FROM 2-14. Cape Town-Kerguelens


Variations on a theme of Prufrock. When I was camping out in the bloodhouse on the corner of the main drag in Nome in July 2008, in those uncertain days while we waited for Point Barrow ice to break and melt, I needed to make coffee and I bought a small electric water boiler which came with a little blue plastic funnel and a pack of 100 one cup filter papers. I left the heater with Pat when we departed, but I still have the funnel and 15 of those 100 filters left – that's 85 cups of coffee for the NW passage, the Atlantic across the top and then down to Agulhas and the Indian to here. A silly statistic – rough guess 13000 miles, so a cup every 150 miles or so. Must have drunk a lot in the NWP because almost none from Falmouth to here.

And the not so trivial – as you read this you are probably sitting at your computer, surrounded by all the usual paraphernalia – books, papers, pencils, coffee cups, photos of the cat, the cat itself and all the rest. Imagine if you will what would happen if your house was turned on its side and a bit past the horizontal. All sorts of chaos…That's what has just happened to us – quite a severe knockdown, as usual after the wind had abated considerably and we'd thought it safe to set some sail and get going again. I was perhaps too ambitious with the wind angle, putting it more on the beam than the quarter. Pete was here behind the cone of silence and I'd just got up for a pee and was looking directly through the big starboard galley window and saw it coming. The boat rose and rolled to port and everything not properly stowed in the galley and quarter berth shelves launched itself across the boat and into the cone – tubs of margerine, apples, some kilkenny – chaos. We must have rolled through about 110 degrees – a tub of margerine that started below the waterline in a quarterberth bin made a big splat of yellow goo right at the top of the cone (heavy plastic curtain protecting the nav table and the electronics – it has saved our bacon countless times) and was still going up. Then it and several others fell to the floor and – of course – ended upside down on our bit of hairy matting. Careful stowage looked after the rest of the (heavy) gear around the boat but a timely reminder of our vulnerability. Cockpit a disaster zone but no apparent damage and now all sorted and cleaned up. Pete asleep, I'm on watch and the big waves are still out there. Poo! Makes Kerguelen look very iffy indeed.

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