FROM 1-10. South Atlantic-Going up

Mar 27, 2005 - 0930hrs UTC

0930hrs 27 Mar 2005 UTC Map Ref 128

Well, all y’all, now that the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster has had time to work it’s magic and I’m shaking off my cold and feeling a bit more like one of those primitive ape forms from Sydney, here we go again. Brain has been congealed for a couple of days so apologies if some of this is second time around. I think that this episode/series/act/movement/verse will lack some of the dramatic tension of the last one. More of a largo. Those of you who need a drama fix with your cornflakes had better jump ship now and go watch infotainment on the telly – we’ll give you a hoy for the Fastnet. We have about 70 days to Falmouth, via a waypoint on the equator somewhere about half way between Africa and S. America. We were astonishingly well looked after in Stanley and we have adequate supplies of The Doctor, Aunty Gordon’s Magic Catalyser, John Smith Smoothies and the Archer’s Tool, as well as a few spuds and onions and half a hundredweight of Arlette’s shortbread for ritual dunking ceremonies. We have saved the last two of Pete’s Dr Coopers for crossing the line or Falmouth. Or something. And we have a bit more diesel to help us through the soft bits in the low latitudes (sounds odd, but they are the ones with low numbers close to the equator).We are now just over the edge of the Falklands Escarpment, where the sea bottom shelves from 1000m to 6000m into the Argetine Abyssal.

For the wild lifers, check out the Black Browed Albatross. We have had them around us en masse all yesterday. They breed in the Falklands and there is some concern to preserve the breeding grounds. Lovely birds with black wing tops streaked with grey underneath, creamy beaks and a black line over each eye. They fly alongside us and land and look at us – perhaps 2.5 metre span for the bigger ones. They seem to know when I get out the camera, though, and I still haven’t got any video that I like.

The experiment with the ISS is still a possibility, although Leroy and Salizhan have an EVA scheduled for tomorrow and will be somewhat busy until they have completed it. We are hoping to see the ISS for the first time too – perhaps in a few hours if the cloud allows. Malcolm has sent us the relevant flypast times. Exciting.

EVA’s for us are much less painful and hazardous than a couple of weeks ago, although it is still quite cold and we will need the party gear for a week or two yet. But it IS getting warmer – yay! And we had sunshine all day yesterday – first time since leaving Sydney, I think.

Am just about to do a mini eva to shine our light skywards in case the guys are looking out of their window in their apartment block up there – they are due to pass to the north of us in a few minutes. Back inside and Yikes -it’s cold out there and there is a double layer of cloud so unlikely we’re visible. Only glimpses of the moon. I’ll have another go in 90 minutes although I don’t think it will clear.

Much later – it won’t. We’re in rain under thick cloud. Radio propagation not good, so have delayed sending this. Just boiling a couple of Easter eggs for my breakfast.

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