, beak, rump, plumage – the lot, all together as a single impression. It comes from the twitchers' bag of bits – those slightly obsessive people we met in Nome in planeloads, festooned with cameras, big binoculars, telescopes, water bottles, mostly under an amazing variety of hats and wearing those waistcoats all covered in pockets and zippers. Apparently there's something very rare indeed in the all time twitchers' list of birds-one-must-see that lives out in the back blocks of Nome and almost no-one has it ticked off. A good twitcher with lots of experience will be able to identify a bird by its jizz on the basis of a tiny glimpse – others apparently claim to be able to do so and make fools of themselves amongst the elite. I wonder what is the etymology of jizz?

My small claim to jizzery – I watched a storm petrel for at least 30 seconds up near Madeira – lovely lovely acrobatic bird, flapping and flopping and pattering its feet all over the surface scooping up things to eat and the impression I have in my mind almost exactly fits the Madeiran Storm Petrel except that it seemed smaller than the 42 cm wingspan quoted in the book.

Last time we were here, about 100 miles further west, we sailed through a big dust storm blowing off Mauretania. The whole boat was covered in fine red powder and it cut down the output from the solar panel by about half.

And no, to those who remembered, my mobile didn't ring me from the depths off Madeira. Sad! We were too far for any signal anyway so maybe it was trying – ET where were you? We needed a contraption.

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