Status Report

Berrimilla Down Under Mars Status Report 25 May 2008

By SpaceRef Editor
May 25, 2008
Filed under , ,
Berrimilla Down Under Mars Status Report 25 May 2008

SUNDAY, 25 MAY 2008

McQ: fairly random selection of thoughts

After extensive clinical trials I can officially sanction large ziploc bags as the best boot liners I have come across to date- they are so good that I have discarded my first pair of warm but soggy socks in favour of anew clean dry pair- normally I owuld eek out the soggy pair a little longer but I am so confident in the ability of the ziplocs that I have gone for a new pair. Bear in mind dry socks oft become a precious and rare commodity on board and the utmost should be done to preserve, at all times.

Also, Just below Clam Lagoon lies Yippee Shoal which is just to the North and West of Lucky Point!!! I wonder what happened round there??Do you think they really meant ‘yippee’ when they found the shoal??!!

Fair bit of easterly breeze at the mo, so screeching reaching North- past 41N so not long till only 10 degrees latitude to cover (as Alex points out tho’ we do need to sail the hypotenuse!!)

Mum, please could you get dad a copy of ‘Frozen in Time’ about the ill fated Franklin Expedition to discover the NWP. Alex gave me a copy before we left and I have just started reading it- gripping stuff and I think dad will enjoy too, if he ahsn’t already read it. Tinned food- who knew??!!!

Irish Stew and creamed corn for dinner, am quite partial to those two tins together, they actually taste of something, I think must be what it is!! Fingers crossed we don’t get lead poisoning!! And used the penultimate meals worth of pots- finally!!!

Wee snooze now before what I have named Black Watch (8-10pm no moon just black gunky sea and sky mixed together and you can barely see the mast from the cockpit)

lots of love



Congrats on wedding last week N&A, heard it was lovely from Carie. Sorry I didn’t get my best wishes in in time- knew it round about nowish but as you know the days disappear out here and become meaningless, so I missed it!! Wish i could have been there… maybe see you Sydney at Christmas?? Bol xxx


4113.07 17328.33 evening update Sun 25/05/2008 08:57

Still stonking along – wind E about 15 – big jib rolled in a few turns and one reef. Grib says more of this, all day tomorrow – hope so and hope it doesn’t increase too much. Iff we get lucky, we might just slip between two systems, but that’s serious wishful thinking and I must wash my mouth out with soap – or at least my finger tips. We had six albatrosses wheeling and circling and gawping at us for most of today – all the same sort, black browed, as described earlier. I think at least two of them have been with us for about a week. Lovely to watch them formation flying – sometimes two, sometimes four, lazily soaring and dipping back to the surface, airy grace and symmetry.

Our local advisor says that up here, May through July, the Bering Sea and probably as far down as here tends to be permanently overcast, low cloudbase some mist and fog. That’s what we’ve got. Getting through Amchitka will be a bit of a challenge – to be met when we see what we’ve got but not to be attempted against the tide and only in daylight. It’d 50 miles wide, but quite shallow in the middle, and the bottom rises from gerzillions to tens of metres in a very short distance, very strong tides, often against the wind, so very like the SE corner of OZ, of what we know!

McQ cooking, then I’m on deck for a couple of clank and dammy hours. The nights seem very long in two hour stints – three is almost better, but that last hour really drags, so we’re sticking to the 2 hour routine.

Had in mind to write about some of Berri’s systems for anyone else who is thinking about long distance sailing. Perhaps if tomorrow is reasonably benign, that’ll be the go.


4010.33 17315.01 North coast of Tasmania in the S2H!

Grey, translucent overcast – tinges of pink and orange as the sun does its best – even, ethereally, glimpses of milky blue jade universe, evanescent, distant but near. As my Dad used to say during those endless English winters in similar conditions, just enough blue to patch a Dutchman’s trousers. That was back then, when we all thought that the Dutch went around in clogs and blue baggy pants like in the fairy stories. Banks of mist all around – glossy, polished calm surface with complex swell pattern, long and rolling and all over the place but seems to be a biggie from the ESE in there somewhere. Motor running, everything waterfall wet, moisture rilling and dripping everywhere but great because it washes the caked salt out of the lines and the blocks and all the bearings, so the lines are soft and pliable again and the blocks run properly. If salt weren’t hygroscopic, my shorts would have crackled last time I took them off – instead, they just sort of creaked and remained in the shape they were – they would have stood up on their own. Had to flatten and subdue them with our mega adjustable spanner and stomp them into a plastic bag where, I hope, they will fester until Dutch. Revolting instant coffee and sweetened condensed milk on the go to remind me that offices ain’t where I want to be.

Which was a long and wordy scene setting for – dolphins! – about 50 of them, leaping and snorting and racing around Berri under the mirror surface – absolute delight to watch and hear and participate. Smallish, dark grey backs with a vivid white curved patch from roughly below the dorsal fin all the way back to the tail and the tail has a white stripe around the outline of the top surface. Impossible to photograph with the camera I have with me – it’s very clever but desperately slow between shutter push and actual photo so have to judge timing and focus way early and I’ve only cracked one passable pic and even then the dolphin is out of focus. Oh for the Nikon at times like these but way too salty and humid out here.

On which note, (clank and dammy and cold…) time for another BAPTO for things that really work. This one should have got up on the last website as well but can’t remember. We’ve got a Sea Rug each – Australian design, (I think – Speeds, could you check please) and it does exactly what is claimed for it – works when wet, either way up, depending on circumstances and it’s all I need in these conditions to keep me warm and dry at night. McQ buries herself under searug, arctic sleeping bag, various sheetlike thingies and a polar fleece blanket but she’s a sensitive soul. On the last gig, my rug worked as a sort of tent on the way home because we did not have time to re-install the insulation and condensation flooded the old bus shelter. It soaked up the drips and streams and at least kept the water off my polar blanket and ultimately my skin. Great gear. Still have that rug as well – now rather tatty – using it as a pillow. When it gets cold – which it won’t, unless we get stuck for the winter somewhere, (average temp across the top during the time we expect to be up there is about 0 – 10 degrees C – an English summer’s day) I have three thermal survival bags that we can stuff searugs or whatever anyone fancies into and stay toasty. Maybe!


Noon 4034.23 17322.16 Sun 25/05/2008 03:14

Looking a bit more reasonable out there today. Fitful sunlight through the mist, beck to the big jib and doing 6.5 towards Amchitka. Our day of painful stitching on the little sail has survived with attitude – will probably get us all the way to wherever so if no big sewing machine in Dutch, we’ll not fret. Berri slipping through the water almost silently – what a change it is to be in benign conditions! The only – and more or less continuous noise – is Lizzie whizzing away at the back – has kept the batteries fully charged all the way – Fantastic. If OK with US Immigration, we might call in at Adak for fuel and freshies if we do go through Amchitka. Was once a cold war US Naval Air Station – now handed over to local Aleut community.


SpaceRef staff editor.