FROM 2-2. Equator-Dutch Harbor

4010.33 17315.01 North coast of Tasmania in the S2H!

Grey, translucent overcast – tinges of pink and orange as the sun does its best – even, ethereally, glimpses of milky blue jade universe, evanescent, distant but near. As my Dad used to say during those endless English winters in similar conditions, just enough blue to patch a Dutchman’s trousers. That was back then, when we all thought that the Dutch went around in clogs and blue baggy pants like in the fairy stories. Banks of mist all around – glossy, polished calm surface with complex swell pattern, long and rolling and all over the place but seems to be a biggie from the ESE in there somewhere. Motor running, everything waterfall wet, moisture rilling and dripping everywhere but great because it washes the caked salt out of the lines and the blocks and all the bearings, so the lines are soft and pliable again and the blocks run properly. If salt weren’t hygroscopic, my shorts would have crackled last time I took them off – instead, they just sort of creaked and remained in the shape they were – they would have stood up on their own. Had to flatten and subdue them with our mega adjustable spanner and stomp them into a plastic bag where, I hope, they will fester until Dutch. Revolting instant coffee and sweetened condensed milk on the go to remind me that offices ain’t where I want to be.

Which was a long and wordy scene setting for – dolphins! – about 50 of them, leaping and snorting and racing around Berri under the mirror surface – absolute delight to watch and hear and participate. Smallish, dark grey backs with a vivid white curved patch from roughly below the dorsal fin all the way back to the tail and the tail has a white stripe around the outline of the top surface. Impossible to photograph with the camera I have with me – it’s very clever but desperately slow between shutter push and actual photo so have to judge timing and focus way early and I’ve only cracked one passable pic and even then the dolphin is out of focus. Oh for the Nikon at times like these but way too salty and humid out here.

On which note, (clank and dammy and cold…) time for another BAPTO for things that really work. This one should have got up on the last website as well but can’t remember. We’ve got a Sea Rug each – Australian design, (I think – Speeds, could you check please) and it does exactly what is claimed for it – works when wet, either way up, depending on circumstances and it’s all I need in these conditions to keep me warm and dry at night. McQ buries herself under searug, arctic sleeping bag, various sheetlike thingies and a polar fleece blanket but she’s a sensitive soul. On the last gig, my rug worked as a sort of tent on the way home because we did not have time to re-install the insulation and condensation flooded the old bus shelter. It soaked up the drips and streams and at least kept the water off my polar blanket and ultimately my skin. Great gear. Still have that rug as well – now rather tatty – using it as a pillow. When it gets cold – which it won’t, unless we get stuck for the winter somewhere, (average temp across the top during the time we expect to be up there is about 0 – 10 degrees C – an English summer’s day) I have three thermal survival bags that we can stuff searugs or whatever anyone fancies into and stay toasty. Maybe!

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