FROM 1-5. Mid Pacific to Heading South

Feb 14, 2005 – 0627hrs UTC

0627hrs 14 Feb 2005 UTC 45’58”S 137’48”W Map Ref 63 3440nm

Berri is quiet tonight – unlike a couple of nights ago.   We’re twin poling in about 15 knots dead downwind and the water is just rustling past the hull.   A bit of gentle roll, all the usual background noise of squeaks and sloshes and creaks, but muted and tranquil.  Pleasant feeling.   Just waiting until I can log into sailmail to pick up the day’s mailcall – about two  hours to go.   Something to look forward to.   You may have noticed that we seem to have reached the transition point from which we are now looking ahead as much as behind – Chile and Cape Horn are now much closer than Australia and we’re very much facing forwards and it probably comes through in these emails.   Seems that until now we haven’t really been able to believe that it’s got some chance of actually happening.

A frivolous reflection: the South Pacific is a big ocean, at a guess about an eighth of the world’s surface and it’s almost landless and uninhabited.   Since about 1800, it has carried a large proportion of the world’s shipping, mostly along a couple of major routes – say an average of 5000 crossings per year.   Before that, the Pacific Islanders sailed around its northern fringe and as far asEaster Islandand Magellan, Drake, Cook and the French, Dutch, Spanish and Portugese explorers were out here as well.   And there were the whalers, who sailed all over it in their thousands from the early 1800s and some of them are still here.   Even so, it is so big that there must be some small parts of it that have never been crossed by a ship and perhaps Berrimilla will be the very first vessel to sail across a particular little bit of the ocean.   We’ll never know which bit, but it’s inspiring all the same.

Enough.   Stop all this soppy talk and do something useful.

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