Berrimilla Down Under Mars Status Report 14 April 2008

MONDAY, 14 APRIL 2008

Alex 2723.24 15625.16

The moon has just gone down and the universe is spread in all its magnificence across the sky - indescribable experience which you tend to forget about in the big city. Or maybe the whole shebang is really a small segment of the tiny brain of a little dog on a smoky planet in a parallel universe not very far from here and all our activity is just the energising of an idle thought that it needs to find a convenient tree.

Cetaceans - the three we saw were olive greenish brown, very big, with a long smooth gliding motion, no tails visible and a small triangular fin a long way back towards the tail. Not like the usual humpbacks at all. I looked for the CSIRO recognition chart before we left, I really did. And a good bird book.

Stephen, we're abeam Brisvegas now and about 160 miles out - probably too late to deliver a slab of the Dublin Doctor but thanks for the thought.

Irwin, thanks again and all seems ok out here, so far.

Hi to Belmore South - G'day Funsters, Yo the Wunderbars, Hi again to the AllStars. Hope you all get something interesting out of this and it's good to have you along.

POSTED BY BERRIMILLA DOWNUNDERMARS AT 16:27

McQ Do we need to appoint a Snickers Liaison Officer?

What a disaster- we are halfway through our entire snickers supply for the whole trip and this is only, day 5 or something... What a terrible terrible oversight... we both like lime juice, we both like cheese, mustard, dark chocolate,snakes etc all this got taken into account!! but we never thought to mention to each other that we both like snickers quite a lot and now look whats happened?? What are we going to do??? If anyone would like to commandeer a Mars confectionary ship crossing the Pacific, that would be much obliged and we can rendevous at a mutually convenient time and location. Any help on this matter would be much appreciated.

The Donk is off, finally. Whilst its nice to have a bit of cockpit back (that was previously devoted to the big black diesel tank) it probably wasn't considered that we would be motoring this much this early on in the trip and it might prove in our interests not to consume too much just now... though Berri's diet is beginning to work and she is starting to feel a wee bit more spritely and less heffalumpy!!!! I was watching the wind come and go this afternoon and everytime it looked set to stay I would go sort the foredeck and pole out and come back ready for some headsail and the wind would die off completely and so I would go forward and put everything away. This happened about 3 times and I could feel the wind gods chuckling to themselves up in the sky as I yo-yo'ed about!! Eventually, thought, thats it, put the headsail up anyway and turned the engine off- peace at last!!!

There is still a fair swell form the SE, which can be a wee bit disconcerting, when the sea state is fairly calm on top of that. A big swell means that somewhere something is brewing and with the grib files (apparently the rule of grib here is: direction accurate, but double the strength!!) showing nearly 30knots tomorrow, we could be in for a wild ole' ride!!!

Oh, I nearly forgot, I nearly forgot- we saw three whales this afternoon. I have seen one or two whales ion my time, from various boats and distances but from the deck of wee Berri these three were enormous. Absolutely mesmerisingly gargantuan, just off our starboard beam heading south. We don't have our RCG (TLA for remedial cetation guide) but we think they might have been fin whales. We watched for a while, certainly I was in awe of being so close to these amazing creatures that look so big and unwieldly stuck on a beach or hanging from a museum roof but just so incredibly beautiful and graceful in the (their) ocean. Reminding us, too, just how small and insignificant we really are in this world...

Wind is just starting to fill in and I can feel the momentum picking up, might be time for a drive... Finished the first of the trilogy of four... am now an expert on vogons and their pooetry and thoroughly looking forward to seeing Kimbra on the dock woith Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters waiting for us... cool!!!! As most of my friends will know when I pick up a good book I don't tend to do anything else sensible (like sleep) until I am finished it, so a drive will be a good distraction!!! and then I can head off to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe after dinner this evening, as it were...

Lots of love McQ x

POSTED BY BERRIMILLA DOWNUNDERMARS AT 09:59

McQ: Bacon Butties for Breakkie

A beautiful day out here in the Ocean... In fact today would be the perfect day for lying on a beach and getting a sun tan, that is to say there isn't a zephyr of a breeze... the donk is on, and has been for some time now... every feasible container has been filled with freshly squeezed pacific and I don't think we are going to go thirsty for the time being!!!

It is a particularly special day today, for various reasons... firstly, we have broken out the first of the saved Guardian Crosswords and New Scientists... secondly, I am going to begin HHGTTG and thirdly today might just be included as a hair management day (so I need to find my hairbrush!!!)

All this we marked with large bacon butties for breakfast.

It doesn't look as though there is going to be much wind for most of today but I think it seems that it will fill in later, 20-30 knots from behind us... yee ha!!! We seem to be just skirting with the edge of the current too- finally!!!!

Oh and the freckles are beginning to amalgamate... lots of love McQ

POSTED BY BERRIMILLA DOWNUNDERMARS AT 09:24

Idiom and old boots - noon 2823.17 15546.06

I have explained to McQ that in our rich and idiomatic Australian version of Hitchiker English, the concept of a freckle just might- might - be Something Completely Different and the idea of amalgamating them could be a contortion in all sorts of ways. Or just an interesting problem for a geneticist. Ho Hum! I'm working on the crossword clue - something along the lines of 'Transition on the green?' (3,2,3) perhaps, although that's just too easy. Speedy, a prize for the first correct entry?

And I've just re-read an article by Ian McEwan in which he shows how difficult it will be to get the world population to even agree, let alone act in any sort of cohesive way, to do anything about climate change and global warming. Followed by another by George Monbiot in the Guardian Weekly in which he has the UK government equating the lives of poor people in Africa according to a 'shadow price of carbon' at around $50 a tonne. Grim.

But I like McEwan's metaphor for the problem. He chose to spend some time in an icebound ship with some other concerned people. To get dressed to go out on the ice, they had to pass through the 'boot room' where all the protective clothing was kept. Each person had their own storage space, but some were more careful - or just less irresponsible - than others. McEwan shows how just one irresponsible 'borrowing' by one person of another's boots can lead to chaos, even amongst people who are highly intelligent, concerned and motivated. Individual actions can be enormously destructive.

So the boot room it is.

Noon position 2823.17 15546.06 DTD 5413 so distance made good 107 nm. Perhaps not the best use of diesel, but hanging on to it is not necessarily the right decision either.

The current now appears to be taking us west, so we are in the top of the loop. I hope.

POSTED BY BERRIMILLA DOWNUNDERMARS AT 09:21

Please follow SpaceRef on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.