FROM 1-11. South Atlantic-26°S

Apr 11, 2005 – 1530hrs UTC

1530hrs 11 Apr 2005 UTC Map Ref 162

This looks like being long and gossipy. I saw a flying fish today – we must be getting close to the tropics – its about 28 -30 degrees, humid, hazy – tough going. Not really enough wind and heading us badly, so may still end up climbing the Brazilian coast from Cabo Frio. The last bad storm messed up the early plan by taking us way further inshore that we wanted to go and now we can’t easily get back out. We would have liked to be where we could meet the SE trade winds at about 25S 30W but not to be.

We are still hoping to rendezvous with the ISS, but they must now be very busy getting ready for the ISS 11 crew, due up there in a week or so. Just needs a clear night and a high pass and some accurate timing, but all together quite difficult to achieve.

We also had a visitor today – a tiny fluffy finch-like bird – greenish brown, yellow flashes on top of wings, short pointy beak – came aboard, rested below for a bit, made some deposits and left again. Noice!
And we have a big problem – the cans of The Doctor are corroding in the iceboxes and losing their contents. Panic – we have instituted a regime of more frequent consultations while we decide whether there is any remedy.
Leo – good to hear from you – The Doctor is Guinness, Pete’s home brew, now gone but for two bottles, was Dr Cooper’s, and we also have Smoothies and The Archers Tool. Go figure!.

Big tanker went past on th horizon this morning probably towards Cape Town from somewhere south of Rio.

Those of you who were around west of Cape Horn may remember that we broke a blade off the fine pitch turbine we tow to drive our auxiliary generator. It’s a stainless shaft about a metre long with a rather rough cast aluminium hub at the end with two blades sticking out. Someone kindly welded a new bit of blade back on in Port Stanley but the weld failed not long into the stormy bit. We have been using the spare, coarse pitch turbine but we’re not going fast enough for it to work properly. I have suggested a solution to the suppliers which would eliminate such hassles – we shall see. Meantime, the BP Solar panel is pushing 4 amps into the batteries every time the sun comes out and we are just making do. There’s always diesel.

Does anyone know why the latitudes close to the equator are called the Horse latitudes – and which/where are they?
[ed: Responses now here]

And the big news: last night was reasonably clear – the usual gigazz of stars – Milky Way looks almost solid – and I saw Ursa Major for the first time – not all of it, but we’re getting there. For those who don’t know, the defining constellation in the southern hemisphere is the Southern Cross and its two pointers, Rigil Kent and Hadar. In the Northern hemisphere, it is Ursa Major, The Great Bear, also known as The Plough and The Saucepan, both of which it resembles more than a bear. The two western stars in the constellation point directly to the Pole Star above the North Pole. We won’t see the Pole Star this side of the equator and I’m not sure when we will on the other side but it’s all happening out here. And the Southern Cross is now significantly below top dead centre too.

Devncroo – I knew about Viking wool sails – I think they actually found one in an old ship or a tomb, but the mind does boggle a bit about water and weight. There might be something via google?

Brian and Jen – oops! And Yay! for the bar – work on it.

John C, Malcom, Hi.

Stephen C, thanks for your note – Gordo seems to be under the baleful influence of one Fenwick and we don’t hear from him any more.

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