Status Report

Berrimilla Down Under Mars Status Report 16 June 2008

By SpaceRef Editor
June 16, 2008
Filed under , ,
Berrimilla Down Under Mars Status Report 16 June 2008

MONDAY, 16 JUNE 2008 Seems it does.

OK – direct bloggery from now on. Will need to be much more careful! Still in the lobby of the Grand Illusion …about to check whether the AIS box has arrived.


Test flight

This is to test the direct link to the website. Speeds, Kimbra says she sent you an interesting photo of a Wombat’s Hansdhake and she suggests that you use that if you need inspiration.

Katherine – lovely to talk to you – enjoy the rest of Shanghai and Beijing. xxo Chizzo – I’ll check the website to see whether works.


And at last a burble.

The world runs on fish meal! You’d better believe it. Dave Boisseau (Huge BAPTO please) our contact here has helped us enormously – really could not have done it without him. He is the manager of the Westward fish processing plant in Captains Bay, now working 24 hours/;day processing pollock. He took us around the plant this morning – those of us not too hung over, that is – more later – and the scale and complexity of the operation is stunning. Fish is pumped out of the boats at one end and fillets, surimi, fish meal, fish oil and roe come out at the other end. One small example of the complexity – fish meal contains calcium carbonate wnd it is fed to people, animals, chickens and crops. The calcium carbonate content has to be regulated so that the meal that goes to chickens is enough to ensure that the eggshells are thick enough not to break in the boxes on the supermarket shelves yet not so thick that the cook in the fast food diner at the truck stop on Highway 66 can still break eggs into a frying pan one handed without having to bang them too hard on the pan. And the unfortunate pollock is almost completely utilised – 27 to 30% as fillets and surimi and high value product and the rest as meal. Dave sifted through the tiny amount of actual waste product and pulled out a small hard yellow bead – the lens from a pollock’s eye – yellow from the cooking process.

Surimi – google it – is white, tasteless paste that becomes almost anything you want it to be by adding flavour and colouring and texture – a surimi steak is almost indistinguishable from a real one apparently. Think crab stick, if you live in Oz. And ther smell will be in my clothes for ever!

Berri progress – seems to be under control. Leif Hagen (another Huge BAPTO please) made us a couple of shrouds by email and on a handshake – Leif Hagen Yacht Systems and Rigging, – and we fitted therm yesterday – eureka! And Dwayne at Harris has sorted the autopilot connectors, his oppo is working on the backup watermaker motor and they haved ordered a new AIS black box so we can follow the fishing boats and avoid them. McQ and Kimbra did a huge shop yesterday and we’ll load tomorrow and the plan is to leave around midday on Monday 16. There seems to be enough open water to the north to get to Nome, but we might have to watch and wait a bit if it closes again.

And last night, we were invited to dinner – thanks Sue! – and met the crew of another boat going the same way as us – no publicity, home built, Juan, Luisa, Diego from Spain and Sean from Oz – so we may have company. Significant Consultation was carried out, followed, I’m told, by some even fiercer consultation back in the bar here – concoctions known as Duck Farts – kahlua at the bottom, bailey’s in the middle and crown whisky on top. Erk. Not everyone made breakfast or the fishery.

PMcQ – thanks for nice bottle. And thanks to all the gustbookers and those of you that have emailed us. I don’t know till we get out there how the communications will work from here, but it’s almost certainly iridium or nothing. Appendages crossed on that one. And a huge thank you to Speedy, who, I’m sure, is decorating his frock for the next round.

More before we go if I can get organised. Else, see ya out there where it starts to get difficult.


In the Hall of the Aleutian Kings – actually, the lobby of the grand aleutian

The place is starting to smell of fish. I cycle past the air extractor of the Unisea processing plant several times a day and it’s pushing out what feels like almost solid fishy odour. And there’s a chute churning out real fish as well – I think the rejects from the line.

Yummy! And now we have rolling foggy rain and not much wind, so it hangs around. And everything is drab grey beige muddy

We have a few things still to do – fresh food, waiting for delivery of new AIS black box, removing barnacles – Wunderbars, I will inflate our rubber ducky and just reach under the boat and scrape them off. Cold, wet work! – and I have to try to waterproof a stanchion base that is leaking. Will be difficult if the rain doesn’t stop and serves me right for leaving it till the last minute. And I have to return borrowed bike, phone, backpack and other goodies to Dave B. Don’t know whether there will be departure party or photos – unlikely, I think, as David W is by now transiting Chicago or somewhere equally awful.

Have given the Rat a haircut – Swiss army knife scissors in front of the mirror – looking motheaten and scrofulous.

Much later – main food packed into boat, de-barnacled, no AIS yet, McQ and K buying the freshies and the Boot Room Rat doing all the admin things – and lookingt for a sponge and silicone spray – and gerttring grey mud spray in a strip – well, everywhere actually – over new Henri pants and Mustang jacket. And catching up with our Spanish friends and exchanging data and frequencies and other useful stuff.

Their boat is called Amodin~a with the squiggle over the n. Home built from scrap, they say. Impressive, and very experienced.

Time to go out in ther mud again.


Testing Comms

Here in the radio room, we’re getting geared up for the next stretch.

Today has been a very special one. My old friend Duncan, who, two years ago was terribly injured by a Pains – Wessex white handflare. With the help of many friends and real stars and the sensational singers and actors from the London School of Speech & Drama, tonight, put on a show at the open air Chiltern Shakespeare Theatre. He Produced it. What a great night. This he did to raise money for the Wexham Park Hospital Ventilator Fund. A project started by his devoted wife, Sally, who kept vigil by his bedside for 10 months (5 in intensive care). Duncan, was kept alive by one of these machines. Sally (and you don’t argue with her) decided that they needed another one. Which they do. They cost #35,000 each. And, we’re nearly there now. At the time of the accident, I was filming Duncan, demonstrating the safe use of distress signals. We were making a Yachtmaster/Day Skipper DVD for our pension funds. So captured on video was the last shot when everything went so desperately wrong. You may well be asking yourselves, ‘what’s all this got to do with Berrimilla’? Lots. Duncan had made contact with Alex, during the first Berrimilla adventure with Pete and of course like all of us, had become a fan. After the accident, Alex, made it his business to visit Duncan, in hospital on several occasions. This, from half way across the World. Lifting his will to live by miles, well nautical miles really. Because that’s what Alex does.

I was filming tonight’s event. Under normal circs, I never use a tape twice. But that which once recorded a scene of horror has been erased with singing and joy. Free at last.

We are all of us connected.



SpaceRef staff editor.