We are commencing our descent into Lajes, Flores.

Mon 30 Jun 2014 12:29
And the lovely stewardess has collected my empties, checked discreetly that my seat belt is nicely adjusted, and plumped my head cushion..... In fact, back in the real world (of which more later) there is a similar set of procedures onboard Fleck, as we approach our destination. Where did I put my 'last port clearance' (the most important document, bar my passport), did I forget to get a courtely flag for the Azores, am I going to need fenders, mooring lines, or the anchor? The rear of the boat has to be dissasembled, as we may have to raft up against other boats: so the windvane, its rudder, and the water powered generator have all to be removed and stowed. And it is a fine welcome back to Europe, I must say: cool and drizzle, and almost windless, as forecast actually.
Yesterday by contrast was really hot and sunny, and after yesterdays blog I decided to try a bit harder with the sailing, and got out my spinnaker. I do this every few years, as I forget what a pain it is in the interim, and imagine that it might solve all my light wind sailing problems. Well two hours were more than enough, it filled and collapsed, sending a shudder through the boat, and the sheets and guys stretched tight around the pulpit and the pushpit, threateneing to uproot the rails from the very deck. Then the windvane was constantly overwhelmed, threateneing a broach. And finally, as the wind always get up a bit whenever I hoist this sail, then the problem is retrieving it, on my own. In 15 knots of wind, I let go the tack, and tried to haul down the clew, as the spinnaker rose above the boat like a parachute in reverse. Well, it was another of those nautical manoeuvres 'lacking in both dexterity and elegance', but I got it down in the end, and only one corner dunked in the water. Anyway I got my photo, and now I can put the sail away for another couple of years!
My cosmology book is amongst the better ones that I have read, and manages to give quite lucid descriptions of the lay persons stumbling blocks in this obscure world of mathematics and physics. So for a couple of days I shall be able to lace my bar room talk on the Azores with clever quips about dark energy, the 26 (or is it only ten now) dimensions of string theory, the types of multiverse, just under our noses, predicted by string theory, and the quite different types of mulitiverse, that could exist impossibly far from us, as the result of 'inflation' just after the big bang.
And Krauss is quite a character, doesn't suffer fools, and you get the impression that he is taking the micky out of us, his readers, quite a lot of the time. It is like he is saying, 'None of us understand this stuff, why do you guys get so interested in what it is that even we don't understand. You did math at GCSE? Oh well read on if you want to, but this stuff isn't going to pay your taxes, only mine!