Posted by: Helena Smalman-Smith | January 28, 2012

Day 55: Under 900nm to go!

OK, not the most original of subject lines, and you can see what else will be coming, but it’s exciting to us! R celebrated by getting out a fresh sun hat (the volunteer ones from Dorney with added chin straps). His other one was foul.

But much better than this was to start the day with the great news from Geraint that he has a new job at last AND, bless you, celebrated by making a donation to our charities! How amazingly generous is that! Most people would understandably book a skiing holiday or treat themselves in such a situation (and quite reasonably so, Baz). Thank you SO MUCH for this as well as all your message support. Interestingly, you are the 3rd follower of this blog who has got a job from a position of not having one whilst we’ve been at sea!

Other than that, the only excitement of the day was a large sea creature that H spotted late afternoon approaching fast from behind the boat and swimming past not far to the right. It seemed to roll on its back to show it had a pale stomach, but a black back. Did this a couple of times and then swam under the stern of the boat before showing a dorsal fin a bit like a whale, but the white belly seems odd, and we wondered if it might have been a shark. Swam quite fast and it would have been quite a small whale too. Later it did another swim past along side and there seemed to be a white bit on its side as if it were an orca – independent solo Janice Jakait has reported seeing these, but we didn’t actually think they were much around in this part of the ocean. Any ideas?

We’ve been having limited success with lots of puzzles today:
Heidi – we don’t know what you get if you cross an animal with the periodic table (you’re SUCH a chemist), and suspect it isn’t an element elephant, bull element or element seal…

Charleses, love the latest batch of tube station puzzles, but you’re right that they’re getting harder:
Present for rabbits = Warren street (Warren’s Treat)
Ex-mayor seems quite sick = Kensal Green
A Regal Movement – R thinks Queensway, I think Queen Anne’s, Gate but am not sure that is a station and maybe only a street!
Give entrance to a home County = Surrey Quays/Keys?
Leave the Train? – no idea!
Take a car – no idea unless it’s just Vauxhall…

Andrew Marsden – R says great to hear from you and congrats to you and Rachel on the birth of your baby (name?). Where are you living now? Will be in touch when we get back.

Horse – good to hear from you. Do the lightweights and coxes get a different menu at the GB dinner, or do you heavyweights just have more roast potatoes. Good luck with your erg test next week – you will be doing 5k a lot faster than we will that day! Erg like a shark’s following you…

Also thanks to Karon P, Robert and Caroline (Toyn?). Jo Williamson (was this a typo for Jon?), Steph H-G, Helen, Mel, Mary, King Philip the Cat Lover, the Murray-Walkers, Sheila Brown, and to Heff for the info on who might be in the York 8 this term!

Tom Lee wisely pointed out that I had omitted the dripping condensation from the ceiling and hatches in my cabin description. True, it’s yukky, but also quite cooling! Do you wish you were here, Tom? Thinking about exercising your option? 😉

As always, our direction has largely been at the mercy of the conditions – they SHOULD veer more tomorrow and for the few days following, so that we can go more west again. Wall to wall sunshine today has let the batteries charge up, which is good – it’s been cloudy a lot recently. I gather it is rather chilly in the UK – keep sending us those weather horror stories!

Mary says Tommy is catching us – Mel, can you take on giving us daily reports on how he’s doing since you’re such a skilled website watcher? And Lisa, I know I said I didn’t want to hear much, but can you tell me where Janice is? Can’t remember where she’s heading for either…


  1. The white belly could easily be an orca. We had a family of them visit us when we were a similar distance as you are out of Barbados in ’97.
    Leave the train is possibly ‘Aldgate’. We used to hear the shout. “Aldgate up and all gate off!”. It’s a London thing.
    Roger G

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