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December 27, 2005

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Dec. 27, 2005

St Helena is more remote than the Canadian north but prices were fair.  We took 8 drums of fuel of 200 liters each at 1.20 Can. per liter plus $129.00 for delivery.  They had to find, and fill the drums with the fuel truck, load 4 drums on each water taxi with the big crane and deliver them to us where we were anchored.  They had an engine driven pump that would pump out of each drum and move the hose to the next.  It is a rudimentary system but it worked good.  The workers are all very careful and competent and we got good clean fuel.  We liked the place and the people and hope to go back again before they get an airport.

Arrived in Cape Town at 10:30, on Dec 21st.   Nice to get in a harbor after you have been bouncing for a while.  Since we left the Canaries on Nov 13 we have traveled 4,777 miles.  The last 3,000 miles has been battling headwinds and current which is always rougher riding.  We did the last 1716 miles from St Helena in 262.75 hours at an average speed of 6.53 kts with head winds from 5 to 30 Kts.

We crossed the Prime Meridian, 00°00 at 01:19z Dec.13 and are now in the eastern hemisphere.  The International Date Line is generally 180* east or west but where we will be crossing near the Aleutian Islands it takes a turn so we will be crossing the IDL before we get to 180* west.  We will be south of the equator for about 5 months, but won’t feel real warm weather until we get to Australia because of cooler seas until then. 

Crossed the Tropic of Capricorn, 23° 30’ South on Dec 14 at 11:58.  We were in the tropics 28 days, 23 traveling, 2 days at Cape Verdes and 3 at St. Helena.      . 

Crossed 29° 28’ S,  011° 10’ E at 14:15 on Dec 17th.  This marks half way around the world from our turn around point 65° 30’n, 168° 50’w just 15 miles south of Bering Strait.  This mark of longitude is directly 180 degrees from that start but only time will tell how close it is to half way in actual miles to travel.  We have gone 11,115 nm miles since then to this position and 14,404 nm since Dunvegan. 

Most people crossing the Atlantic Ocean is from west to east or east to west.  I dare say we crossed it from west to east and north to south.  I’m not sure if the Atlantic starts at the Arctic Circle or South tip of Greenland.  From Cape Farvel on the southern tip of Greenland to Cape Town we traveled 7280 nm through the Atlantic and will have a few miles yet before we pass the Cape of Good Hope and enter the Indian Ocean.  From the Arctic Circle to Cape town is 7961 miles.

While we are doing the numbers, we were informed by the Polar Institute at Cambridge University in Britain that we are the 103rd boat to go through the NWP.  We are only the 4th Canadian pleasure boat to go through.  They give credit only to boats going from the Atlantic to the Pacific or vise versa.  Our trip will likely produce a few firsts, however that wasn’t the intention of the trip nor will it be a highlight.  We wanted a unique and exciting trip that we could share with friends and family, and it has exceeded our expectations.  The Northwest Passage from the Pacific Arctic Circle to the Atlantic Arctic Circle was 3518 miles and took us 54 days.

When we left Barrow heading east the nights were twilight, but it wasn’t long before we had darkness.   Soon darkness was significant and we couldn’t travel through ice except very slowly or not at all.  Coming by Greenland we had less than 11 hours of sun up.  From the Azores it increased slowly because the sun was going south too.  When we got passed Cape Verdes the days were lengthening faster and are still.  We passed under the sun on Dec 13th or 14th.  Now, days are lengthening at about 5 minutes per day due to us being farther south every day.  The sun is now up over 14 hours and gaining.  This is nice especially when we have full moon to lighten our night world at times.

We’ve been on an African safari, 200 km from Cape Town.  The Volvo Ocean Race is in Cape Town and had an “in Port” race Dec 26th which we watched.  They are leaving here Jan 2nd, about the same time as us.  The place is beautiful and the ladies are superb in their warm weather gear.