28 December 2013

My hams are improving the whole time and I’m having a few slices for lunch everyday now. It makes a real good change from tinned meat. Today I had some with a few cashews, olives, crackers and water laced with lemon juice. At home I would be having a pie or a bacon roll so I’m probably eating healthier out here.

I had to squeeze down aft yesterday to get a box from one of the aft lockers. It was a struggle. There was hardly any room to move round in. Either I’ve grown bigger or Elsi has shrunk because I never had that trouble getting in and out of there 20 years ago.

We are moving towards an impressive mountain range and in just over a couple of day’s time we’ll float right over the top of it. From the city of Vitoria a massive chain of underwater mountains stretches out east 600 miles into the South Atlantic to the island of Trinadade. In the northern hemisphere it would be roughly the distance from Shetland to London. It is toweringly steep in places; rising from 4000 m below sea level, on both the north and south sides, to a summit pinnacle just 11 metres below the surface. We’ll pass over some of the northern range tomorrow afternoon and cross near to the main ridge sometime on Monday night.
It’s just as well it’s in this part of the world. If it were a thousand miles south of here the steepness of the contours would cause some pretty dangerous seas.

We tend to think that world geography has huge highs and lows. Mount Everest is about five miles high and the Mariana Trench, in the southwest Pacific, is about six miles deep. And they are massive to us, on a human scale. But on a global scale they begin to shrink by comparison. If you look at a map of the world and try to find Burra Isle, which is about five miles long, you’ll see it’s only a dot (if you find it at all), about the thickness of a sheet of paper. So, if you laid one sheet of paper on top of your map and another under it that would be the highest and lowest points of our planet. On a global scale the slim crust above and below us is a lot thinner than we think.

Well, that’s enough geography for one day! We are still going well. Each day is much the same in this part of the ocean. The sky was full of clouds this morning and I wondered what was going to come of it. The wind picked up very slightly but nothing of any consequence and by 1000 it was clear again, sunny and warm.
Now (1800) though the wind has fallen light. It’s still enough to keep us moving but we won’t make 100nm tomorrow if it stays like this all night.
Thanks very much to you all again for all your messages and good wishes. It’s much appreciated and keeps my spirits up. Thank you all.

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