FROM 1-13. Across the Equator

May 01, 2005 - 1020hrs UTC

1020hrs 01 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 194

Honoured Gusts, Readers and Occasional Browsers, Greetings. Those among you who have had difficulty with jokes about Golgafrinchan Telephone Sanitisers and Marvin and the like – go and see the new Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy movie and all will be made clear. Can’t wait to see it myself.

North of Cabo de San Roque at last. Straight line half way to Falmouth will be just after we pass Isla Fernando de Noronha sometime tomorrow if the wind holds and we should cross the equator on May 3. Another half way.

I have never spent a series of consecutive nights at sea on watch and on cloudless nights, so had not experienced the Earth’s rotation as a physical sensation. Interesting – one is suddenly a very small part of the universe in a much more intimate and personal sense. It is especially apparent here almost on the equator. THe Great Bear and the Southern Cross are each offset from the axis of rotation by about the same amount – about 20 degrees at a guess – and is is easy to see that the earth rotates between them. The Pole star in the north is on or very close to the axis and it will be interesting to watch it once it rises above the northern horizon. Probably won’t be able to see it for a few days after we cross the equator because of the atmospheric haze. I’ve been trying to find a similar point in the south but it looks pretty empty down there.

It’s getting to be an equatorial Piccadilly Circus out here – after I reported the first aircraft last night, I saw about ten more, at least, during the 0300 – 0600 watch, mostly going south. A steady stream of them – the Redeye’s into Rio and Buenos Aires and Montevideo and Punta Arenas perhaps. All just to the west of us, so we must be under the main air corridor from Europe.

We had a vsitor – presumably all the way from Africa, given the wind direction and strength. A dark grey bird, about as big as a small pigeon but slimmer, longish tail, thin, sharp pointed black beak sloping down at the sharp end with pearly grey markings around the face. Couldn’t see any other markings on folded wings or body. Sat on the dodger in the moonlight with surging water all around, not phased by flashlight, got dislodged and came back and sat on Pete’s head and then flew away. With us for about 6 hours. Left some depository messages.

Still have wind. Hard to believe that we’ve now been going for three days at least. Equator, 247 miles away, at this rate very late tomorrow, more likely some time on Tuesday.

Tomorrow is my brother David’s birthday – one off a biggie – have a drink with him and wish him all the happys.

Ron C – I like the ring! Mal tells me you’ve spruced up my dot points – thanks. Can’t remember whether I sent you my flying log book – there is at least one photo that includes your Caloundra Vixen in Mk 1 config. plus the actual entries for my flights in it.

Malcom, good idea – we’ll modify one of the plastic vents. Thanks. (Mal, could you please post Malcom’s suggestion –  might help others)

Malcom Castle’s suggestion on Cooling Cabins:

I assume your jury rigged ventilator provides an inlet and inflow of air to provide circulation in the cabin.

If you have suitable materials you might also construct a chimney, that doesn’t compromise the integrity of the cabin or hatch.  As hot air rises in the cabin it will rise into and through the chimney and hence out of the cabin.  Hence assisting the inflow from your ventilator.  If the parts of the chimney outside the cabin absorb heat from the sun (eg are black or metallic, the black could be from black paint, black tape or plastic) to heat up the chimney and hence the air within the chimney this that will augment the upwards convective flow velocity of the outgoing air.  Flow through cabin would also be improved.

This task is reminiscent of Apollo 13 and the jury rigging from scraps and bits of pieces that the astronauts had to do to clean up their air.

BarryD thanks for report.

Have new arrangement with Mal re posting mailcalls etc – he bleeps the satphone – saves me hours of trolling the stations. Must send this before he goes to bed.

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