nearly 2/3 rds
Friday, 24 April :Day 13
Today is Mrs Skippy’s birthday. As a special treat I shall be bringing out the Michelangelo shorts later…
This voyage has brought my attention to a remarkably diverse range of reading material. The latest tome whose merits I feel duty bound to share with you is the Nautical Almanac. Whilst it lacks the narratological bravura of Moby Dick, the surreal invention of The Life of Pi and the considerable buckle’n’swash combo of Master & Commander, it is nonetheless a truly indispensable holiday read. Published annually, it packs fewer cartoon strips than, say, the Beano annual and (I am reliably informed by Mr Skippy) fewer photographs than the Playboy annual, but let these omissions not deter you. It is a treasure trove of fascinating information. Did you know, for example, that moonrise in the northern hemisphere at a latitude of 52 degrees (and a longitude of 0 degrees) on 14th March 2009 was at 2255 GMT? I suspect you did not. The Nautical Almanac did. And, what’s more, it knew it before it had even happened. It’s like the sports almanac in Back to the Future Part 2 which Biff Tannen steals in the future and, when Doc’s back is turned, pinches the DeLorean and returns to 1985 to give the book to his younger self who exploits its secret future history in a deeply irresponsible manner to become unfathomably rich. Only this almanac is for real! Impress all your friends with your spookily accurate predictions of sunrise and sunset, anywhere in the world!
But is this the Almanac’s only virtue? Far from it. It has sections on eclipses, religious festivals and the phases of the moon, not to mention a pithy preface by Michael S. Robinson and Steven W. Warren. My favourite feature of the almanac is its tables showing the best time to sunbathe each day. By structuring your day around the most efficient hour for tanning awkward parts of the body (which is the 30 minutes either side of what it refers to as the Greenwich Meridian Passage), in a focussed “power-tan session”, you can free yourself up for the rest of the day to do other things, like changing fan belts and fixing generators.
For fans of the regular “Tool of The Day” feature, I must apologize for its recent absence. Yesterday, I was kept from blogging by the call of the bladder. I am quite impressed to have come this far without emptying it – bar a slight trickle a few days ago, it has been full to bursting since we left Galapagos. Yesterday however, it was time. It’s a huge relief to all of us now that it’s empty: it took 3 hours at a constant steady flow! I shouldn’t have to do it again now until after the Marquesas.
Anyway, today’s Tool Of The Day is the spoon. In the family of kitchen utensils it is in my humble opinion, the mighty paterfamilias. It is a mystery to me that Victorinox never patented the Swiss Army pen-spoon. It may be true that in a steak-cutting race the knife would win, nonetheless the spoon would probably come equal second with the fork. With mashed potato and pasta, the spoon would certainly beat the knife and would run the fork very close. But with soup, the spoon leaves other utensils for dead. Even a really thick gloopy scotch broth is nigh on impossible with a knife or fork. And you can forget about eating yoghourt too.
Fuel pump on Fischer Panda definately gone, have to wait till Marquesas. All else is fine, superb wind, good weather and well over half-way.
As a special treat for my birthday Keith has put all maintenance work on hold barring emergencies so I have been lying in the cockpit in the sun and reading John Le Carre.
Yesterday we traced the fuel intake to the Fisher Panda and did find a blocked valve . Can’t tell if that is the problem as the fuel pump is now playing up ! Keith also found a filter full of white stuff. Further investigation showed it to be the fridge drain full of cheesy stuff ….There was some spilt milk about a week ago. Anyway the fridge needed cleaning out and I found some deep filed green peppers.
Guy let me have a lie in as a treat this morning so all is looking good for our bottle of champagne and the roast chicken and roast potatoes K is making. He also has a surprise present which I will open later with my others.