Berrimilla Down Under Mars Status Report 4 July 2008

Status Report From: Berrimilla Down-under Mars
Posted: Friday, July 4, 2008



Berri Arrives in Nome!

Just had a call from Alex; they are safe and sound in Nome. Comms are bad from there so no emails or blog updates at the moment. He is on his 'Falklands' phone: 00881621440078. Apparently the local mosquitoes, are pleased to have some fresh food in port. Well done Berri and her crew. Speedy.

6302 16640 A bit of a whinge.

Sometimes it's the little things that get to you and sometimes it's the big ones. And sometimes it's both at once. I ought not admit this to all y'all out there, but for me, this is now getting to be just a touch tense. The equation: We're at least 24 hours out of Nome, gearbox seems ok, but some odd indications that all may not be right. Using the engine just to keep some VMG on the clock, wind gradually lifting us but due to increase by tonight to 25 - 30 tomorrow morning. The ice is opening towards Barrow and we need to be up there by July 12ish - it's about 700 miles from Nome so a week if we're lucky and if there's nothing wrong with the engine. So - do the sums...

And then we have to avoid the huge lumps of timber all over the place out here - mostly waterlogged and awash so almost invisible in the slop until they are abeam or past us. Water now has brownish tinge to the bottle green - someone has been putting brown bottles in the green bin at the recyclery.

And I'm still unable to get my very expensive Iridium SIM voucher for the Arctic to work properly and I can't talk to the technical people at Xsat (long story but their system is set up for people with an internet connection and they will not just send me a simple email that I can reply to)so I've paid lots of money for a service that I am not getting. Nothing much I can do about it but it's desperately frustrating. Will try to talk to someone at Xsat from Nome. But we had a sunrise this morning - makes up for a lot. Gone now, behind the clouds but there's still some blue sky.


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6255 16644 The Examiner again

The wind has come around to the north...We were hoping to beat the 30 kt northerly that is due tonight but doesn't look as if we'll make it. Poo! ---------- radio email processed by SailMail for information see:


K: Grr wind gods pt 2

Actually I won't complain. Since Bol wrote her bit and put her head down for the noight, I've tacked and gybed about a squillion times. But that 30 knotter from the north is nowhere to be seen!! Now motoring on in direct to Nome in 4 kts of wind, from anywhere and everywhere with a triangle of heady out to help slow the roooollling around and the main nicely flaked on the boom to stop it flapping and disturbing the peace and quite.

It's sunset again, and has been for about 3 hours. Looking out to the east we could be sailing through a Gainsborough painting. Beautiful. Land on the horizon and a million shades of purple and apricot. And grey. Out to the east is a different story. The usual Bering Sea murk. I put my rain jacket on about an hour ago expecting to get very wet (and probably knocked flat by 30 kts again by the look of it), but so far nothing. Actually almost too warm tonight to wear the full party kit. Have had to shed layers to stop sweltering & water is a balmy 13 deg C! Tropical!!

Anyway, back to the deck to watch the rest of that sunset, make sure no big drifting trees are sneaking up on us, giggle at the dippy "flying penguins" and wait for the sunrise - should start about the same time as sunset finishes tonight I reckon. Haven't seen full darkness for a couple of days now.



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McQ: Grrrr wind gods, grrr!!! and gnomes.

With about 30 miles to go to Nome, all was going nicely... with the assistance of the current we were almost making course for Nome with the Northerly wind too!!! The wind was slowly but steadily easing and after contemplating for a while I decided it was time to shake out the last reef. That done, I headed back to the cockpit just in time for Ray to throw a wobbly as the wind came in front of us and involuntarily tack us, oh bad Ra-ay, so I took the tiller and went for a donut back on to course, but as Berri turned so did the wind, following us all the way round, so stopped turning us and tacked sails, just getting the headsail across when suddenly, out of absolutely nowhere, we get knocked flat by 30 knots of wind!!!! totally barmy!!! and so typical that I get caught out with full sail up too... anyway dumped the main, put some, then all headsail away and the wind died off back to its original 15 knots, only now from the SSE and made sure we were pointing back towards Nome again... are you keeping up with all this??? yes, it was keeping me on my toes too!!! so main all the way out, preventer firmly attached, then headsail fully back out too, then wind wants to veer to the SW, so gybe, then it wants to go back to the SE so gybe back.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr wind gods, grrrrrrrrrrrrrr!! Pause, tidy the mess of reef lines, furler line and numerous sheets now littering the cockpit and grrrrrr some more!!! After I'd had enough grrrrring and started chuckling to myself again at the mentalness of it all, it was time to wake Kimbra (funnily enough she was already awake!!!) for watch and check course!!! On the money for Nome, with wind directly up the chuff now... extremely frustrating, and anyway after a bit more playing with the sails we are now motor-sailing directly for Nome with about four knots of wind from the North again!!! Mental!!!

I'm going for a five am eta- maybe followed by a couple of hours sleep and then I reckon, scrambled eggs and bacon for brekkie to set us up for the busy day of work (and 4th July celebrations!!!) ahead!!!

Lots of love

ps. You know how people steal gnomes from other peoples gardens and take them to famous landmarks round the world and send pics back??? well, I was wondering, do you think anyone has ever stolen a gnome and taken it to Nome??? That's what I'd do if I were to stumble across a stolen gnome: take him to Nome, then send him home!!!!


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6150 16715 Abeam Cape Romanzof

A bit like the Model T - you can have any colour you like as long as it is grey. AGW, Nome in about 24 hours - still a biggish to-do list - must re-investigate the gear linkage for a start - still not quite right and I hope we're not doing any damage by running it.

Cape Romanzof -33 miles away and we can see it - black, rocky peninsula, three lumpy peaks streaked with snow and wonderful cloud formations coming from the top -NE wind, fluffy stuff close to the peaks, then almost lenticular - bars of cloud, rolling downhill - if the nik was behaving, I have pics.

Yesterday we signed off from the Westward Fishery sked - a different take on David Kellett and the S2H - Calling the Alaskan Command, this is double U ess gee 884 Westward...Calling the Arctic Wind...Calling the Caitlin Anne...calling the Chelsea K...calling the Hickory Wind...calling the Viking...and at the very end...calling the Berri. Thanks Dave, thanks Dan and thanks to all the skippers - it's been great and I hope we don't need to call you again on the way back! Right now, we have the Sea Robin coming up astern - bound for Nome, don't know what he is but have him on the AIS and spoke to him - you speak kind of funny, says he. Yep,says I - Australian with an english accent. Looke as if he might come quite close but still 6 miles away.

Warnings around here about driftwoood - we've just passed 2 huge trees. Sawn at one end, so there must be some sort of lumber industry in Norton sound.

mjc - the survival suit is an MS 2175 model - not by any means YSL but practical and warm - no fittings for mask, but the masks I have seen in previous lives are designed as separate elasticated or velcro 'over the top and roll it down' spray hoods and that would work with this one. Who named Norton Sound? For whom? Cook would have followed most of these bays in and out to make sure he did not miss a passage, so Cook?

Nothing to report - Mome, AGW, will become the launch pad for earth orbit - final decision for interplanetary burn at Point Barrow. Will try to pull in Kodiak Wx fax ice report tonight to see whether we can get it via sailmail.


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McQ: Happy to hear I'm not crazy!! LFP's and other wildlife!!!

I'm so pleased to hear that someone else thinks little flying penguins do exist!!! I am not crazy!!! Though it would have been cool to stake a claim to both inventing a new language AND discovering a new species!!! It's highly entertaining to watch them try and take off and you can easily while away a whole watch going, 'fly little penguin, fly,' and crossing your fingers that they get airborne!!! Very cool!! It makes me wonder though, do you think you get flying polar bears in the Antarctic??? (note to self: next trip is to the antarctic to find flying polar bears and maybe other new species!!)As for any other wildlife, I haven't seen the elusive seal yet (might he be on a par with the lemmings of Ballyhoo??) I just can't wait to see some walrus (one walrus, two walri???)- they are totally my favourite animals up here!! And all else is good too, the sea is flattish, we have engine assisted sail in operation to keep our average up and hopefully get to Nome or near enough before the pink and purple bits from the North on the grib hit us!!! Sky is still various shades of grey and sometimes I am sure I can see blue bits from the corner of my eye!! Water temp has shot back up to 8.6C-positively balmy compared to what must have been a particularly cold bit yesterday!! Still- unlikely anyone will be able to convince me to dive in!! Not much else to report at the moment really, but we are making good progress. Already our list of jobs for Nome is getting long aswell!!! We are now north of Weeg, Inverness, Plockers and Muckle Flugga too- how exciting!!! but still a wee bit to go for me if I want to get further north than I have been before on a boat though!!! (80N!!!)

Time for a snooze and hopefully some dreams of inspirational things to do with cabbage and potatoes for dinner!!!

Hope everyone is well.

Lots of love,


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Pizza Delivery in the Bering Sea??

A curious thing happened on my 0500 watch yesterday. As I was sitting on deck wondering if any patches of blue would show up through the grey murk overhead, or whether the grey murk would do something nasty if I shook the second reef out, I saw a pizza box go floating by. Followed by 10 paper plates over half an hour. How did they get there? Did the guys on the US Coastguard ship that we saw have pizza for dinner? And surely there should have been more than one pizza box for 10 plates?

The Bering has been refreshingly free of garbage from the land. But in a twisted way, it was kinda nice to think that someone else is up here sharing this grey sea with us, probably not too far away in the grey murk.

Lots of guillemots (sp?), puffins and petrels. Also came across a seal late last night. All very benign now and just sitting on deck marvelling at how many shades of grey there are. We're now much further north than Inverness, so this is the furtherest north I've ever been...and getting furtherer by the hour! Love to all, K.


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6338 16636 Sparkling greenish brown - on the nose again

Wouldn't you know! 60 miles to Nome, 20 kts on the nose and building. 2 reefs, half heady, engine, all straining to get us there - but the sun is out and the sea is showering broken olive glassy garlands in sparkles and spangles and cascades - quite different from the blue Pacific we all know and love and worth the journey. Sunshine makes such a difference. Doubt we'll make Nome anytime before about midday tomorrow - Independence Day! - but the harbour works 24/7, I'm assured so we'll find somewhere to park and probably sleep.

Pam J - thanks for advice - I'm going to let things develop for a bit and then try a hot spoon handle. And the rest of you can work that out if you can! Reports will follow whenever necessary. Pam, if you need to contact me urgently, the website is probably the quickest way, but will take a day or so. Iridium is not working for me properly at the mo. If we get to Nome, I may have a mobile number.

Iff everything works out with to-do list, we will aim to leave Nome in minimum time - perhaps Monday. Will depend on ice reports en route to and at Barrow. But right now - no way I'm going to sleep in these conditions so I'm going to assume that Chichester was right - when it all goes TU - or, as George Carlin definitely would have said, Tits Up, it's time for a G & T. I suspect there might be a photo.


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