Status Report

Berrimilla Down Under Mars Status Report 22 May 2008

By SpaceRef Editor
May 22, 2008
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Berrimilla Down Under Mars Status Report 22 May 2008


3632.23 17109.20 Thu 22/05/2008 20:51

Moving satisfactorily NE towards the barn door. No predictions.

Lurking dangers – passed a white buoy about 10 metres to stbd. Looked as if it was supporting something so looked further and yep – 200 metes away, another one, with a flagpole. Cods and wallops – how deep is this stuff? Did we run over it? Has it escaped from somewhere else or is there a fishing boat around? Half an hour later, big white fishing boat hoons up over the horizon to the SW and towards the gear. At least one answer…

Then, during a very black night, I decided a smock was the way to go too keep warm, took a quick squizz around the horizon and nothing in sight, went down found smock and brought it to the cockpit where I sat to leeward and struggled into it (easier down below, standing rather than sitting) stuck my head out of the top and there off the stbd bow, about a mile away, a vessel’s lights crossing from right to left – so we are the give way vessel. Very quick sort of sheets, Kevvo etc and we’re heading east and behind him but a close shave – no idea whether he was trawling, long lining or what, but the odd thing was that I could see a red light all the way to the horizon, so might have been part of a fishing signal. Impossible to work out what the lights mean on some of these boats.

Then, next watch, lights on the horizon, port quarter. Constant bearing, 2 white, one green so we stand on. Watch him closely and about 2 miles away, a definite turn to starboard and he’s headed behind us. Was a very big ship, bulk carrier of some sort, heading roughly east. My AIS black box has not worked since leaving Newcastle with it’s hundreds of ships, so I don’t know any more

Can someone please tell me how Scott is going on Everest?


noon @ 1130 3518.03 16959.22 Thu 22/05/2008 03:36

dtd 1509 dmg 59 GPS trip log 5540 (departed @ 342) end of our 6th week at sea actual dmg 4310 distance lost 1230. Well, those are the numbers but there may be different interpretations!

Now that conditions are reasonably benign, I have managed to disassemble my mp3 player and furbish its batteries and it seems to be charging again, though only holding a charge for perhaps half an hour. With luck, this will improve with every charge.

But I cranked up part 2 of 1000 years in a Day (inspired gift,H – thanks xx) and there’s a burst of Shakespeare at the beginning – not acknowledged but I think it’s a sonnet, in which the narrator, outcast and friendless and unhappy, remembers his love -‘…when I think of thee…for then I scorn to change my state with kings’. Watching an albatross in full arrogant, subtle majesty spearing in at three inches above sea level, undulating with every wave, wings flexibly rigid, massive anhedral and sometimes the little out turn at the tip making a wide omega as the very last fibre of the outboard feather strokes the surface, completely casual, having a look at us as it flows past and a tiny almost supercilious lift of one leading edge up into a high, vertically banked climbing turn (the Stormy Petrels seem to do full Immelmanns right on the surface, not these guys- way outside the design envelope for the airframe)or – sometimes – fanning what tail it has, extending its feet as whopping airbrakes, it plonks itself on the surface a boat length away and contemplates us with its black shrouded eyes, its long hook tipped beak wagging gently at us – clumsy, clod footed humans in a daft contraption trying to cross my ocean!

..’for then I scorn to change my state with kings’.


McQ: woo-hoo, think I might have over caffeinated myself this morning!!

It feels like a monday morning, but in a good way, but i don’t think it is! Thursday, apparently, according to my watch, though I’ve long since stopped registering days- they matter not one iota out here!! Maybe its the cwoffee i just had followed by museli and un-dried fruit for brekkie. Awesome!!

We have around 5knotters from the SE… woo hoo!!! So, I guess we watch this space and hopefully it will just build all day. At the mo we have the donk on and are pointing direct to Dutch… woo hoo!! The latest Grib I’ve seen is showing it build to 20knots SE by this evening and maybe up to 25/30ish through the night… should give us a wee boost anyway!! Calm-glassy sea at the moment too, be v nice if it takes its time to build too.

We are currently at 35 14N so we are more north than Sydney is South… woo hoo!!! And boy you can tell, woolly hat on at 1030 in the morning!! Water 18C!! I used to swim off our boat in Scotland (they’d tie a rope to me and I’d go swimming- I think it used to be fun but that may just be cause thats what they kept telling me!!) and I remember swimming, proper laps of the boat, in 11C… which seems very, very cold… 18C splashes send shivers!!

I remembered the sensible, interesting (perhaps) stuff I was going to say. I was on deck yesterday, and suddenly it struck me as to just how small we are, not relative to the ocean/in the big scheme of things but actually physically, we are a tiny, tiny 33ft boat!!! I was standing in the cockpit- only room for 1 to stand!!(2 can sit, one either side.) and if you lose your balance over a big wave, your neck catches on the spray hood if you fall forward or the tiller pokes your kidneys if you fall back (which makes me sound like a very short and rotund michelin man, I guess!!) The bow, slicing through waves, felt barely arms length away. It is the sort of boat that my mum and non sailor friends will see at our destination and say ‘crikey, you came all the way here on that???’ Actually, it might be my sailor friends who only ever go anywhere on huge big racing boats, who wonder that!! But Berri is a proper, proper boat, she may be small but she is just brilliant. She might not get polished to gleaming white in the harbour everyday, she might not get her rusty bits Y-10’d and hosed down in a water ban before the owner pops down but I know if I were a boat I would far, far, far prefer to be a proper boat that gets taken across oceans and shown the world!!

My random thought process then goes on to ramble in my head about the Dolphin 3 in Pittwater and the man who brought his mast down on the way in to Lymington- (how they connected I can’t remember but they are the thoughts now floating around in my heid) I’ll save those for tomorrow maybe!!

Lots of love
ps Anyone seen or heard from Carie?????


Just to confirm 3504.49 16946.16 @ 0700 sydney

Spoke to Carla – wonderful – made my day!

First time in weeks that conditions have allowed this – if you are being tossed bodily around a confined space, fiddling with very delicate sim gates and trying to keep everything from flying around and also dry is not really a goer. Anyway, I swapped sim cads between handsets. The xsat sim does work for data in both handsets, but not always first time, every time. Sometimes it is rejected before dialling, sometimes while verifying at the very end of the connection process, and sometimes it connects so I think it must be a problem between the sim card and the handsets. As my original C & W sim works fine in both handsets, perhaps the xsat sim may have slightly flaky contacts – I dont know. WD40 on a tissue perhaps? I have tried again to dial the xsat sim’s own number – 00881631633526 – and the automated ‘please do not hang up’ voice tells me that the number is ‘not in service please check the number’ and I do not get as far as the voicemail prompt to enter a password. I can live with this, but it does indicate that something is wrong somewhere.

We’re motoring – a couple of albatrosses with us all night and this morning – 6 ft wingspan. dark grey brown over wings, white body but black around eyes, light beige beak, grey brown under wings but with whiter dappled streak along the length mid chord. Remind me of the Falklands black browed version. Stunningly beautiful birds, sweeping majesty as they caress the water – you can sometimes see the downdraft on the surface when its mirrored. They fly out in front, always approach from behind or one side, and sometimes alight on the water a hundred metres or so ahead and watch us pass. Big birds, but nowhere as big as the southern wanderer.

And we have our own Stormy Petrel – opposite end of the scale – appears to flollop along diving, swerving, almost tumbling over the surface – requires enormous precision – I’ve seen them in huge winds blasted by spray just doing their thing – a real delight to watch.

And back to Cook’s decisions – he’d be becalmed again, not even able to move in this. We can motor north – completely different attitude to time and the achievement of objectives.


SpaceRef staff editor.