FROM 2-14. Cape Town-Kerguelens

The Examiner lurks

For the first time in ages, we are albatrossless. Lots of petrels and a prion or two and the occasional storm petrel. It's grey, soft overcast, grey green sea with glassy tips to the waves and crystal filigree frills. The wind has been more or less constant N for 24 hours or so and we are making good progress in a rising sea. The rather nasty tight little low is, I think, forming to the north of us though it's possible that it is the little depression the grib shows to our south and it will deepen very fast and roll over us. Anyway, a bit of stink looms and the Examiner will be abroad in the Boonies tomorrow.

It is eerie to be once again so close to Cook and some of his predecessors. We passed Cooks northernmost point, near Point Wainwright north of the Bering Strait in the Chukchi Sea in 2008 and he was down here in 1776. I hope we can actually visit his Christmas Harbour – now properly named Baie de L'Oiseau – on the northern tip of Kerguelen island. The engravings and logs of his stay are very detailed and it should be possible to stand where he stood and where the artist stood – but with Berrimilla in the bay where Resolution and Discovery and later Erebus and Terror once anchored. And there's another shiver for the spine – in 2008 we also passed the last known positions of Erebus and Terror and the final resting places of their crews near King William Island in the North West Passage. It is thought that Francis Crozier, Captain of the Terror, was one of the few straggling survivors that reached Starvation Cove where they died. I have seen his last note, left on King William Island and discovered later by (I think) M'Lintock and now in the museum at Greenwich with some other sad relics. There is so much history, pain, courage and fortitude in such a small scrap of paper and it's a privilege to have been able to follow them all.

Pete thinks he has proved that there is no solution to the SEND MORE MONEY problem. Anyone got a better idea?

We've been talking on the radio to the skipper of MV Kaharoa, laying argos buoys out here for the New Zealand Institute of
Water and Atmos Res. They are going to try making Berrimilla bread – fame at last! They expect to be in Hobart around Feb 7th – if any of y'all are reading this over there under Mt Welly, go along and say G'day.

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